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Apple prepping touchscreen netbook for summer?

updated 07:45 am EDT, Mon March 9, 2009

Apple Touch Netbook Rumor

Apple is gearing up suppliers to build a touchscreen netbook that would ship in the summer of this year, according to Taiwan's Commercial Times. Following a confirmation by local display maker Wintek that it's developing touchscreens for new Apple products, the Times said that at least some of these panels are destined for a netbook that would ship sometime during the summer. A regular supplier of Apple, Quanta, would manufacture the netbook itself.

The technical details of the system aren't mentioned, though the description would point to a computer with a clamshell design rather than a tablet device. Wintek itself says it isn't fully aware of the purposes Apple intends for its displays.

While partly supported by Wintek's own statements, the report suggests Apple has potentially overcome its initial reservations about netbooks. The American company has avoided committing to the mini netbooks and has commented that the systems are often slow and have displays and keyboards that are too small to be comfortable. However, the Mac builder has also said it has "some ideas" and that it just sees the existing market as inferior.

Most netbooks are driven by Intel's Atom processors, though the company has lately been developing a Consumer Ultra Low Voltage processor strategy that would give significantly faster performance in ultraportables that cost just several hundred dollars instead of the four-digit prices common to the MacBook Air, Sony VAIO TT and similar models.

by MacNN Staff



  1. cwsmith

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Promises, promises ...

    The Mac netbook/tablet/subnotebook rumor has been kicking around for years. I will believe it only when -- and if -- i see it.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No interest...

    It's not that Apple has no interest in NetBooks, it is just that Apple has no interest in selling at NetBook prices. They love their 40% gross margin too much! If Apple produce a Netbook type device it'll probably still cost between $699 and $799...

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Feathers - the iPod and iPhone suggest Apple are quite happy in the high volume / lower price market - though as you say, so long as they're in the higher margin end.

    Let's also consider the other thing they said - that they didn't think you could deliver the performance people really wanted in those devices. I think that's a slight exaggeration on Apple's part - I've seen these things run XP/Office 2003 and they do a good job . . . but they struggle with Vista. Consider how regular MacBook owners notice the Air feels sluggish too.

    Now, consider what might change in the next 6 months - hint - an operating system optimized for speed, power efficiency and size. We know what that focus has delivered with the iPhone.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPod tablet

    I don't want a full osX on a tablet, a bigger iPod and the appstore would be more than enough and much cheaper.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. lepton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's the NetPad

    My prediction for the NetPad is coming true. 7.75" screen, finger or stylus, separate Bluetooth keyboard. Details in my blog at

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dual Touch Screens?

    Hmmm anyone thinking something like the DS but as a netbook? That'd be pretty nifty. As well OS X isn't nearly as bloated as Vista. That said I don't see them shipping iLife with these, Maybe iPhoto and iTunes, and iWeb but iMovie seems like a stretch along with Garageband.

    Either way though, my guess is Apple just wants to make sure it has a place in this new market. That said a low voltage core 2 duo, plus mini display port might be a great solution for someone like my mom...

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Initial reservations?

    More like fake left / go right: "As we look at the netbook category, that's a nascent category," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said last fall. "As best as we can tell, there's not a lot of them being sold." ...from Tim Cook, who noted that netbooks are "principally based on hardware that's much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays." "We don't think people will be pleased with those products," he added. "It's a category we watch, we've got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they're happy with."

    Which translates to prime meat for Apple. This is where the laptop market was before the PowerBooks, where the MP3 Player market was before the iPod, and where the smartphone market was before the iPhone.

    Everyone was reading all that as "...not for us" - I read this as "just watch..."

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wake me IF...

    ... Apple delivers one.

    Apple already has 3 netbooks... MacBook Air, iPod touch, iPhone.

    Apple will NEVER make what everyone EXPECTS a netbook to be: a cheap, underpowered, marginally useful, POS.

    IF Apple makes a lower priced netbook that the Air it will probably be something entirely different than any of us expect.

    I suspect that it would be something in between the Air and the touch: an 8"-ish iPod touch. I'd also suspect that Apple would release an iPhone/iPod touch system update that supports higher screen resolutions than the current iPhone/iPod touch supports.

    Maybe we'd even see a version of iLife and iWork for it.

    This could make an interesting little beast.

  1. IxOsX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple Netbook power ...

    I waiting for Apple release some version of a NetBook. Have big expectation with new the processor power supported by the good Mac OSX.

    All actual XP NetBooks are = SLOW AND LIMITED.
    (Only Linux Netbooks are Ok)

    Hope for an Apple Netbook to be a litle better than the actual $400 Netbooks. Better power CPU and GPU is compulsory.

    So if Apple price gonna be between $600 and $700 with a better OS and a better processor you can believe I will buy one...ASAP

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh good

    Another week, another mac rumor.

    And, people, the iPhone/iPod are NOT netbooks by any count. They are smart phones or a 'smart device'.

    Unless it can run OS X and allow the user to install applications they want/need, not what Apple deems should be allowed to be installed, it is nothing than a closed computing device like a PSP.

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