Rumor: 'MacBook Touch' in the Works

When it comes to Apple, it doesn't take much to set tongues a-wagging. A slim Steve Jobs at the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco last month has led to endless speculation about the CEO's health and perhaps, according to analysts, may have caused a stock dip.

Now, after a mention of a mysterious "future product transition" on an earnings conference call, bloggers, analysts and die-hard Apple fans are focused on dissecting exactly what new products the company may have been vaguely revealing.

The comments came during a conference call this week involving Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer that discussed the company's second quarter earnings. It was during that call that Oppenheimer reportedly mentioned the "future product transition, which I can't discuss today."

"We will deliver state-of-the-art new products that our competitors just aren't going to be able to match," he continued.

The brief, perhaps innocuous comment appeared on several blogs the next day alongside a rumor that analysts say has been floating around for years -- that Apple would debut a touchscreen laptop.

Many die-hard Apple fans told ABCNews.com that they were excited by the prospect of a touch-screen anything from Mac.

"I would buy it in a heartbeat," Matt Vreeland, a doctor in Pinehurst, N.C., said in an e-mail to ABCNews.com. "I have used Apple products since entering college in 1985 [the original Mac] and never regretted it. Every time I stray, I realize how well-designed Apple products remain."

Thom Rouse, a graphic designer based in Trenton, N.J., said he would definitely buy a Mac tablet.

"When I go to make a purchase, they're my first consideration -- maybe my only consideration," Rouse said in a phone interview.

Todd Mason in Los Angeles wrote: "It's not so much a fad as a reality. The products are simply better and more people are discovering that fact."

The rumor of "MacBook Touch" appeared on the blog MacDailyNews, attributed to an anonymous tipster.

"Think MacBook screen, possibly a bit smaller, in glass with iPhone-like, but fuller-featured Multi-Touch. Gesture library. Full Mac OS X," the tipster wrote.

Several more widely read blogs, including Gizmodo.com and a Wired magazine blog, Gadget Lab, picked up on the story and the viral spread began.

But rumors about an Apple "tablet" computer, or a touch-screen laptop without a keyboard, have circulated for years, according to Arnold Kim, the founder and editor of MacRumors, the most widely read Mac blog. (Kim recently quit his six-figure job as a doctor to continue his six-figure job as the site's editor full time.)

"I put very little credence in that. The way it was written out was a tip. They have no confirmation," Kim said. "We get a lot of random tips and it's hard to take them seriously."

This also isn't the first time that more legitimate media has reported on the coming of a tablet computer from Apple.

"People are still sort of keeping an eye on that, and Apple's vague hints kind of get everyone excited again," he said. "I think there is a tablet in the works, but it's a question about when the market will accept it. ... Some people don't see the need for it. The hope that strong Apple fans have is that Apple will do it in a way that will make it more useful."

That sentiment was echoed by more than a few fans who wrote e-mails to ABCNews.com, citing finger smudges and lack of a keyboard as an argument against such a potential product.

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