Another breakthrough device may be coming from Apple

In the wake of the apparent success of Amazon's Kindle comes a rumor that Apple (AAPL) is developing a fourth screen, a device larger than an iPhone and smaller than a Mac, that could serve as a digital reader as well as an entertainment platform. According to BusinessWeek, the "media pad" would give the viewer a larger screen for movies and video, a welcome prospect for anyone who has tried to watch Iron Man on a telephone screen. And I'd enjoy watching the shows I download from iTunes on a more wieldy platform than my laptop.

It would also be equipped with wi-fi for downloads and streaming content, and could also function as a telephone. I'd be very surprised if it didn't also offer some gaming capability and versions of basic computer programs such as a word processor. While the device will not include a real keyboard, the success of the virtual keyboard introduced on the iPhone shows that this is not a serious limitation.