Barron’s tracked down someone who’s actually used a prototype of Apple’s (AAPL) forthcoming tablet PC. This person, a “veteran analyst,” says Apple could announce the device in September to ship in November.
That’s in line with most expectations, though some reports have suggested the device might not be ready until next year.
As expected, the rest of the PC industry is sitting around scratching their heads, waiting to see what Apple has come up with, Barron’s reports.
If it’s a hit, expect the same kind of catch-up marathon among PC makers that the mobile industry has exhibited over the last 2.5 years with regards to Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone phone caught established mobile handset makers by surprise — and has led the design and platform agendas in the mobile industry since its announcement.
Barron’s: The new device, which may retail for $699 to $799, could fulfil a variety of multimedia functions currently taken up by a gaggle of individual consumer electronics devices. It could be a home media centre, somewhat like the current Apple TV, and it could be a gaming machine, opines Jon Peddie, head of Jon Peddie Research in Tiburon, Calif. “Gaming will be a big part of what this is about,” he adds.
The machine impresses with its display of hi-def video content, says the veteran analyst, who asked not to be identified. “It’s better than the average movie experience, when you hold this thing in your hands.”
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