Apple tablet “to launch next spring”

Apple is preparing to launch a tablet device in late March or April, with manufacturer partners poised to roll out as many as a million units per month, according to an Oppenheimer research note.

Apple tablet

The highly anticipated tablet is expected to pitch Apple into the digital book market popularised by Amazon’s Kindle.

“Our checks into Apple’s supply chain indicate that the manufacturing cogs for the tablet are creaking into action and should begin to hit a mass market stride in February,” Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner claims.

The February ramp schedule suggests a late March or April commercial release

“The February ramp schedule suggests a late March or April commercial release, since Apple will need to build at least five to six weeks of inventory before going live.”

He says the tablet will have a 10.1in multitouch LCD screen similar to that of Apple’s iPhone.

Apple has also approached book publishers to distribute their content electronically, and has offered them a revenue cut of 70% without requiring exclusivity, Reiner adds.

That compares favourably to the Kindle’s 50% deal, with Amazon only offering a 70% cut to publishers that give exclusive rights to the Kindle.

“As innovative as it is, we believe the Kindle has disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising, and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue,” Reiner writes. “The tablet is set to change that.”

Apple declined to comment.

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