Lots of rumors are circulating about a Tablet release next month, which is the range I've been betting on for a while now.
A couple of thoughts:
- The Tablet will likely be announced next month on the 26th and will be on the high end of price predictions ($999) to avoid cannibalization. It's a huge issue given Apple's (AAPL) ability to sell at such a premium. There are rumors of patents around some kind of tactile touch keyboard/speech and the New York Times has some speculation that we'll all be surprised around interaction methods. I am looking forward to being surprised.
- Macbook Pros should also get new chips early next month. While I'd love to see a few more advances to Macbook Pros I don't think we'll be getting them. The graphics / chip combo Intel (INTC) is announcing and that are likely Macbook bound are perplexing in terms of performance and I just can't picture Apple getting too aggressive here. I'll be happy if they drop the DVD slot and make the footprint smaller.
- One interesting theme might be the merger of the "Tablet" and "IPhone/Touch" product cycles. With the devices at 4", 7" and 10". This would be my favorite outcome but I think there is a 70% chance they keep the two products separate. Why? If you start marketing the Tablet through carriers it pushes the price too low and cannibalization becomes too much of an issue.
- Seems a bit early for chips out of PA semi- that will be an interesting development if it occurs.
- As stated in prior Apple posts--and as part of my predictions for 2010-there will be an early iPhone release. At least 90 days before the traditional summer window. Perhaps earlier than that, as concerns about the Droid and the Google (GOOG) Phone push Apple for an early release.
- Things I'd like to see in the Tablet but are not necessarily predictions? An ability to run Wimax or take any interface card (from Sprint (S), Verizon (VZ) or AT&T (T)), an OLED Screen, a front facing camera, and a keyboard (I'm not gonna get this).
- For the iPhone- OLED Screen, 4 inches of display, a pure data iPhone (voice over IP so the best data network wins), front facing camera, double the battery life, true multitasking and a device on another network. I would love the option to have a data only plan on Sprint with all voice calls using VOIP.
- What are the implications for the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle? The higher the price point, the less the implications. However, if Apple surprises and you get a 7 inch model at a comparable price point, who the hell would buy a Kindle?
- I am skeptical we see the iPhone on Verizon unless there is some sort of FCC pressure. However, even the FCC can't / won't try to make Apple make a CDMA phone.
Disclosure: Long Apple Common, Apple Calls, Sprint.