The firm is expected to release details on its 'latest creation' on Jan. 27, though checks with partners and suppliers show the device can be described as a large scale iPod Touch with a number of advancements.
Apple still needs to settle some technical problems before the device can reach consumers, however.
The product would most likely not ship in volume until the June timeframe, as the firm is working out minor issues including battery life and durability, Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers explained.
We believe the timeline could be similar to the original iPhone, where it was announced in January 2007, but didn't ship until six months later, the analyst said.
Described as a cross between the iPod touch and the Mac, the new device will feature a large touch-screen, but will have more advanced software and hardware than the iPod media devices.
From our understanding, it is not intended to replace a Mac but to be somewhat of a 'super' iPod touch where video, gaming, web browsing, e-books, and the ability to run multiple apps, would be enhanced with the much larger screen, Wu said.
The large touch-screen with Apple's patented multi-touch technology, first introduced in the iPhone, could be a factor that drives up the final costs. The entry price is likely to be closer to $1000 than $600, Wu says, though some subsidies could make it less for consumers.
Like the iPhone and iPod, one key feature of the device will be its ability to connect to the Internet.
Wi-Fi would most likely be used instead of a 3G connection to offer broad and inexpensive high-speed access but at the same time not further clog already strained 3G networks.
Shares of Apple rose 4.42 percent on Tuesday to $215.04, just shy of its 52-week high of $215.59.