The Xbox 720 is one of the most highly anticipated consumer electronics of the year, and now that Sony has unveiled some of the features of its next-generation gaming system, the PS4, fans of the Xbox are more eager than ever to discover information about the Xbox 720 release date and specifications. Thankfully, it won't be long before Microsoft finally takes a the wraps off of its next-generation gaming console. The Xbox 720 release date is reportedly going to occur in April.

Microsoft is anticipated to unveil the Xbox 720 in a one-off media event that the company specially creates just for the console. The Xbox 720 is expected to take place at the beginning of April. Originally, most experts predicted that Microsoft would release the Xbox 720 at E3, one of the largest electronics conventions of the year. Now that Sony has opted to preview the PS4 at its own special media event, it seems that Microsoft is under additional pressure to create some buzz.

The Xbox 720 release date was most recently reported by Computer and Video Games who spoke with National Alliances Securities analyst Mike Hickey. Hickey said that there was ample reason to believe that Microsoft would begin revealing details behind its next-generation gaming system as soon as April. There's a strong chance that the Xbox 720 will be unveiled around the same time as the Game Developers Conference, which takes place at the end of March.

Computers and Video Games says that it talked to one PS4 official who said that Microsoft was caught off-guard by the PS4 media event, and that it planned to retaliate as soon as possible. "It is said that Microsoft will now showcase its console at a one-off media event in early April - though it is expected that discussion about future tech would be inevitability if Microsoft engineers and developers attend GDC in March," reports the blog.

To add to the surmounting evidence that the Xbox 720 release date is coming soon, one former Microsoft executive reportedly started to spill the beans about the new system's specifications. The Christian Post reports that Microsoft executive Joachim Kempin said the Xbox 720 will incorporate a touchscreen and will have a user interface that strongly resembles the look of Windows 8. For all we know, the Xbox 720 could run on some variant of Windows 8 in the same way that the Xbox 360 integrated with other windows products through Windows Media Center.

Kempin reportedly said that "on the [console] itself there is no profit" for Microsoft, and that the company is hoping to collect royalties and other revenue from game developers and profits from its own games such as Halo. Kempin, like other critics, said that Microsoft needs to bridge the gap between PC environments and the user experience of the Xbox. As the competition for media centers increase, Microsoft will be best off if its able to create an environment that's consistent across all devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. That, of course, is the ultimate goal of Windows 8, but it's still unclear exactly how Windows 8 will be tied into the Xbox 720.

In addition to high hopes for the user interface, the Xbox 720 is expected to be packed with some of the best technology on the planet. The Xbox 720 specs rumors vary to a tremendous degree depending on where you're getting the information from. Most experts seem to agree that the Microsoft Kinect will automatically be integrated into the system rather than being sold as an additional accessory. Furthermore, most experts believe that the Microsoft Kinect technology will be increased tremendously. The attachment will operate on USB 3.0 rather than USB 2.0, which will enable it to send more information at a much higher rate. In essence, the information increase will impact the level of clarity and detail that the Kinect able to scan rooms with.

The Xbox 720 specs reportedly include 8GB of DDR3 RAM, whereas the Sony PS4 will have 8GB of DDR5 RAM. Although both systems will have 8GB, the Xbox 720 will be equipped with much better memory. "They're also using a new combined GPU and CPU shared architecture with supercharged speeds, and the GPU that can topple 2 teraflops. What's more is that the PlayStation 4 is running an x86 CPU system based on PC architecture with eight-cores, meaning that the PS4 is also an octa-core console," reports Cinablend.com.

Regardless of the Xbox 720 specs, there's a strong chance that the Xbox 720 and the PS4 will be comparable when it comes to raw statistics. Both are likely to use state-of-the-art processors and have motherboards packing 8GB or RAM, which is plenty for any modern era game. There's also a strong chance that the Xbox 720 and the PS3 will emphasize internet- related capabilities such as streaming videos and using social media. It's unclear whether the Xbox 720 will include anything like the "share" button the PS4 or the sharing features that are included on the Nintendo Wii, but if history is any indication, Microsoft will not be left in the dust while the other console-makers embrace a technology. It's fair to say that Xbox 720 users should expect several elements that involve the internet and sharing information on social media.

To add to the Xbox 720 release date rumors, Microsoft partner Ustechs, which has worked with the company on previous media events and press announcements, has reportedly registered the domain XboxEvent.com. With that in mind, it's safe to say that the Xbox 720 release date will either occur at E3, which takes place June 11-13, or, it will take place at a Microsoft-created special media event in early April. Either way, fans won't have to wait long before the Xbox 720 release date officially appears.