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Another report claims Jan. debut, Mar. sale for Apple tablet


More evidence surfaced this week to suggest that Apple will introduce its touchscreen tablet this month and make it available for sale in March.

The Bloomberg report reiterates what has been rumored for some time: the touchscreen device will offer multimedia functionality, allowing users to surf the Web, play movies and music, and read e-books. It would reportedly compete with both Amazon's Kindle as well as the growing netbook market.

"Apple Inc. (AAPL), seeking to win a larger share of the market for handheld computers, is planning to unveil a tablet computer this month, according to a person familiar with the matter," the report said. "The mobile device is scheduled to go on sale in March, said the person, who declined to be identified because details of the product are private."

Additional details at this point are slim, though there is plenty of speculation. The Bloomberg report corroborates what was stated Monday by The Wall Street Journal: Apple will introduce the tablet this month, and sell it in March.

The Journal also noted that Apple has been experimenting with "two different material finishes" for the hardware, though sources were unable to confirm whether it meant two versions of the tablet were to arrive, or if the Cupertino, Calif., company was just testing options. The device is said to have a screen size between 10 and 11 inches.

Last July, AppleInsider first reported that Apple would introduce its long-rumored multi-touch tablet in early 2010. The 3G-enabled device has been compared to a jumbo iPod touch.

In other tablet news, analyst Brian Marshall with Broadpoint.AmTech said this week that the tablet will support multiple carriers for its 3G connectivity. Among those supported will be the largest wireless provider in the U.S., Verizon. Marshall reportedly said that the option to access Verizon's network was "a certainty."

All of the speculation is expected to end on Jan. 27, when Apple has allegedly scheduled an event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to introduce new hardware. Recent rumors have said a new iPhone 4.0 beta SDK includes a tablet "simulator" that aims to make it easy for developers to adapt to different screen resolutions.

Some exclusive developers allegedly already have access to the new development kit, and have been asked to create "full screen resolution" demos for an event this month. Developers were supposedly asked to make sure their applications could run beyond the 320x480 pixel screen size of the iPhone and iPod touch. Software that can accommodate the larger screen size was said to run "just fine" on the new hardware.