Rumor: Apple Tablet Said to be “Shockingly Inexpensive”

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 12:09
Category: Rumor

applelogo1.jpg

If it came from the rumor mill, the really awesome parts must be true.

Internet and television personality Alex Albrecht claimed to have insight on the price of Apple’s rumored tablet during the latest episode of Diggnation, which also featured actor John Hodgman from Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials.

During the course of episode 231 , co-host and Web entrepreneur Kevin Rose asked Hodgman, who plays the bumbling “PC” in Apple’s commercials, if he has any inside information on the tablet.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Hodgman said. “You think they’d tell me?”

According to AppleInsider, Rose then turned his attention to Albrecht, and insinuated that the co-host had privately revealed supposed information on Apple’s long-rumored touchscreen device. After pestering from Rose, Albrecht eventually conceded: “I was shocked at how cheap the price point is going to be.” He declined to reveal anything further.

Typically it is Rose who reveals Apple-related rumors on Diggnation, with varying degrees of accuracy. In 2008, Rose revealed a leaked photo of the fourth-generation iPod nano in advance, though his iPhone-related leaks have been hit or miss.

The episode featuring Hodgman, queued to the segment discussing the tablet, is included, courtesy of Revision3:



Price predictions for the tablet have varied with some guesses placing it around US$500, to compete with the low-cost netbook market. Others have predicted its price would be comparable to a MacBook at around US$1,000. Another recent rumor placed a supposed OLED screen equipped version of the hardware at US$2,000 retail.

In other tablet news, a new survey of booksellers released Wednesday has found that industry officials expect Apple’s tablet to boost the electronic book market significantly. In fact, most said they expect the still-unseen device to be the top-selling e-reader.

As part of its digital conference held Wednesday in London, The Bookseller revealed the results of its survey of more than 1,000 trade book professionals. Among them, 52% said they believe that Apple will emerge victorious with its tablet, with Amazon’s Kindle coming in second, and Sony a “distant” third.

In addition, 42% of industry members said they believe “most” people will read e-books on a dedicated device in the future. More than 88 percent of respondents said they believe bookshops will lose out as digital sales grow.

In recent months, rumors have persisted that Apple will portray the multifunction device as a high-quality e-reader. Anonymous industry officials have claimed that the Cupertino, Calif., company has contacted numerous print publications about the forthcoming device.

Other sources have guessed at a 10″ touchscreen as well as full 3G connectivity.

If you have any guesses of your own, let us know.

Kaufman Bros. Analyst Predicts Apple, Verizon Alliance Less Likely Than Anticipated

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

3gs.jpg

Even if Apple is striking a deal with Verizon (currently the largest carrier in the U.S.), competitors T-Mobile and Sprint might be more likely to carry the iPhone in 2010, one analyst believes. Per AppleInsider, Verizon is the top prize in terms of the four major U.S. carriers. Apple is currently in an exclusive deal with the No. 2 carrier, AT&T, which has 82 million customers. But that agreement is believed by many to expire in 2010.

In a new note to investors Wednesday morning, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said although many believe the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, it’s likely wishful thinking. The problem, he said, is both Verizon and Apple have found success by focusing on “customer control.” Their similarities are what he believes will keep them apart.

“Apple runs its own App Store and VZ has aspirations to do so,” Wu said. “Apple controls the media experience with iTunes and VZ with its V CAST service. Moreover, Apple gets very favorable economics with an overall iPhone (average selling price) of US$611 and at AT&T, we estimate it is higher at roughly US$700. RIM, who is by far VZ’s largest smart phone supplier, only has an ASP of $340. Palm’s ASP is US$436 and we estimate Motorola’s Droid ASP is roughly US$450.”

Because Apple and Verizon have conflicting interests, Wu said he believes that a deal between the two companies would take longer than many currently expect. That would make a potential 2010 deal unlikely.

Instead, Wu said that Apple could strike deals with both Sprint, which has 48 million wireless subscribers, and T-Mobile, which has 33 million customers. Both companies are more likely to be agreeable with Apple’s practices in order to offer the iPhone.

“While we believe VZ is likely inevitable at some point when 4G technology rolls out in 2012 or so, we believe Sprint and/or T-Mobile are more willing partners for Apple in helping maintain margins and customer controls,” he said. “From a technology perspective, we believe T-Mobile may have an advantage with a similar 3G UMTS/WCDMA network as AT&T.”

This marks the second time this week an analyst has predicted Apple will jump to T-Mobile in 2010. In terms of technology, T-Mobile would be the simplest choice: Though carrier’s high-speed 3G connectivity operates on a unique 1700MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the current iPhone, the addition of that frequency to a future hardware model would be much simpler than adding compatibility with Verizon or Sprint’s CDMA networks.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple is working on an agreement with chip maker Qualcomm to add CDMA connectivity to a new iPhone in 2010. But both Verizon and Sprint use a technology that, unlike the GSM network of AT&T and T-Mobile, is not widely used abroad.

Another possibility noted by Wu is that Apple could extend its contract with AT&T through 2011. The analyst said he believes AT&T’s agreement ends in the summer of 2010, but a last-minute extension remains a possibility. Earlier this year, there were reports that AT&T was working to extend the contract with Apple for one more year.

Apple Takes Control of “TabletMac” Trademark

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:56
Category: News

applelogo1.jpg

A few years ago, Axiotron began to offer an aftermarket modification for the MacBook notebook that converted it into a tablet. The modification remains for sale at US$699 and takes a stock MacBook, removes the keyboard and screen, and adds a Wacom pen-based screen to give the device a tablet form factor.

During this process, Axiotron originally began marketing the devices as a “TabletMac” as referenced in this 2007 press release and filed a trademark for the term. Sometime in the past year, however, the trademark was transferred from Axiotron to Apple, and Apple is now listed as the owner of the trademark.

Per MacRumors, the transfer of ownership may not mean Apple has plans on using the term for their own long-anticipated tablet device. Apple may have simply contested the trademark due to the potential for confusion between “TabletMac” and their own trademarks.

Even so, the trademark has now been snagged and Apple may be drawing some lines in the sand as to product identification in the upcoming consumer market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think!