Apple Inc is set to announce a new tablet device later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, as anticipation builds about what could be the company's biggest product launch since the iPhone.

Apple plans to ship a multimedia tablet with a 10- to 11-inch touchscreen in March, the report said, citing people briefed by the company. Although analysts and media reports have been speculating for months that Apple planned to unveil a tablet in the first half of 2010, Apple has never confirmed it was working on such a device. The Wall Street Journal-affiliated blog All Things Digital reported earlier Monday, citing unnamed sources, that Apple is planning to make a major product announcement on Jan. 27 at an event in San Francisco. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Excitement about the tablet in recent weeks has helped propel Apple's shares to record levels, analysts say. The company's stock rose 1.6 percent and finished at $214.01 on Monday, a new closing high. Analysts expect the tablet to be priced at between $500 and $1,000.

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