What is it?
The new Apple product has been kept hush-hush as far as specific information to the media. However, the January 5, 2010 edition of The Wall Street Journal reported that the product is anticipated to be a tablet-style multimedia device that allows users to watch movies, listen to music and watch television. It also will take advantage of the growing e-reader market, the popularity of which is currently being enjoyed by Sony and Amazon.com with their Kindle. The public will have to wait until Apple introduces the product to know all of its capabilities. Many industry experts hope that it will have additional features, such as a camera, easy Internet access and video conferencing capability, and not simply be a cross between an iPod and e-reader.
Competing directly with Sony and Amazon.com, the Apple device is expected to shake up the market with the Tablet being the first e-reader available in full color. Other e-readers have impressive graphics, but only work in shades of grey. A color Kindle is under production but a production date has not been released.
While the new Tablet offers the features of multiple devices in one product, the price may be prohibitive for many people, reported to be close to $1,000. The Apple MacBook computer series start at $999. The ten to eleven inch screen of the new Tablet puts it at close to the same screen size as a MacBook. Given the choice between a fully capable computer or an e-reader/media gadget for nearly the same price, the pricing of the new device could be its undoing. As CNET reports that while Apple is not known for inexpensive products, over-pricing this one might be a sizeable mistake.
According to PC World, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have been in collaboration on a tablet device of their own. Microsoft plans to present their new product to the market before Apple's launch, although a date has yet to be disclosed. Beating Apple to the punch in this market could be a matter of pride for Microsoft, which has been working on developing this product for nearly a decade.
Both devices will feature multi-touch screen functionality, but the Microsoft product will have two screens connected by a hinge. Both of the tablets should launch sometime in the spring of 2010. Time will tell which the public embraces.
CNN.com: Fantasy features of an Apple tablet
YahooNews/PC World: Microsoft Tablet to Beat Apple to the Punch?