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Apple soon offering world iSlate, streaming iTunes library

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Apple, the company behind, well, everything these days, is reportedly gearing up for the release of its two latest game-changers… and thus, more irritating commercials!

According to NME, the “tablet computer” the company is said to have been developing may be unleashed on the world next week. The computer, expected to be known as the iSlate or the iPad, is rumored to be unveiled at Apple’s San Francisco press conference, which takes place Wednesday, January 26th. The reason all this is merely rumor is Apple has been incredibly ambiguous about anything to do with the computer, which doesn’t officially exist yet. Invitations to next week’s conference simply request that one “come see our latest creation.”

According to industry analyst Shaw Wu, quoted in The Times Online, the device will be “somewhat of a ‘super’ iPod Touch, where video, gaming, web browsing, e-books and the ability to run multiple apps would be enhanced with the much larger screen.” The product could start another technology war just as other companies are beginning to attempt with the iPhone, largely peerless since its release in 2007. Microsoft showed off its own tablet PC at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas two weeks ago. So, expect to be salivating this year not over the newest laptop or smart phone, but a healthy compromise between the two.

In other Apple news, the company is reported to have met with the big four record labels to discuss a new free streaming music service (via The Daily Swarm). Supposedly a feature of this service, potentially dubbed iCloud, will be the ability to (finally) access one’s iTunes library via the Internet. This would also allow people to backup their files on Apple’s server for free. Free, as in, no more clunky external hard drives needed to protect those 60 gigs of obscure ambient techno mp3’s.

You might remember Apple’s December purchase of LaLa, the site that offers free one-time streams of songs, while users can pay for the ability to either own online copies or digital downloads. Perhaps this purchase was a very expensive research project.

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