At the risk of sounding like a gossip rag, more rumors are floating around that an Apple netbook is in the works. This time, we even have a possible production date: third quarter of this year. China’s Commercial Times (via DigiTimes) is the source. Wintek, an LCD panel supplier, claims to have the contract for a touchscreen Apple netbook, while Quanta is anticipated to build the device.
My estimation on this one is that it’s a smidge more believable than any prior rumor on this topic. All the right company names are involved, for starters, as Quanta currently builds Apple hardware products, not to mention many other notebook brands.
The timing sound right to me as well. The end of the year is holiday season, which is a time that’s ripe for hot new products. Also on the timing front: Apple doesn’t generally lead a market from the beginning. They often play the “wait and see” game to see what type of market develops and what opportunities are missed by those venturing in first. They didn’t invent the portable digital music market, for example, but they did redefine it once they saw it had legs and identified opportunities that others didn’t see. The smartphone market? Same story there with the iPhone. Now that the netbook market is a proven entity, Apple has the luxury of seeing where the market players went right and where they went wrong. And that netbook “hackint0sh” community? Consider them (myself included) to be a nice batch of beta testers for Cupertino, not to mention a knowledgable focus group.