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Apple Tablet Delayed Until Late 2010?

Ah, Apple Tablet. For a product that exists only in the ether of speculative journalism, it’s given us so much to talk about. Steve Jobs is allegedly micromanaging its development, Apple’s cut deals with newspapers and Conde Nast, and now comes the rumor that the launch date has been delayed to pave the way for it becoming the most expensive mobile device, like, ever. Sources say the delay is because the company is now planning two models: One will have an OLED screen, while the other will run on Apple’s new unicorn hair processor.

Well, OK, not really, but the latest rumors surrounding the Apple Tablet do serve to enhance the perhaps nonexistent product’s mythical qualities. Sources from Apple’s component manufacturers have told the Asian manufacturing broadsheet Digitimes that the launch date has been pushed back to the second half of 2010 because there will be two tablets, one being slightly smaller than the other (coming in at 9.7 inches) and featuring a crystal-clear OLED screen. And, there might be 3G embedded. Indulging for a moment the idea that the Apple Tablet is real, the sources say the original tablet (if it’s real) will remain an LCD-screened, 10.6-inch beauty (if it’s real).

The addition of the OLED screen will bring the cost of that version of the product to a whopping $1,500 on the low end, the (unnamed) sources said, before adding margin. Retail pricing could thus hover around $2,000 should Apple choose to go it alone in distribution – flirting with Macbook-level pricing. Some might say that’s an arrogant move, even for Cupertino. Otherwise, the price tag translates to one heck of a carrier subsidy required to convince consumers to opt for a tablet vs. say, a netbook, iPhone or the aforementioned notebook.

And all of that could be an issue, even for a very, very cool tablet that is made by elves in the magical mountains of Shangri-La. And runs on unicorn hair.


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