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Taiwan firm wins iMac notebook contract

iBook to ship "in second half of year", says Apple Taiwan

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Taiwanese PC builder Alpha Top Corp. is to build Apple's upcoming iBook consumer-oriented notebook, according to reports in the Far Eastern Commercial Times. The deal is part of Apple's plan to increase the number of Macs manufactured by third parties on its behalf. Earlier this year, the company signed a massive deal with Korea's LG Electronics to outsource all iMac production. That agreement saw the loss of 450 jobs at Apple's Cork, Ireland manufacturing facility as iMac production shifted to LG's South Wales plant. The Commercial Times report cited Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs as saying "he will increase the output of iMacs to account for 50 percent of the company's total within three years in order to maximize profits". The consumer machine already accounts for 20-40 per cent of the company's output, the paper said. As for the iBook, officially known only by its internal codename, P1, the paper cited sources who claimed the iMac-styled notebook will ship for under $1500, only a little higher than the iMac itself. Interestingly, Apple Taiwan representatives confirmed fears that the iBook's release is being delayed: it will ship in the "second half of the year", they said. That suggests a summer release like last year's August iMac launch -- just in time for the autumn school term, a key factor since Apple hopes to sell the device into the education market as a kind of electronic exercise book. ®

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