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A leading Apple analyst has confirmed what we told you weeks ago, that Apple is planning to launch a touch-screen device next year to compete with the new Amazon Kindle.

SmartHouse and ChannelNews first broke this story back in March 2009.

See “Apple Explores Newspaper & Book Application Store“.

We also revealed that Apple is working with LG on new OLED display technology.

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray said that the new device will fill a gap between the iPod Touch and Apple’s laptop range.

Munster said that the new tablet device with a screen of 7-10 inches will be launched early in 2010. It would cost between $750 and $1,100, he said.

Mr Munster also told clients that such a device could pave the way for Apple to compete with Amazon’s Kindle in the e-book market.

On March 19, I wrote, “We have been told that Apple is working on new touch screen software that allows newspapers and books to be easily ready with pages turned at the flick of a wrist using patented Apple touch screen software. The concept that has been pushed along by Steve Jobs during his recent leave from the company is a high priority at Apple say insiders.”

Book and newspaper content will be delivered via Apple’s application store with Apple taking a percentage of all downloads. Apple believe that they can deliver new books from bestselling authors for as low as $5.99 with publishers selling millions of downloads without having to print one single book.

 

 

The software will also work on Apple notebooks, iPhones and iPods. Insiders at Apple claim that the biggest market for the device will be schools and educational organisations where Apple can deliver a vast amount of electronic content for delivery to their devices.

The new Apple reader, which will compete head on with Amazon’s Kindle device, will also operate as a full blown Notebook. Also exploring the concept of a reader type device for newspapers is Sony, who in the past has struggled to attract consumers to their current reader and is now looking for the killer application that will drive sales.

Munster has told clients that the computer group, which is expected to launch a new version of the iPhone later this year perhaps at its developers’ conference on June 8, has repeatedly said that it has no interest in launching a Netbook, the mini-laptops that have been successful for companies such as Asus and Acer.

But Tim Cook, the chief operating officer at Apple, who is running the company while Steve Jobs is away on medical leave, left the door open for a tablet device at a recent earnings call. The power of the Apple brand could see it stake out new ground as it has done with iPod and iPhone.

Mr Munster wrote in his note to clients: “Between indications from our component contacts in Asia, recent patents relating to multi-touch sensitivity for more complex computing devices, comments from Tim Cook on the April 22 conference call, and Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi along with other recent chip-related hires, it is increasingly clear that Apple is investing more in its mobile computing franchise.

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