Perhaps it’s because expectations are so low. Or maybe it’s because nobody really knows what’s going on with Steve Jobs’ health. But less than a week before the start of Macworld 2009, the lead story on Techmeme’s news aggregator Wednesday morning was about a device that Apple AAPL is reportedly readying for release next September, at its annual iPod event.

The mystery device is the long-rumored iPod tablet — an oversized iPod touch with a 7- or 9-inch screen. Three independent sources close to Apple — one of whom has seen and handled a prototype — tell Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington that Apple is talking to Asian suppliers about mass producing it for Fall ’09.

According to Arrington:

“Apple has been experimenting internally with large form tablet devices for years, one source says, but there was concern that users wouldn’t like the device. The difference now is the iTunes app store, which has thousands of games and other applications that are perfect for a touch screen device with an accelerometer.” (link)

So what would the thing look like? If the image above represents a 3.5-inch iPod touch, an iPod tablet with a 9-inch screen might look something like this:

As several readers have divined, this was a rush job patched together by a writer with minimal Photoshop skills. If you have a better idea of what form such a device might take, send it to me and I’ll post it below the fold.