iTablet goes OLED, bumped until late 2010

iTablet goes OLED, bumped until late 2010

Summary: Rumors are swirling that Apple's tablet will be pushed back to the second half of 2010 in order to accommodate an upgraded OLED screen. Would you pay twice the price for a iTablet with an OLED screen?


Optimistic customers waiting for Apple to release its mythical tablet will have to wait a little longer if rumors coming out of China are true.

DigiTimes is reporting that the Apple tablet has been delayed from March 2010 to some time in the "second half" of 2010. Citing sources from component makers, the report claims that the delay is a result of Apple's decision to switch to a 9.7-inch Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) panel from LG Display.

In addition to upgrading to an 9.7-inch OLED panel Apple is also reportedly considering keeping a less-expensive 10.6-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) model in the lineup, most likely for price reasons.

The story also reports that Apple has enlisted two additional manufacturing partners to build the tablet. iPod maker Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) will be joined by long time Apple contractor Quanta Computer and Pegatron Technology.

DigiTimes estimates that with 9.7-inch OLED panels currently costing about $500 -- normally about 30% of the final price tag -- a 9.7-inch OLED tablet Mac will cost between $1,500 and $1,700. And that's Apple's cost. Assuming component costs drop to around $1,200-1,500 in the second half of 2010 - that could push the retail price of Apple's OLED tablet upwards of $2,000.


The good news is that the 10.6-inch TFT-based version should retail for a much more managable $800 - $1,000 as has been rumored for quite while.

OLED has many benefits over TFT:

OLEDs enable a greater range of colours, gamut, brightness, contrast (both dynamic range and static) and viewing angle than LCDs because OLED pixels directly emit light. OLED pixel colours appear correct and unshifted, even as the viewing angle approaches 90 degrees from normal. LCDs use a backlight and cannot show true black, while an off OLED element produces no light and consumes no power. Energy is also wasted in LCDs because they require polarizers that filter out about half of the light emitted by the backlight.

It's a compelling technical argument, for sure, but I'm not sure if consumers will pay twice the price for a iTablet with an OLED screen.

What are some of the ways that Apple could further differentiate the high-end model? What would justify paying double the price?

Photo: A juicy fake from TUAW, circa 2006.


Topics: Hardware, Apple, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • $2000? I doubt it.

    Apple puts themselves in a "premium" price range,
    but $2000 for a 10" tablet? Even they're not THAT
    • Yeah...

      I have my reservations about this price forecast as well.
    • RE: $2000? I doubt it

      @lostarchitect Agree, [b]end-users[/b] are unlikely to
      pay that high a premium, however... (1) perhaps if it
      doubled as a touchpad/pen input device replacement,
      and (2) Apple will offer at a competitive price with
      either (3G/4G) carrier subsidy or at no profit (on tablet)
      if they can monetize the content.

      My brain hurts thinking of all the possible scenarios,
      much less assessing there likely success. But wouldn't
      be surprised if Apple's cloud computing ranch 2B in NC
      is likely part of a play to offer publishers a platform
      supporting current [b]and[/b] future (multimedia)
      content via iTunes (as others have speculated).
  • No Thanks

    Don't need or want either, waste of space...If I want
    real gaming, I'd rather play real games on my PS3 or Wii
    on my flat screen; or on my kids' DS.
  • Redundant Technology

    I don't see the justification for a tablet.

    If I want ultra-mobile web surfing or basic text editing I'll stick with my DROID, for more powerful portable computing I've got my 13" MacBook, and neither of those cost me $2,000.00
  • WAIT

    I would wait and I think everyone else will too.
  • Cue the double standards...

    When ZuneHD came out with OLED, all the Apple cultists
    screamed about how OLED sucks because it draws 1.21
    gigawatts of electricity to display whites and it can't
    be used in anything other than total darkness.

    Cue the double standards...
    • Um, yeah... sure

      OLEDs are widely known for lower power consumption than standard TFTs, which is one of their biggest selling points. Even your "Apple cultists" probably know this. So, again, will you stop making sh*t up?

