The device will have a 9.7-inch touchscreen, reports InfoTimes, and three Taiwanese gadget manufacturers–Foxconn, Wintek and Dynapack–have received orders for different components of the tablet.
At Gadget Lab, we’re treating this latest rumor with the same skepticism as previous Apple tablet and “Mac netbook” rumors. In May, Gadget Lab reported that well-known Apple analyst Gene Munster predicted Apple will have a tablet in the market in early 2010. But this is the first time that specific information has been discussed in terms of screen size and price.
The netbook market — and to a lesser extent, the inexpensive tablet market — is begging for the company’s touch. While consumers like the tiny size of netbooks and their wallet-friendly price tag, dissatisfaction runs high in terms of ease of use. An NPD Group survey of 600 customers showed only 58 percent of consumers were satisfied with their netbooks, compared to 79 percent of regular laptop buyers. Netbook keypads can be difficult to type on and trackpads are often ineffective, complain buyers.
With its track record of creating sleek small factor consumer gadgets such as iTouch and iPhone, Apple could potentially solve some of these problems.
Earlier, Apple known for its obfuscation while working on a new product, has called the netbooks category as “junky.” An $800 touchscreen Apple tablet wouldn’t exactly be a netbook, as we know it today, yet Apple could tap into the trend of mobile devices that is popular among consumers.
What will also be interesting to see is if Apple’s tablet will run OS X or a souped-up version of the iPhone OS 3.0 that is available on iPhone and iPod Touch. In either case, Apple is likely to end up competing with more than just Microsoft. Google recently announced its Chrome operating system for netbooks.
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