Apple is understood to be planning to ship a multimedia tablet with a 10-to 11-inch touchscreen in March.
The much-anticipated device has been dubbed the iSlate by analysts, and will be a cross between a fully-featured laptop and a smartphone.
Although analysts have been speculating for months that Apple planned to unveil a tablet in the first half of 2010, Apple has never confirmed it was working on such a device.
But most commentators expect Apple to use a trade fair in San Francisco on 27 January to launch the product.
Excitement about the tablet in recent weeks has helped propel Apple’s shares to record levels, analysts say. The company’s stock rose 1.6 per cent and finished at $214.01 yesterday, a new closing high.
Analysts expect the tablet to be priced at between $500 and $1,000.
Meanwhile, analysts said they expected Apple had sold between 8m and 11m iPhones in the three months to 26 December, smashing all previous records.