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Another week, another Apple Tablet rumor

Actually, it's been a while since we had a good Apple "iPad" rumor, so it's about time one showed up. This one is pretty good, too. It comes from the Taiwan Economic News, which cites local parts suppliers.

The report states Apple will launch its tablet PCs next February, with deliveries to Apple in December. The tablet, still unnamed but popular guessing has been "iPad" and "iTablet," will feature a 9.6-inch screen, finger-touch function and built-in HSPDA (High Speed Download Packet Access) module.

Most interesting of all: the tablet will use a chip designed by PA Semi, the chip design firm Apple bought last year. It has been rumored that Apple split PA into two groups, one working on existing chip designs and one working on new, future products.

The iPod/iPhone line runs on ARM processors, so it's about time Apple put its $278 million investment to work. The rumored price for the iPad: $799 and $999.

DynaPack International Technology has been selected to provide long-lasting battery packs for this new tablet, while Wanshih Electronic Co. will provide mini coaxial cables for the tablet PCs. Mag. Layers Scientific-Technics Co. and Wintek will supply power chokes and touch panels, respectively. All of these companies are already significant suppliers of Apple and apparently their loose lips haven't earned the Wrath of Steve just yet.

The HSPDA module is a sign that Apple is sticking with AT&T, despite numerous complaints about AT&T's poor service and 3G network quality. There had been speculation that Apple might make this device for Verizon, a larger player in the U.S. that uses a CMDA network. However, HSPA has a wider global reach, and Apple is obviously looking at this globally, not just the U.S.

I've long marveled at Apple's ability to defy everything, from business wisdom to the economy, but I really want to see if they can pull of the hat trick of selling a $1,000 oversized iPod Touch. If they do, President Obama should just give General Motors to Steve Jobs.

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