Apple’s much-awaited tablet device may include graphics capable of “stunning resolution” able to outshine the iPod, iPhone and possibly sound a death-knell for Amazon’s Kindle. The device, which many expect to see during the first quarter of 2010, may also offer a Webcam for mobile video conferencing, according to a survey of analyst speculation.
Analyst Laura DiDio of ITIC told CNNMoney.com the device will include a “high-end graphics card” for its 10- to 12-inch screen. “The tablet will change the game, because Apple will throw down the gauntlet at the competitors, and force them to follow along,” DiDio told the Web site.
The tablet, reported to be CEO Steve Jobs’ No. 1 priority since returning from a liver transplant, may arrive in several versions, including a Wi-Fi or 3G version via AT&T, the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier. DiDio said pricing may be lower than usual for first-time Apple products, an indication that Cupertino understands demand for low-cost netbooks as well as its mistake of reducing the market for its original iPhone priced at $599. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates Apple could sell 2 million tablets in the first year.
Although analysts surveyed believe a tablet could split the market of people looking toward netbooks for computing power and Amazon’s Kindle for purely reading, other insiders question whether an Apple tablet would “kill” single-purpose electronic readers.
“If you want to sit and read a book, the ergonomics of a device that’s specifically designed for reading are going to be better,” Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala told CNNMoney.com. Apple has conducted talks with a number of publishers about offering “hybrid content” when a tablet launches.
In another clue to possible movement on building a tablet, an Apple engineer reportedly has made several trips to China with further jaunts planned over the upcoming holiday period. The trips potentially signal the China-based hardware maker Foxconn is preparing to meet an order of 300,000 tablets per month, according to the New York Times.
While speculation continues to swirl around an Apple tablet, competitors have not stood idle. In October, word leaked the bookseller Barnes & Noble was preparing its own e-reader to compete with both the iPhone and Amazon’s Kindle.