Apple CEO Cook: Ultrabooks are pretenders

Apple CEO Cook: Ultrabooks are pretenders

Summary: Apple moves to make the thin, light laptop market binary: You're the MacBook Air. Or you're not.


Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the company's latest MacBook Airs with more flash storage---up to 512GB---and a serious dig at the ultrabook market: "Everyone’s trying to copy it, but they’re finding it’s not so easy."

And with that statement, via CNET's live coverage (Techmeme), Cook threw down what amounts to a binary market for thin and light laptops: There's MacBook Air and everything else.

We all know the reality is different. There will be dozens of form factors gunning for the MacBook Air. Windows 8 will bring even more devices that will resemble the MacBook Air.

But here's the problem. All laptops will be ultrabooks at some point, but Apple will have its brand halo.

That brand halo is something enjoys in tablets too. There's the iPad and the pretenders. The competition in the PC market will be more difficult, but you can't blame Cook for positioning the MacBook Air the way he has. After all, I haven't seen one ultrabook review that doesn't mention the MacBook Air.

Topic: Apple

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  • Steve Jobs said the same thing about Netbooks before the Air too

    Of course, Apple is going to say that....until they come up with a nearly identical product with an Apple logo on it.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Um...

      The Ultrabooks are a "ripoff" of the Air already. Not sure what you're commenting on.
      • The Air is a rip off of a netbook

        Steve Jobs said there was no market for a MacBook Air.....until he manufactured it with pomp and circumstance.
        Your Non Advocate
        • ipad mini

          Didn't he also say that 7" tablets were "tweeners" and there was no market for them?
      • @facebook what are you talking about, netbooks had cramped...

        ... undersized keyboards, low powered etc.

        the Air is nothing like netbooks. Apple never went with into the netbook category which has collapsed.

        When the Air came out, the naysayers claimed apple was crazy, now they are all making inferior cut corners copies of it.

        (lol reading the other cmments all the haters posting here today with sour grapes. dudes not using a mac? you're using a retard version of the real thing. without apple PCs will still be command line MS Dos with no mouse... top PC writers like Dvorak said when Mac came out with a mouse.. NOBODY WILL DO REAL WORK WITH A MOUSE !!! lol ! )
        • OK, let's quit with the staw-manning. Let's get serious here,

          The PC industry has been copying Apple's designs and innovations since the industry's GENESIS. Touchpads? That was an APPLE innnovation! First went onto a PowerBook. Notebooks prior had used miniature trackballs.

          Moving thru the decades, there's built-in wireless networking (*THE*. FIRST mass-produced notebook computer to include a built-in wireless networking chipset was the original, clamshell iBook around the turn of the century), built-in webcams (the first mass-produced computers to include built-in webcams was the Intel MacBook ~2006), MacBook-sty-ERM I MEAN "chiclet" keyboards, internal hard-disk brakes activated by a motion sensor to protect the drive if the notebook is dropped (tho this one could've also easily been IBM...I just can't remember which one did it FIRST off the top of my head right now), notebook keyboard backlighting, whole-button trackpads as on the recent MacBook (which are starting to gain popularity), etc., etc.

          Pretty much damn near EVERY innovation in notebook computing was first done or conceptualized *BY* Apple! (...or IBM, after all, apple didn't invent the "Intellipoint" a.k.a. "clit mouse". lol!) ...and I love it!

          I fucking HATE Windows, tho. Linux is a FAR superior system, and tho 7 was far, FAR better than any other edition of Windows prior, it's still a rather pathetic piece of software that has convinced most people in the entire WORLD that computers are "supposed" to crash 3-4 times a day, when we were doing better with UNIX *40 YEARS* ago. I hate it, it was NOT designed well or at all, and it's performance is quite frankly, crap. Even with 7.

          I really DO like Mac OS X, tho...far, FAR up and away greater than even Win 7 (or even many Linux set-ups) is (which is why Vista ripped off many of Mac's built-in apps, remember, lol), it's a solid UNIX system (not a UNIX _clone_, but an actual UNIX derivation) running a solid, EXTREMELY performance-efficient OS running equally performance-efficient applications, and one thing you gotta say about Apple; just as they are masters of hardware design, so too are they masters of the "Graphical User Interface." It's GORGEOUS, and *EVERYTHING* on that screen, from it's normal use of only a single button mouse (macs DO have a right-click now, and had ever since Mac OS X 1st came out) has a scientific/sociological reason for its being...even down to the recommended guidelines for the standard placement of buttons! (Reading the thesis behind the counter-intuitive superiority of a single-button mouse to a dual-or-more button mouse is particularly fascinating.)