      And, by the way:

      [b]double standard[/b]
      1. An ethical or moral code that applies more strictly to one group than to another
      2. A set of principles that allows greater freedom to one person or group than to another

      Can you stop with the misuse of [i]double standard[/i]? You're hurting peoples' brains.
      • I couldn't make up this idiocy if I tried

        [i]OLEDs are widely known for lower power consumption than standard TFTs, which is one of their biggest selling points.[/i]

        Taken from roughly drafted, the Apple cultist's handbook:
        [i]OLEDs still use more power than LCD displays most of the time because the OLED technology consumes power based on how
        bright the image it is displaying is. Essentially, OLED is the backlight.[/i]

        So there you have it. When OLEDs are in an MS product, they consume more electricity. When they are in anything else, they
        use less.

        Cue the double standards...
        • One Uninformed Blogger

          So, a single uninformed blogger that clearly doesn't know what he's talking about represents to you the entire Apple user base?
          • Yes

            It does when that article was linked to multiple
            times by the entire Apple user base for the entire
            month leading up to the ZuneHD's release.
          • Obligatory, "You just changed what I said into a bizarre absolute." [nt]

          • Uh-huh...

            The [i]entire[/i] Apple user base linked to that article... for the [i]entire[/i] month. Or, and more probable, was it just a few Apple fanboys, and then perpetuated by their corresponding Windows zealots referencing it in their usual back-and-forth banter?

            Is it at all possible for you to [b]not[/b] write in broad generalizations?

            Here, I'll do one too:

            Windows Zealots always speak in broad generalization, spread misinformation, don't know what a double standard is, and make sh*t up 80% of the time.
          • Do NOT feed the trolls!

            You realize that you're arguing about a "double standard" to which a
            mythical product is allegedly being held, right?

            Non Zealot's [i]non sequiturs[/i] are pointless enough when referring to
            actual products. They're doubly so in regards to vaporware.
        • Yes... [Edit: Intended as reply to NonZealot]

          [i]"So there you have it. When OLEDs are in an MS product, they
          consume more electricity. When they are in anything else, they use

          Correct, because Microsoft cut corners to save costs. OLEDs are
          expensive, but they can be energy efficient when implemented
          properly. Current OLED display technology not only rivals traditional
          LCDs in brightness (400 cd/m?), but also last just as long at around
          60,000 hours for the blue alone. This results in an average cost
          savings in energy requirements.

          [i]"Cue the double standards..."[/i]

          Cue your lack of any fact checking or references.
          • Oh the delicious irony

            [i]Correct, because Microsoft cut corners to
            save costs.[/i]

            The irony of you writing that without doing any
            fact checking or providing any references is
            just too delicious!

            The roughly drafted article did not say that
            MS's OLED screens in particular were
            inefficient (they aren't). The roughly drafted
            article said that ALL OLED screens were less
            efficient than LCD. Well, until Apple uses it.
            Then suddenly we'll be asked to forget all
            about the fact that months earlier, roughly
            drafted slammed the technology [b]as a
            whole[/b]. Luckily for roughly drafted, Apple
            cultists are pretty dumb. :)
          • You were the one quoting Roughly Drafted, not me...

            You were the one quoting Roughly Drafted, not me. I can not account for Apple Insider's overall lack of understanding.

            I only clarified your all-too-often inaccurate or exaggerated statements.
    • How are you feeling today?

      Just checking in. Did you go outside today?
      Sunshine soothes the soul, you know. Hope you're
      doing better. Chin up!
    • A shame I didn't care about either at the time...

  • Nice to know USA adds ZERO value to this product

    I bet the USA doesn't supply a single component for this piece of hardware.

    Nice to know if this comes to market, China will suck yet more hard-earned dollars from Americans' wallets. And Apple, that pillar of American industry, pocket a tidy profit for those who are still employed flipping burgers and can afford to buy shares.

    Can anyone say "empire in decline"?