Please tell me an actual Apple netbook is on the way

I've said it several times before: I want a netbook. An Asus Eee would be great, the HP MiniNote is a bit pricey but looks very slick, Dell's proposed netbook is still vaporware but worthy of excitement, and I'm still waiting for US OEMs to pick up on the Intel Classmate reference design.

I've said it several times before: I want a netbook. An Asus Eee would be great, the HP MiniNote is a bit pricey but looks very slick, Dell's proposed netbook is still vaporware but worthy of excitement, and I'm still waiting for US OEMs to pick up on the Intel Classmate reference design. I want something cheap and durable that can get tossed in a bag or even in the pocket of some particularly baggy and unprofessional cargo pants (or into students' backpacks or teachers' desk drawers).

I just can't get excited about any flavor of Windows (with the possible exception of Servers 2003 and 2008 since Active Directory is actually pretty easy to deal with and Group Policy is quite a usable tool), but since these little computers generally have some flavor of Linux available, I'd be content.

Of course, as regular readers know, my heart belongs to Apple. My MacBook is quite simply the best computer I have ever owned and OS X Leopard simply clicks for me. It may not be that way for everyone, but for me, I've never been more productive. The MacBook itself, at 5 pounds, is already fairly light, but I'd be in hog heaven if I could pick up a mini-MacBook around the $500 pricepoint, have the extra portability of a 2-pound form factor, and maybe even some slick multitouch trackpad and/or touchscreen lifting some iPhone technology.

So why do I bring this up? Because Apple execs made some not-so-veiled references to a new product today during a conference call with investors:

The tease came as Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, explained why the company expects its gross profit margin to drop from 34.8 percent in the three months ended in June to 30 percent in the next quarter. One reason is a promotion that gives free iPods to students who buy new Macs. But another is “a future product transition, which I can’t discuss today.”

The New York Times piece goes on to say

Apple is widely expected to be getting ready to refresh its line of notebook computers, and there is some speculation that it may introduce a new form factor of devices that are smaller than a laptop but larger than an iPhone.

Sure, these are just rumors and speculation for now (backed up by some educated guesses and strategic subterfuge from Apple), but an Apple netbook would certainly make it's way into my messenger bag and into the hands of as many students as I could afford.

What do you think?

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