Hoping to replicate the runaway success of the iPhone, Apple is reported to be talking to Orange, O2 and Vodafone about selling the iSlate tablet computer, which should become available in Europe in the spring. Apple is said to be looking for mobile partners willing to bundle a mobile broadband contract with the iSlate.
While specification details remain unconfirmed, the iSlate is expected to have a 25cm touch-screen, no keyboard and will allow users to surf the web, watch TV programmes and read digitised magazines and newspapers. It should be Wi-Fi enabled, but will also be able to connect to mobile networks, meaning users will need to sign up to a mobile broadband contract.
However, unlike the initial iPhone deals, Apple is not believed to be offering European celcos any exclusive distribution deal. Instead, the company will look for the mobile operator to subsidise the iSlate as they presently do for 3G-enabled laptops. The stumbling block for this is the expected high price of the iSlate at around €900.
According to Barclays Capital analyst, Ben Reitzes, he expects Apple will be able to ship at least one million units relatively quickly, with each million adding at least US$0.15 to annualised earnings power. Reitzes speculated that the iSlate could be positioned to compete directly with eReaders which are already proving successful.
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