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Apple Tablet Geared as Kindle Killer

Updated for stock-price movement

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle in its sights, Apple (AAPL) has finally pulled the trigger on its long-debated Tablet .

Apple has plans to start production of its 10-inch touchscreen e-book, and the first model is due to arrive as early as March, according to Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner, citing information from suppliers. This report confirms earlier rumors that suppliers were gearing up for a February kickoff of the Apple Tablet.

Apple has also been working on terms with publishers that would split the revenue of electronic book sales by a 30/70 ratio, with book companies getting the larger cut, writes Reiner. The terms would be a departure from the even split that Amazon shares with publishers.

The Tablet, or iPad, has captivated the imagination of enthusiasts and sparked debates among gadget fans and investors for more than a year as they eagerly await a new blockbuster device from Apple.

Tablet-sized e-readers are a growing niche among players like Sony (SNE) and Barnes and Noble (BKS). But Apple fans may find a me-too e-book a bit beneath the vaunted standards of a Steve Jobs-driven project.

Apple has been working on the iPad for two years. CEO Jobs has reportedly taken a personal interest in the product, finding early versions unsuitable for release. The product's lengthy road to launch and rumors of a possible partnership with Verizon have raised expectations that Apple may finally have a breakthrough product that could build on the success of the iPhone and the Mac computer line.

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