If sheer consumer will alone could ever put a piece of hardware into production, then the Apple netbook would’ve been made a hundred times over by now, and in some ways it has, thanks to DIY hackintosh machines. Rumors of the real thing are gaining steam once again, and at this point I’m beginning to wonder if Apple can afford to break the hearts of their loyal following without sending even more of them into the loving embrace of the Dell Mini 9.
The latest rumors come from the Chinese-language tech and business blog the Commercial Times (as translated by DigiTimes), which is reporting that Foxconn Electronics (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) has already signed a deal with Apple to put their upcoming netbook into production. Foxconn is already responsible for making the iPhone 3G and potentially components for the upcoming iPhone 3.0 as well, so it makes sense that Apple would go back to them for this type of device if one is indeed in the pipeline.
Added to earlier rumors of a 10-inch touchscreen being manufactured for Apple, the picture that emerges is of a device that might prove a little more expensive than most were hoping for, though at this point Apple has teased desire for a tablet/small form factor device to such an extreme level that people will probably overlook a $200 premium just to get their hands on the thing. I still don’t see them confusing customers by pricing it too closely to the MacBook line, so look for something between $599 and $799, depending on options and upgrades. That would put it close to the Mac mini, but the products differ enough that they could avoid cannibalizing sales.