China Times reports that an Apple “netbook (or a “tablet” as many call it)” is due in October of this year, which is earlier than the recent report from Piper Jaffray that said Apple will be releasing a tablet in the first half of 2010. As early as 2008, both TechCrunch and ZDNet independently said that an Apple tablet is due in the fall of 2009.
The rumors first materialized in March of this year, when Wintek, a manufacturer of LCD screens and touch panels, was reported to be supplying Apple with touch screen panels for a netbook. Later, DigiTimes reported that it is indeed an “e-book form factor netbook”, which suggests a tablet. But speculation of an Apple tablet has been going on since 2005 because of numerous touchscreen tablet patent applications on behalf of Apple.
Details about the specs are still murky. It will likely be based on the iPhone OS and run on a processor designed by PA Semi, a chip design firm that Apple acquired in 2008. It is not known how this processor would fair with the Intel Atom chips that the CrunchPad will use. Conflicting reports about the screen size include 12-13″, 10″, 9.7″, and 7-9″. Price points have only been estimated so far, ranging from $500 to as much as $1000.
What does this mean for CrunchPad Inc? No apps.
While part of the iPhone’s success can be attributed to thousands of applications, the CrunchPad, which will run on Firefox and a Linux platform, will not enjoy the same benefits. Apple would not only bring apps to the tablet, but would also bring a product with a brand label of trust and quality.
Michael Arrington cannot imitate Apple’s brand and customer service strengths in such a short period of time. But one of Arrington’s smartest moves so far was switching the CrunchPad casing material from plastic to aluminum. This made it thinner and visually appealing, something consumers have come to loathe about Apple products.