Apple's touch screen tablet computer coming in October

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The long-talked about Apple (AAPL) tablet computer may be on store shelves in three months, PC World reports. Apple placed orders with manufacturers that suggests the device is being built, according to a report in Info Times.

A tablet would be Apple's entry in the fast-growing netbook segment of the personal computer market. Apple CEO Steve Jobs had publicly denied the idea that Apple planned to produce a netbook. Operating chief Tim Cook had called netbooks "junky" (meaning, presumably, that Apple's version of the netbook would not be). Piper Jaffray Analyst Gene Munster said in March that Apple would begin selling a touchscreen device next year.
Jobs typically is tight-lipped about coming products until Apple is ready to hype them in a manner befitting, well, new Apples. For years, the company has been mute about products in development. Why tip off your competitors and fuel the already hot rumor mill?

The Taiwanese news report, translated by MacRumors, says the device will be bigger than an iPod Touch (roughly the same size as an Apple iPhone) and smaller than the smallest Apple laptop MacBook, which are about the size of many laptops. Apple's tablet would cost about $800.

Without having seen the specs of the product, consumers can be sure the details will be well thought out and attractive. Apple has had a successful run in premiering ready for prime time products since launching the iPod in 2001. Some will complain about the absence of a keyboard -- the machine will likely have one built into the interface, as on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The fanfare around a netbook-style computer from Apple will surely rival that of a long-awaited summer blockbuster movie, with fans lined up to be first on the block to buy one. And an analyst or three will release weekend sales numbers that miss or beat expectations. This is why Jobs came back from his medical leave, the The Wall Street Journal reported in April, and why he didn't appear during the unveiling of the iPhone 3G S. Jobs has been, and always will be, about what's next at Apple.

Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.
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