AllThingsD: Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner has no real connection to Apple but is sure that Apple will release a 10.1-inch multitouch tablet in March or April of 2010. The price? $1000. Yair is most concerned about how Apple’s tablet will impact the publishing industry as well as distributors and platforms like Amazon and its Kindle. Apple’s goal is to bring books, magazines and newspapers into the digital world as it has done with music, TV shows and movies. According to Yair, Apple is proposing a 70/30 split in revenues just like it does with content on iTunes and the App Store.
$1000 sounds quite expensive for a tablet. The recently announced JooJoo is $500. There are 10-inch netbooks that cost much less. So why would Apple’s tablet cost so much more? It isn’t rocket science to note that Apple exacts a premium for its products. And there is a good reason, actually many good reasons.
Apple works overtime putting together hardware, operating system and software applications to make sure that the experience of using its gadgets is as sublime as possible. Take for instance the iPhone. I know you’ve been bombarded by iPhone analysis paralysis but I’ll make a quick point about Apple’s way when it comes to completely new devices for the company. Apple didn’t slap on OS X into a smartphone but instead redid the entire GUI to provide a smartphone experience not an OS X experience. Just note the size of the physical button and the app icons: they are about the size of your finger, pressed unto an object. That last part is important because Apple designed the iPhone so we’d be using our fingers and pressing them against the screen.
This fusion of hardware, OS, software takes time but more importantly talent, which isn’t cheap at all. These geniuses on the Apple campus are making use of their intelligence, creativity, diligence to bring about something incredible and that’s in part what we are paying for when we purchase a masterpiece from Apple.
High-quality high-tech materials are expensive too. I personally don’t like plastic much. I’d rather my computer be made of steel, aluminum, magnesium or some combination thereof. I don’t expect Apple’s tablet to be made of plastic although there might be a ‘mini’ or ‘nano’ version that makes use of plastic in white. But the lower-end white plastic version would also be a few hundred dollars cheaper than the aluminum-magnesium-alloy version.
The perfect display will be paramount in ensuring success for the tablet by Apple. I would like to see a capacitive multitouch active matrix OLED (AMOLED) display with a ton of pixels, at least 1920×1080, but more would be better. And no, I don’t think fonts will be too small since the revamped OS X tablet version will make use of the high pixels per inch (PPI) and make the fonts look as smooth as the real thing. The entire eco-system surrounding the Apple tablet will make use of the high-PPIA rendering system including books, magazines, newspapers, documents, manuals, product catalogs, etc. An extremely high-resolution 10-inch AMOLED display with capacitive touch will certainly be unique in design and function and will certainly require a huge upfront investment by Apple that will add to the premium price.
3G is an absolute must but unlike the iPhone of today the tablet will have a Gobi chipset that allows it to use both GSM and CDMA networks. This will allow Apple to get the upper hand and negotiate with all cellular carriers in the US and around the world. Of course there will be added cost to this solution but in the near term cost reductions will become realized since Apple will volume manufacture a single SKU for the entire world. Ah, there might be one exception: China. Other connectivity options probably include WiFi N and Bluetooth.
Even though $1000 sounds expensive I will believe every penny was well spent when (and if) I get my hands on an Apple tablet.