Could Apple Launch A Tablet In Spring 2010?

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It may be chilly outside but the rumor mill is heating up -- yet again -- with reports that Apple's tablet will be en route to consumers by this spring.

The recent stir got started when Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner said that he expected to see an Apple tablet in either March or April, carrying a fairly hefty price tag of $1,000.

Various sources reported that the device will be a hybrid of an iPod Touch and a Macbook. By design, tablets typically have no keyboard but use a touch screen instead. The Apple tablet's screen would likely be 10.1 inches, according to Reiner, and would not sport a pricey OLED display and would instead use LTPS (Low Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon) LCD, as does the iPhone.

Reiner said Apple's supply chain was cranking up production and he expectes it to ramp up to meet a demand of as many as 1 million units per month in February. Given the time it takes to inventory necessary stock levels, a launch of March or April would then be likely.

Observers have suggested that the Apple tablet could offer competition to e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle, Sony's eReader and Barnes & Noble's Nook. Reiner said his sources have intimated that Apple is prepared to offer an "attractive" deal to book publishers, suggesting that Apple's terms are better for publishers compared with those offered by Amazon, for example.

Reiner said the tablet could provide an additional 50 cents to 75 cents in earnings per share for Apple's stock.

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