Apple to hold 'tablet' event on January 27

The days of Apple tablet rumour-mongering may soon be coming to an end -- Apple confirmed that it will hold an invitation-only event in San Francisco on Wednesday, January 27 to introduce its 'latest creation.'

The invitation to the January 27 event, sent out to the media Monday, doesn't specify what will be announced. But for those who like to read the company's tea leaves, the emailed invitation could be telling.

The email reads "Come see our latest creation," with the Apple logo super-imposed on a background of paint splotches. Apple's invitations usually include some clue as to what the event will be about -- the invite to last fall's iPod-only event, for example, featured a silhouetted iPod dancer with the words "It's only rock and roll, but we like it."

The fact that this latest invitation doesn't reference any existing products will only fuel the speculation that Apple has something new up its sleeve -- and that something could be the tablet-based computer of myth, legend, and song.

Apple will hold its event at 10 am PT on January 27 in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco.

Tablet rumours have been heating up for some time now, but speculation reached a boiling point last month. An ex-Google executive said that Apple would unveil a tablet in January, and The Financial Times reported that Apple had booked space at the Yerba Buena Center for a product unveiling. (Of course, the Financial Times originally reported that the event would be held January 26 -- one day off, as it turns out.)

Apple's competitors seem to think a tablet is in the works as well. At this month's CES, Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer showed off a prototype of HP's touchscreen tablet PC, a move many CES attendees saw as an effort to steal some of Apple's tablet thunder.

Other possibilities include new MacBooks and MacBook Pros featuring the new Intel Core i5 and i7 processors released by Intel (currently those models use Intel's older Core 2 Duo chips). New Mac Pros are unlikely as Intel's next gen Xeon chips aren't due for three months.

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