News Bits: MacBook Sales Boost Asustek, Unified Display Interface, OS X Leopard Rumors, Dell Places 2007 Orders with Asustek

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Sales of Apple MacBooks boost Asustek’s shipments

Apple’s Core Duo-based MacBook has had stronger sales than expected. Monthly shipments of the 13.3″ notebook from Taiwan-based Asustek Computer totaled about 120,000 units in June, up from 100,000 when the notebook was first produced in April.

Shipments will continue to increase in the second half as Apple’s competitive pricing for MacBooks will continue to stimulate demand. For all of 2006, Apple may deliver two million iBook and MacBook laptops in addition to one million MacBook Pro notebooks, the sources estimated. If realized, Apple’s notebook sales in 2006 would represent a 39% increase from the 2.16 million units shipped in 2005 as estimated by IDC (International Data Corporation), the sources indicated.

Other sources estimated that Asustek’s shipments of MacBooks reached 300,000 units in June, from 200,000 in May and 100,000 in April. Asustek declined to comment on the reports. The sources also said that Apple may expand its MacBook family by introducing a 15.4″ widescreen lineup, but the market expects Apple to launch 12.1″ and 14.1″ MacBooks to replace similar iBooks.

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Unified Display Interface nears release

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DailyTech had an opportunity sit down with Silicon Image and ask questions about the upcoming UDI (Unified Display Interface).

There are several digital interface standards being introduced; DisplayPort, HDMI, and UDI. Silicon Image supports UDI and HDMI. They say that UDI has a ‘special place’ on the market, and addresses a key issue affecting many companies: cost and compatibility. UDI does not compete with HDMI, and is backwards compatible with HDMI and DVI. UDI deals with cost by redesigning the current DVI standard.

Today’s standards for digital displays is DVI – however, the cost for integrating a DVI interface is too high, especially for PCs. UDI makes it possible that the necessary extra silicon can be integrated into a chipset without adding any significant die-size increase. Intel agrees that integrating DVI is too expensive; the company stated “UDI is HDMI optimized for the PC.”

Silicon Image is not part of the DisplayPort group, which makes the situation even more intense. Director of marketing for Silicon Image, Joe Lee, says:

“There’s nothing that DisplayPort can do that HDMI or UDI can’t do and can’t do better. UDI is DVI done right.”

UDI is already ahead of DisplayPort by a long shot in key areas: cost, compatibility, ease of integration and ease of use. UDI is expected to be finalized at the end of this month. Silicon Image expects manufacturers to pick up the new interface immediately.

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Windows 98 and Millennium to no longer have support

The day has come – on July 11th, Windows 98 and Millennium will no longer be supported. Microsoft has been expected to stop supporting the antique operating systems for some time, but an actual date wasn’t certain of until now.

Security Vendors are also following suit and are phasing out support for 98/Millennium. According to the Washington Post, 13% of Microsoft’s customers, or about 70 million people, still use the two operating systems.

Fortunately, Win98/ME users already have security of sorts – that is, security through obscurity. Most malicious code will not run properly on those systems.

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Apple OS X Leopard rumors abound

Until Leopard is released in August, all we have are the rumors for company:

  • Apple will take aim at Parallels and introduce an integrated virtualization system
  • iChat will do VoIP and will be able to call landlines
  • Apple will develop a desktop mapping application, similar in form to Google maps
  • Finder to go solid meta, get tabbed interface

And some others are simply ridiculous. More here.

Asustek gets new widescreen 2007 notebook order from Dell

Dell is expanding its relationship with its new notebook contract supplier, Asustek Computer by adding a 14.1″ widescreen notebook order to its existing orders for 2007, according to Commercial Times. Asustek declined to comment on the report.

Asustek has previously only secured one order for Dell, a 17″ model being used to test new markets. Research estimated that Asustek may account for less than 10% of Dell’s total contract orders in 2007.

Quanta’s shipments to Dell accounted for 55.5% of the vendor’s worldwide notebook shipments in 2005, according to DigiTimes Research, which anticipates that the contribution to Dell for 2007 should remain similar. Compal Electronics and Wistron, respectively, will contribute 30% and 10% to Dell’s full-year shipments next year, DigiTimes Research indicated. Asustek, which reportedly beat Samsung Electronics to become Dell’s fourth contract maker for notebooks, will only begin fulfilling its small contract orders for Dell from next year, said DigiTimes Research.

Asustek currently fufils orders for Apple’s MacBook, as well as customized orders from HP and Sony. According to IDC, Asustek’s worldwide notebook shipments skyrocketed 92% on-year in Q1 2006, while Sony’s went up 45%.

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Apple bumps Macbook configs

Apple has added two new out-of-box MacBook configurations, supposedly available at retail locations immediately. AppleInsider reports a new white version gaining equal standings with its darker counterpart, with a 2.0GHz Core Duo, 1GB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive for $1,449. That’s the same price as it would be to configure a stock 1.83GHz WhiteBook with the same options, so the processor upgrade is essentially free.

The “MacBook Ultimate” is a BlackBook, also with a 2Ghz Core Duo and 1GB of RAM (in place of the stock 512MB) for the same price you’d pay to configure it yourself online, $1,599.

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