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Apple begins bidding for Mac netbook manufacturing contract

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 
Long-time Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is amongst the frontrunners to receive a contract to build a Mac netbook, according to a new report.

Building on earlier rumors, the Chinese-language Commercial Times is citing sources within the PC component supply chain who say Foxconn Electronics -- the US trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry -- "is in the running to land orders for a netbook from Apple."

Outside of adding that Mac maker's 13-inch MacBooks will become Foxconn's major growth contributor during the second quarter, no further details were included in the report, which was translated by DigiTimes.

The Commercial Times sparked a wave of speculation a little over a month ago when it reported that Taiwan-based Wintek would start shipping touch panels to Apple sometime during the third quarter of the year for the launch of an unknown netbook product.

A pair of sources speaking to Dow Jones quickly backed the report, with one saying the panels were sized "between 9.7-inches and 10-inches" while the other said specifications for the project were still "under evaluation."

News agency Reuters later jumped in on the action, claiming that its own sources were saying Apple would "take third-quarter delivery of newly developed 10-inch touchscreens from Taiwan."

While the specifics of these reports are up for debate, the product in question is believed to be one and the same with the long-running Apple Newton tablet project reported by AppleInsider back in 2007.
post #2 of 98
I agree, this does sound like the Tablet.
I think Apple will release a unique interface for the tablet built around the iPhone's interface, but I'm not sure if it would use iPhone APIs or will just run regular Mac software.
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post #3 of 98
....but how long can I hold out? Methinks I will buy a 15" MacBook Pro- at least it has firewire. Now if only I could get rid of the black keys, black border, and glossy screen. It looks a bit too much like my Victor AntiMicrobial Calculator at work- silver, black keys, black border and glossy display. And it didn't copy Apple- it's 2 years old.
post #4 of 98
Hmm, third quarter... They could make an absolute killing with this if it is out in time for Christmas.
post #5 of 98
i am not believing any of these reports at this time. I do believe that Apple might be investigating the notion of some kind of netbook/tablet, but until I see something official I'm not getting my hopes up.

I'm still not sure if I want to see them do some new fancy touch screen gig or just make the Air (which is pretty much a netbook to me anyway) better and cheaper.

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(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #6 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I agree, this does sound like the Tablet.
I think Apple will release a unique interface for the tablet built around the iPhone's interface, but I'm not sure if it would use iPhone APIs or will just run regular Mac software.

I'm not convinced. The market for a 10" notebook (not going to call it a netbook) seems considerably higher than that of a tablet PC, unless Apple plans to move into the business sector with its tablet.
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post #7 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

I'm still not sure if I want to see them do some new fancy touch screen gig or just make the Air (which is pretty much a netbook to me anyway) better and cheaper.

Now we're talking. Give me an 11" Air- I will buy it today- RIGHT NOW.
post #8 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I agree, this does sound like the Tablet.
I think Apple will release a unique interface for the tablet built around the iPhone's interface, but I'm not sure if it would use iPhone APIs or will just run regular Mac software.

I'm not convinced. The market for a 10" notebook (not going to call it a netbook) seems considerably higher than that of a tablet PC, unless Apple plans to move into the business sector with its tablet.
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post #9 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm not convinced. The market for a 10" notebook (not going to call it a netbook) seems considerably higher than that of a tablet PC, unless Apple plans to move into the business sector with its tablet.

As we all know PC manufacturers are just crank turning manufacturers, including SONY. If history taught us anything it is that Apple has proven itself as a trendsetter, when they decide to make something they'll put behind it the right people.

According to AI Steve Jobs spoke about the tablet back in '02:
"First, he [Jobs] said, the wireless bandwidth for huge images, plus the security needed to successfully do what NIH wanted, was just not on the horizon," the former Apple employee recalled. "Plus, tablets' screen resolution was nowhere near that required for NIH's high-quality medical images..."

Relative to 2002 technology, we can say that all those concerns were resolved. Also, back in 2002 Apple didn't have an interface that resembled a multi-touch. SJ said during the 2007 keynote that the iPhone project started two years ago, which means in 2005 or late 2004.

I am speculating that we will see a new computer that will hopefully *smack* the computer market across the head again.
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post #10 of 98
I hope I can just plug my iPhone into it and have 3G. Maybe the iPhone would be the 'guts' of it. that would save space. (and costs)
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post #11 of 98
I'm thinking "MacBook Touch"
post #12 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

As we all know PC manufacturers are just crank turning manufacturers, including SONY. If history taught us anything it is that Apple has proven itself as a trendsetter, when they decide to make something they'll put behind it the right people.

