Hah! I don't want to say "I called it", but...I freaking called it. Moments after TechCrunch posted the scoop that Orange executive Stephane Richard confirmed the iSlate during an interview, paidContent.UK reports that Orange is claiming that Richard's statements were taken out of context. In their eyes, his response "in no way" should act as "confirmation of the existence of the rumored device".
PaidContent does note that, back in 2007, an Orange executive accidentally announced that his company would be stocking the iPhone. Is this another example of a real product slip, or did Richard's just make the gaffe of his career? I'll repeat my earlier suspicions;
It sounds to me like the interviewer surprised Richard with a question he wasn't ready to answer. Stephane went into cover-my-ass mode and answered every question with a quick 'yes' and stated, knee-jerk, that his company would carry the product. Orange seems to confirm this;
“These responses in no way reflect Orange’s confirmation of the existence of the rumoured device. The spokesperson was merely confirming that he is aware of the speculation surrounding a launch and that Orange would be delighted to have such a product were it ever to be available.”