Apple tablet wanted but price rules, surveys find

Two new surveys about an Apple tablet find that while consumers are interested and intrigued by such a device, most would not be willing to pay more than $700 for it.

Apple is slated to announced its "latest creation" next Wednesday, and it may indeed be a slate. Numerous manufacturers — including Dell and HP — introduced tablet computers and prototypes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. Google and HTC are reportedly also working on a tablet together. Apple has yet to confirm that it is making a tablet.

Two companies, ChangeWave Research and shopping site, Thursday issued results of surveys each had done about the proposed Apple tablet in recent days.

Piper Jaffray analyst and Apple expert Gene Munster said recently that an Apple tablet would likely launch in March. Two models could be available, one with a 7-inch screen, another with a 10-inch screen, with pricing of between $600 and $1,000.

ChangeWave Research, which surveyed 3,314 consumers this month, said there is "strong consumer interest" in an Apple tablet, with 4 percent of respondents saying they are "very likely" and 14 percent "somewhat likely" to buy one for themselves or someone else.

Three-fourths of "interested" consumers say they'd be "willing to pay $500 or more," and 37 percent say they would pay more than $700 for an Apple tablet, ChangeWave said. The company surveyed 3,314 consumers.'s survey of 500 consumers found that 70 percent of them said they will not spend more than $700 for an Apple tablet. Also, 44 percent said they would not buy such a device if it requires a monthly data plan, such as via a wireless carrier for Internet access.

ChangeWave likened the release of a tablet by Apple to its switch in 2005 to the use of Intel chips in its computers, broadening the appeal of its products to buyers.

"Five years later, our ChangeWave survey shows similarly high levels of pre-launch excitement" over an Apple tablet, the company said.

"While this, in and of itself, doesn’t guarantee success — and the product has yet to prove it’ll live up to super-high consumer expectations — it does show the enormity of the Mac Tablet’s potential to alter the dynamics of the PC market and related markets," such as e-readers.

"But the real impact won’t be fully determined until consumers get to see it, feel it, test it and decide if the ‘iSlate’ is all it’s chalked up to be." The proposed tablet has been dubbed everything from the "iSlate" to "Magic Tablet" to "iPad."