The Apple Tablet will cost $599, because analysts demand it

Now that the encroaching Apple Tablet -- or, excuse me, "Apple Slate" -- has been officially confirmed in an off-hand comment New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller (who is surely working from secret inside knowledge and not just following the same silly rumor mill as the rest of us), the next important question to answer is: how much should it cost? Fortunately, we have analysts to do that kind of analysis, and they have come up with a helpful answer: $599!

According to Retrovo, 64 percent of Windows users would buy an Apple tablet computer if it were priced at $600 or less. (By contrast, 68 percent of current Mac users would be willing to pay more than $600 for such a thing.) So, the logic goes, if Apple wants to win over PC users, it will need to set the price at $600 or less, profitability or product quality be damned.

Now, I'm one of the apparently few people who have very little interest in such a gadget at any price, and certainly not at $600 or more. But I do have to question Retrovo's detective work here. Retrovo is essentially working on the assumption that the Apple Tablet will be competing in the netbook market -- but most netbooks cost much less, and, frankly, are more useful as a computer, with their full-on keyboard. Any tablet is going to be more of a media player with the capacity for a Web browsing and a little light e-mail -- but you won't be doing anything where you have to type. It's not the same thing. But hey, Retrovo's been demanding that Apple add a laptop for months, so why should they let reality get in the way of their analysis?

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