An analyst for investment company Piper Jaffray wrote in a note to clients that Apple plans to release a low-cost tablet personal computer in 2010. The information was then confirmed by sources “familiar with Apple’s products plans”.
“We expect Apple to fill the gap between the iPod touch and the MacBook with a new tablet device (not a netbook) priced at about $500-$700. Apple will likely leverage its multi-touch patents to differentiate its product from the typical netbook,” analyst Gene Munster for Piper Jaffray wrote in a note to customers of the company.
Although the preliminary data regarding Apple’s products is rarely correct, it is still logical for the company to release a device that fills the gap between iPod touch/iPhone and Macbook. The question is, what is the difference between tablet personal computer and a netbook with touch-screen?
Many netbooks will gain touch-screens later this year when Microsoft Windows 7 operating system hits the market, therefore, all of them can be considered “tablet PCs”. A number of such netbooks will also be based on Intel Corp.’s Pine Trail platform that features more advanced Intel Atom code-named Pineview processors, hardware-accelerated high-definition video playback and other advantages compared to the current netbooks.
Keeping in mind that Apple still has not released a netbook based on the first-generation Intel Atom platform, the company is unlikely to do it in the near future since competing Windows 7- and Intel Pine Trail-based machines will quickly offer better performance and functionality.
In order to differentiate its inexpensive tablet PCs from competing offerings, Apple plans to bet on its Mac OS X with improved touch-sensitive functionality.
“Apple will likely leverage its multi-touch patents to differentiate its product from the typical netbook. We are anticipating a new category of Apple products with an operating system more robust than the iPhone’s but optimized for multi-touch, unlike Mac OS X. The device’s OS could bear a close resemblance to Apple’s mobile OS and run App Store apps, or it could be a modified version of Mac OS X,” the report reads.
Apple’s inexpensive tablet PC is projected to become available in calendar 2010.
Apple did not comment on the news-story.