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Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 04:25 am PT (07:25 am ET)

Apple tablet could have 'imminent' Jan. 2010 debut - report

As Apple reportedly pushes to launch a subscription television service, the company is also rumored to unveil its long-awaited tablet device in January, a new report states.

Without naming a source, the Financial Times said that Apple's touchscreen device is "expected to launch imminently." The publication also reiterated much of what was said by The Wall Street Journal Monday: Apple has had discussions with Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. about offering subscriptions for TV shows through iTunes.

"Apple is preparing an announcement next month that many anticipate will be the official unveiling of its tablet, but the company has so far declined to confirm the existence of the device," the Financial Times reported. "Wall Street analysts expect mass production of an Apple tablet to begin as early as February."

It noted that magazine publishers Time Inc. and Condé Nast have created prototypes of digital editions of their magazines. The concepts shown were device-neutral and publishers intend to offer them on a variety of tablet devices expected to arrive in 2010.

A consortium of publishers have also agreed to open standards for a new digital storefront that will offer users media content on portable devices. The publishers intend to create a reading application that can render the "distinct look and feel" of specific publications. It would allow for devices to be viewed on a variety of hardware, including Apple's potential tablet.

In July, AppleInsider reported that Apple's rumored tablet device would arrive in early 2010. The 10-inch, 3G-enabled touchscreen device is said to have been crafted under the watchful eye of co-founder Steve Jobs.