Latest on the Applevine: Apple Tablet in 2010?

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Sometimes when a company says they aren’t doing something, they really aren’t. But other times, brush-offs hide another message. Sometimes, lost in careful wording, there’s a different truth. As Shakespeare famously put it, “the lady doth protest too much.” When denials are over-emphasized something is going on.

Is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hiding something behind denials a netbook is in the product queue? Some think so.

Apple’s COO Tim Cook has been protesting a lot. This week during Apple’s earnings call, he didn’t miss the chance to take a shot at the netbook market segment when answering a question from a Morgan Stanley analyst. Echoing sentiments from last quarter, and before, he said again Apple isn’t heading there.

Customers want full featured notebooks and like what Apple’s offering them, he said. Adding color, “I think some of the netbooks that are being delivered or many of those are — have very — are very slow. They have software technology that is old.”

“[Netbooks] don’t have a robust computing experience. They lack horsepower. They have small displays and cramped keyboards … and we are only going to play in things where we can deliver something that is very innovative that we are very proud of.”

A new report from Apple Insider claims that innovative product is a new tablet computer that fits somewhere between an iPhone and a Macbook in the company’s product lineup.

“After four years of meticulous development riddled with setbacks, Apple is now racing toward an early 2010 launch of a device that may see the electronics maker redefine the portable computing market for the second time in twice as many years,” the article published Friday begins.

According to the report, rumored touch screen buys and other details, mixed with a dose of insider knowledge, add up to a 3G enabled Apple Tablet planned for launch sometime in 2010. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is a possible candidate for providing the 3G support.

Unfortunately, there’s little to corroborate the story, it’s straight off the Applevine. It’s not a new idea either. Tablet rumors have floated all year including a story in March that Wintek was supplying screens. But Apple Insider claims a loose launch schedule and more detail.

Could the rumors be real?

It’s possible. The rumors won’t quit and the gossip won’t fade. The story’s not going away and denials from Apple (Steve Jobs and Tim Cook) have been consistent. Maybe too consistent. Then there’s the PA Semi buy. Screen and flash memory purchases in Asia. It’s too much information for the concept to seem entirely off base, but not enough to be sure it's on target. Somewhere in the mix there’s probably a future Apple product. Just don’t call it a netbook if it happens. Apple’s not going there, not exactly.