Apple tablet not until second half of 2010?

Apple tablet not until second half of 2010?

Reports indicate that the rumoured Apple tablet may not launch until the second half of 2010.

Taiwan's DigiTimes claims that Apple is waiting for OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens to become available.

Apple plans to launch a model using a 9.7in OLED panel from LG Display, according to the DigiTimes source.

Apple already has a contract in place with LG to supply OLED panels, said the source.

DigiTimes also claims that a number of companies are involved in the manufacturer of the rumoured device. Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry), Quanta Computer and Pegatron Technology are all said to be part of the manufacturing team building two Apple tablets.

The reports notes that one tablet will have a 10.6in TFT LCD panel while the other will have a 9.7in OLED panel.

However, the high price of the component hints at a high price for the Apple tablet. "Since 9.7in OLED panels are currently priced at about US$500 and panel costs normally account for about 30 percent of the device's total cost, Apple's 9.7in OLED tablet PC is expected to have a cost of about $1,500-1,700 (based on today's prices)," according to the DigiTimes source.

However, OLED screens offer vastly superior contrast to traditional displays because they do not require a backlight, and can switch off pixels to display black areas, rather than shining constant light. They also draw far less power than traditional displays.

OLED displays are a nascent technology, used on very few devices. The only other devices we are aware of that uses an OLED display are a Samsung Mobile Phone and the Sony XEL-1 Organic Panel television display. This HD-TV comprises an 11in screen and costs $2,499. Although the device is on sale very few are seen in the wild (understandably so, given the small screen and high retail price).

Macworld UK's editor-in-chief Mark Hattersley has used Sony's Organic Panel display and told us: "You can certainly notice the difference. I tested the Sony Organic Panel display at the IFA show last year and afterwards the image on every other high-definition television - no matter how large or expensive - looked grey and washed out. It would be fantastic to see Apple implement OLED screens in its iPhone and the rumoured tablet. I think it's only a matter of time before this technology arrives in the mainstream, it's just a case of waiting for the cost to come down".

It is thought that the Apple tablet will come in several different versions, featuring a 9-12in screen, a variety of internet connections from WiFi to 3G, and a webcam for video conferencing. Apple is also expected to launch a whole new digital format for delivering traditional media such as books and magazines: think Amazon Kindle but better.

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