Apple (AAPL) is reportedly working on a “media pad” tablet to fit between its iPod touch and MacBook devices. The idea is that it’d be better for surfing the Web, watching movies, and reading books than the iPod or iPhone, but not powerful enough that it would crush notebook sales.
Don’t get your hopes up for one of those devices this year, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster writes in a note today. While Munster thinks Apple is indeed working on these sorts of devices — running a third version of OS X “more robust” than the iPhone but optimised for multi-touch screens — he thinks they’re not going to launch this year, as some had predicted.
“We expect the development of such an OS to be underway currently, but its complexity, along with our conversations with a key company in the mobile space, leads us to believe it will not launch until CY10,” Munster says.
There is a use case for this device, and this is probably what Apple means when it says it has “ideas” about an answer to the netbooks made by PC companies.
Some observers may be disappointed if Apple doesn’t announce something this year. But the company isn’t going to miss much if it takes a bit longer to roll the device out. While the netbook industry — one of the markets this device would compete with — is growing fast, it’s still relatively small. Plenty of time before it really matters.