Analyst: Apple Tablet Worth $1.2 Billion

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks Apple's fabled tablet device is coming in early 2010, and could be worth some US$1.2 billion to the company in the first year it is available. He expects Apple will sell about 2 million units in the first year at about $600 each, adding about 3 percent to the company's revenue, according to Fortune.

Mr. Munster expects Apple's tablet will run the current batch of App Store applications and maintain a form factor similar to the iPod touch. It will also be capable of running a new breed of applications geared towards its larger display, and will be focused Email and Web surfing along with playing digital media.

He also expects the tablet will include built-in 3G support and might be subsidized by AT&T or Verizon, helping keep the price point between $500 and $700.

Mr. Munster is predicting the Apple tablet will hit store shelves early next year based on reports from parts suppliers. "Last week we spoke with an Asian component supplier that has received orders from Apple for a touch-screen device to be fulfilled by late [calendar year] 09. This data point underscores our thesis that a tablet will likely launch in early [2010]," he said.

So far, Mr. Munster's report is in line with the current slate of tablet rumors. Simply because his report line up with others, however, doesn't necessarily mean that the rumors are more credible. Until Apple officially unveils a tablet, the device will stay firmly planted in the world of speculation and rumor.