With a conventional netbook out of the question, researchers for Piper Jaffray said May 21 there’s mounting evidence to suggest Apple next year will introduce its own take on the market in the form of a tablet-based device that will sell for $700 or less, AppleInsider reports. Analyst Gene Munster said he believes Apple will launch a touch-screen tablet with a display somewhere between seven and 10 inches at a special event sometime in the first half of 2010. Such a move, he added, would be consistent with management’s comments that Apple has no interest in catering to the existing segment for "cheap" miniaturized notebooks and its spoken desire to differentiate in a market currently dominated by cramped computers with razor-thin margins and a subpar user experience. Thus far, Munster’s contacts in the component supply chain have not seen a prototype of the device but say there’s ongoing discussions between the company and its suppliers about the parts that will eventually be required to build the product…

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