It seems as though there always has to be a rumor about Apple, doesn’t it? After a short breather period where there haven’t really been any rumors, the newest one emerges that Apple is planning on entering the tablet PC market. Some people are saying “finally” while others are saying “what’s the point?” Keep in mind that this is just a rumor, but what’s being said is that Asus is helping Apple build a tablet PC.
While the tablet PC market currently only makes up 2% of the portable PC market, there are some advantages like the fact that it’s a more natural form of input. It’s also great for note-taking, makes interacting at business meetings easier, and comes in handy for those in the digital art profession. The downsides include the input speed can be slower than typing, and tablet PCs are generally a little more expensive than regular notebook computers, although the price has gotten extremely competitive over the last several years.
So what does Apple have to gain from this? At this point, I’m not sure it would be a whole lot. As mentioned, the Tablet PC makes up 2% of the portable PC market. If Apple were able to enter the market and match that 2%, given the amount of notebooks that they currently sell, they’d sell under 27,000 tablet PC’s per year. At just 27,000 is it worth it for them? Their biggest advantage would be if they could get the artists to purchase one who want to draw and do artwork on it.
On one hand it hardly seems worth it, but on the other hand, I could see it being a huge success. If there’s one company out there that could get consumers psyched up over a tablet PC, it would be Apple. Some of the mock-ups look pretty slick, and Apple does have a good momentum going here with the launch of Leopard, the iPhone, and the new line-up of iPods. If they were able to price it competitively with some of their other notebooks, I’d say there’s a good chance that it would be a success and perhaps even amount to more than just 2% of Apple’s portable computer sales.
At this point, everybody is saying it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” Apple will launch a tablet PC. Given that Apple has the multi-touch feature mastered, I’d agree that it must be coming sooner rather than later.