The FT is claiming that Apple will have its much rumoured Apple tablet device out before Christmas rather than in 2010 as first suggested by rumours claiming to be close to the mark last week.

The news, which could see a launch days before Microsoft's Windows 7 launch on the 22 October, would likely bring the two companies head to head in a mega showdown just weeks before the "holiday" season kicks in.

According to the FT, who has chosen to run a story focusing on a deal that Apple has with four major record labels to bring interactive books to iTunes, Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles reports that:

"The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.

Supposedly codenamed "Cocktail", the labels and Apple are working towards a September launch date for the project says the paper.

The article goes on to confirm previous rumours of a 10-inch touchscreen display, and Wi-Fi, however contradicts previous suggestions of 3G connectivity. It also suggests that an interface more akin to an iPod touch rather than the full blown OS from Apple will be present.

Apple, who is expected to launch new iPod's in September, could see a pre-Christmas move as not only a chance to capitalise on the typical spending season, but also to stave off Microsoft, gaining the limelight with its new operating system.

Although not available at launch in October, Microsoft has already confirmed that it will be offering a touch version of Windows 7 at a later date.

Would this be on your Christmas list? Let us know in the comments below.