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Apple's 'iPad' Tablet Coming September 7?

Apple reportedly has an event planned for the first week of September that has Apple watchers going crazy at the potential arrival of the long-rumored 'iPad' tablet. If there is an Apple event September 7, it would be just one week before the launch of the new Microsoft Zune HD.

Of course, the event is not official. All Things D, the news site that first ran the story, cited unnamed music industry executives as the source.

That would indicate an iPod event, which would be in line with past events. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) may not be the most open of companies – it has not responded to requests for confirmation of the event – but it is a creature of habit, and iPod launches have always come in the fall.

However, the long-rumored tablet might also make its debut. Alternatively nicknamed the "iPad" and "iTablet," the device is widely believed to be a larger version of the iPod Touch. It would have a screen just under 10 inches in size, play apps from the App Store and sell for between $500 and $700.

Just what is discussed will be hashed out for the next three weeks on the blogosphere. One Apple blog, The Loop, is stating unequivocally that the tablet will not be discussed, and it will come in 2010.

Music is the message

The September event would be just music-oriented, The Loop said, focused on new iPods and a new version of iTunes. Apple has been reportedly working on a new model for album sales.

Various reports say iTunes 9 will add support for Blu-ray DVD, the high definition DVD format that Apple CEO Steve Jobs once called "a bag of hurt" because of licensing headaches. AppleInsider claims the next generation of iMacs will support Blu-ray, which seems odd given Apple's support of downloadable content.

One analyst familiar with Apple's plans said he felt the likelihood of the tablet making its debut was 50/50, but if it was to ship this year, September was the time to do it. "You get a lot more buying in November/December than you would shipping in January," said the analyst, who requested his name not be used.

If this tablet product is what it's rumored to be, it needs to be on the market eight to 12 weeks before Christmas, or Apple is better off waiting. "If they don't do it in October, to start taking advantage of Christmas sales, they don't want to wait until November to ship," he said.

The analyst also said an iPod Touch update with the new camera that's in the iPhone 3GS "is a no-brainer. iPod Touch updates have always followed the iPhone updates by a few months."