Apple's much talked about - and much denied - entry into the netbook market has been given another rumour-mill boost with news from Far Eastern manufacturing sources.

DigiTimes reports, from news in the Chinese-language "Commercial Times" publication, that suppliers have been given orders for components, and the manufacture of, the Mac-netbook.

DigiTimes has it that Taiwan-based Wintek will supply the touch panels for Apple's new netbook, with shipments due to start in the third quarter this year. In addition, Quanta Computer is said to be the maker of the mythical Apple mini-notebook.

Whispers of an Apple netbook, or a touchscreen new "Newton" device have been doing the rounds for some time, and have so far yet to come to fruition.

Recently chief operating officer Tim Cook, who is standing in for Steve Jobs during his 6 month absence for health reasons, said that Apple is "watching that space" as far as netbooks go, but denied plans to produce one, stating: "We think the products there are inferior".

UPDATE: Reuters is now reporting from an unnamed source that the Wintek order is for 10-inch touchscreen, adding a nice dash of touch to the already juicy rumours.