Apple will ramp up production on its long-rumored tablet in February with an eye toward a spring launch.
That's the word from Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner who says his checks into Apple's supply chain indicate that "the manufacturing cogs for the [device] are creaking into action." According to Reiner, the tablet will have a 10.1-inch multitouch LCD display and a price point of $1,000.
Apple plans to produce as many as 1 million units per month. So assuming it needs five to six weeks of inventory before launch, we can expect it to arrive at market sometime in March or April. In preparation for that day, the company has evidently been evangelizing the device to the publishing industry.
"Contacts in the U.S. tell us Apple is approaching book publishers with a very attractive proposal for distributing their content," Reiner wrote in a note to clients today. "Apple will split revenue 30/70 (Apple/publisher); give the same deal to all comers; and not request exclusivity. We believe the typical Kindle/publisher split is 50/50, rising to 30/70 if Kindle is given ebook exclusivity."
Noting dissension in the ranks, Reiner adds, "As innovative as it is, we believe the Kindle has disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising, and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue. The tablet is set to change that. It should also make e-books more relevant for education by simplifying functions such as scribbling marginalia."