Apple Inc. plans to unveil a long-awaited tablet computer this month which may begin to ship in March, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Citing "people briefed by the company," the newspaper said the color screen tablet is expected to be a multimedia device that will let people watch movies and television shows, play games, surf the Web and read electronic books and newspapers.
The Journal said the device, which has been the subject of speculation for years, will come with a 10- to 11-inch (25.4- to 27.9-centimeter) touchscreen.
The newspaper said the tablet would be unveiled later this month but did not say exactly when.
All Things Digital, however, a technology blog owned by Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal, said Apple had rented a San Francisco venue for January 27 to hold a media event and announce a "major new product."
Britain's Financial Times also reported last month that Apple had rented the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, a space Apple has used in the past, but for January 26 not January 27.
Apple, the Cupertino, California, company behind the Macintosh computer, iPhone and iPod, routinely refuses to comment on products ahead of their release.
The Journal said Apple does not plan on shipping the tablet until March although "the shipping time hasn't been finalized and could change."
The newspaper quoted analysts as saying they believed an Apple tablet would be priced at around 1,000 dollars.
Apple is notoriously secretive about product launches and has declined to address the rumors concerning an "iSlate," "iPad" or "iTablet," which analysts have said may resemble an oversized iPod Touch or a low-cost netbook computer.
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