Ever entertaining—if unreliable—DigiTimes has not one, but two big tablet rumors today. The mythical device (subscription required) has been delayed from early 2010 to the second half of next year, and there will an OLED model. Seriously.
According to anonymous sources inside that the electronics supply chain, Apple changed the launch from March—as opposed to January—to “switch some components” and to add a model with a 9.7″ OLED screen. The OLED model will be manufactured with a display from LG Electronics, as part of a $500 million dollar contract with Apple. That model would be in addition to an LCD tablet with a 10.6″ display.
If making two tablets with different size screens seems a curious decision, the price of the OLED tablet is extreme. According to DigiTimes, a 9.7″ OLED display would cost about $500, and display price is typically a third of total cost, so $1,500 would be the price to manufacture the tablet. Even accounting for cost reductions by next year, the retail price could be as high as $2,000.
That’s probably about right (the price, not the rumor). The Sony XEL-1 TV has an 11″ OLED screen and retails for $2,500, but can be found for as “little” as $1,800. However, even with a subsidy from a wireless provider, there is no way Apple is going to recreate the Cube failure in two-dimensions by selling a tablet in the range of $2,000. Look for an LCD tablet for around $800 early next year.