A report today in DigiTimes claims that both Apple and Asustek Computer have reduced their notebook outsourcing by 20-30 per cent for the fourth quarter this year.

The report comes from Chinese-based newspaper The Commercial Times, that reports on the impact the move will have on the two vendors main OEM parterns Quanta Computer, the Taiwan-based company believed to be responsible for building Apple's new unibody-based MacBooks Pegatron, who build Asus laptops.

According to DigiTimes, the Chinese translation says: "Asustek has estimated notebook shipments in the fourth quarter this year will only reach 1.7 million units making it unlikely the company will be able to reach its annual shipments goal of six million units, noted the paper."

The paper did not have specific information regarding the number of unibody-based MacBooks ordered by Apple.

The order reduction may be a sign of the weakening economy, although it should be noted that Apple also uses other manufactures such as FOXCONN, who is believed to be making the £719 white notebook. An earlier report by DigiTimes (via: Chinese language site Apply Daily) claimed that Apple had ordered 300,000 to 400,000 units of the new white MacBook.

Is this a sign of a weakening economy, or is there something vendor specific to blame? Apple has come under considerable scrutiny for the high price of its new unibody-based laptops, which in the UK are an average between £100 - £200 more expensive than the models they replace.

If true, the report once again raises the question as to whether Apple's laptops are priced optimally for current market conditions.