Apple has employed Taiwan-based manufacturer Inventec to produce its newly announced digital-lifestyle product, iPod, reports claim.

A Taiwan publication called the Economic Daily News claims Inventec has received orders for 600,000 PDAs from Apple, with shipments beginning in the fourth quarter 2001. The PDAs were described as iPods in later reports.

Inventec's finance manager Lee Kui-Lan refuted the report, telling Reuters: "Several of our top executives met this morning and no one knows anything about winning Apple orders," he claimed. Another said: "We don't usually comment on order issues."

Falling in line with company policy, Apple Computer Taiwan issued no response to the reports.

Inventec shares benefited from news of the trading link, gaining more than one Taiwanese dollar in early trading on Friday.

Analysts remarked that the order effectively increases Inventec's business by approximately ten per cent: "Given Inventec's scale of over 1 million notebook PCs per annum, these orders are equivalent to 150,000-300,000 notebooks," Lai Li-chuan of Capital Management told AFX Asia News.

If the report is true, Inventec becomes Apple's fourth major Mac-product manufacturer in Taiwan. Quanta Computer manufactures PowerBooks, Alpha-Top makes iBooks and Hon Hai Precision Industries builds iMacs.