Analyst: Apple Tablet Begins Manufacturing in February, Being Pitched to Publishers

Apple will begin manufacturing its near-mythical tablet in February for a Spring launch, according to Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner. In a research note covered by All Things Digital, Mr. Reiner added fuel to story broken earlier in the year by saying contacts within the publishing industry say that Apple is bringing a "very attractive proposal" to them to get their content on its tablet device.

Mr. Reiner also said the device would have a 10.1" multitouch display, at a US$1,000 price point, and that Apple will be producing about a million units per month. If the company begins that production in February and aims to have 5-6 weeks of inventory on hand before selling the device, that would peg the release date in March of April.

Reports first began surfacing in October that Apple was approaching publishers about distributing content on an Apple tablet, with Australian publishers spilling the beans. According to Mr. Reiner, Apple is proposing the same revenue split it offers to iPhone app developers, 30/70 , with Apple keeping the 30.

That's the same rate Amazon offers for the Kindle, but only if publishers grant Kindle exclusivity. It's a 50/50 split otherwise, a split that has angered many a publisher. Apple's offer does not include a request for exclusivity, making the model that much more appealing.

"As innovative as it is," Mr. Reiner wrote, "we believe the Kindle has disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising, and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue. The tablet is set to change that. It should also make ebooks more relevant for education by simplifying functions such as scribbling marginalia."