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Widescreen iBook rumours gain weight

Last fling for portable PowerPC-based product?

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Asustek, not Quanta, will produce Apple's upcoming widescreen iBook laptop Mac.

So claims a report in Taiwan's Economic Daily News, which adds weight to rumours published in April that the Mac maker is preparing a consumer-oriented widescreen notebook.

To date, Apple's widescreen offerings have been restricted to its PowerBook G4 line-up, but as demand for widescreen notebooks continues to grow at the lower-end of the consumer laptop market, it was always likely Apple would eventually ship a widescreen iBook.

In April, sources from Taiwan's contract manufacturer community claimed Apple had signed Quanta to make the 14in portable computer, with a view to a Q4 ship date. The claim was more plausible than earlier suggestions that Apple was about to announce PowerBooks based on the G5 processor. The company's shift from the PowerPC architecture to x86 chips suggests that any plan it might have had to produce a G5 notebook will not now come to fruition.

Today's EDN report claims Asustek beat Quanta to the IBook contract. Asustek already produces Apple's 12.1in iBook and PowerBook, and has been rumoured to have been selected to produce a larger, 15.4in widescreen iBook next year. Quanta builds a number of Apple's other PowerBook notebooks.

The iBook line was last refreshed in October 2004, while the PowerBook family had a makeover in January this year. ®

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