Gadgets: 10 best bets for tomorrow's Apple launch event

We're just over 36 hours away from the grand unveiling on Wednesday when Apple will show off to the world its "latest creation." Most people are expecting Apple to introduce a tablet computer with a 7- or 10-inch touchscreen. But that's not all. Along with the expected new device, signs point to possible MacBook refreshes, software updates, and more. With that in mind, we've polled colleagues from our Mac and computing sister sites to see what they expect.

The New iSomething

The tech world is convinced that Apple is going to unveil a rumored tablet computer that is believed to be sporting a 10-inch touchscreen, although some pundits are now making late bets on a 7-inch screen. The new device will supposedly be designed to display new forms of magazine and newspaper content, video games, movies and television episodes, and iTunes music with a focus on the iTunes LP.

There is some debate over whether the new device will have a Webcam, and which operating system it will run. Some are still holding out hope the rumored tablet will run the standard version of Mac OS X, but iPhone analytics company Flurry recently said they had detected about 50 non-iPhone devices running iPhone OS 3.2. It's not clear what these devices are, but based on evidence the company says it cannot share, Flurry believes these devices are in fact tablets.

iPriced or LoPriced?

Whatever Apple is unveiling, one of the most pressing questions will be how much does this thing cost? Change Wave Research recently said in a survey recently that nearly one in five Americans were willing to purchase the device, but the numbers could go even higher if the price and terms were right. A survey by another market research firm, Retrevo, found that 70 percent of those surveyed would not be willing to spend $700 or more on the tablet. And 44 percent said they would not purchase the device if it required a mobile data plan.

The problem is most tech watchers are pegging the tablet's cost around $1000. A subsidized device from a mobile carrier would knock the purchase price down to something more manageable, but customers may not be willing to lock themselves into smartphone-style multiyear 3G data contract.

New Forms of Media Consumption

The tablet has long been considered the savior of just about everything including the ailing print magazine and newspaper industry. Supposedly launching alongside the tablet are new electronic forms of magazines and newspapers tailored for this device. But it's unlikely that one mobile device can save an entire industry, especially since tablet devices have never proven to be a popular form factor.

So what will Apple and its content partners do? Will these new types of content also be available to laptops, smartphones, and other devices? Or will expected partners like The New York Times and publisher Harper Collins be coming out with tablet-specific applications to display their content? If that's the plan, what makes these companies so confident that the tablet is a clear winner with consumers?

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