          I mean, it was again APPLE who first implemented and used video-card provided "3D Desktop Effects" when then gained MASSIVE popularity among Linux users/enthusiasts, and was eventually (poorly) copied by and for Windows 7.

          Now, tne thing I *ALWAYS* hated about Apple, tho, is that nothing at ALL was compatible. They were stuck on the PowerPC. Now they changed that in 2006 with their adoption of the Intel processor, and I fell in love with their computers! For a while there, it seemed, Apple was going to start making REALLY GOOD, essentially regular PC's just with a different OS installed by default, but once the iPhone came out, their business model around their computer business started to follow the iPads model.

          Like, Macs have a fucking APP STORE now. *roll eyes* *sigh*

          However, ALL that aside, the MacBook Air? ...IS FUCKING STUPID! I mean, you're paying _HOW_ much more extra than a regular baseline MacBook for *JUST* an SSD, LITTLE bit longer battery life, lack of an optical drive, a FRACTION of a pound of weight shaved off, .27 inches of thickness, and possibly even a SMALLER SCREEN, when the regular MacBooks are literally JUST as, if not more, computationally powerful, and can even be purchased with a built-in SSD (which a couple of years ago was EXCLUSIVE to the more expensive ~$2000 MacBook Air).

          Now, the ONLY, and I mean THE. *ONLY* way I could see that anything like the fucking "Air," (I guess the term's "Ultrabook" now) is if the use of optical discs and the drives that read them start to fall out of common use as has the PC "data cassette tape," which 30 years or more ago didn't used to be so rare, but is now only used by servers and data centers to hold LARGE backups.

          I mean, I can see where Apple might THINK that, with the INCREDIBLY quickly growing sizes of cheap, flash-based memory, but it'll still be a decade or possibly even 2 before the optical disc is phased out ENTIRELY...eventually things will move from DVD discs being the common, semi-permanent storage medium for mass data storage, to Blu-Ray, and from THERE _maybe_ onto purely flash-based memories (I personally can't wait until 32GB SD-style memory cards come down to about $10 and then, therefore, become that era's new "ZIP disk"), but NOT for a good while yet, at least.

          So the bottom line? The MacBook Air simply is *NOT* worth the cost relative to the regular MacBook (about $500-$800 extra) to justify the corresponding loss of features. You can buy SSD MacBooks JUST fine now...and they do so, SO much more (Like INSTALL APPLICATIONS OFF OF A DVD) for so, SO much LESS money.

          The Air is INCREDIBLY stupid and INCREDIBLY foolish! Not for some silly short-coming in its design or the actions of its competitors, but rather because when compared to the _rest_ of Apple notebook product line, you'd have to be damn near mentally retarded to buy an Air. You can get a Macbook PRO for that price! Naw, FUCK THAT!

          ...sorry, rant over. I just couldn't get over how there actually WERE legitimate short-cimings of the Air, but that all people could do was either MORONICALLY Apple bash and hate not knowing a goddamn thing about what in the Hell they are even trying to talk about, or "Apple fan-boys" (who can be JUST as bad) doing nothing but MORONICALLY, blindly sucking Steve Jo-I MEAN Tim Cook's cock and loving EVERYTHING they and the company ever done, said, or did, even in *China*!
          • blah blah blah

            All I see is blah blah blah blah blah de blah. The world is so mean and doesn't agree with my way of thinking, poor me I'm a manic depressive lunatic who hates to admit that something other than what they think is best, is actually best.

            So what if OS X is a UNIX (BSD, actually) based, it's STILL more insecure than Windows.

            Get your head out your arse, reread your post and think about how shit it is.

      • Air is NOT a netbook ripoff

        @facebook -
        What are you smoking? I have a Netbook (Dell Inspiron Mini 10v) and believe me when I tell you that the Macbook Air is in NO WAY a ripoff of netbooks. I have run XP, Win7, many falvors of Ubuntu Linux, and several versions of OSX on this hardware. The performance doesn't even come close to what an Air can do.

        If the Air is a ripoff of netbooks, then Bose stereos are nothing but ripoffs of classic Philco gear (look it up).
      • bs

        I had a very similar style Sony laptop. Also very thing, also very light and fast for the time it was made - circa 2004-2005. Saying that Macbook Air was the first thin laptop is like saying that iPhone was the first smartphone.
      • Though I find it ironic, Davewrite

        or maybe fitting, that the global marketing's guy name is Phil [b]Schill[/b]er :D

        For the rest of your reply. pretty much BS on your part. If I remember right, you where the one saying that small laptops were a waste, while others purchase small, thin laptops that didn't run OS X.
        I think I also remember you pointed to Apple's market cap as proof of that.

