Shaw Wu, of American Technology Research, said that "Apple would like to introduce the product in the second half [of 2007] to further capitalise on its strong MacBook growth", according to media reports.
The new ultra-mobile device could be classified as a "sub-notebook", and would use Flash memory chips for storage and a stripped-down version of Mac OS X similar to the iPhone's, according to Wu.
The analyst said that the high cost of Flash memory chips in comparison to hard disk storage could limit the number of devices Apple introduces. Flash memory currently costs nearly eight times as much as hard-disk storage.
Apple uses Flash memory for storage in its hugely successful iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle portable music players.
Flash memory-based hard drives in notebooks offer superior performance and shorter boot times than conventional hard drives. The chips are also smaller and consume less power.
If Apple plans to be the first company to introduce a commercial notebook based entirely on Flash memory, it will have to hurry.
SanDisk made a 32GB notebook Flash storage drive available to manufacturers in January, and expects Flash-based notebooks to hit the market by July.
Apple did not return a request for comment from www.vnunet.com.
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