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MacWorld rumblings: Expect a 11- to 13-inch screen on Apple ultra-portable

With Apple expected to deliver a new ultra-portable Mac at its Macworld conference Jan. 15 prognosticators are busy handicapping the device's features.

With Apple expected to deliver a new ultra-portable Mac at its Macworld conference Jan. 15 prognosticators are busy handicapping the device's features.

In a research note Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said that it's likely that Apple's ultra-portable Mac will carry a screen of 11 inches to 13 inches. Munster had anticipated a screen of 8 inches to 11 inches.

Munster said:

Although we were anticipating an "ultra-portable" device with an 8"-11" screen, our checks indicate the screen will likely be 11"-13." That said, we continue to expect the "ultra-portable" MacBook to be Apple's thinnest and lightest ever. It will likely be priced between the $1,099 consumer level MacBook and the $1,999 MacBook Pro. One contributor to the smaller form factor could be the use of NAND-based solid state storage. In Nov. Samsung introduced a 64GB drive, which we believe Apple would consider large enough to include in a new portable.

Munster also noted that the new portable could include touch technology similar to what can be found in the iPhone and iPod touch.

[Also see Jason O'Grady's analysis of Apple's notebook strategy.]

Other odds and ends leading up to Macworld (all posts):

Munster doesn't expect a 3G iPhone. Why? The second generation iPhone is likely to arrive in May or June. Macworld, however, could be used to up the current iPhone's storage capacity. UBS analyst Ben Reitzes, however, indicated that an iPhone announcement is quite possible.

Macworld is likely to be focused on Macs. Expect upgrades such as faster processors and increased storage on the current Mac lineup. Reitzes wrote in his preview:

We believe that momentum for Macs can continue especially as Apple releases more model upgrades and introduces new ultra-portable form factors. The Mac phenomenon should have a positive impact not only on CPU revenue, but also peripherals, software and overall company gross margins.

Reitzes upped his price target to $235 from $220 largely based on the Mac product cycle. Reitzes added that his checks show that Mac has largely skated through a consumer slowdown unscathed.

iTunes movie rentals are a jump ball. Munster puts the odds of Apple announcing movie rentals at 50 percent with a 90 percent chance by mid-2008.