Apple expected to host major press conference in January

Apple reportedly has rented out space at a popular San Francisco venue in late January, with bloggers and analysts expecting a major product announcement on the horizon.

There are rumors Apple will release a tablet device sometime in 2010 – As usual, Apple hasn’t confirmed any product developments — with speculation the Jan. event will be when Apple CEO Steve Jobs officially introduces the long-awaited tablet computer.  Apple’s latest product was expected to be released in November, and then before the end of 2009, but those dates didn’t pan out.

To avoid a possible price war with other netbook manufacturers, Apple’s latest mobile device is expected to cost closer to $1,000.  Acer, Asus, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and others have entered the netbook market with products that cost $400 or less, with Apple not looking to compete with so many rivals.  The rumored tablet will have a 10.6-inch display, similar to other netbooks, but hardware specifications and other details about the device are unknown.
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There has been criticism that a tablet around $1,000 is too much for regular consumers, but Apple’s PR machine is one of the strongest in the tech industry.

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“We expect the tablet hardware to be similar to an iPod Touch but larger (about 10″); we expect the key differentiator of the device to be its software,” Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst Gene Munster said in a research note.  “Our connect [sic] said there is 100% [chance] a 73 Apple tablet, to be announced in January.”

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