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Briefly: LED in MacBooks, Numbers, iLife '07, iPod

A report claims Apple will use LEDs for backlit displays of future MacBooks. Meanwhile, some rather insipid iWork-related hints surface. And the latest NPD data on digital music player sales reveals the inevitable.

Rumor or whopper: Apple to use LEDs in next-gen MacBooks?

It's likely just another false alarm, but the folks over at DigiTime are dishing a new Apple-related rumor this week about LEDs playing the role of backlight sources in future MacBook designs.

The Taiwanese rumor publication cited "industry sources" in saying that US-based notebook manufacturers including Apple and Hewlett Packard are preparing to launch notebooks using LEDs as the backlight source beginning in the second quarter of 2007.

Aside from the one-off mention of Apple in the article's leader, further mention of the Mac maker is conspicuously absent from the six-paragraph report.

In recent months DigiTimes has become notorious for inaccuracies, the latest of which occurred last week when the publication cited sources in saying Apple had launched its first Taiwan-based retail store.

As it turns out, the store was nothing more than a clearly marked Apple reseller.

Strength not in 'Numbers'

Meanwhile, if Apple plans to finally introduce a spreadsheet component to its anemic iWork productivity suite during next week's Macworld Expo, it's unlikely to do so under the previously rumored "Numbers" moniker.

According to MacNN, the company's one time trademark application for "Numbers" has been officially withdrawn. "The only hope remaining for an iWork spreadsheet may rest with a rumored 'Charts' application, which was reported by some Apple enthusiast websites in July," the publication wrote.

Currently, iWork is comprised of only a presentation application called 'Keynote' and a basic word processing application called 'Pages.'

As has been reported by AppleInsider, Apple began development of a spreadsheet application at its Pittsburgh, Penn.-based offices in early 2005 —the same location where both Keynote and Pages are rumored to have originated.

iWork '07 and iLife '07 on Amazon

In somewhat related but otherwise flavorless news, online retailer on Monday added to its website placeholders for both iWork '07 and iLife '07. The bare-bones product pages allow shoppers to sign up to receive an alert when the products become available.

iPod stretches its lead

And finally, preliminary data from NPD Group shows that during the five-week period from Nov. 19 to Dec. 23, iPods accounted for 57.3 percent of all digital players sold at a select panel of electronics stores (not including Apple's own stores).

"Apple's share was up from 42 percent for a similar period last year," according to the San Jose Mercury "Milpitas memory-products maker SanDisk was No. 2 with 19.2 percent of units sold, down from 22.1 percent last year. Microsoft, which debuted its Zune player in November, came in fourth behind Creative Technology with 2.8 percent of the market. Creative had 3.4 percent."