Apple said to prepare tablet PC introduction (Jan 06, 2009) — Apple Inc., looking for to win a bigger share of the market for handheld computers, is setting up to uncover a tablet PC this month, according to a person known with the subject.

apple_tabletThe device is planned to go on sale in March, said the person, who declined to be recognized because particulars of the product are secretive.

Offering a tablet PC would assist Apple take advantage on demand from consumers for devices that can surf the Web and play movies and music. The product might too spark fresh contest for Inc., maker of the Kindle electronic-book reader, and makers of netbooks such as Acer Inc., Asustek Computer Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

“We wait for the key differentiator of the device to be its software,” Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis, wrote in a note to clients previous week. “Apple’s tablet would contend well in the netbook kind, although it would not be a netbook.”

Apple may trade about 1.4 million tablets in 2010 if the product goes on sale in March, Munster wrote. If the product sells for about $600, that would raise the company’s sales by about 2 percent, he said. Apple might design the tablet to maintain over 100,000 applications that at present run on its iPhone, he said.

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