This one is purely in the realm of rumor, folks, but AppleInsider is now reporting the tantalizing detail that Apple is currently working on a multi-touch-based successor to its Newton handheld. As the story goes, Apple has actually had a "small team of engineers" working on the project for the past 18 months, during which time they were occasionally forced to put the project on hold in order to help get the iPhone out the door on time. Now, with the iPhone out of the way, AppleInsider says it's "full steam ahead" on the "modern day Newton." Delving even further into the rumor mill, AppleInsider says the device will about 1.5 times the size of the iPhone, and sport a 720x480 display that fills nearly the entire surface of the unit (no surprise there). What's more, it seems that the device is intended to compete as much with UMPCs as with PDAs (something the original Newton's already taken a shot at) and, if the rumors are to be believed, it could be released "sometime in the first half of 2008," with a possible announcement as soon as MacWorld in January.

[Image courtesy of audiopollution/AppleInsider]