Mac sites are breeding grounds for rumors about new and upcoming Apple products of all shapes and sizes, some (far) more plausible than others. There's been recurring talk of an Apple "tablet Mac," but little more than rumors ever emerged. However, CNet UK has a lead that adds a fair amount of plausibility to the tablet talk.
CNet says it heard in a "very hushed manner" from its friends at Asustek that the Taiwanese manufacturer is "helping Apple build a Tablet PC." CNet adds that checking back with its source at Asustek yielded the same information:
We checked back with our source at Asus on a different day and they confirmed that the Apple Tablet will not be based on existing Asus designs such as the R1. It will come from a completely new blueprint, possibly based on the patent Apple filed back in May 2005. We're guessing it'll be based on Intel Core architecture, a tweaked version of Leopard, and have all the multi-touch, CoverFlow goodness we've seen in the iPhone and iPod touch.
The Asustek insider wouldn't tell CNet about specifications or a release date, but as the publication says, the tablet may be based on a patent Apple filed in May 2005 for a hand-held device with a giant touch screen.
The device may also be one and the same with the purported "iPDA" we heard about back in September. This iPDA was supposed to be bigger than the iPhone, with a 720x480 display and a giant touch screen, and it was reportedly scheduled for the first half of 2008.