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Analyst Claims Two Apple Tablets Coming, One With 6-Inch Screen

In a report on the increasing hype surrounding tablet computers focused on Apple's much-anticipated tablet offerings, BusinessWeek cites market researcher Richard Doherty, who claims that Apple has developed two protoype tablet computers: one essentially an oversized iPod touch carrying a 6-inch screen and a second one with a larger screen.

"There's no hotter topic [than tablets] in Asia right now," says Richard Doherty, a director at market researcher Envisioneering Group, who says Apple has developed prototypes of two different tablet machines -- one that resembles a large-sized iPod and boasts a 6-inch screen, and another that features a larger display. Apple may launch one or both devices as early as September, Doherty says. A decision on whether and when Apple takes the tablet plunge lies with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Doherty says.

Doherty's claim that the tablets may launch as early as September comes in opposition to several other reports pointing to an early 2010 launch. Apple has reportedly scheduled a media event for September 9th, where sources have specifically claimed that there will be no mention of a tablet, although that obviously does not preclude a separate tablet introduction at another time.

Doherty also claims that Apple's tablet offerings may begin priced as low as $679 and that the larger tablet may essentially run full Mac OS X while the smaller tablet is more iPod-like and focuses on media and gaming.

One of Apple's prototype devices is able to run all Mac applications, and allows for video and audio editing and graphic animation, Doherty says. Another, which looks like a larger iPod, lends itself to watching videos, playing games, and reading e-books.

Apple has been rumored to have investigated screens for its tablet prototypes ranging from 4 inches to 12 inches, although most rumors have pointed to a screen of approximately 10 inches for Apple's planned launch product.