The Apple Tablet Is Delayed? So What?

Published on November 19, 2009
by John Paczkowski

Steve-Jobs-Moses-150x150Apple has reportedly decided to postpone the launch of its rumored tablet/slate until the second half of 2010. That’s the latest rumor from the occasionally reliable Digitimes, which claims that the device’s original March 2010 debut target became untenable after some component changes.

The report, should it prove true, will no doubt be a disappointment to overanxious tabletites awaiting the mysterious device’s arrival, but really, that’s immaterial to Apple (AAPL). In the end, a six-month delay is simply six more months of rumor and speculation with which to build the bonfire of publicity that will erupt when (and if) the tablet/slate arrives.

Moreover, the tablet market is a nascent one; it’s not as if Apple is losing market share to its rivals by delaying entry. It’s best, then, for the company to take it’s time and uncrate the tablet/slate when confident that it has everything right. As Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a research note to investors Thursday, “the exact timing is irrelevant given Street models do not currently reflect the tablet, expectations for actual units in 2010 are low, and investors focus is more on whether the tablet is real and less on timing.”

Munster, it’s worth noting, envisions Apple’s tablet/slate as a $500-700 device about three times the size of the iPod touch.

“We expect the tablet hardware to be similar to an iPod touch but larger; we expect the key differentiator of the device to be its software,” Munster writes. “While there are several options ranging from a touch screen Mac OS X to an iPhone-like OS, we expect the tablet to be driven by a new version of Apple’s iPhone OS that runs a new category of larger apps alongside all the current apps from the App Store. We believe Apple’s tablet would compete well in the netbook category even though it would not be a netbook.”

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