We all know Apple’s cooking something up – feverish market speculation, high-level meetings with publishers for eBook discussions, increased r&d spend all reinforce the notion the company has something up its sleeve – we all think it’s some form of tablet.

Now this speculation seems set to climb even higher with a source telling Business Insider that Apple engineers have been engaged in frequent trips from Cupertino to China.

“A source tells us a system integration engineer friend of his at Apple has been ramping up his travels back and forth between China lately, broadcasting word of his travels over the Internet,” the report claims.

What makes this even more interesting is that engineers are currently booked to head to China across the Holiday season, meeting with Apple’s manufacturers out there, presumably Foxconn, who we were earlier told has been contracted to produce 300,000 of the still unannounced tablet-type devices (dubbed ‘Slate’ according to the NYT) each and every month.

Meanwhile, fresh news from Australia lends a little more light on Apple’s plans to position its new device as some form of eBook reader on steroids: "It seems they’re trying to preload it with content deals, rather than just create an elegant general-purpose device," Greg Sterling, principal analyst with Sterling Market Research, told NewsFactor.

"If you got some really impressive experience, it would certainly accelerate the transition from print to digital,” he observed, saying Apple’s solution plus those such as Kindle could, “generate enough enthusiasm to advance the transition."

If previous reports are true, Apple intends wooing publishers by offering them a much better deal than Amazon: While the latter firm demands 70 percent of revenues raised through eBooks, Apple wants just 30 percent.

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