According to who you believe, almost three years. Over the weekend, MacRumors discovered a domain Apple purchased in 2007 called iSlate.com.
Reports say Apple created a "shell company" called Slate Computing, LLC three years ago and the company is the trademark owner of the terms "iSlate" and "Magic Slate." Both would fit the description of what "insiders" seem to think a tablet from Apple would look like.
While iSlate.com only leads to a DNS error right now, the five little letters created a flurry of Internet speculation that still to be confirmed tablet would be called the manufacturer
But why does matter?
Apple products have been hyped before only to swing and miss in the hearts and minds of consumers.
Most recently there was Apple TV that was a lot more hype than revolution. Going back a few years, we can even find Apple products that were ahead of their time but still failed to lead to mass hysteria.
But maybe the iSlate is the next iPhone. If that is the case, there is enough evidence to lead a rational person to believe a tablet is finally on its way.
For evidence, see the reports of Apple scooping up 10-inch screens everywhere and leaks of the Taiwanese manufacturer behind the iPhone and iPod receiving an order to produce one million tablet like devices a month.
But then again, there are also reports that iSlate was the failed name for the iPhone.