updated 09:45 am EDT, Fri September 16, 2011
Analyst sees Amazon tablet as first real threat
iPad 3 prototypes are already circulating in the Apple supply chain, but no new tablet should be expected to launch until 2012, says JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz. For some time rumors had persisted that Apple would release some sort of updated iPad in the fall, whether a minor or a major upgrade. Those claims have essentially been silenced in recent weeks, as none of the expected evidence for an imminent iPad update has appeared.
What is known is that the tablet will probably sport a 2048x1536 display, bringing its sharpness into line with the Retina displays on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch. The challenge has been the absence or simply expense of such a high resolution for a 9.7-inch screen. The new iPad will probably also be equipped with a faster processor, the A6, which just recently began trial production.
There is "no rush" for Apple to put out another model, Moskowitz argues. "The other tablet entrants have stumbled so far, and that trend-line could persist deep into 2012." Both RIM and Motorola have so far failed to get much traction with their tablets, and Moskowitz suggests that the Sony Tablet S won't catch on either. "To us, Sony's tablet lacks the refined, sleek feel of the iPad and its bezel-like back is not user-friendly," he claims. "Lastly, the sony tablet runs on the Android O/S, which has failed to garner as much interest in tablets as it has in smartphones."
He instead proposes that the only true challenger to Apple may be Amazon, cautioning that people tend to expect more from a full-scale tablet than they do a simple e-reader. The online retailer is believed to be working on a 7-inch tablet that will beat the iPad mainly through price, selling for $250 versus Apple's $499 minimum. Moskowitz adds that if Amazon fails, "the next potential threat to Apple's tablet dominance is not until late 2012 when Windows 8-based tablets could hit the market."