Apple, the little computer company that could, is conducting a small event this week in San Francisco, the outcome of which may well introduce the world’s next must-have electronicky-gadgety-thingamee-device.

The release of what Apple calls “…its latest creation” will take place at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in the city’s Mascone Centre on 27 January 10am US time (around 5am Australian Eastern Day Light Saving Time). CEO Steve Jobs, or his vice captain, Phil Schiller – you just can’t predict anything from the big fruit with any certainly – will end months of rumours and the tech world will finally put to bed speculation that has gripped anyone with even the most passing interest in consumer technology – the launch of the iSlate, or iPad, or iTablet, or whatever it is.

The fabled device is anticipated to be a computer tablet, a super-sized iPhone-like device with a 25 or 18cm multi-touch screen that allows web browsing, video conferencing and the streaming and downloading of music, video, apps and electronic books over Wi-Fi and 3G networks in a form factor that everyone will love and covet for the home, office or school. Just like they love the iPod and the iPhone.

Apple's fabled tablet
The ‘mythic’ iSlate… or iPad or itablet.

And the cost of such tech goodness? Only the good folk within the marketing department of Apple HQ know, but the printed whispers from most of the respected international tech commentators cite figures of around $US1000, with a release date of April in North America. Like many netbooks today, the device may be sold on mobile phone-like data plans.

Apple’s major announcement regarding it’s “new creation” is likely to be supported by lesser news around updates to its iPhone, iMac and Mac Book Pro range. Maybe some software news too.

Whatever transpires, as part of the select number of world media officially invited by Apple to attend the event the GadgetGuy.com.au team will bring the news direct to you from the San Fran venue on Thursday morning in a special edition newsletter. If you’re not already a Gadget Grapevine member, join now to have the latest news from Mac Central sent straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can just jump onto our home page first thing on Thursday January 28 and watch for updates and video as the future unfolds.