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Apple Tablet Rumors Revived: February 2010 Launch? P.A. Semi Processor?

After several quiet weeks on the tablet rumor front as it became clear that no such device would be introduced at Apple's "It's Only Rock and Roll" media event, a new report from Taiwan Economic News revives rumor discussions by claiming that Apple's tablet computer will launch in February 2010 at a price point between $799 and $999. The report also claims that the tablet will utilize a P.A. Semi-engineered processor and will contain built-in 3G wireless connectivity. A 9.6-inch touch screen and an extended-life battery round out the claimed details.

As Apple Inc. will launch its newest tablet PCs next February, a couple of Taiwanese suppliers of PC parts and components have managed to join the supply chain and will start delivery to Apple in December, according to industry sources.

The tablet PC features a 9.6-inch screen, finger-touch function and built-in HSPDA (high speed download packet access) module, and adopts a P.A. SEMI processor chip and long lasting battery pack, selling for between US$799 and US$999.

The report claims that Dynapack has won a contract to supply up to 300,000 batteries per month for the new unit and notes that Wintek, Apple's current iPhone screen supplier, will supply touchscreens for the new device.

The claims echo a previous report by Taiwanese media several months ago, although that report had pointed to an October 2009 launch for the tablet. Other reports have also pointed to an early 2010 launch, as well as the inclusion of a chip platform from P.A. Semi. The chipmaker, which was acquired by Apple in April 2008, has been rumored to have been divided into two teams: one focused on iPhone and iPod touch projects and the other working on tablet computers.

A recent report has suggested that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been almost singularly focused on the much-rumored tablet since his return from a medical leave of absence in late June, suggesting the product may be in the final design stages after several years of fits and starts.