Apple told Pegatron, one of its key manufacturing partners, to pick between the company or Asus, it has been claimed.

The China Times website reports that Apple was unhappy that Pegatron was manufacturing Asus' Zenbook, a ultraportable laptop built around Intel's ultrabook specification.

Apple considers the ultrabook design - and especially the Zenbook, the report claims - to be little more than a rip-off of the MacBook Air. It apparently told Pegatron that it could continue to manufacture the Zenbook or its own MacBook Air - but not both.

Pegatron, keen to keep other contracts it has with Apple - the iPhone, for one, and it is expected to pitch for at least some of the iPad 3 business - decided to plump for Apple, the China Times report claims.

Asus is apparently trying to keep news of the Pegatron snub hush-hush but will use either Compal or Winstron as its new Zenbook manufacturer, the report says.