Apple To Ship "Tablet" In March?

The Apple logo is seen on an Apple store in San Francisco Monday, Oct. 19, 2009. Apple Inc. is expected to release fourth-quarter earnings after the closing bell. (AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels)
AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels
It's already the worst-kept secret in Silicon Valley. There's been no shortage of chatter the last several weeks about Apple's plan to debut its much-anticipated tablet computer later this month. Rounding out the story, the Wall Street Journal now says the company will ship the product before the end of March.

Quoting sources who were briefed by Apple, the Journal says that the tablet will come with a 10-to 11-inch touch screen.

"One of the people briefed on the matter added that Apple was working on two different material finishes for the tablet, though it was unclear whether the Cupertino, Calif., company was just testing them or planning to come out with multiple versions of the device at different prices," the paper reported.

While tablet computers have been on the market for several years, the category hasn't taken off. But there is uilding excitement in advance of Apple's announcement and analysts hope that Apple can do for the tablet PC what it did for the smartphone category when the iPhone debuted. The tablet device is expected to list for around $1,000 and function as a touch-screen e-reader and video display with wireless access.
By Charles Cooper