$500-$700 Apple Tablet put off until 2010?

Gene Munster got the Apple world into a frenzy today with his latest note, predicting a tablet in the first half of 2010.  For those not expecting anything, the news of a tablet was very exciting.  For people like me who expect to see a tablet this year, the news wasn't as good.

But wait, don't lose all hope, Apple tablet watchers.  Gene Munster's record on Apple predictions is far from perfect.  You only have to go back about a week to find some inaccurate information from Munster.  He said:

What We Expect To See (And Not See) At WWDC; No New iPhones. As indicated in today's press release, we believe Apple will focus on the new version of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, at WWDC. While some investors may be expecting Apple to launch redesigned iPhones at WWDC, we do not anticipate the launch in early June. 

No iPhones?  That clearly hasn't been the case for the past 2 years.

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Additionally, we've heard from three different sources that there is a 10-inch touch screen from Wintek being put into production now by Apple.  If that was meant for a Mac, it would have a cramped keyboard.  That isn't out of the realm of possibility, but with Tim Cook saying that Apple didn't make cramped keyboards, it is unlikely.

Also, Businessweek sources said last month that a media pad/tablet prototype was spotted being shopped to Verizon.  If Apple is showing of prototypes externally, they aren't far from production.

The Wall St. Journal also mentioned that Steve Jobs was working on the tablet computer from home and how exciting it would be to unveil upon his return.  This year.

So, I'd say there is still hope for a 2009 tablet.  What else did Mr. Munster say?

Signs Pointing To A New Mobile Device. Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents (see here) relating to multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from Tim Cook on the April 22nd conference call, and Apple’s acquisition of P.A. Semi along with other recent chip-related hires, it is increasingly clear that Apple is investing more in its mobile computing franchise.

Specifically, we expect this to result in a larger (7”-10”) touchscreen tablet that will launch in 1H CY10. Additionally, Apple’s consistent message that it refuses to launch a “cheap” portable netbook, and its desire to differentiate itself in a maturing market before it’s too late (similar to the timing of iPod and iPhone), plus its gradual addition of multi-touch technology to all of its core products (iPhones, iPods and Macs) leads us to conclude this product will be a touchscreen tablet (not a netbook).

I am still very excited and frankly would be a bit surprised not to see something by the holidays.

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