One of products we're anticipating, as well as everyone else, is the fabled tablet. I believe it coming in the first half of 2010. However much we'll love it, whether it'll do ebooks, sport a 10 inch screen, or spectacular battery life, I have to ask this question.
Where do the future tablet sales figure in market? As Macs? iPhones? iPods? Or a whole new category? Macs? Well, that's easy. If the tablet runs Snow Leopard, it'll be easier for analysts to lump the tablet sales in with the Macs.
But what if it runs a variant of the iPhone OS? Then what? It's not an iPhone certainly. It'll probably be closer to the iPod Touch. And it does have to go somewhere. I don't expect Apple to break out tablet numbers right away. They'll probably merge it with one of the three current lines until there are enough in the market for Apple to maximize the effect of announcing the sales number to the world.
So, what do we care what Apple does with the tablet in terms of its financial reporting? This is a blog about all things mobile about Apple. Well, assuming we are able to ascertain where Apple plan to put tablet sales numbers, we can get a better perspective on what the tablet means and what it is meant to do.
Should Apple figure in the tablet with either the Mac, iPhone, or IPod numbers, it will be telling about features we might expect and how Apple plan on marketing it. If it's with the Macs, then we can potentially think of the tablet as a keyboard-less Macbook. Apple can potentially market it as a supplement Mac to what you already have or as a first cheaper Mac for newcomers.
Should Apple figure tablet sales number with the iPods, then we know the tablet will run iPhone OS and be hooked into the app store. We'll treat it as an iPod Touch with a bigger screen.
How about the iPhone category? Ah, now it gets interesting. Not only will the tablet run iPhone OS, it likely will have wireless access via a data plan. It'll have a role with not just consumers but enterprise as well.
Of course, we don't know how Apple will account for the tablet. Well, I don't. Took a couple of accounting classes in college to satisfy the Big Six but other than that, I don't remember anything beyond separating debit and credit items.
So, if possible, perhaps there is an enterprising forensic expert who specializes financial reporting who just might find a way to figure this out. Maybe Apple left a clue somewhere in their quarterly numbers. Apple is due to report their earnings next week. If there is a clue, it'll be in the first or second quarter of their fiscal year. Because after that, the tablet will be out and we wouldn't need to wonder and pry any longer.