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'Large Screen iPod Touch Device' in Fall of 2009?

TechCrunch claims to have heard from three independent sources that Apple will be releasing a "large screen iPod touch device" with a 7-9 inch screen. According to the site, one of their sources have actually seen and handled one of the prototypes.

Apple has been experimenting internally with large form tablet devices for years, one source says, but there was concern that users wouldn't like the device. The difference now is the iTunes app store, which has thousands of games and other applications that are perfect for a touch screen device with an accelerometer.

The new device is said to be compatible with the applications in the App Store and is expected to be released in the Fall of 2009.

While TechCrunch does not frequently report on original Apple rumors, the information is consistent with historically reliable sources that Apple was working on a mini-tablet or PDA-like device about 1.5x the size of the current iPhone.