Apple Building 'Netbook' -- Is This The 'iPod Touch HD'?

More support that Apple is working on what we’ve been calling the “iPod touch HD” — a touchscreen, portable Internet device that’s bigger than the iPhone: “Taiwan-based Wintek will supply touch panels for Apple’s new netbook, and shipments will start in the third quarter this year,” DigiTimes reports, citing the Chinese-language Commercial Times. DigiTimes also says that Quanta Computer will manufacture the new device.

While the DigiTimes report is not a smoking gun, it makes sense that Apple would be working on something between the iPhone/iPod touch and its Mac lineup. The netbook market — small, relatively inexpensive PCs — is exploding. And Apple’s multi-touch gadget platform has been a big hit. So a marriage of the two makes sense.

While the report refers to Apple’s gadget as a “netbook,” we don’t think Apple will make a device that looks like the miniature laptops that PC makers like Asus and Acer are selling. Apple executives have slammed those devices as cramped and useless, and they have a point. Rather, we think Apple (AAPL) will take advantage of its expertise in multi-touch screens and virtual keyboards to make a device that’s about four times the size of an iPod touch, selling for around $600 to $700.

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