Notebook maker dismisses Apple PDA rumour

No, we're not making 600,000 Apple gadgets, Inventec claims

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Taiwanese notebook maker Inventec has denied it has received an order from Apple to make 600,000 PDAs.

Claims that it - or, rather, one of its affiliates - had were made today by local newspaper The Economic Daily News. The paper said delivery would begin during Q4 this year.

Inventec does have an operation that produces PDAs, but according to the company's finance manager, cited by Reuters, "no one knows anything about winning Apple orders".

Inventec is one of a number of Taiwanese contract manufacturers who produce almost all of the World's notebooks, including those offered by big-name brands like Apple. Inventec is best known for producing Compaq laptops. In the past, Apple has favoured Alpha Top, GVC and Quanta.

So what's the source of the claim? Two possibilities present themselves. First, Apple has signed Inventec to produce iPod, its new MP3 player. It's due to begin shipping in the US in just over a week's time and in Europe later this month, tying in nicely with the Inventec rumour. If the figure of 600,000 units seems large, bear in mind that's an overall shipment, not the initial figure. That 600,000 machines could easily be spread over the whole of 2002.

The other option is that Inventec has been asked to produce PDAs, but not for Apple. A candidate is Palm, which was sniffing around a number of Taiwanese manufacturers earlier this year and may now at least be farming out production.

Interestingly, Apple has been the subject of similar rumours before. This past May, Alpha Top (see above) claimed that it was producing new iBooks with bigger screens and colour shells, a claim Apple quickly denied - something it doesn't often deign to do. And back in 2000, we heard that prototype PalmOS-based Apple PDAs were rolling off the production line at a Taiwanese contract manufacturer.

If they were, they haven't shipped yet, and such a rumour shows how confused these contract manufacturer-related claims can become.

And the fact that the iPod is based on a PDA/smartphone-oriented operating system, Pixo, developed by ex-Newton coders, will only fuel already fevered imaginations that Apple has a PDA in the works - which may even be the source of the Inventec rumour. ®

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