According to AVI Securities analyst Matt Thornton, Apple's tablet device is now "in full production". Some reportedly expected assembly to begin in late 2009, causing a couple of suppliers to perform worse than anticipated in December. Annual shipments of the tablet could reach 10 million units -- which might explain Apple's increased NAND requirements.
Thornton foresees little cannibalization of the smartphone or netbook markets, and notes that Apple's tablet will mostly target the gap in-between -- sort of where the e-reader sits. "You have limitations on handsets, you have limitations on the netbook and notebook. This is going after that other category that is much more multimedia centric, as opposed to mobile-communications centric or mobile-productivity centric."
Despite all the buzz around Apple's tablet, the company has yet to officially introduce it. We'll just have to see what January 27 brings.