Rumors of the Apple Tablet gain momentum, point to early 2010 release

July 25, 2009

Rumors of the Apple Tablet gain momentum, point to early 2010 releaseRumors are picking up more and more speed that Apple may finally be about to debut its long rumored tablet.

For years there have been rumors Apple would enter the tablet computing market, but when the first speculation hit the Internet years ago, it was assumed it would be a tablet Mac.  After the launch of the iPhone in 2007 that speculation turned to a bigger iPhone.  Well, earlier this year rumors began circulating that Apple was purchasing touchscreens in the 10″ size range and the rumors fired up all over again.

While the rumors of the purchased screens had upped the level of imminent release, AppleInsider sent it into the stratosphere with a report yesterday in which they said the information it had came from “people well-respected by AppleInsider for their striking accuracy in Apple’s internal affairs.”

According to the report, the 10-inch device is indeed like an iPod Touch on steroids and will feature 3G wireless connectivity.  Before you go jumping to the conclusion that this means AT&T will have another “must have” gadget on its hands, AppleInsider is also pointing to sources telling it that Apple is in active talks with Verizon to be the carrier for this new product.  Factoring into the Verizon rumor is the fact that sources are telling TechCrunch that Verizon has moved up its proposed roll out of LTE, also known as 4G, network architecture.  This may or may not be a move to try to woo Apple to its side.

The biggest factor that is still undetermined is going to be the price.  The lowest price Mac Book clocks in at $999, so it is a fairly safe guess the new Apple tablet (for lack of a better name at this time) will clock in below that.  Then there is the low end guess which was indirectly addressed by Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, when asked about lower priced computers during a quarterly sales call that The Wall Street Journal was on:

Our goal is not to build the most computers, its to build the best. Whatever price point we can build the best at, we will play there. At this point, we don’t see a way to build a great product for a $399, $499 price point unit.

True this was not a question specifically about the rumored tablet, but it sure isn’t difficult to extrapolate a possible price point from this.  Most people are guessing $800 at full retail for the tablet, but if it is indeed connected to a wireless carrier, then it would probably receive subsidy pricing bringing it down to the $399 or $499 range.

Of course all of this is speculation at this point, and with a rumored launch date of the ambiguous window of   “early 2010″, we probably won’t know anything for a few more months.  Heavy speculation is that it will be talked about at the annual iPod press event in September, which may also be when ailing Apple CEO Steve Jobs may make his public reappearance.  It would make sense for him to show up with such a major announcement to be made.

None of this is set in stone yet, but the stars sure do seem to be aligning for the Apple tablet to finally make its grand entrance into the marketplace.

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