The executive editor of the New York Times has referred to the mythical Apple tablet in a speech as the "impending Apple slate", reigniting the smouldering rumours of the device.

Bill Keller's off-the-record speech, not supposed to be recorded and leaked to the Internet, is a business-based monologue about the future of the NYT, including a look at new digital delivery platforms.

"I'm hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP, or the impending Apple slate...", Keller states, as reported by eager-eared Gawker.

The quote from Keller apparently follows reports from earlier this year that a "stealth team" from the paper met with Apple executives - as well as other content publishers - on a top-secret matter.

Only time will tell whether this is a slip of the tongue or a genuine revelation, but as recent rumours suggest a January announcement from Apple, we might not have to wait too long to find out.