If you've been holding your breath for an Apple netbook, then you might want to exhale, because analysts at Piper Jaffray think that Apple is releasing a much-rumoured tablet computer as a replacement.

The "media pad" will fit between the iPod Touch and MacBook product lines. Apple doesn't want it to cannibalise sales of either device, but hopes that it will strike a chord with consumers who want web functionality and media playback on a bigger screen than the iPod.

Don't put it on your Christmas list this year, though, because analyst Gene Munster thinks that it won't be out until 2010, thanks to the complicated operating system that it would have to run:

"We expect the development of such an OS to be underway currently, but its complexity, along with our conversations with a key company in the mobile space, leads us to believe it will not launch until CY10".