        Until the MBA came out, then it's all "I always said that a small LT was needed. Thank you Apple for inventing it...".
        William Farrel
      • "like saying that iPhone was the first smartphone."

        Well I wouldn't say that, but every smartphone OS that existed when the iPhone launched was scrapped within 4 years for something brand new.
      • Ripoff?

        I wouldn't call them a rip-off, more like an IMPROVEMENT! Windows runs circles around Apple. Not sure why consumers would want a dumbed down version of anything and that's what I see in Apple products. If I wanted an appliance i'd buy an appliance but I WANT A COMPUTER so give me an ULTRABOOK!
      • @use_what_works_4_U

        "If the Air is a ripoff of netbooks, then Bose stereos are nothing but ripoffs of classic Philco gear (look it up)."

        A very apt comparison. Bose is another company fond of pumping out overrated crap, that sounds NOTHING like the real thing. Sure looks pretty and shiny though!
      • "Give me an Ultrabook"

        You want one, then just go out and buy yourself an Ultrabook. Why even discuss the Air?

        To each their own.
      • Ultrabooks, Netbooks, Airs, who cares, give me a real laptop/notebook

        If you think about, Air is really a "version" of the "PC/tablets". Think HP 2710p (1st gen), Toshiba Toughbook or other tablet. Tablets like these were around before the air and iphone even. Yes thicker, due to limitations on physical drives. When SSD were introduced, most companies opt out to use as to the mast consumer market didn't like the idea of going form 250gb to 16 or 32gb. Now that the technology has allowed for a 208GB difference from 720gb SATA vs 512gb SSD, more consumers would be willing to make the jump.

        As far as the netbook comments. Netbooks, I thought, were 10" and smaller. As for people to compare the air to netbook is wrong. the smallest air is 11". To big to be classified as a netbook and the 13" air is to big to be classified as a tablet/notebook system. So if you are going to try an apples to oranges comparison you might wanna try a more closely type comparison... Yams to Sweet Potatoes. LOL! Yes, still different but a better comparison (11" air to tablets & 13" air to laptops/notebooks)

        Either way, Apple always trash talks the others when they finally get in the game or has a very minor update to their products. (ie: thunderbolt port) That like the cell industry. Others trash talking ATT about service because ATT had the iphone, now all other carriers have it (except poor tmobile) they stop the trash talking about ATT.

        Get the point... in the end, if you know technology, who cares about this or that. People like what they like and will buy what they like and in some cases regret the purchase later when they realize they are limited to whatever it may be or it wasn't what they though due to hype.
        Free Webapps
      • Are you clueless facebook?

        Having both in our house I can tell you that the Air is ABSOLUTELY not a netbook.
    • And the netbook market is now...?

      ...gone even from the remainders electronics house offerings. Steve was right. Tim is right. It's not just design and price. As Mac, iPad and iPhone systems converge, any remaining profits will be difficult to find. Without Apple's non-hardware profits, the hardware people go nowhere. And without control of the hardware and apps market, Windows 8 doesn't go very far, either. No one but Apple is in full control of their destiny.
      • And the netbook market is now...

        You could have said the same thing about IBM in 1985...

        Just because they have opted for "control" doesn't make them best, nor does it make them invincible. Windows of all recent generations succeeds simply because of the fact that it is a platform that provides others to opportunity to extend the functionality that is native to it, and does it in a way that the user can embrace without a lot of retraining. You can say that Apple does the same in the software side of the business, and that is true. But without the brand halo to which Dignan refers, they would lose the appeal of their closed hardware platform to much of their developer market, just as IBM did when they embarked on a backplane design that left nearly all of the external market behind, incurring the wrath of the enormous third party market that they themselves had wisely created. Apple will always be at the mercy of popularity - something it owns today, but which it may or may not lose in the near future. The market is about to release a generational onslaught, with the real possibility of greatly surpassing Apple's product in nearly all areas in performance and design. It is all up to Apple to either win or lose. They have the cache today. Whether they can keep it in the eyes of the consumer is another question entirely.
      • is !-> their

        1 != 2
    • You mean, with they non Apple manufacturers?

      It is of course precisely the other way around. Apple makes the design and set the standard. Than the likes of Dell, HP and all others try to copy it as well as they can and put their own logo on it. The problem is that those computers compare like an world class athlete (Apple) to a paralympic contender. By the way Apple makes no netbooks that is precisely the difference. Apple competitors know they have to compete on price and thus compromise.