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Tuesday, December 04, 2007, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Apple validates 13-inch LED backlight units ahead of ultra-portable

Apple, which in January is expected to take the wraps off its slimmest and sleekest notebook in years, is reported to have placed orders for a new breed of 13.3-inch LED backlight units with production-ready quantities scheduled for delivery this month.

Citing "industry sources," Taiwanese rumor publication DigiTimes reports that Kenmos Technology and Taiwan Nano Electro-Optical Technology (Nano-Op) have both recently become suppliers of notebook-use LED backlight units (BLUs) for industry heavyweights Dell and Apple, with shipments to each supplier expected to soar in the near-term.

Specifically, Nano-Op is said to have already started shipping 12.1-inch notebook LED BLUs to Dell via AU Optronics, while its 13.3-inch LED notebook BLUs have since been validated by Apple.

"The sources disclosed that Nano-Op's LED notebook BLU shipments in November were only about 10,000 units, but Apple orders are expected drive up shipments to over 90,000 units in December," the report claims.

Of interest, DigiTimes notes that the component shipments to both Dell and Apple are "for high-end models," reinforcing assumptions that the Mac maker's upcoming streamlined notebook will fall somewhere between its existing 13-inch consumer MacBooks and its 15- and 17-inch professional MacBook Pro models.

Though often referred to as an 'ultra-portable,' the upcoming Apple notebook design was revealed by AppleInsider earlier this year to have been built around a 13.3-inch LED backlit display, rather than 12.1-inch display or one smaller. The 13.3-inch LED BLU orders mentioned by DigiTimes are expected serve an initial manufacturing ramp of the notebook early next year.

DigiTimes in its report added that Kenmos' shipments of LED notebook BLUs to PC manufacturers will reach an estimated 300,000 units in the first quarter of 2008. No expectations were listed for Nano-Op's shipments.

Apple is expected to use a keynote presentation by chief executive Steve Jobs on January 15th to introduce its new 13.3-inch notebook.