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Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Due in March or April, Says Analyst

Source: Piper Jaffray

Apple (s aapl) is all set to begin production of a 10.1-inch LCD tablet starting in February 2010, according to a recent analyst note by Oppenheimer’s Yair Reiner. Following that, the device should then go on sale in March or April, Reiner says, with an initial production run of around 1 million units.

Reiner isn’t working off of leaked or inside information, but his predictions are based on industry supply checks, which means he’s making an educated guest based upon Apple’s activity with its overseas suppliers of late. That’s not the only source of rumor fodder, either.

As reported by AppleInsider, Reiner notes that additional support for the upcoming tablet comes from contacts involved in the U.S. publishing industry:

Contacts in the U.S. tell us Apple is approaching book publishers with a very attractive proposal for distributing their content. Apple will split revenue 30/70 (Apple/publisher); give the same deal to all comers; and not request exclusivity. We believe the typical Kindle split is 50/50, rising to 30/70 if Kindle is given e-book exclusivity.

The deal would then be more attractive than Amazon’s (s amzn), if the estimates about Kindle revenue-splitting are correct, and Apple wouldn’t insist on release exclusivity in order to provide the 30/70 split. If Apple curries the favor of the publishing industry, and offers a more versatile reading platform, the e-book market could be in for the fight of its life come March or April.

Note that Reiner doesn’t see an OLED panel going into the production tablet, as has been predicted elsewhere. Instead, he says the device will use the same kind of LTPS LCD multi-touch display found on the iPhone, only this one will be 10.1 inches. Estimated retail price for the Apple tablet is around $1,000, according to Reiner.

Compare that with the recently unveiled JooJoo tablet (neé CrunchPad). Fusion Garage is offering its device for $500, and you get a good quality 12.1-inch touchscreen display capable of handling HD video. It would seem to undercut Apple significantly, except when you consider that the Apple tablet will likely be much more than just a web-browsing device.

If the Apple tablet resembles a computer more than a glorified, oversized media player, I think a price tag around $1,000 is fully justified. If I got decent on-device storage, a great on-screen keyboard, and lots of productivity apps, as well as wireless connectivity and e-reader type features, I’d be happy to pay more than I would for a bare-bones net tablet. I think OS choice will be key to this device’s success, but Reiner makes no mention of whether it’ll be designed to run iPhone OS or full-blown OS X.

23 Responses to “Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Due in March or April, Says Analyst”

  1. billtech66

    I SURE HOPE it will NOT be a 10.1 or 12″ screen!

    I don’t know about the rest of the world; but I want a POCKET size (maximum of a 6″ screen) computer like an iphone, but more powerful than an iphone, large enough, but not too large to HOLD IN ONE HAND, and fit in a large pocket, no DVD needed.

    • billtech66

      we DON’T need another clumsy awkward to use laptop!!!!

      We need something BETWEEN a tiny little phone, and the huge difference in size that a laptop (even the netbooks!) is!

      Lap top? it is not easy to use: have to be SITTING DOWN to have a lap. :)

      How about standing up in line at the grocery store, and wanting to check online, email, grocery list??

      Can YOU sit down then? :)

  2. I want it to be more like a full computer. I especially want it to work with a stylus so I can take notes in class like people with Tablet PCs do. I basically want it to be as much as possible like a small laptop with a touchscreen instead of a physical keyboard. I keep hoping this will exist and be reasonably affordable before I finish school, but who knows…

  3. I think the tablet will be aimed at someone that doesn’t need a full laptop, but needs something more than an iphone. If this is a full computer then i might just go and buy it. I run a small art and photography company and I need something to show my work on to perspective clients. I will do little to no editting on the road. I like to travel as light as possible, so my other consideration is a MBA.

  4. I have an iMac, 13″ MacBook Pro which is almost tablet size and an iPhone, do I need a tablet as well? I don’t think I’ll be running out to buy a tablet but I can see many people buying one for reading digital mags and books and even surfing while watching TV. I guess syncing all these devices becomes more important. MobileMe will do it, see my blog for an overview.

  5. Wow.

    People who:

    1.) Consistently post irrelevent comments, and
    2.) Respond as if the article was written specifically for them,

    really annoy me.

    Firstly this article is probably the most relevant of all the articles done on the mysterious tablet. It gives hard evidence that isn’t so imaginary after all. Secondly, not needing or wanting a tablet has nothing to do with it’s inherent relevance. Seriously.

  6. drumrobot

    Oh wow, another rumor.
    The predicted dates for the Apple tablet just keep getting later and later… September? Nope. October? Nope. They’ll definitely have it by the end of 2009! Ok, it’s actually going to be released in January 2010–for certain. We’re positive about this. Or possible later in the year, come to think of it.
    The prices and the specs keep changing as well. We’ve gone from a $1,000.00+ tablet to a tablet under $600.00 (remember that?) and back to a $1,000.00 tablet. We also go from an OLED screen to a normal LCD screen or a 10 inch screen or possibly a 9 inch screen.
    These are all wild rumors!
    I could say something ridiculous right now and it would be just as accurate as this.

  7. Once more … there is nothing to compare. No Apple Tablet exists on the market. We can’t compare any tablet to something that we don’t know specs, functionality. size or price about. *sigh* I know y’all need your page hits, but why keep doing this?