updated 08:05 am EDT, Mon July 13, 2009
Apple Touch Netbook Oct
Rumors of a touchscreen Apple netbook gained fuel on Monday with a claim by China's InfoTimes that supposedly confirms launch details. Backing earlier claims, the site says the system will use a 9.7-inch touchscreen supplied by Wintek and is due to ship in October. Apple is expected to avoid competing directly with regular, sub-$500 netbooks and may use the touchscreen and other features to bring the price closer to $800, much like the Sony VAIO P.
Because of the focus on touch input, Apple is reportedly switching suppliers. Although Quanta will assemble most MacBooks this year, Foxconn is said to have been picked for building the computer thanks to its existing involvement in building and even designing the iPhone. Foxconn has publicly declined comment, but InfoTimes says it has obtained confirmation from the company in private.
Specifications aren't mentioned, including the primary form factor. Apple has openly complained of poor netbook hardware from rivals' offerings already in the market, including small screens and keyboards. The Wintek display would actually be slightly smaller than the average 10.2-inch netbook screen, but it's unclear whether the design would try to improve on the keyboard design or scrap it altogether for a touch-only design. Performance has also been a worry of Apple's and may leave it reluctant to use existing netbook components, particularly the combination of an Atom processor and Intel's own integrated graphics.
Any new computer near the price range would nonetheless be significant for Apple, which has never had a new, retail price computer below the $999 mark and recently altered its lineup so that there is only one regular MacBook versus six MacBook Pros. [via MR forums]