AppleInsider is reporting that Apple is planning to give its MessagePad line another airing with a "modern day reincarnation" of the range, complete with iPhone/iPod touch-esque touchscreen.

Although Apple's PDA range was not commercially a massive success for the firm, it is attributed with game-changing industry influence and it has retained a fan-base even now.

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, revealed back in 2004 they had been working an "Apple PDA" and it seems this has been an ongoing project, according to "well-respected" sources, the company has been hard an work on the design for the past 18 months.

Apparently during that time the new Newton (the Newton touch?) has been oft-delayed as staff resources have been pulled to meet more pressing deadlines, but is due for release in the first half of 2008.

The new device is reported to run an embedded version of Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system. An ultra-slim "slate" like the iPhone, it's said to be about one and half times the size and has 720 x 480 high-res display that makes up almost the entire surface of the unit.

Said to be "Apple's answer to the ultra-mobile PC", or indeed an Apple tablet, albeit a very small one, the speculation states that Jobs could announce the device as early as his keynote speech during January's Macworld event.