Apple has begun early manufacturing on its long-awaited tablet device, according to an industry analyst.
Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner cited sources within the manufacturing operation in reporting that Apple is beginning manufacturing operations on a 10.1in tablet device, with an expected launch date in March or April 2010.
Reiner also suggested that the company is in negotiations with book publishers to offer e-book titles for the device.
The analyst's report falls in line with months of rumour and speculation that Apple engineers are working on a new touch-screen tablet product. Noted Apple analyst Gene Munster made a similar prediction in August that such a device would launch in early 2010 and bring the company a big boost in revenues.
True to form, Apple has remained tight-lipped about the project. The company has, however, dismissed the idea of entering the low-end netbook market, stating that it could not produce an acceptable product at such a low price-point.
The remarks led many to suggest that the new device will not take on the netbook market, but will instead seek a higher price-point as a higher-end tablet with touchscreen features similar to the iPod.
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