Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
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DECEMBER 9, 2009 9:48AM

Waiting on the Apple Tablet: March 2010 Launch in the Works?

Rate: 17 Flag

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One suggested image of how an Apple tablet could look.  Oppenheimer is telling investors this morning the product is ramping up for a March 2010 launch.  (credit: Adam Benton)

 

As rumors surrounding the much anticipated Apple tablet swirl in the merriment of the holiday season, one analyst is telling investors that Apple's entry into the e-reader field will come as early as March 2010.

Yair Reiner, senior analyst of Oppenheimer for Applied Technology, told investors this morning that Apple (AAPL) could start production of the 10.1 inch LCD screen tablet as early as February 2010, with a target launch of March or April.  He cites "checks into Apple's supply chain" as credible sources for the target date.

Reiner also told investors that Apple is "approaching book publishers in the U.S. with a very attractive proposal for distributing their content," which apparently is a 30/70 revenue split on non-exclusive content (Apple/publisher), instead of the typical 50/50 split of many e-readers, including Amazon's Kindle.  He is anticipating a potential ramp-up to sell 1-1.5 million units per quarter at a selling price of around $1000.  

As Reiner tells investors,  "We have not adjusted our model to show the impact of the tablet, but we believe it will be substantial. Conservatively assuming . . .a corporate average net income margin of 22%, the tablet could contribute $0.25-$0.38 of incremental EPS per quarter."

 

This morning's note from Oppenheimer:   Oppenheimer Equity Research Company Update: Apple Inc. Tablet Tidbits 

 

 On the Web:

 What Will The Apple Tablet Look Like? (Business Insider)

Major Publishers Join Forces In Anticipation of Apple's Tablet? (Nillabyte)

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It looks intriguing, but somehow I can't imagine investing in such a thing. I gave the "Palm Pilot" a miss some years back and haven't regretted it for a minute. Now I'm just glad I didn't plunk a couple hundred dollars on a "Kindle," a device that is clearly riding a fast train to the local technology museum. But keep us up to date on this - I'd like to hear what it can do and how well it works.
I wish that more attention would be put into the keyboard. The old IBM ThinkPad keyboards used to be wonderful. Thanks for posting this, Kathy!
Looks pretty cool but I'm still hooked on my old-fashioned books.
Interesting. I have a love/hate relationship with new technology.
Wait a year... the price will probably drop to 399.
The future of publishing? How does one curl up with a Kindle—an Apple Tablet? ~R~
The Apple tablet will be introduced right after their netbook. I love the way these analysts get into specfics about something which is no more than a rumor and wishful thinking.

BTW, tablet computers have been around for some time. Various manufacturers introduce new models from time to time, but no one seems enthusiastic enough to buy them in large numbers.
Don't even get me started on this. I just spent yesterday evening all crazy eyed with predictions for how the Apple Tablet is going to CHANGE THE WORLD. After it's completely rejuvenated the magazine, newspaper, and publishing, it will bring about world peace and make an app for transcendent experiences with The Universe.

That's how much I love my Ipod Touch. Because, yes, you can curl up in bed with it. And that's going to change everything.
Peter, there seems to be something more to the note from Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer this morning than the usual rumors flitting around, and it's getting notice appropriately.

Juliet, Apple has the advantage in having built up a loyal following of iPhone and iPod Touch users when plunging into the deep end of the e-reader pool. Not only will consumer loyalty play an advantage, publishers will love the better split. Warning, there's likely e-reader wars ahead, and lots of turbulence.
This was posted to Salon's tech page a half-hour after my article above: Rumor Has It: Apple Tablet Due in March or April, Says Analyst

Happily noting Open Salon had it first, ahead of Salon or the LA Times.
An ereader for $1000? Surely that's meant to be a computing tablet as well because as a simple reader, that's an unrealistic price, especially in this economy, for a mere ereader.

Tablet PCs are great - better than regular laptops. I had a Toshiba Portege for years that I absolutely loved. The only reason I gave it up is because at 5 years old, it was becoming harder to upgrade (damn technology). It's been 6 months now and I miss it sorely.
I expect it's meant to be a cross between a MacBook and an iPhone, marcella, with e-reader thrown into the mix. The price point is likely to compete with their entry-level MacBook.

Keep in mind the first iPhones were $599 (I know, because I bought one at that price the first week), and now can be had for an entry price of $99.

No one expects it to be a straight e-reader.
It is so overwhelming keeping up. But I must admit I love the Apple branding. rated. ~
"Estimated retail price for the Apple tablet is around $1,000, according to Reiner."

That's from the story you linked.

That price estimate is ludicrous, and just shows how useless these "expert" predictions are. Apple currently sells their MacBook laptop for $999. If they price a tablet computer at the same price, they only cannibalize their own sales. Furthermore, the tablet computer will contain more sophisticated technology than a MacBook, so it will cost significantly more.

Dream on.
Just reporting, Peter. Other credible sources are reporting the same.

