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Friday, May 05, 2006, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

News Brief: Apple ramps MacBook production

Rumors that Apple Computer may finally be on the verge of introducing its first consumer Intel notebooks are true, AppleInsider has learned.

Development of the 13-inch widescreen portables wrapped up last month. Ever since, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been waiting for the signal from its marketing division to begin manufacturing ramp and rollout procedures.

According to well-placed sources, Apple began building the new notebooks — expected to be called MacBooks — sometime last week. It's believed that Asustek is handling production.

Each MacBook is expected to sport Core Duo processors from Intel Corp and pack novelties such as a completely magnetic latching system, built in iSight video camera, and MagSafe power adapter. Additionally, each MacBook is expected to come bundled with Apple's Front Row and PhotoBooth software applications.

People who have seen prototypes of the much anticipated Apple consumer notebook have described it as looking like a smaller version of the company's MacBook Pro, only clad in iMac white. There's also the possibility that the notebooks will be made available in fashionable hues, these people have said.

The 13-inch MacBook will succeed Apple's iBook line of notebooks, replacing both the 12- and 14-inch offerings, AppleInsider has been told.

An official announcement remains on track for "this month" with the possibility that Apple will hold a press conference to usher in the notebooks next Tuesday.