Apple still does not have any plans to enter the booming netbook market. Instead, the company may be preparing to introduce a new mobile device, a tablet measuring between 7 and 10 inches, according to analysts from research firm Piper Jaffrey.
In a research note to clients, analyst Gene Munster rounded up recent investments Apple has made and estimated that they will likely end up being used to develop a multi-touch tablet device.
Munster believes that an Apple tablet could appear sometime in 2010 and be priced between $500 and $700.
“We are anticipating a new category of Apple products with an operating system more robust than the iPhone’s but optimized fro multi-touch, unlike Mac OS X. The device’s OS could bear a close resemblance to Apple’s mobile OS and run App Store apps, or it could be a modified version of Mac OSX, he wrote.
Munster said Apple believes that software is the key to success in the mobile device category, as proved by the App Store being the focal point of its mobile operating system.
“With a larger tablet device in Apple’s lineup, the company could begin selling digital books on its iTunes Store, for use on the tablet as an eBook reader,” according to the report. “In this way, Apple could respond to the tangential competition from Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle DX.”
Likewise, Munster writes, “We believe Apple is observing the netbook market in a similar way, and will eventually enter with a tablet, a premium mobile computing device.”