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Daily Rumor Update: Apple

With more of the speculative bits of information assembled, it's looking more like Apple (AAPL) has swung into gear on a netbook.

Apple has ordered 10-inch touchscreens from its iPhone screen supplier Wintek, according to a source in a Reuters story Wednesday. The news is the most recent string to be gathered in this Apple netbook yarn.

If the Reuters news is true, it would confirm earlier rumors reported this week that Apple has tapped its Taiwanese partners to supply and build a touchscreen netbook.

The dive into netbooks -- a surging market dominated by $300 simplified mini-laptops from outfits like Acer and Asus -- could be jarring for Apple and its stock.

Netbooks are popular devices at a time when consumers are pinching pennies. The problem, however, as Dell (DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) investors will tell you, is that the netbooks game is a race to the bottom from a pricing perspective.

Apple might spy an opportunity to sell top-tier touchscreen tablet-style computers, but the fear is that the presumably big price tag won't be an easy fit in the netbook cheapening trend.

As analysts have noted, Apple ultra-cool, luxury devices are not quite in tune with the steepening global recession and a flight to cheaper gadgets.

Consider it from slightly blunter angle. Consumers face an interesting choice: Buy an Apple computer, or buy four netbooks for the same price.

The economics aren't completely in Apple's favor, it seems.

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