Two Sources Claim Apple is Working on a Netbook

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is planning to launch a netbook computer with a touch screen monitor as early as the second half of this year, two people close to the situation told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

The mini laptop computers will likely have monitor screens that are between 9.7-inches and 10-inches, one person, who declined to be named, said.

Another person said other specifications and functions are still under evaluation.

I wonder if Apple finally figured out how to make a $500 computer that wasn’t a piece of junk?

UPDATE:Apple Plans To Launch Netbook With Touch Screen-Sources.

Wintek Supplying Touch Panels For Apple Netbook?

According to a Comercial Times report Wintek is supplying touch panels for an upcoming Apple netbook which should ship in 3Q 2009.

Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for.

There doesn’t seem to be any real indication that it is going to be a netbook other than what DigiTimes titles their article, so although it could be a netbook there isn’t any reason I have to believe that it isn’t for a tablet device.

Other than tablet form factor devices (iPod Touch and iPhone) Apple hasn’t shown any interest in touchscreen devices. The only other touch based devices that they have are the touchpads on their notebooks and I think Apple has realized that if you are going to be using a touchscreen you want it on a flat surface, not proped up like a monitor or notebook display.

I just can’t see myself reaching over my keyboard and mouse to touch the screen, that just isn’t how I use a computer and I don’t see any other computer maker coming up with any innovative way to change that.

Bottom line is, unless Apple comes up with a radically new way of doing touchscreen netbooks I don’t think Apple is going to release one.

Wintek to supply touch panels for Apple netbook, says paper.

Apple TV Sales, Mac Netbooks, and iPhone Nanos

During Apple’s latest earnings conference call Tim Cook said said that sales of the Apple TV were up 3 times what they were at the same point last year. Although they still describe the Apple TV as a hobby Cook noted, “We think there’s something there.”

I’m convinced that the Apple TV was the best purchase I’ve made in the past decade when it comes to home theater gear (not including my HDTV of course) and truly believe that Apple is going to do some really interesting things with it in the coming years. But, the fact that it is selling so well is what gets me excited. I hope that some day I won’t have to explain to people what the Apple TV is when I mention it in conversation.

Apple also dismissed the idea of a low end iPhone in the same earnings call saying “We’re not going to play in the low end voice phone business. That’s not who we are, that’s not why we’re here. Goal is not to lead unit sales, but to build the world’s best phone.”

Regarding Apple’s interest in the netbook market Cook said “we’re watching that space, but from our [point of view] the products are based on hardware that’s much less powerful, software technology that’s not good, cramped siplays. We don’t think that people are going to be pleased with those type of products. It’s a category we watch, we have some ideas here, but we think the products there now are inferior and won’t provide the kind of experience people want.”

So all indications show that Apple isn’t going to sell an iPhone Nano or a Mac Netbook, but then of course if you remember that Steve Jobs said that they never wanted to have a video iPod and now one of the best features of the flagship iPod is video playback.

Apple reports record profit for first quarter | Macworld.

Sony Officially Announces Vaio P

Sony Vaio P

Sony has officially announced what everyone was expecting, the Vaio P notebook.  It is the worlds lightest 8-inch notebook at just 1.4 pounds (and because of its small size I will now call it a netbook, even though Sony doesn’t want me to). The netbook features Windows Vista, a 1600×768 resolution LED backlit LCD display, 802.11n, 3G connectivity, Bluetooth, 4-8 hours of battery life (depending on whether or not you get the high capacity battery), and GPS.

Sony has also decided to include an “instant on” OS that boots into Sony’s “Xross Media Bar” interface. The device will start shipping in early February for $900 and will come in garnet red, emerald green, onyx black, crystal white, and classic black.

Sony Vaio P Open

I do have some more opinions on the hardware itself, The Sony Vaio P is more attractive closed than open. The keyboard seems more cluttered than the Palm Centro’s, and that is a device significantly smaller than the Vaio P.

I like the idea behind using a wider display to make more room for a decent sized keyboard but the display is just too darn small. in my opinion I’d rather have a slightly taller screen and a little bit more of a lip below the keyboard, this will of course make the netbook itself larger but the increased screen real estate would be well worth it.

I have no problem with their choice of mousing device, too many netbooks have trackpads that are just too darn small, the little nub in the center of the keyboard was a much better choice than a tiny trackpad. But, the mouse buttons are just too close to the edge of the device, although I haven’t played around with the netbook at all it appears that using one hand to mouse around and a second hand to click with (as I do often on my MacBook) would be uncomfortable.

The pixel density on the screen appears to be too high, which undoubtedly will leave many squinting while trying to read text on the screen.

Sony is just doing what it usually does, build a very decent notebook that seems to focus more on form than function. I had high hopes for this device but Sony really missed the mark.

Sony gets official with VAIO P: world’s lightest 8-inch netbook – Engadget.

HP Mini 2140 Notebook PC

HP Mini-Note 2140

This netbook will replace the Mini-Note 2133 and abandons the Via processor in favor of an Intel Atom CPU. The processor change will not only increase battery life but also make the netbook run a lot cooler.

HP has also managed to fit a 10-inch screen in the same size chassis as the 2133 which only had a 8.9-inch screen. The new model will be shipping later this month and should be available for $499.

HP Mini 2140 Notebook PC.