Speculation about a possible Apple netbook is again racing across the Internet
Rumours that Apple may be planning to launch a low-cost laptop have emerged again following reports from Taiwan.
A Taiwan-based newspaper reported this week that two Taiwanese companies have been selected to contribute to the device.
Apple offers no comment, but this latest publication has renewed interest in the possibility that Apple has netbook and mininotebooks designs in its product pipeline. If so, Apple would join the ranks of Dell, Acer, Lenovo, HP and Asus.
Commercial Times, a Taiwanese daily financial newspaper, on 9 March again raised rumors of an Apple netbook when it reported that Taiwan-based Quanta Computer—a contributor to the Apple iPhone—will be making such a device for Apple. Commercial Times additionally reported that Wintek, also based in Taiwan, would supply touch panels for the small, low-cost notebook.
Digitimes, picking up the Chinese-language story, reports that Wintek representatives said no shipment schedule has been worked out, but shipments are likely to begin midyear.
Apple executives played down the likelihood of such a device during a January call about its first fiscal quarter, according to Apple Insider.
“We don’t think people will be pleased with those products. 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,” Apple Insider quotes Apple’s acting chief executive, Tim Cook, as saying during the call.
The lure of low-cost netbooks and mininotebooks has helped other PC vendors at a time when sales and shipments of desktops and laptops have fallen off sharply due to the U.S. recession and reductions in consumer and enterprise spending. However, Apple has always maintained good margins on its hardware and has watched its Mac shipments hold steady, even as other PC vendors’ shipments have fallen.
On the Apple Watch blog, eWEEK’s Joe Wilcox agrees with the assessment that Apple and netbooks aren’t a fit. For several reasons, Wilcox writes that all the hype might be only hype.
An Apple spokesperson did not return requests for comment.
Earlier in March, Apple launched several new Macs, including new versions of the iMac, Mac Mini and Mac Pro.
The release of the updated Mac Pro desktops included new Intel Xeon processors that are part of the chip maker’s “Nehalem” family. While Apple said its Macs were more affordable, some analysts criticized the company for not offering at least one full-sized Mac below the $1,000 (£724) price range.