Citing "three independent sources close to Apple," one who has "actually held the device," TechCrunch says Apple is planning to release a giant iPod touch device with a seven- or nine-inch screen next fall.
In other words, it's a tablet running the scaled down version of OS X that's on the iPod touch and iPhone—not the MacBook touch tablet fanboys have been dreaming of since multitouch became a part of their fantasy lexicon, but very much like the Son-of-Newton PDA with an embedded version of OS X we'd heard about a year ago. What makes this giganto iPod touch worthwhile, according to Arrington—over a full-fledged MacBook tablet—is the App Store. (Of course, we'd heard rumors of touch tablet running both the App Store and real Mac apps, though the inherent philosophical dissonance of an App Store + real Mac apps approach never quite neatly resolved itself in our minds.)
One piece of evidence pointing to something like Arrington describes (besides those earlier Son-of-Newton tablet whispers) however, was the mysterious tidbit in October about an Apple product with "a display somewhere between an iPhone and a MacBook" spotted surfing the internets. An iPod touch ! HD w ith 800 or 720x480 resolution would fit in that space pretty nicely, and be an "interesting" take on the netbook.
Still, TechCrunch doesn't say this is an absolutely guaranteed happening: "I'm not saying Apple is definitely launching a large form iPod Touch." As with all rumored Apple products, we'll see it when we see it, probably 12 hours before it's actually announced (if it ever is) in a slightly grainy photo. [TechCrunch]