* Oppenheimer says tablet production to ramp up in Feb.
* Expects tablet to add 25-38 cents to EPS per quarter
* Says Apple offering book publishers 70 pct revenue share
* Apple shares up 1.6 pct
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 9 Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is
preparing to launch a tablet personal computer in late March or
April, with manufacturer partners poised to roll out as many as
1 million units per month, according to an Oppenheimer research
The highly anticipated tablet is expected to pitch Apple
into the digital book market popularized by Amazon.com's
(AMZN.O) Kindle e-reader. Apple declined to comment.
Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner said the new tablet could
boost Apple's earnings per share by 25 cents to 38 cents per
quarter, assuming that it sells 1 million to 1.5 million units
each quarter at an average price of $1,000 and a corporate
average net income margin of 22 percent.
"Our checks into Apple's supply chain indicate that the
manufacturing cogs for the tablet are creaking into action and
should begin to hit a mass market stride in February," Reiner
"The February ramp schedule suggests a late March or April
commercial release, since Apple will need to build at least 5-6
weeks of inventory before going live."
He said the tablet will have a 10.1-inch multitouch LCD
screen similar to that of Apple's iPhone.
Apple has also approached book publishers to distribute
their content electronically, and has offered them a revenue
cut of 70 percent without requiring exclusivity, Reiner said.
He said that compares favorably to the Kindle's 50 percent
deal, and that Kindle only offers a 70 percent cut to
publishers that give Amazon exclusive rights.
"As innovative as it is, we believe the Kindle has
disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and
magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising,
and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue," Reiner wrote. "The
tablet is set to change that."
Reiner forecast Apple's fiscal 2010 profit at $8.39 per
share, compared with $6.29 in fiscal 2009, saying his estimate
has not yet factored in the new device.
Shares of Apple were up 1.6 percent at $192.89 on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Gabriel Madway and Tiffany Wu; Editing by