Apple: No Netbook, But A Tablet Instead?

The speculation comes from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, according to Apple Insider . The analyst firm wrote a lengthy note to clients, rounding up recent investments Apple has made and concluding that they will likely end up coming to fruition in some form of tablet device.

"Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents relating to multitouch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from [COO] Tim Cook on the April 22 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," Apple Insider reports.

Munster believes that an Apple tablet could appear sometime in 2010 and be priced between $500 and $700.

Munster goes on to note that his contacts have not seen a prototype and that software could play a pivotal role in the potential tablet, with Apple letting the device tap into the App Store.

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The move wouldn't be all that surprising. Apple has held steadfast to its position to not enter the market with a "cheap" netbook just because sales have picked up. Instead, it appears that the company is interested in continuing its history of reimagining products in a given market.

An Apple tablet, like most products from the company, would likely be successful. Still, the question remains as to whether Apple is confusing the demand for low-cost, ultraportable computers with a market that does not exist. Even so, Apple would probably go ahead and roll out the tablet anyway. And in the process, it would likely create a whole new market that other companies would rush to follow.