Apple Tablet Coming in 2010?

Silicon Alley Insider reports on a note from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster claiming that Apple's rumored "media pad" or tablet computer will not arrive until sometime in the first half of 2010. Munster also claims that the device will be more dramatically different from the iPhone and competing netbooks than most analysts and investors are expecting. The complexity of the operating system, reported to be a hybrid between the iPhone OS and full-blown Mac OS X, is apparently the primary factor holding up release of the device.

Don't get your hopes up for one of those devices this year, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster writes in a note today. While Munster thinks Apple is indeed working on these sorts of devices -- running a third version of OS X "more robust" than the iPhone but optimized for multi-touch screens -- he thinks they're not going to launch this year, as some had predicted.

"We expect the development of such an OS to be underway currently, but its complexity, along with our conversations with a key company in the mobile space, leads us to believe it will not launch until CY10," Munster says.

AppleInsider provides additional detail on Munster's report, revealing that the tablet is expected to be priced in the $500-$700 range and thus bridging the gap between the iPod touch and the entry level MacBook. The tablet would utilize a display somewhere between 7- and 10-inches and would be well differentiated from existing netbook offerings, which Apple has repeatedly said it has no interest in duplicating due to the poor user experience such devices offer.

More specifically, the analyst said these investments will likely culminate with the launch of a touch-screen tablet with a display somewhere between 7- and 10-inches at a special event sometime in the first half of 2010. Such a move, he added, would be consistent with management's comments that Cupertino-based company has no interest in catering to the existing segment for "cheap" miniaturized notebooks and its spoken desire to differentiate in a market currently dominated by cramped computers with razor thin margins and a subpar user experience.