While Apple is quite clear
that you won't be seeing an official Mac OS-based netbook any time soon, at least one analyst believes that the company still has plans for its own take on low-cost portable computing.
As reported over on the Silicon Alley Insider
, analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray believes that Apple is looking to release a touchscreen tablet-based Mac with a screen size somewhere between 7-10 inch by the middle of next year.
Based on “indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents relating to multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from [Apple's COO] Tim Cook on the April 22 conference call, and Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi along with other recent chip-related hires,
” Munster believes that the company is heading towards a low-cost tablet device as its own answer to the rising popularity of netbooks.
Munster believes that the device will be closer to an oversized iPhone or iPod Touch than the ModBook
third-party MacBook-based tablets we've seen in the past, and will feature a customised version of Mac OS X with an increased feature set when compared to the iPhone.
With Munster predicting a price of somewhere between $500 and $700 (£317 to £444), the tablet would be a smart move for Apple to capitalise on both the popularity of the iPhone and the clear market for low-cost highly portable computing devices without being seen to backtrack on its very public derision of the netbook paradigm.
Would an official Apple tablet get you all excited, or can the world live without an oversized iPhone clone? Share your thoughts over in the forums