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Excited chatter in the techosphere and Apple fansites has been hitting fever pitch. The reason? Apple has issued a scathing critique of existing netbooks and an outright denial that it is about to launch a pocket PC of its own. But, as seasoned watchers of the doings of Jonathan Ive and co know, this is anything but a guarantee that the netbook market will be Apple-free.

In fact, the last time a similarly strongly worded statement arrived from Apple was when it denied the company was planning a move into the mobile phone market. And look what happened there. As a result, we’re now so sure that an Apple netbook offering will appear that we’d stake our shirt on it.

Whether the device would form part of Orange’s mooted mobile broadband-embedded laptop deals is another matter. But if we were in Orange’s shoes we’d be insisting on it.

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