Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) will likely officially unveil its long-rumored tablet PC this month and start shipping it in March, according to a story Monday in The Wall Street Journal.
Citing unnamed sources who were briefed by Apple, the report said that the still-to-be-completed device will have a 10-inch to 11-inch touchscreen display, and that it is currently being developed with two different material finishes, although it is unclear if that means there will be multiple versions or if the different finishes are just for testing.
Apple since at least May of last year has been rumored to be entering the tablet PC market.
Tablet PCs have been around for a decade, and the market already has a number of vendors, including Asus, Dell (NSDQ:Dell), Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Lenovo, Motion Computing, TabletKiosk and Toshiba.
However, the tablet PC market has been hampered by a lack of applications that take advantage of the touchscreen displays and stylus devices that most models include. Most of the tablet PCs on the market are aimed at business users, while Apple’s customer base is more consumer-focused.
The Wall Street Journal expects Apple’s tablet PC to be aimed at letting users watch movies and TV shows, surf the Web, play games, and read electronic books and newspapers. One possible application, according to the report, would be electronic versions of textbooks and newspapers with a touch interface and the ability to integrate up-to-the-minute information from multiple sources.
The report also said that the Apple tablet would likely connect to Wi-Fi wireless services, but not to a 3G cellular network because of bandwidth issues.