Kindle-killer could hit shelves in March

The next big gadget from the makers of the iPod and iPhone could be available in March.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple plans to unveil its new tablet computer sometime this month. Unnamed sources say the new gadget will have a 10- to 11-inch touch screen, which will make it an iPhone that is definitely too big for your pocket. (The picture to the left is not an actual picture, but Gizmodo’s envisioning.)

The company has released no official information about what has been dubbed the “Kindle-killer.” But speculation around the net says that the device, which may be called iSlate, will be perfect for print media such as magazines, books and newspapers. That would give Amazon’s Kindle a run for the money. Also, we’ve long speculated about the future of newspapers; could we be seeing it here?

The gadget will be well-equipped to handle the new onslaught of Internet entertainment. Not only might it be able to run the more than 100,000 apps available for iPhone, but it could play movies and music as well. More speculation: Designers are planning to make the device capable of turning print publications into interactive experiences. Kindle-killer, indeed: Current versions of that product feature a small, black-and-white screen.

My only gripe about this tablet PC: No keyboard. What self-respecting writer would be satisfied with a writing process that might as well be tapping fingers on a desktop? I love the sound of a keyboard clicking, and I have used that as a criterion for buying keyboards and computers. I’m more impressed with Lenovo’s idea for a netbook-tablet combo.

Whether it will be a really big iPhone, a shiny e-book reader or a keyboard-less netbook remains to be seen. But the release will be big.

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