Apple tablet speculation rekindled in Wall Street report

The rumor that Apple is preparing for 2010 a tablet-like netbook with a 7- to 10-inch multi-touch screen and a price tag of less than $700 has gained a new lease on life, based on a Wall Street analyst’s new report, cited by

It’s a bold prediction considering that as recently as April, Apple COO (and acting CEO) Tim Cook of cramped, low-margin, mainly Windows-based netbooks as “junky” hardware that can’t deliver the “consumer experience” the Mac OS offers.

It’s also not a new prediction, though at least some of the evidence cited by Piper Jaffray in support of it may be.

In March, Michael Jones at circulating then was the most interesting but also the least credible. Computerworld’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols told readers to “get over” hoping for an Apple netbook, because one would never, ever be built, though “there may be a tablet-sized iPhone/iTouch, but that's an entirely different kettle of fish.” Vaughan-Nichols noted that all the then-current rumors about such a device were that referenced a Chinese publication, which cited an Asian touch display-maker admitting it was working with Apple on “new products.”

Vaughan-Nichols’ colleague, Michael Elgan, cited the same Digitimes story as the basis for that Apple would ship a larger, “folding iPhone.”