Apple has the iPhone and iPod Touch at relatively similar pricepoints, yet one delivers significantly more than the other.
As I type this on my MacBook, I am thinking about my beige Mac with the tiny screen that sits in my basement. That thing must be nearly 25 years old. It cost me $3,500 and I had to take out a loan to buy it. I wonder if MacPaint and MacDraw still work.

As a lifelong Mac fan, I'm excited to see what Apple does with its reader.
Kathy, thanks for the post on this preview of the Apple Tablet. I'll be interested to see what Apple announces next year and if the pricing is any different than the projected $1,000 price.
I'm a paper person too. I know it kills trees, but trees are overrated.
R
I think there is no question that Apple has to get into the reader business, and they are a natural to do it better than Amazon Kindle or Sony ever could.

It would also make sense to offer two models a la iPhone and iPod Touch.

For people who already own a pretty current notebook computer, a iReader at a price point around $299-$399 with perhaps some netbook abilities makes sense. Plus iTune downloads, including video. It will be a great platform to watch movies and TV.

For those in the market for the latest Mac notebook, an iTablet with full-boogey computer capabilities plus the iReader built in.

Either way, I think Apple is going to blow Kindle and Sony readers totally out of the water.

You'll have push from the publishers to get the 70% cut. And pull from consumers to get much better hardware.
A grand to read on a computer screen? I don't get it.
i'm hopeful. this potentially could be wonderful.

i hope it does merge a lot of devices. i'm in the camp that thinks stand-alone ereaders will come and go quickly.

apple has been good at figuring out what the public wants. if they combine a great netbook and ereader and tack on music and movies, too, i want one.

although $1,000 seems two to three times what they should be, which is standard for apple. that's the trouble with apple: they make wonderful gadgets, but i can rarely afford them.

(i got my netbook this year for $350. i would pay more for the potentially better design and the ebook that's easy on my eyes and more portable. but three times as much?)

i did spring for the iphone, though, and adore it.
This is a great looking product. If it has the whole nine yards of I/O -- it will be a category killer.

Apple is the best at user interface and this could be compelling.
I just can't figure out what I personally would actually DO with something like that. I have a Macbook and an iPhone. I could see how a tablet computer could be useful for someone checking inventory in a warehouse, or something like that. But for personal use?

Speaking of book readers, I have the (free) Kindle software on my iPhone. In fact, the first book I read on my iPhone was Dave Cullen's "Columbine." I thought it was a great experience. Great book, easy to read on the phone's screen, great software. What's not to like? After that I couldn't imagine paying for a dedicated ebook reader.
@Maria Stuart - MacPaint and MacDraw both still work. Ask Bob Eckstein.

@The rest of you: I can only quote a tweet from Jason Snell, editor of Macworld, from today: Horrors! Imaginary product now has imaginary high price! That's an imaginary mistake that'll hurt imaginary sales. #appletablet #unicorns
Here's this morning's note from Oppenheimer, for those who haven't seen it: Oppenheimer Equity Research Company Update: Apple Inc./Tablet Tidbits
This could be verrrry interesting . . .
I was reading an NYT article the other day (can't locate it now) about ebooks for schools and new technology that has two screens and opens like a book does. One side has text and the other can have text or a graphic included. The user determines layout with a touch screen and can jump around the two pages. Good readers often approach reading holistically, not linearly. Many do not realize they are doing that (hard wiring) until they are forced to read linearly. It will be interesting to see if this Apple product addresses that, or is just more of the same.
I'm always about five years behind in technology, still on XP and happy about it. Really want the typewriter to come back and slow us ALL down. R. B
The tablet is intriguing, though I'm not sure it'll be a true Kindle-killer, as people seem to think. The #1 appeal of an e-book reader is that it can go for literally days without having to be recharged. On top of that, it's got a decent price point at $249 (that I expect to eventually drop, as the market gets more competitive). I love my iPhone, don't get me wrong, but the battery life is incredibly poor when trying to use it for anything other than standby phone service.

I'm about to embark on my annual trip to Hawaii to see my family, and that trip is going to take approximately 15 hours of traveling (between flight time and layovers, etc). The Apple tablet simply won't work that entire stretch of time, and knowing Apple, they'll probably make it impossible for you to buy extra batteries for it (like the current Touch and iPhone). That's a deal breaker for a long distance traveler like myself.

Nonetheless, as a replacement for my netbook for casual around-the-house browsing and whatnot, the Tablet is verrrry appealing.
I think some overlook what will be a major appeal of any Apple tablet--the ability for older people to see the screen. There are many iPhone users now squinting at the screen who would welcome a larger version.
I agree that the larger screen would be great for older people with bad eyesight, Kathy. But don't discount younger people like me who use their iPhone for gaming right now. I'd kill to have 10 inches of screen real estate to play games on. That would really open up the system to even more exciting games.
Exactly, mad_typist. I don't see Apple cannibalizing their own sales, but expanding their market.