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Apple Surges to Record on Rumors

Apple shares surged to an all-time high amid rumors the company will make a major product announcement in January.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) - Get Report shares surged 3.4% to a record high Thursday amid speculation that a major product announcement -- possibly the long-anticipated tablet computer -- will be coming in January.

Apple stock rose $6.94 to close at $209.04 in a shortened trading day after the

Financial Times

reported that Apple may be preparing for a big announcement after renting space for several days in late January at an arts center in San Francisco.

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While Apple hasn't officially confirmed plans for a tablet, the expectation of an  iPad has

captivated the imagination

of enthusiasts and

sparked debates

among

gadget

fans and investors for more than a year as they eagerly await a new blockbuster device from Apple.

Tablet-sized e-readers are a growing niche among players like

Sony

(

SNE Quote

)

and

Barnes and Noble

(

BKS Quote

)

. But Apple fans may find a me-too e-book a bit beneath the vaunted standards of a Steve Jobs-driven project.

With the

Amazon

(

AMZN Quote

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)

Kindle in its sights,

Apple is believed to be preparing to start production

of a 10-inch touchscreen e-book with the first model expected to arrive as early as March,

Oppenheimer

analyst Yair Reiner said earlier this month, citing information from suppliers. The report confirmed earlier

rumors that suppliers were gearing up for a February kickoff of the

Apple Tablet

.

Apple has also been working on terms with

publishers

that would split the revenue of electronic book sales by a 30/70 ratio, with book companies getting the larger cut, writes Reiner. The terms would be a departure from the even split that Amazon shares with publishers.The product's lengthy road to launch

and rumors of a possible partnership with Verizon (VZ) - Get Report,

have raised expectations that Apple may finally have a breakthrough product that could build on the success of the iPhone and the Mac

computer

line.

As speculation drives Apple shares higher, Ray Edelman, co-manager of the

Allianz RCM Large-Cap Growth Fund

(RALGX)

considers the stock one of the top picks for 2010.

"Technology will lead the market next year, especially companies such as Apple and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

. Our top stocks picks are Apple and Microsoft,"

Edelman said in an interview

on Wednesday. "These companies have strong product cycles -- iPhones, Macs, Windows 7 -- that should help drive revenues and earnings higher."

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.