Apple fans hope new 'tablet' will cure all multimedia ills
SOME have dubbed it the "Jesus tablet". Others say it is the one gadget to rule them all.
The descriptions give a taste of the frenzy of expectations that surrounds the launch of Apple's latest device, a touchscreen "tablet" computer, that will be unveiled tomorrow.
The tablet is expected to be a multipurpose, multimedia device that allows users to watch films, play computer games and surf the web while on the move. Commentators think it could also reshape the way that we read books, newspapers and watch television.
Apple has invited media representatives to an event in San Francisco tomorrow to see "our latest creation".
If rumours are to be believed, the tablet will have a 10-11in (25-28cm) 'multi-touch' screen -- so a user could operate different parts of it at the same time.It is likely to be called either the iSlate or iPad.
In design, it is believed to look like an oversized iPhone, and will come with 3G internet connection, meaning that users will be able to connect to the web wherever they are. The device could be available to buy as early as March.
Just as important as the gadget may be the effect it has on other sectors, such as the media industry and publishing.
The tablet could be revolutionary in the way it displays the written word. Yesterday, reports suggested that Amazon will open its store of electronic books so they can also be read on the tablet.
But some doubt that the device can be a "game-changer" like the iPod and iPhone.
John Gruber, of the influential 'Daring Fireball' blog, wrote: "If you already have an iPhone and a MacBook (laptop), why would you want this?"
He argues that the tablet will still be, at its core, a computer just like any other.
Apple is believed to see itself creating an entirely new market. There have been reports that the tablet could cost about $1,000 (€707), which some analysts say would be a barrier to its success. (© The Times, London)