I am speculating that we will see a new computer that will hopefully *smack* the computer market across the head again.

Apple will deliver, no doubt- but must you bash one of the biggest innovators in consumer electronics history in the process?
post #13 of 98
If it's a real netbook running the full OS X, with the full hardware feature-set of other netbooks, I'll buy one the instant it's announced. If it's a giant iPhone, or some feature neutered spartan version of a netbook, I'm going to smack someone in the head.
post #14 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

If history taught us anything it is that Apple has proven itself as a trendsetter, when they decide to make something they'll put behind it the right people.

I think the comment trendsetter is tricky to describe Apple. Rarely are they the first to market, but they certainly know how to bring a fledgling market to the forefront of people's minds. Is this more about exquisite timing in that the market would have exploded without Apple or about marketing so that the market may not have moved much if Apple didn't enter it, or something else. Is that setting a trend or leading a trend that was already established. And by leading I mean to be what everything else compares it to since we know that Apple will more than likely not have the highest marketshare for a market. (okay, now I'm just rambling, too much morning coffee)

Quote:
"Plus, tablets' screen resolution was nowhere near that required for NIH's high-quality medical images..."

That is the precise area I was thinking of. I still don't know if it's worthwhile for Apple with their current business model, but I think if any one industry would be the focus of such a device it would be that one. I still don't how a consumer tablet would be viable. Sure, it would be cool, but unless it had a swivel screen and physical keyboard so it can be used like a normal laptop I don't see it working. But that kills it for any medical use. A conundrum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

I hope I can just plug my iPhone into it and have 3G. Maybe the iPhone would be the 'guts' of it. that would save space. (and costs)

So far with the 3.0 Betas you can do tethering via the 30-pin connector and bluetooth. Though I suspect that this feature will be stunted by its release date to require a carrier authorization.

However, I do think that the smartest move for Apple for any netbook or tablet would be to offer it with a 3G card and a reduction from a carrier for a 24-month contract. Dell et al. are already dong this through AT&T, but is this something that Apple would want to get into? I'm not so sure.
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post #15 of 98
Ok, real quick. Its gonna have two touch sceens mostly for the purpose of saving space. Apple wants to use their new haptics technology on this device and give it a full sized keyboard. They will port it to the iPhone once battery life is less of a concern. A 10" screen doesn't allow for much of a trackpad, so through the use of proximity sensors the keyboard will switch back and forth from key board to full sized track pad. Two hands at the device will bring up the keyboard whereas one hand will bring up the trackpad. This will be the first netbook to have both a full sized keyboard and the largest trackpad ever shipped. As for the display screen, it will swivel and fold down in order to be used as both a tablet and eReader.

This is what Steve was talking about in the interview when he said that Apple had some interesting ideas for the netbook segment.
post #16 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

If it's a real netbook running the full OS X, with the full hardware feature-set of other netbooks, I'll buy one the instant it's announced. If it's a giant iPhone, or some feature neutered spartan version of a netbook, I'm going to smack someone in the head.

I am betting a hybrid of sorts. Iphone style gui (touch) but with a keyboard of some kind. It will have very limited physical connectivity like the Air. Basically an iPod Touch with a keyboard but able to run office style software. I imagine some kind of physical keyboard, possibly with touch interface. Possibly as an accessory. I don't see this as a tablet only as it would limit functionality too much. I see tight integration with Works and Works.com.

It will probably be super cool but I won't be standing anywhere near you when it is announced, just in case!
post #17 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Apple will deliver, no doubt- but must you bash one of the biggest innovators in consumer electronics history in the process?

I wouldn't say I was "Bashing" anyone, and I do realize that Apple's first PowerBooks were among the workings of Sony, so was the Walkman, Discman, and Betamax. However, their PC's are just Windows machines, I do not see any real innovation there unless you can point some out.
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post #18 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by HyteProsector View Post

Ok, real quick. Its gonna have two touch sceens mostly for the purpose of saving space.

I forgot to include that the bottom screen (keyboard/trackpad) will be like the screen of the Kindle. Very low to no back light. As to not distract from the main display screen.
post #19 of 98
Tablet with optimized OS X. iPhone apps run like Widgets on it.
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post #20 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Tablet with optimized OS X. iPhone apps run like Widgets on it.

that's a given in my opinion. this new app store is a cash cow.
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post #21 of 98
i hope it has a keyboard as im desperate for a dev machine.

iphone development on it is a must.
post #22 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

If it's a real netbook running the full OS X, with the full hardware feature-set of other netbooks, I'll buy one the instant it's announced. If it's a giant iPhone, or some feature neutered spartan version of a netbook, I'm going to smack someone in the head.

