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Apple Tablet Speculation Continuing to Gain Attention

CNNMoney.com today reports on the continued hype over Apple's much-rumored tablet computer, citing the multitude of different speculative reports of the device's specs to attempt to paint a picture what users can expect when it is finally announced.

If the rumors are true, the tablet will be able to do basically everything a gadget could possibly do. It's an e-reader, a gaming device, and a music player. You can watch TV and movies on it and surf the Internet (or so we've heard). And it will have thousands of third-party apps available for it ... or maybe it will run Mac OS X. That's all still unknown.

The report reiterates a number of rumors that have been circulating in recent months, including a price point ranging from $600 to $1000, multiple models with and without 3G connectivity, and integrated webcam.

Many Apple fans are eagerly anticipating the device, wondering exactly how Apple is aiming to remake the tablet and netbook market segments in much the same way the iPod and iPhone found novel ways to bring new dimensions to the music player and smartphone device categories.

"The Tablet will be awesome, and my guess is that it will be an instant hit for people who loved Kindles and people who want netbooks," said David Wertheimer, executive director of Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.

Wertheimer said he finds it hard to comprehend how the tablet will replace all other on-the-go tech products. "But then again, what I can't imagine, Steve Jobs often can," he added.

Others are not so sanguine about the prospects of an Apple tablet being able to serve as an all-in-one device capable of replacing users' computers, media players, and e-Book readers.

"What we've found in the past with these multi-function devices is that they're better for ad-hoc purposes, like quick and dirty tasks," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group. "They're not for any prolonged, high-performance use."

While Apple remains as tight-lipped as always about its tablet plans, consumers and industry experts alike are left speculating on just what Steve Jobs and Apple have up their collective sleeve. If rumors are to believed, however, Apple may finally be ready to show its hand early next year, and the market will then decide how well the device achieves Apple's goals and measures up to expectations.