Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Still in the Pipeline, Headed to AT&T

apple_tabletOh Apple tablet rumors, how I’ve missed you. The interruption of Apple’s (s aapl) Rock and Roll event seemed to take the wind out of your sails, but luckily, it was only temporary. Now, the Taiwan Economic News (via All Things D) is stoking the fires of hope once again with updates on pricing, time frame and technical details of the oft-rumored upcoming device.

Should these latest rumors prove correct, we can expect to see this tantalizing Apple fanboi fantasy by February of next year. Pricing should fall between $799 and $999, which will net you a 9.6-inch touch panel device powered by a mystery P.A. Semi-engineered chip, with a super-long-lasting battery by DynaPack International Technology.
The battery pack order size provides a rough estimation as to what Apple’s expected sales for the new device will be:

Outbidding its Taiwanese counterpart Simplo Technology Co., Ltd., DynaPack International Technology Corp. has been exclusively contracted to supply up to 300,000 units of long lasting battery packs a month for Apple’s newest tablet PCs.

In addition, the tablet will reportedly contain a 3G HSDPA modem, which seems to indicate it would be designed to operate on AT&T’s (s t) network. If true, it’s possible that consumers will see some decent discounts on the hardware, so long as they purchase data plans from AT&T along with an Apple tablet.
The full supplier list from the Taiwan Economic News also includes Wintek for the capacitive touchscreen, Wanshih Electronic Company for cables, and Mag. Layers Scientific-Technics Co. Having such an extensive parts supplier list is of course no guarantee that the rumors are accurate, but similar lists appeared before the launch of the iPhone 3G and the 3GS, and both turned out to be accurate.
As for the February date, it does seem a likely candidate for a new product introduction, if only because it will coincide with the new Macworld Expo. Apple, of course, won’t be participating in Macworld this year, but it has traditionally used the keynote of the event to announce new products, so even without participating, it makes sense for it to stick to its established product release schedule.
Steve Jobs, freshly returned as the public face of the company, also dropped some very oblique, but very tantalizing possible reference to a tablet recently in statements made after the Rock and Roll event to David Pogue of the New York Times. He is rumored to be the driving force behind the tablet initiative, if it does exist.