There’s always a danger when dealing with rumour that far-fetched tales begin to sprout their own wings; but when a leading analyst’s firm has two separate analysts referring to the same rumour in different reports, then you know the heat’s turning up.

The analysts at UBS clearly think the Apple tablet rumour has legs. UBS analyst Phillip Huang today downgraded RIMM stock to Neutral from buy and cut his target price, albeit by just two dollars.

Over at the next desk, analyst Maynard Um today issued a  short term buy rating on Apple stock

What’s got these two men all jiggy? Why, it’s the Apple tablet rumour, of course, boosted by their perspective that the company will launch a “data-centric product at Verizon,” (Um), while his colleague (Huang) expanded the point, warning that a new relationship between Apple and Verizon may threaten AT&T.

 

A potential launch by Verizon Wireless of a data-only Apple device later this year "may raise some concern that an iPhone may be coming" by virtue of the fact that Apple Inc. and Verizon Wireless would then have a direct business relationship, he notes.

With the iPhone currently available only through AT&T – who changed their terms and conditions in order to make it harder to complain about its services just the other day – the analysts think RIMM may be under threat as Apple expands iPhone reach.

The upshot of all this activity is that Apple’s stocks are now at ‘Buy’ while RIMM’s stand at ‘neutral’, according to UBS. And the financial markets clearly believe Cupertino plans to drop a tablet on our laps.

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