Just the opposite for me.

There are enough small notebooks in the world and the Air works very very well for this product niche as it is. I want something small (more or less pocketable), with touch technology.

A touch-tablet *cannot* run full-on desktop OS-X, it would be incredibly frustrating and would likely only be useable with a stylus just like every other crappy failed tablet computer produced to date. Any pictures we see between now and the release of the tablet (if it's released at all), that have an OS-X desktop on the display can be assumed to be fake from the get-go IMO.

If it's not going to be a touch tablet running the latest mobile OS-X like the iPhone, why not come out with one years ago? Apple doesn't "address markets" in the way that most pundits are assuming they are "addressing" the nascent netbook market. Apple creates strategic products that themselves create markets.
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post #23 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I wouldn't say I was "Bashing" anyone, and I do realize that Apple's first PowerBooks were among the workings of Sony, so was the Walkman, Discman, and Betamax. However, their PC's are just Windows machines, I do not see any real innovation there unless you can point some out.

Their screens- a patented hybrid of matte and gloss. Gorgeous.
post #24 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Tablet with optimized OS X. iPhone apps run like Widgets on it.

Not going to happen. There is ONE version of OSX. There will always be ONE version of OSX.

My guess: no keyboard (external Bluetooth keyboards optional), basically an oversized, super-powered iPod Touch.
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post #25 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

that's a given in my opinion. this new app store is a cash cow.

If they do 1B in a year (rounding up) and half are free and the other half average $1 (rounding down, I think) they make a gross revenue of $500M. Multiply that by 0.3 and they make a gross profit of $150M. Not bad.

(please adjust if any of the loose number are actually known)
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post #26 of 98
MacTouch.

No keyboard.

possibly 3g & ATT subsidized.

App store
post #27 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

If it's a real netbook running the full OS X, with the full hardware feature-set of other netbooks, I'll buy one the instant it's announced. If it's a giant iPhone, or some feature neutered spartan version of a netbook, I'm going to smack someone in the head.

For my purposes a sort of Big Brother to the iPod Touch would be an awesome product.

The netbooks out there are kind of not really ideal for anything in particular. I am currently using a Touch that meets my needs far better than any netbook. Better battery life. More portability. Cheaper to buy and cheaper to load up with a lot of fun apps that are very easy to add via the App Store.

The drawback to the Touch is that the screen is too small. Surfing the net with it is not ideal but doable. Typing on it is not ideal but doable. Go to a 10-inch screen and being as you've got more space behind the screen to cram in more technology, add more horsepower, and you've got a device that can do everything I need but still have an edge in terms of portability and battery life when compared to a typical netbook, though there would be a hit on both fronts compared to the Touch. There's no getting around that.

Frankly if what you want is a full-featured computer to do more demanding work, existing netbooks just aren't capable enough to fill that role well. If, for instance, I want to do some visual work still photos, movie editing etc. - I have no desire to do so on a 10-inch screen. I have a 32-inch monitor attached to my desktop and that's the device I would do that work on, when given a choice. For a portable device I have other uses in mind that a larger, more powerful version of the Touch could handle quite well.

To me this speaks to the problem other tech companies have when putting devices together. They go for the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, cramming in as much as they can and delivering it at the lowest price possible by cutting corners left and right. Apple, on the other hand, is less likely to deliver a heavily compromised portable device. It will have some very specific functions for which it will easily be the best suited to in the marketplace but be versatile enough that there will be uses conjured up later by consumers that Apple engineers haven't even considered.

If you want a complete computer system but compact and on the cheap, there are tons of companies delivering that as we speak, though obviously none of them run a Mac OS. Apple will not and should not take that path because the notion of trying to do some things on a 10-inch computer is misguided. You simply can't do justice to certain activities using such a small form factor. All Apple would do in enabling that is to create a product that customers would not be happy with. They haven't done that in the past, why start now?
post #28 of 98
I seriously doubt Apple will want to make another eMate. That is to say, make a laptop out of the iPhone as they did with the Newton. I think they will need to come up with yet another GUI and input system separate from the Mac's and the iPhone's.

