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Analyst cops feel of Apple's iTablet

Drums beat louder

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Apple’s iTablet will appear in shops this November, according to a mystery analyst who claims to have already touched the much-rumoured device.

The “veteran analyst” described the device as a slate-style computer that impresses with its display of HD video content, Barron's, the US financial magazine, reports.

“It's better than the average movie experience, when you hold this thing in your hands”, said the analyst.

He added that although Apple has yet to finalise the tablet’s design, the firm aims to unveil the device next month and launch in November. Just in time for the Christmas sales rush.

A second unnamed source also told Barron's that news of the iTablet “is all over the supply chain in Asia”.

Jon Peddie, the head of market watcher Jon Peddie Research, has yet to run his palms over the device, but chipped in his opinion that buyers should expect to pay between $699 and $799 (£474/€579) for the iTablet. The teardown specialists will work out soon enough if Apple can turn a profit at the prices quoted. But the hardware may be subsidised by data plans and content subscriptions, according to this analysis.

Barron's touchy-feely analyst brings the Apple tablet saga forward a little from last week's FT, which ran a story citing "people briefed on the project".

According to the FT sources, the Apple tablet is positioned as a "portable entertainment device"; it is internet enabled; has a screen of up to 10 inches diagonally; and will launch with new content deals. Unnamed entertainment execs hope the device will promote sales of: CD-length music, as opposed to a track here or there; movies; and ebooks. At the price quoted by Peddie, the iTablet is not positioned yet as a head-on competitor of Amazon's Kindle book reader - which retails at $299.

Apple still hasn't confirmed plans to build a tablet PC, but this is par for the course for the notoriously secretive company. It will tell us when it's ready, and God help anyone who tell us before...®

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