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Pssst... Apple tablet on way, whisper Chinese moles

Apple-designed CPU on board, it's claimed

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A Mac tablet is on the way, according to a China Times report.

The Mac tablet has been much speculated about. In this latest incarnation it will be manufactured by Foxconn and have a 9.7in diagonal measure touch screen primarily made by Wintek. Dynapak is also involved in the manufacturing arrangements.

The touch screen functionality would lift Apple's tablet above the netbook commodity market and allow it to enjoy its customary premium pricing. A MacRumours report puts it at $800.

With terrific timing, a simultaneous VentureBeat note says that the tablet will use an Apple-design CPU. The Cupertino company bought the PA-Semi chip design business in April 2008. PA-Semi had StrongArm expertise and ARM chip designs are all over the mobile phone and mobile Internet device market.

The VentureBeat note says that Apple divided the PA-Semi designers between two projects: ARM-based mobile phone processors on the one hand and a tablet processor, possibly ARM-based as well, on the other.

So we are looking at an Apple CPU-powered Mac tablet with touchscreen functionality and an October launch. The timing is said to be suitable for sales in the lead up to Christmas. Neither the manufacturers nor Apple are saying anything. Watch this space. ®

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