January 27: Will Apple's Tablet Dazzle or Disappoint?

What exactly will show up at the Apple event on January 27? Will the tablet/iSlate/iPad? Almost certainly. Will we get a new iPhone? Maybe. Will there be other stuff announced too? Probably.

It's almost impossible for Apple to deliver a tablet device that lives up to the intense hype that has been more than a year in the making. But at the end of the month in San Francisco the heavily anticipated tablet computer, eReader and media player will likely be revealed. Will it dazzle everyone and usher in a new era of mobile Internet devices that sit between smartphones and netbooks/laptops? Or will it disappoint by offering features too common among all the tablets and slate devices emerging in the market? 

What about the price?

The "sweet spot" for the device is more than the $399 64G iPod Touch, but less than the $999 macbook laptop. That would put it between $600 and $700 dollars. There might be a lower-end and higher-end device to create an entry level price point around $500. 

Whatever turns up there will be lust for the device among Apple's core fans. However, pricing will determine how mainstream it becomes. Recall that the iPhone didn't take off until the AT&T subsidy brought it down to under $200. Speaking of which, what of connectivity and carrier subsidies? Might we see the same thing: a low price point on the hardware with a two-year contract (e.g., on Verizon)? 

We'll see . . . Regardless, the waiting will finally be at an end.