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Apple touch netbook due in October for $800?

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]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. ethical_paul

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2002



    Will it be the anything-goes app development world of Macs or will it be the tightly-controlled world of the iPhone?

    I'm betting it will be an app store. Apple has tasted that 30% and is going to want to repeat that experience.

  1. rytc

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2001


    App store

    I am not sure if Apple actually is turning a profit on the App Store, I think it has only started to make money off the iTunes store. In both cases these stores were used to drive business to the iPhone and iPod rather than be profitable in their own right.

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004



    My perception of this device will turn on the user interface Apple chooses to implement. Will it act like a small laptop or like a big iPhone?

  1. njfuzzy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001



    I'd seriously consider a machine like that, if it had decent storage, and could run a few of my games. If it had a SD card reader and 3G I'd be sold.

  1. simdude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004



    $800. to big for a phone or pda. Too small for a laptop. Kinda sounds like a Newton 2100.

    I think Apple would do better with a thin 10" you snap your iPhone/iTouch into. Now, you have all the connectivity and just add a bigger screen and keyboard. Sell it for $300 with some storage and I'll order today.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Why not a powerful ARM

    processor with an enhanced graphics chip. Apple could allow running the current iPhone processor at full speed in a larger device. I personally think that Apple should go with a larger mobile device that runs Mobile OSX so users can get full benefit from the App Store. Some of those apps are getting very powerful and with all those developers already on board how can Apple lose. It would also make a decent gaming machine and eReader. I know Apple doesn't believe in buttons, so I don't know what can be done about that except an external input device.

    I think Apple should go with a big iPhone.

  1. c4rlob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009


    how many screens?

    Is there a guesstimate for how many of these Wintek screens Apple has purchased? Because based on that number we might be able to speculate whether the netbook will have one display surface or two display surfaces.

  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005


    App Widgets?

    Anyone else kinda see this thing being built on an ARM proc with the ability to run iPhone apps as widgets like dashboard? That'd be kinda nifty though wouldn't work for all apps.

    My guess is since it's not on a cell network they might have an app store but won't require it.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Feb 2009



    I find the comments here to be seriously dumb, selfish, and pretty much off the point entirely. In other words, this site is turning into engadget. Since the comments system itself has long been, um ... difficult to use, why not either scrap comments altogether or go whole hog and put something better in? (and yeah I can see the irony of posting and off the point comment about off the point comments but I did it so I wouldn't have to specifically get into all the dumb comments and insult the writers of same).


    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    What about the Mac mini?

    It retails for $599. How many Hackintosh netbooks there are out there? I wonder if Apple can tell by the pings on it's software update servers. You can get get a decently equipped netbook (in netbook terms) for less than $300.

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