updated 08:55 am EST, Wed December 9, 2009
Apple device at 1m a month, 70-30 revenue split
Apple's often-rumored tablet device has been narrowed down to a specific production timeframe and could land a deadly blow against Amazon's Kindle reader through a revenue deal, according to an unusually detailed research note from Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner. Investigations into Apple's supply network claim the widely reported 10-inch, multi-touch device will be put into mass production in February with a likely launch target of March or April. As many as 1 million will be made every month, according to the sources.
Reiner estimates that, if the device was typically priced at about $1,000, Apple could sell anywhere between 1 million to 1.5 million tablets every quarter. He debunks notions of OLED tablets but is relatively conservative in pricing, as some have expected the tablet to cost $800 or less still if it includes 3G and is subsidized by a carrier.
More important may be an e-book publishing deal attached to the device, the analyst says. He cites American sources that claim Apple will deliberately provide a much more attractive deal than Amazon's Kindle Store and will continue to take only a 30 percent cut of revenues as it does through the App Store and at iTunes, even with non-exclusives. Amazon's terms are often described as "wolfish" and punish non-exclusives by increasing Amazon's take to 50 percent.
Apple also wouldn't play favorites in its content deals or preclude advertising, which to date hasn't been allowed for the Kindle even with magazines and newspapers.
The note while unconfirmed backs separate rumors that Apple has been talking to print publishers and will emphasize e-book reading on any future tablet device even if the hardware continues to stress media playback, web browsing and other features drawn from the iPhone and iPod touch. Publicly, Apple chief Steve Jobs has repeatedly dismissed e-readers but has historically been known to "feint" by denying interest in a category like cellphones or portable video only to launch a product when he and Apple believe it can provide a better product.