Why Now's a Great Time for Apple's Tablet

Since Steve Jobs' return as CEO in 1997, good timing has been one of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) hallmarks.

Witness the iPhone. Jobs showed off a prototype in January of 2007 at Macworld, and then forced buyers to wait months to get their hands on one. By July, frothy consumers were lining up for hours to be among the first to pay more than $500 for Apple's newest iCandy.

Would the so-called iSlate do as well? Readers think so; they voted Apple the best stock of 2010, beating out Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B  ) , UPS (NYSE: UPS  ) , and Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW  ) , among others.

I'm with the iHorde on this one, and not because I think offerings from Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS  ) are weak. Instead, I like the economic data I'm seeing.

According to Gallup, consumer spending rose to a daily average of $68 last week, up 15% from the week prior and 10% from the same week during 2009.

"The increase in consumer spending last week is good news for the economic outlook, as is continued economic optimism during the first full work week after the holidays," wrote Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe in a research note.

Apple has scheduled an event in San Francisco for Jan. 27, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month. That means Jobs could be taking the stage just as consumers are smiling, and buying, again.  It wouldn't be the first time, and it probably won't be the last.

Are you planning on buying an Apple tablet when it's released? Are you considering any kind of tablet PC? Why or why not? Make your voice heard using the comments box below.

Apple, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Berkshire is also a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. UPS is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Berkshire Hathaway at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy has a lunch date. Gotta run!


Read/Post Comments (15) | Recommend This Article (16)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 4:05 PM, artlaz wrote:

    Yes, I'll buy one. Every night I sit in front of the TV with my iPhone doing emails, playing games, etc. during the commercial breaks, or during sports when nothing is happening (there's always the replay). I'm going blind with that little iPhone screen. Then I go upstairs to read on my Kindle, which I will gladly throw away - what a piece of junk.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 4:08 PM, brickcityman wrote:

    The only way I'd buy an apple product of this sort is if they demonstrated a willingness to stop screwing their customers.

    There is so much overlap in their product offerings that its just disgusting, and unfortunately many fat wallet-ed consumers are too enamored of the Chicness of the apple brand to see that.

    If the iSlate were to say make the iPhone an integral part of its architecture (via providing comm and motion sensing) then I might start buying apple products. But so long as they are in the business of repackaging common components with an apple logo and a hefty standalone sticker I say no-thanks.

    I fully intend to be proven wrong on this sentiment though... I know a year from now you won't be able to sneeze without having to wipe your spittle off someones iTablet...

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 4:24 PM, Fool wrote:

    I'm waiting for an ebook reader and more. Looks like the "iSlate" fills the bill.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 4:29 PM, eddie752 wrote:

    Yes, I may not buy one immediately, but It will go on the wish list. For reading and for web surfing, I think it would be fantastic. If the rumors that we'll see some television or movie service with the announcement are true, well then you have a complete game changer.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 4:35 PM, demodave wrote:

    I am considering and planning an iSlate purchase, but I'd at least like to see it and the Apple ecosystem that will be supporting it first. You know, cart, horse, that whole thing.... I eagerly look forward to eliminating as much paper from my life as possible. The tablet could help.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 4:39 PM, Fool wrote:

    The reality is apart from word processing and specialized programs I now use the iPhone far more than my MacBook pro. I'm mobile most of the time so the iPhone is my primary device for emails, trading, and , of course, social networking. Even when I'm at home Ive noticed that the iPhone takes preeminence as it is always in my pocket.

    So am I going to buy an islate? Of course. With a larger screen and more computing power I see the tablet as the goto device for every other imaginable task. Hello, my name is Justin and I'm a macoholic.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 5:49 PM, Fool wrote:

    Yes!!!! Oh Yes!!!! Ohhhhhh Yes!!!!! Apple always meets my needs and creates new ones.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 6:18 PM, batshrink wrote:

    My plan is to purchase an iSlate once it is introduced.

    I've bought and used Apple products over the last 30 years and the addition of the iSlate to my current 'stable' of Apple products is a situation that I am eagerly anticipating!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 6:41 PM, rfaramir wrote:

    The iTablet will be great, but I disagree that the economy is recovering. It's a lull before a further stormy drop. The economy would love to recover, but the government interventions in what is left of our free market won't let it.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 7:27 PM, Jane207 wrote:

    Can't wait! I'm an Apple fan since my Apple 2+ when I had no idea what I was doing -- still, I was in love. All my PC friends have, one by one, converted, and who can blame them. They've had their shares of viruses, trojan horses, geek squad fixes, etc. Let's face it, you get what you pay for.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 8:40 PM, ereaderuniverse wrote:

    Apple is not the only player in this game. There are several other tablets already out there that could compete well against Apple especially on price.

    Several can be seen @ http://www.ereaderuniverse.com

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 9:20 PM, stustanton wrote:

    Of course. As soon as it comes out. Unless it really disappoints. I'm hoping for internet service Wifi, but not through AT&T please. My iPhone experience off-network is really awful as AT&T doesn't honor its data bandwidth off the reservation. Not AT&T means out in March, I suppose, when Apple's AT&T contract expires. I'll even spring for the cancellation fee by AT&T. There are 5 of us on our family account, and I'll take them all with me. But I'm the only one with the tablet. Fill in the gaps, Apple, and give me my gadget of all gadgets.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 9:55 PM, kgveit2020 wrote:

    I plan to purchase after about 3 mo's to get the basic bugs ironed out. Having an always on Net connected device in my home will be a big time saver and very useful. I want a device that I can surf the web with that has plenty of screen real estate and is snappy fast. This will definitely be a game changer. The smart phones have a big liability....... small screens and little good quality content for small screens. The tablet should be able to go where no web device has gone before..........

    It is going to be awesome...........

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2010, at 11:54 PM, JMS426 wrote:

    The question of purchasing a tablet is one of practicality. The great run for iphone, itouch, ipods is that they are practical and useful. How practical would a tablet be?

    To me, not so useful when I can use my netbook which is build sturdy and longer lasting than (I would think) a tablet.

    I personally would have to wait and see what Mr. Jobs will be presenting with an open mind. I'm curious if this tablet would be so impressive as to keep me from buying a Nook.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2010, at 8:00 PM, ObscuredVision wrote:

    What recession? Everyone on here seems to have money to burn.

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