5 things Apple could be doing with their new touch screens

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Now that the Internet is blowing out a kidney over news coming out of Asia that Apple bought up a bunch of touchscreens, I thought it might be nice to posit what Cupertino has in store for those babies.

The news came from Digitimes this morning:

“Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for. Wintek added that no shipment schedule has been worked out yet, but shipments are likely to begin in the second half of the year.”

The report then names Quanta Computer as the manufacturer “of Apple’s new netbook.” Here’s what we think could be happening.

1. HD iPod Touches – A bigger iPod Touch could be in the cards, especially with the move towards HD content in iTunes. Add in a bigger processor and you could be dealing with what amounts to a Newton 2.0.

2. Apple Netbooks – This is a bit hard to stomach simply because its not in Apple’s best interests to build a loss leader. However, given the popularity of the Mac Mini as a gateway Mac you could see a ~$500 laptop coming out sooner than later. Perhaps the touchscreen would allow for easier interaction, something important for a smaller-sized laptop?

3. A touchscreen MacBook/MacBook Pro – This is a considerably harder to accept. What could Apple do to the interface to make a touchscreen a compelling addition? Unless it was a convertible tablet it sounds far-fetched.

4. An Apple Tablet – Apple doesn’t do something until it knows it can do it well – and then it owns the space. Perhaps the time is ripe for a MacBook stuffed into a tablet. There are many markets where tablets are popular and offering something as thin and light as the air but with no keyboard might make sense especially due to the commoditization of netbooks.

5. Everyone is wrong – This is the most likely scenario. OEMs don’t want to piss off Apple. For Wintek and Quanta to admit they’re building hardware for Apple takes a lot of balls or a lot of stupidity. In Apple’s world, loose-lipped OEMs usually get the beat down and Apple can’t afford to mess up the launch of a low-cost netbook because it would cannibalize the sales of their current wares.

What think you?

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