Apple on track to launch tablet device next year, analysts say

Dec 09, 2009 By Rex Crum

Apple Inc. is on track to launch a much-anticipated, tablet-sized computing device early next year, according to brokerage reports Wednesday.

The end-of-the year business period has become known as the "iPod quarter" for Apple, due to the historically strong sales of the company's digital-media players -- often exceeding 20 million units sold during the .

But with sales of iPods showing signs of leveling off, Apple is believed to be working on a new, tablet-style device that incorporates some of the touch-screen features of the and will help the company continue with its multiyear streak of hit products.

Analysts who follow Apple say that there is evidence that Apple could launch its anticipated tablet Mac as early as next spring.

The move could be fortuitous for Apple, as a spring launch would come around the time of the company's slower business periods and ahead of any new advances in the , revamps of which have been released during the summer.

Apple shares climbed $7.93, or more than 4 percent, to close at $197.80 Wednesday. The stock has more than doubled so far this year.

Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner wrote in a research note Wednesday that checks with computer supply-chain manufacturers suggest that Apple "will begin ramping production in earnest in February, implying that the tablet could launch in late March or April," as long as there aren't any delays in the production process.

Reiner believes that the tablet Mac will be similar in size to many so-called netbook PCs, with a display that measures about 10 inches diagonally. The analyst also said that to stoke demand for the new device, Apple is holding discussions with about distributing their titles on a new e-book platform.

In a separate note, Vijay Rakesh of ThinkEquity said his checks with manufacturers indicate Apple is on track to ship between 1 million and 3 million tablets during the March quarter. Rakesh estimates that the initial tablet will come with as much as 64 gigabytes of storage.

One company potentially threatened by an Apple tablet is Amazon.com Inc., which is enjoying strong sales of its Kindle e-reader.

While a tablet device would likely have more functions than simply reading, Apple is reportedly in talks with book publishers regarding the new device. Oppenheimer's Reiner said the company has been "actively reaching out to book publishers with a very attractive proposal for distributing their books on a forthcoming e-book platform," which he presumes would be the tablet.

will likely split revenue on a 30 percent to 70 percent basis between the company and publishers, according to the analyst, and not request exclusivity on titles carried through any possible e-book store.

Amazon shares gave up $2.80 to close at $131.31.
___

(c) 2009, MarketWatch.com Inc.
Visit MarketWatch on the Web at www.marketwatch.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Five features an Amazon phone might offer (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apple to unveil tablet computer: reports

Jul 27, 2009

What's next from Apple? According to various reports, the California-based company plans to come out later this year with a portable tablet-sized computer that can surf the Web and may also serve as an electronic book reader.

Is Apple gearing up for the iPhone nano?

Jan 02, 2009

Apple Inc. may be gearing up to introduce cheaper iPhone and MacBook models in 2009, possibly including a device dubbed the iPhone nano, an analyst said Wednesday.

Apple lets iPhone apps get down to business

Oct 17, 2009

Apple said Friday that it is allowing businesses to sell content or services through applications given away for free at the iPhone maker's online App Store.

Investors lap up Apple's 47 percent profit jump

Oct 19, 2009

(AP) -- Wall Street knew Apple Inc.'s results for the most recent quarter would blow past the company's guidance, but investors clearly weren't prepared for the 47 percent jump in profit that Apple delivered.

Recommended for you

Five features an Amazon phone might offer (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

A report this week in The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning to release a smartphone has prompted industry analysts and technology blogs to muse about what the device might offer.

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Apr 17, 2014

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...