Apple Rumor: $800 Tablet Due in October

With a 9.7-inch display, this big-screen iPod touch could be just the thing for Christmas 2009.

The rumors may be getting closer to the truth, or vice versa, as a report surfaced from Taiwan today that Apple plans to releases its much discussed tablet computer this October. Guesstimated pricing: $800.
The Taiwanese site InfoTimes reports (in Chinese) that the device will have a 9.7-inch touchscreen, making it a tad smaller than most netbooks but adding touchcreen features and iPod mystique.

October would be a reasonable time for such an announcement, since Apple would be unlikely to announce much before availability in its stores, and such an announcement would be close enough to Christmas for the tablet to become 2009’s hot gift item–at least for Apple fans.

InfoTimes sources its report to various supposed parts and manufacturing partners, which adds some weight to the rumor. As is usual, Apple won’t say anything about new products and its partners also remain officially mum, at least if they want to remain an Apple partner.

The InfoTimes report is in broad agreement with earlier reports of an Apple tablet, then supposedly due in 2010. If the device is due in the next 9 months, October is a good choice for a release date.

Target market? The safe guess is that the tablet would be an oversized iPod touch, aimed primarily at entertainment users. However, for those used to sending email and doing other “work” on their iPhones, the tablet might be a pleasant step up, at least in terms of the size of its virtual keyboard.

While this is still the stuff of rumor, it seems to be circling in on something. The price makes sense, as does what little is heard of the specifications. Apple will want to have a hot new product for the holidays and a big-screen iPod makes a lot of sense as portable video gains in popularity.

This isn’t the MacPad tablet computer that I’d like to see–I want a real keyboard–but the current rumor doesn’t rule it out, either. And it may be that an Apple tablet computer and an iPod on steroids are better as separate devices.

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