Apple Snapping Up 7-Inch Touchscreens Ahead of January Tablet Launch?

T3 has received word that there is a currently a major shortage of 7" touchscreen components, with speculation centering on Apple as a likely culprit ahead of a possible January launch of its much-rumored tablet computer.

Our source said: "If you want to buy a 7-inch touchscreen at the moment, you can't." They added that this could indicate a January release window for Apple's hotly-anticipated tablet.

There aren't many products on the horizon other than Apple's tablet that would need such a large volume of 7-inch touchscreens, suggesting that this tip-off won't be far off the mark.

While an enticing claim, it appears to be little more than speculation based on a rumor. Apple's use of a 7" screen for its tablet device would be a major surprise, as most sources have pointed to a screen in the 9-10" range. Apple, however, is reported to have investigated a series of touchscreen sizes ranging from 4-12 inches, and occasional reports have claimed that Apple is working on a smaller device considered to be something of an oversized iPod touch.