The Mac Observer

Skip navigational links

You're viewing an article in TMO's historic archive vault. Here, we've preserved the comments and how the site looked along with the article. Use this link to view the article on our current site:
Apple-Designed PowerBook Trackpad Spells Concern for Parts Supplier

TMO Reports - Apple-Designed PowerBook Trackpad Spells Concern for Parts Supplier

by , 1:40 PM EST, February 7th, 2005

In a research note sent to clients Monday, Bear, Stearns & Co. cautioned that Apple's relationship with trackpad manufacturer Synaptics, Inc. is possibly in question following last week's introduction of updated PowerBooks. Apple's new PowerBook line-up features a new trackpad that supports scrolling functionality, akin to the scroll wheel found on mouse and trackball devices.

According to Bear Stearns, the new trackpad is not being manufactured by Synaptics, which has historically been Apple's sole supplier of such devices. Synaptics trackpads have been featured in iBooks, PowerBooks, and iPods.

"There are a lot of unknowns but what we do know is that TrackPad is not Synapticss' solution, nor is it Alps Electric's, Synaptics main competitor," Bear Stearns analyst Andrew J. Neff said in the note, obtained by The Mac Observer. "Rather, it is a multi-ASIC solution that appears to have been developed by AAPL internally. However, keep in mind that we do not know 1) if there a change in AAPL's strategy and 2) whether this will lead to a change in strategy for iPod."

While Mr. Neff noted that PowerBook orders comprise only 2% of Synaptics' notebook trackpad revenue, the firm lowered its current year price target from $53 to $49 to reflect the possible changes in Apple's sourcing strategy. In Apple's most recent quarter, the company shipped 152,000 PowerBooks, 271,000 iBooks, and 4,580,000 iPods. Should Apple move its iBook and iPod lines to its custom trackpads, the effect on Synaptics bottom line could be significant.

Neither Apple nor Synaptics commented to Bear Stearns. Shares of Synaptics are trading down about 12% today, to $34.70.

Recent TMO Headlines - Updated October 28th

Thu, 8:04 PM
Jony Ive's Inside-Look Video for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Thu, 7:39 PM
ACM 382: How Pro Are the New MacBook Pros?
Thu, 5:53 PM
Apple Adds Support for 3 Video Codecs in Sierra and El Cap
Thu, 5:36 PM
Apple Releases Combo Updater for macOS Sierra 10.12.1
Thu, 5:06 PM
Apple Unveils Thinner MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Touch ID, More
Thu, 3:46 PM
Apple's 'Hello Again' Event Wasn't About the Mac After All
Thu, 3:25 PM
TMO Daily Observations 2016-10-27: Apple's 'hello again' Wrap Up with new MacBook Pro Models
Thu, 2:44 PM
Apple Commercial: 'The new MacBook Pro featuring Touch Bar – So much to touch'
Thu, 12:53 PM
Mac Observer Apple Keynote Live Coverage
Thu, 10:25 AM
Apple Retail Stores Set Stanchions Overnight, Hints at New Product Availability Today
Thu, 9:47 AM
Apple Store Offline Ahead of 'hello again' Media Event
Thu, 9:00 AM
Rotating Car Phone Stand: $13.99
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Apple Weekly Report
  • TMO on Twitter!