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Report: Apple tablet on track for early 2010

Appleinsider sources say the tablet, which has been rumored for years, has gotten official approval for release next year.

The Apple tablet has been rumored for years, but bits of information leaking here and there over the last few months indicate it could be for real. A new report from AppleInsider now says the device is on track to be introduced early next year.

The report on Friday said that the last few important hurdles in bringing the tablet to fruition have been cleared. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, AppleInsider says CEO Steve Jobs has personally been overseeing the project, and is on schedule for a launch sometime between January and March 2010. AppleInsider says its source is well respected "for their striking accuracy in Apple's internal affairs."

It follows a VentureBeat report last week that PA Semi, the chip company Apple purchased last year, had been working in two teams: one on chips for iPhones and iPods, and the other on a tablet device.

There are now multiple rumors/reports/speculation that an Apple tablet would be essentially an oversize iPod Touch, and will cost somewhere between a $299 iPhone/iPod Touch and the $999 MacBook.

Regarding timing, we've heard the 2010 time frame before--back before the Worldwide Developers Conference when Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he'd heard "early next year" from Asian suppliers for the device.