May 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm
There have been many rumours regarding what a rumoured Apple netbook / tablet / Media Pad will look like. Now an analyst at Piper Jaffray’s has thrown his views into the mix. According to Gene Munster, Apple’s tablet device will fill the gap between the iPod touch and the MacBook. It will cost between $500 and $700, run App Store apps and arrive in the first half of 2010.
“We are anticipating a new category of Apple products, with an operating system more robust than the iPhone’s but optimized for multi-touch. We expect the end result to be launched later but with more dramatic differentiation than the Street is expecting,” Munster said.
He makes a good case on why it will be a touchscreen tablet. For one Apple has consistently said that refuses to launch a “cheap” portable netbook. The company has also gradually added multi-touch technology to all of its core products (iPhones, iPods and Macs). He expects that it will be driven by a proprietary microprocessor designed in-house by engineers Apple adopted in the acquisition of P.A. Semi and others it’s known to have hired in recent months.
The delay into 2010 is largely due to the operating system. “Its complexity, along with our conversations with a key company in the mobile space, leads us to believe [the new device] will not launch until calendar year 2010,” he said.
Munster’s contacts in the component supply chain have not seen a prototype of the device but say there are ongoing discussions between the company and its suppliers about the parts that will eventually be required to build the product. Now whether he has the inside track at Apple or is just speculating we don’t know. He doesn’t talk about whether it will come with a virtual or real keyboard.
“Another important possibility for the tablet that we expect Apple to launch in 2010 is that of wireless carrier subsidies.” Apple has become all too familiar and rather comfortable with subsidy pricing on its iPhone 3G, and Munster believes the company may take a similar approach to sales of the tablet.
Here’s a look at Munster’s argument as to why Apple won’t launch a netbook and why a tablet is the front-runner: