Rumors of Apple Netbook Re-emerge

Reports that Taiwan-based Quanta Computer will build a new netbook computer for Apple emerge.

You can take many Apple rumors with a grain of salt, but this one may have legs. According to a DigiTimes report, Taiwan-based Quanta Computer will build a new netbook computer for Apple. Quanta manufactures laptops for most of the top consumer electronics vendors, so its involvement in an Apple netbook project wouldn't come as a surprise.

DigiTimes, which cites a story in the Chinese-language Commercial Times, says Taiwan-based Wintek will supply touch panels for the Apple netbook, and that panel shipments will likely start in the second half of 2009.

If these stories are true, it would appear that Apple is moving forward with its long-rumored large-screen iPod Touch, a touch screen device with a 7- to 9-inch display and a virtual keyboard. Such a netbook would eschew the conventional keyboard-screen design of mini-notes from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and just about everyone else.

Unlike a traditional iPhone or iPod Touch, the Apple netbook would likely be large enough for watching HD video and running standard desktop applications. An external keyboard would probably be optional as well.

Apple execs have blasted today's netbooks as cramped and underpowered, and they have a point. It's intriguing to imagine what a little Apple innovation could bring to the genre.

What would an Apple netbook cost? Split the difference between the US$200 iPhone/iPod Touch and the $1000 MacBook, and there's your sweet spot. A $600 Apple netbook would be competitive with the Asus/Acer/Dell crowd too.

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Jeff Bertolucci

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