It's been a few months since we last heard Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster's opinion on Apple's much-rumored tablet, so happily the always-opinionated man is back with not only some pricing, sales and hardware predictions, but a slick render too. According to Munster, his sources in Asia have tipped an unnamed manufacturer winning the contract from Apple to produce the touchscreen device, with fulfillment at the end of 2009; that, he says, underscores his previous assertions of an early 2010 launch.
As for sales, Munster is buoyant about the Apple tablet's success. He expects - like most other people - it to cost between $500 and $700, and to sell better than the Apple TV did in its first year. He also tips an integrated 3G modem, with either A&T or Verizon the likely carrier partners and potentially subsidizing the device. In fact, Munster predicts it will sell around two million units in its first 12 months of availability, generating $1.2bn and adding around 3-percent to Apple's revenue stream in the 2010 calendar year.
That's strong performance for something Gene describes as similar to an iPod touch, only larger, although he does suggest that it will have access not only to most of the existing 70,000 App Store titles but "a new category of apps designed for the bigger screen." He also believes it will compete with netbooks - being primarily for internet, email and digital media access - but not actually be a netbook, thus not contradicting Apple's various enthusiastic denials that they have any intention of entering the budget ultraportable space.