If it is a touch based tablet, I believe a bluetooth keyboard (and mouse) will also be sold as add-on accessories. This device will need to blur the line between a handheld and a laptop. There must be a physical keyboard to get any serious work done such as programming, writing, etc. And an on-screen keyboard for short text entries.
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #29 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmissimo View Post

If you want a complete computer system but compact and on the cheap, there are tons of companies delivering that as we speak, though obviously none of them run a Mac OS. Apple will not and should not take that path because the notion of trying to do some things on a 10-inch computer is misguided. You simply can't do justice to certain activities using such a small form factor. All Apple would do in enabling that is to create a product that customers would not be happy with. They haven't done that in the past, why start now?

So are you saying that if you want something with a small form factor, light and portable to edit photos- you're basically out of luck and should remain that way?
post #30 of 98
"Apple might be investigating the notion of some kind of netbook/tablet"


investigating was done at least 2 years ago! a project like this has been in development for at least that amount of time (example: iPhone)
post #31 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

Not going to happen. There is ONE version of OSX. There will always be ONE version of OSX.

My guess: no keyboard (external Bluetooth keyboards optional), basically an oversized, super-powered iPod Touch.

We have no idea what Snow Leopard will bring to the table. Besides, Macs come with special discs that only work on that family of Macs.

Maybe Snow Leopard will have touch support built in? Kinda like Windows 7. That way they can boast the idea that iTablet(?) can easily take advantage of both Win7 and Macs features. Just a thought.
post #32 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If they do 1B in a year (rounding up) and half are free and the other half average $1 (rounding down, I think) they make a gross revenue of $500M. Multiply that by 0.3 and they make a gross profit of $150M. Not bad.

(please adjust if any of the loose number are actually known)

Well there's no way the half that aren't free can average $1, since that's the lowest price. Probably safer to average $1.50.
post #33 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I wouldn't say I was "Bashing" anyone, and I do realize that Apple's first PowerBooks were among the workings of Sony, so was the Walkman, Discman, and Betamax. However, their PC's are just Windows machines, I do not see any real innovation there unless you can point some out.

The PowerBook 100 was designed by Apple and codesigned and manufactured by Sony... the real innovation with that model was moving the keyboard away from the front creating an area to put a trackball (and later, a trackpad) and creating a place to rest your wrists while typing. It was the first laptop to do so. Today EVERY laptop is designed and made this way.
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post #34 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

So are you saying that if you want something with a small form factor, light and portable to edit photos- you're basically out of luck and should remain that way?

No, he said get a netbook from someone else, not that you're out of luck. And I agree. A device that does that job well will never sell cheaply enough to sell high volume to be profitable And the high volume device will never be powerful enough with a nice enough screen.
post #35 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm not convinced. The market for a 10" notebook (not going to call it a netbook) seems considerably higher than that of a tablet PC, unless Apple plans to move into the business sector with its tablet.

Why can't it be both? Imagine a tablet with a slide out keyboard like some slider phones, or perhaps with a vitual semi transparent keyboard on the touchscreen itself that appears as an overlay as required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2

A touch-tablet *cannot* run full-on desktop OS-X

Well it can't for people with limited imagination. The iPhone was equally impossible until it was made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin

\t
Not going to happen. There is ONE version of OSX. There will always be ONE version of OSX.

Except for the versions that run on the iPhone and Touch.
post #36 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

No, he said get a netbook from someone else, not that you're out of luck. And I agree. A device that does that job well will never sell cheaply enough to sell high volume to be profitable And the high volume device will never be powerful enough with a nice enough screen.

And what device is that- that runs iPhoto and/or Aperture?
post #37 of 98
MacTouch? No keyboard? I sure hope not.

Don't get me wrong: I'm a very happy iPhone 3G owner. Apple's touchscreen implementation on the iPhone is impressively usable, but to be realistic, it's simply the least bad way to squeeze keyboard functionality into a tiny device. Once you have enough real estate for a proper physical keyboard, a touchscreen makes a lot less sense.

Existing netbooks, such as the MSI Wind series, do a very decent job with just slightly scaled down conventional keyboards that require very little compromise on the part of the user. I'd rather see something like a MacBook air but with the smaller 10" screen footprint and a more affordable SSD.
post #38 of 98
Talk about being one of the last ones to the game. I would have bought one of Apple's netbooks last month when I purchased mine if they actually had one. Where Apple will go wrong is if and when they create a netbook is their price point. They need to come in sub $500 and offer several screen size models.
post #39 of 98
Go, iNewton, Go!
post #40 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

Not going to happen. There is ONE version of OSX. There will always be ONE version of OSX....

Right. ONE version. Server. And Desktop. ONE version. I mean, two.

by optimized I just mean whatever is necessary for the touch stuff, not a whole additional version.
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