Apple reportedly plans to postpone the launch of its tablet PC from an original March launch schedule to the second half of 2010, as the vendor has decided to switch some components and plans to launch a model using a 9.7-inch OLED panel from LG Display, according to sources from component makers.
The sources also indicated that in addition to Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry), Quanta Computer and Pegatron Technology are expected to be manufacturing partners for Apple's two tablet PC models - one of which will have a 10.6-inch TFT LCD panel while the other will have a 9.7-inch OLED panel. However, the sources did not explain how production for the two models would be split between the three makers.
LG Display currently is making OLED panels using its 4.5G production line and LG Display's five-year US$500 million panel purchasing contract with Apple includes supply of OLED panels, the sources pointed out.
Since 9.7-inch OLED panels are currently priced at about US$500 and panel costs normally account for about 30% of the device's total cost, Apple's 9.7-inch OLED tablet PC is expected to have a cost of about US$1,500-1,700 (based on today's prices), the sources estimated. However, OLED panel prices are dropping rapidly and are expected to reach an acceptable level for notebook products by 2011, so the sources believe Apple's delayed schedule may include such considerations.
The sources estimate that Apple's tablet PC cost will drop to around US$1,200-1,500 by the second half of 2010 with the retail price reaching about US$2,000. The price could be more flexible if bundled with telecom providers' 3G services. Meanwhile, the 10.6-inch LCD panel-based Apple tablet PC is expected to priced in the US$800-1,000 range.