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Apple branching out in 2009?

Financial analyst spreads the word Apple is planning to enter "a completely new device category" next year, but fails to provide any semblance of what that might entail.

Axiotron has a Mac tablet already, could Apple be planning to join them? Axiotron

Familiar Apple rumors are making the rounds again this week as Macworld looms in the distance, one month away.

Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research put out a research note Monday morning spotted by D: All Things Digital saying that Apple plans to release something from "a completely new device category" next year. He fails to explain exactly what such a product might encompass, but speculates that it will be based around a processor designed by the former P.A. Semi engineering team.

As a result, the usual rumors (Mac tablet, iPhone Nano, iKindle) are under discussion within the Mac universe. Chowdhry believes that Apple patent filings will be released early in 2009 that will make everything clear, and also notes that P.A. Semi should have an iPhone chip out around that time that improves performance and battery life.

Earlier this year CEO Steve Jobs implied Apple was watching small-device categories like tablets and Netbooks to see if they actually take off as a mega-trend, but in the meantime the company had other priorities. Mac tablet rumors stretch back for years, and in the past Jobs has quickly shot down talk of an Apple-produced competitor to Amazon's Kindle, which has been interpreted as a sign Apple was doing just that.