There’ve been rumors floating around for the past year or so that Apple’s answer to the netbook isn’t a tiny clamshell PC at all, but rather a touchscreen tablet that may run a full blow version of OS X, or maybe a souped up version of the iPhone operating system. China Times now says that the tablet is due out in October and that it’ll cost about $800.

At that price, I certainly hope it runs OS X Leopard, and I kind of want it to come with a keyboard too. I don’t care if it’s a tablet-PC style keyboard that can be used in clamshell mode and then folded down under the screen, or if it’s a detachable or slide-out style keyboard. I just can’t see spending $800 on a device that only has an on-screen keyboard.

If the report is true, it looks like the Appl tablet will have a roughly 10 inch capacitive touchscreen display with parts supplied by Foxconn, Wintek, and Dynapack.

Based on the price alone, it doesn’t sound like this is necessarily Apple’s answer to netbooks at all. A $800 device doesn’t really compete with $400 netbooks. It sounds like Apple’s attempt to carve out a new netbook-like niche as a third product category that fits somewhere between a smartphone and a full featured laptop or desktop computer. While I don’t imagine Apple would win over a lot of Dell Mini or Asus Eee PC fans with an $800 tablet, I could certainly see some Apple enthusiasts deciding to pick up a tablet for their Apple collections.

Of course, this whole rumor could be bunk and Apple may be working on a $500 product… or on nothing at all.

What think you? Would you pay $800 for an Apple tablet? What would it need to have in order to be worth the price? Sound off in the comments.

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12 replies on “Rumor: Apple tablet coming in October for $800”

  1. This is exactly what I’m hoping for. Finally. Solid VPN performance to my office machine, but with enough power to do almost everything the office box can do as well. I’ve got 20+ macs to deal with, and a tablet that will let me bop into each one will be a dream.

  2. Living in Australia I’m very worried about how Apple would translate US$800 into Aussie dollars. As Brad reported the other day Sony sting us 60% over the USD price of their new (inter)netbook… and Australia is closer to China than the USA so I really don’t know why they even base the price on the USD. Grrr.

    1. Because it is Sony and they can. You are not missing anything when it comes to the Sony netbook anyway. Too pricy for something that is really no different than any other netbook.

  3. Well given that it is a tablet and not a netbook I can’t say the $800 price tag is totally out of line. There are many and will likely be tablets that cost $800 to $1800. Maybe Atom-tablets will catch on and make high-end tablets are harder sell, but that has not happened yet.

    My personal point of view is that a keyboard would be nice, with a strong preference for a flip-clamshell. Nobody has come up with a functional keyboard replacement yet, and until that happens a ‘computer’ needs a keyboard.

  4. Not an Apple person at this point, so I’ll pull for an innovative, niche-carving design.

  5. I think it’s entirely realistic that Apple would charge $800 for an overgrown iPod Touch. A 32GB iPod Touch already costs $400, which is more than many netbooks cost! I agree that they’re creating a nice device, and based on earlier comments, I think the Amazon Kindle is more on their minds than netbooks.

    I still think they might hit a sub-$500 price point by bundling 3G service. Even though that still won’t compete with netbooks that are cheap or free when bundled, I don’t think competition in the netbook space is Apple’s goal here.

  6. One user’s view: I have been an enthusiastic Mac user for 20+ years, and use/take care of a total of five Macs (two for work, three for family). I also have two EEE PCs. Last November I bought an MSI Wind, which after Microsoft Live and other discounts (credit card, ebay, and a lower price for the Canadian French keyboard model, which works fine for me), cost me ~$260. I thought I might run OS X on it, but in the end XP works well enough that the OS X hack hasn’t been worth the time. The Wind has become my travel laptop workhorse. With two 6 cell batteries I can run for over 8 hrs. Viruses have not been a problem (I use NOD32 and Spybot) and there is plenty of good free software. I did buy Office 2007 at deep discount for work. Total investment in the Wind ~$400. I will soon sell off one of the EEE PCs and keep the other (which runs on SSD) for use on rougher, riskier, lightweight travel. I also have an Nokia E71 phone, which I find better suits my needs than would an iPhone. I will continue to use and love Apple products (will soon replace remaining family ibooks with Macbooks and upgrade disk/RAM in Mac mini home theatre setup), and will look carefully at new Apple developments, but for now I don’t personally see the need for an $800 Apple tablet.

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