Expectations that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will unveil a low-cost netbook at sometime within the next six months are not likely to be met, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster asserts in a research note this morning. But Munster adds that he expects the company to introduce a tablet similar to the iPod Touch but larger in the first half of calendar 2010, with a price in the $500-$700 range.
The bottom line, he says, is that the product will be “launched later but with more dramatic differntiatoin that the Street is expecting.”
Munster said that indications from components contacts in Asia, recent patent filings on multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from COO Tim Cook and Apple’s acquisition of P.A. Semi and various recent chip related hires all point to Apple investing more in the mobile computing space. He thinks that what will emerge in a device with a 7-10 inch screen that will launch a new category of Apple products. with an operating system more robust than the one used on the iPhone but optimized for multitouch, unlike Mac OSX. He said the OS could be close to the mobile OS and run App Store apps, or it could be a modified version of OSX, and run Mac apps. The complexity of the operating system software, he says, is why no launch is likely before next year.
AAPL Thursday is down $1.95, or 1.6%, to $123.92.