CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Rumors continue to swirl around Apple's ( AAPL) mysterious Tablet, with a report suggesting that the gadget will come in two models, one of which is aimed at the educational market. The blogosphere has been rife with Tablet talk for months, although the Gizmodo blog reported this week that the device will look like a giant iPhone with a 10-inch screen. Citing an anonymous source, Gizmodo explained that the Tablet has a black back, although this may change, and an Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen. Buzz about an iPhone-style device with a 10-inch screen is nothing new, although the source also said that Apple will launch two versions of the technology, one for the educational market and one with a Webcam. There is even talk of making the Tablet act as a secondary screen or touchpad for iMacs and MacBooks, they added. Gizmodo also reported that the Tablet will have a home button, similar to the iPhone. Tallying with recent rumors, the device is expected to cost between $700 and $900, according to the source, and will sit between the iPod/iPhone and iMac in the Apple product line. Touted as a challenger to netbooks, the Tablet is expected to occupy a space somewhere between low-end PCs and smartphones, effectively creating a new consumer technology niche. There continue to be conflicting rumors, however, about the Tablet's launch date. Barron's, for example, recently reported that the Tablet could be announced in September for a November release, although the AppleInsider Web site, citing its own source, said that the device is not expected to arrive before early 2010.
Gizmodo's source claims that the first Tablet prototype was built in late 2008, and predicts that the device will be on the market in time for this year's holiday season. Verizon ( VZ ) is already said to be the launch pad for Apple's latest gadget, reducing customers' sticker shock. A source familiar with the companies, who asked not to be named, recently told TheStreet.com that the initial version of the tablet will be subsidized by Verizon, but Apple and Verizon "won't be as tightly integrated" as Apple's iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T ( T). Apple, which is notoriously tight-lipped about its product plans, has not yet responded to a request for comment from TheStreet.com on its Tablet strategy. The Tablet space has already proved problematic for the likes of Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Toshiba, although the rewards could outweigh the risks for Apple. With third-quarter iPod sales sliding and second-quarter Mac sales falling for the first time in five years, it makes sense for the consumer technology giant to re-invigorate its product line. Even the ever-popular iPhone is now three years old, although the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm is planning to extend the technology to the Chinese smartphone market. -- Written by James Rogers in New York.