U.S. consumer electronics giant Apple Inc. is expected to unveil a new laptop in its MacBook series at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) scheduled for June 11-15 in San Francisco.
Taiwanese high-tech industry analysts said the New MacBook could be even lighter and thinner than the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro now on the market.
The New MacBook line may include a 13-inch entry level model priced at around US$1,200, with options for either a solid-state drive or hard disk drive, the analysts said.
Moreover, they added, the New MacBook series will be equipped with the highly advanced Retina Display feature and longer battery life than Apple's current laptop lines.
Local media reports also said Saturday that Taiwan-based electronics assembler Quanta Computer Inc. has arranged a work schedule that would ensure delivery of the New MacBook laptops in the third quarter of this year.
Industry insiders said the launch of the New MacBook series could ramp up the race between Apple and Wintel in the notebook arena as a new generation of ultra-slim laptops, known as "Ultrabooks," is also expected to debut in the second half of the year, running Intel's new core processor and Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.
Citing a post on the technology website The Verge, local industry analysts further said Apple has successfully patented the wedge shape of its MacBook Air laptops.
"This new development could be a new threat to Ultrabooks as some models unveiled recently feature a wedge shape similar to Apple's," an industry analyst said.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the stiff competition in the laptop world and possible effects on local OEM/ODM suppliers:
Economic Daily News:
Taiwanese OEM/ODM makers in the Apple supply chain, including assembler Quanta, casing makers Foxconn and Catcher, connector maker Cheng Uei, battery makers Simplo and DynaPack, thermal modules supplier Hungtron Technology and input device maker Sunrex Technology, all posted sales gains in May.
Among them, Simplo and DynaPack saw their monthly sales hit new highs and Hungtron posted its second-highest sales record.
Market analysts attributed the remarkable sales growth among companies in the Apple supply chain mainly to the enduring popularity of iPhones and iPads, but also to Apple's plan to launch new laptop and desktop models.
Industry sources said Apple will unveil a new laptop series alongside upgraded versions of its MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and desktop models, at the upcoming Apple software developers conference.
According to Apple supply chain sources, Apple had asked for delivery of components and parts for its new laptop models since the beginning of the second quarter.
Sources close to Apple's laptop assembler Quanta have forecast that the new Macbook model could hit the market as early as July.
On the other hand, the Wintel camp has also stepped up promotion of of the merits of its new generation of Ultrabook and tablets, with senior Intel and Microsoft executives traveling to Taipei to take part in the just-concluded Taipei Computex.
Industry insiders said they expect a direct face-off between Apple and Wintel laptops in the coming months.
Companies in the Wintel supply chain could face new patent disputes with Apple, as the United States Patent and Trademark Office reportedly has granted a patent to Apple for the MacBook Air's wedge shape, industry analysts said
According to some analysts, HP's Envy Spectre and Asustek's Zenbook UX31 Ultrabook models sport MacBook Air-like wedge shape. (June 9, 2012).
United Evening News:
Market analysts said "Apple concept" stocks are likely to rally further in the coming months as Apple CEO Tim Cook will unveil iPhone 5, iPad Mini and new notebook models at the WWDC that opens Monday in San Francisco.
Shares of local manufacturers of display screens, including TPK, Largan and Radiant, also stand a good chance of surging to new highs since the new MacBook series will feature a sharper display screen, and other laptops such Ultrabooks will sport touch screens, foreign financial institutions forecast. (June 9, 2012).
(By Sofia Wu)