Apple's Tablet Rumors: If It Is Not Mobile, It Won't Be a Game Changer

 |  Includes: AAPL, T, VZ
by: BlindReason

Various leaks coming into the various sources such as WSJ etc, look like controlled leaks. Among these are:

  • The device is being positioned as a 10 inch tablet that is a home portal "for the whole family" with an emphasis on monetizing "old media". While this is interesting and great for old media, which has to date suffered from the internet age , I don't see it as a game changer alone. People are not going to buy this thing just because they can all of a sudden manage newspaper and kindle-like content.
  • From all the leaks coming out of AT&T (NYSE:T), it looks like there is something coming soon that is going to be using its network. Other rumors include a launch with a CDMA/GSM version that would launch on both GSM and CDMA carriers. I can't tell if Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is playing Verizon (NYSE:VZ) off of AT&T or if it wants to launch on both. Frankly, Sprint (NYSE:S) could use a break here, and in some parts of the West Coast their network is actually superior in terms of coverage (not a huge part).
  • The most aggressive thing they could launch in my view is a 4-5 inch version which is essentially just a large iPhone. A version with CDMA, with no voice contract required and VOIP would be very interesting here. However, few if any rumors / leaks or whatever you want to call it lead one to believe we get a device of that size.
  • The most interesting rumor we have is a "one more thing statement" from Steve Jobs and a Spring / Summer CDMA launch on Verizon for the next generation of the iPhone.
  • Lots of the mockups look like 10 inch iPhones with 3G. But who the hell is going to lug a 10 inch iPhone around and why do they need 3G on it? That is the biggest mystery to me as part of this process. However, we are just a few days away from more clarity.
Here is the bottom line though. If this ends up only being a 10 inch device with 3G, the upside is limited without being mobile.
Note: If Steve Jobs gets up on stage and somehow this thing is positioned as a "mobile device" rather than a "family portal" I think it's significantly more "game changing".
The real mystery to me is why do we need to have carrier deals with a 10 inch device.
Lastly, there is an interesting rumor that Steve Jobs is not an Eric Scmidt fan and is working to get Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) off the iPhone. That rumor rings somewhat true. Schmidt has a heavy nerd vibe which I love, but there is some underlying petulance that is probably a recipe for conflict with Mr. Jobs who has been around a long time. Schmidt probably feels like Google represents the "new order".
To appease the disclosure gods I am long Apple.