Speculation about an Apple netbook has been floating around for months. Even though the company has denied interest in producing such an inferior device in the past, the rumor mill is once again running in full throttle as China-based Commercial Times reported today that a company called Wintek will supply the touch screens for an Apple netbook while regular partner Quanta handles manufacturing.

No technical details are mentioned but Wintek says it expects shipments to begin in the third quarter this year. Considering that Apple's cheapest laptop runs for $999, the company's alleged netbook should be priced somewhere south of that, perhaps in the $699 range. One has to wonder, though, if a cheap netbook would do more harm than good the MacBook brand and price premium associated with it - especially with the line between netbooks and entry level notebooks getting increasingly blurry.

Apple is known for making good laptops, but not inexpensive ones, leading some to believe that the company might instead be working on a scaled up version of the iPod touch. Personally, I will take all this with a large grain of salt until there is more evidence of such a product or an actual announcement is made.