Please tell me an actual Apple netbook is on the way

Please tell me an actual Apple netbook is on the way

Summary: 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.

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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?

[poll id=72]

Topics: Software, Apple, CXO, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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29 comments
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  • mac as thin client ?

    Somehow I don't think so Apple will go the netbook route as they have prided themselves an premium quality notebook maker

    Still it would be great if they release a low cost netbook which is a thin client too

    Install the FREE rdp client and you can even run Windows apps on it

    http://www.aikotech.com/thinserver.htm
    ThinkFair
    • I agree

      I can envision some kind of netbook sold by Apple, but isn't selling a low cost and durable product against Apple policy?
      AndyCee
      • Nope...

        ... Low cost is relative and subjective (generally you get
        what you pay for).

        Durability is not a problem for Apple - I don't believe they
        would give up their pride to sell an inferior product.

        However, considering the price on the new iPhone, it
        appears that they are compromising a bit on the cost
        issue, so maybe they would be willing to go down a bit if
        they felt the potential market would justify the r & d...
        ladyirol
      • They don't like low cost low profit margins.

        The nearest thing is a mac mini which is sort of a way to get people to try a mac than something they have their heart in.
        deowll
  • OK, sure...

    The Apple netbook is on the way.
    Hope that helps. ;)
    D T Schmitz
    • Now that was funny...:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • What make you think...

    that Apple is interested by cheap netbook market ?
    If they ever decide to release a netbook like device, it will certainly be way more expensive than usual netbook and or be way more limited than traditional netbook.
    Don't forget that Apple sell either powerful/advanced tbut expensive tools or relatively cheap but very limited tools.
    timiteh
    • yeah?

      funny that Apples very expensive tools are usually feature for feature (or as close as possible) right around the same price as competitors...

      its funny how people can sit there and scream "but its not good, there is better.. but its not good there is better... its just all hype!!" about the iPhone and iPods... just like Mac users tried to do for so many years in Windows vs Mac topics. Some people just like using the 'little guy' and complaining about the 'big guy' and always convince themselves they are right.

      Don't confuse me with the facts! My mind is made up!
      doh123
      • dude...

        ...build a mac pro with 8Gb of RAM and a single core 2 quad processor. Price it against an Hp of similar cost. The mac is over 10 grand. The pc is just over 4. You can get a voodoopc with water cooling, dual graphics cards, just as much RAM, processing/graphics speed, and power running cooler and/or faster for that price.

        Mac's base units are comparable. If you customize them they are RIDICULOUS. For instance: 32 Gb of mac RAM is over 9000 dollars. 8x4 Gb. 9 grand. or 2 on newegg. So like... 7000 dollars to put it in the machine. Awesome. friggin' awesome.
        evilkillerwhale@...
        • dude... online shopping might enlighten you...

          ... the single core 2 quad on the Apple workstation with 8
          gigs of ram is $3,799 --- YES - Under 4. (NOT over 4 like
          the HP.)

          You are buying a "workstation" not the average desktop.

          You can up the system with 4 terabytes of storage and 16
          gigs of ram and 4 HD video cards and still not spend
          $7,500 dollars. I tried to match this at HP - could not even
          get the single quad processor, was limited to two video
          cards and spent over $12,000 dollars. I could up to the 32
          gigs of memory on each, but then they each went up
          $4,000. At the end of the equation, I would have an
          inferior HP product without the expansion capabilities for
          over $4,000 more in price.

          You obviously don't know how to shop or price. As for the
          memory being so expensive - we cannot blame Apple or
          HP for this one... They don't make the memory, they just
          resell it!!!
          ladyirol
        • not really...

          "quad core" doesn't mean anything... putting up a lower cost Core 2 Quad against a Quad Core xeon isn't a fair price comparison.

          also, HP, Dell, and Apple (as well as every other main name OEM out there) all drastically overcharge for RAM upgrades, as well as other upgrades... Its not just Apple doing that. You can buy that same memory for the Mac Pro much cheaper elsewhere and put it in yourself... just like you could on a WinPC. Just buy the newegg ram then and put it in yourself... not that you could, since your info is wrong.. Newegg doesn't even sell any of the right 4gb sticks that would work in the Mac Pro... Oh and I have priced HP and Dell workstations that are similar... you priced something much lower spec'ed
          doh123
  • RE: Please tell me an actual Apple netbook is on the way

    Using Apple's standard business model. Take 1 Eee PC, add OS-X, double the price and you have apple's new ultra-portable notebook.
    Scubajrr
  • if the macbook goes sub-1000

    if they sell the lower-end macbook for $999, there's no room for a lower-priced netbook. You'd be competing against the iPhone.

    a UMPC is the best bet - handheld, 5-7" screen, full OSX, probably all the iPod Touch guts inside plus a hard drive.
    coffeeshark
  • Don't Wait

    Just get an eee PC with Linux. My wife picked up one for me as an anniversary gift, and it's fantastic!
    MMiddleton
    • Maybe so.....

      However based on my years in the industry both as a
      technician and consumer I'm betting that while I'm sure your
      eeee PC is everything you say it is still Apple's product will be
      that much better.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE:Maybe so.....

        "it is still Apple's product will be
        that much better."

        No kidding.
        As if the iPhone is the paragoon of smartphones or the iPod is the paragoon of MP3 players.
        You really think that Apple can release a low cost netbook better than the Asus EeePC ?
        timiteh
        • Two points here....

          I honestly don't know much about that product.

          What I do know is this. Apple's product might not match
          feature for feature. That raw stats might not match but
          they way Apple puts the whole package together will more
          than likely be superior. It's a whole way of viewing a
          product. If you are a been counter and go for purely a raw
          features look the Apple product might not have much
          appeal to you. However if you appreciate design and a well
          thought out mix of features and the UI under the hood
          then Apple might win out.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • Congrats James, you've just outdone yourself!!

            [i]I honestly don't know much about that product.[/i]

            We now have James telling us that a product Apple hasn't announced yet is better than a product he knows nothing about! Does it get any better than that?! :)
            NonZealot
          • twist much?

            he said based on his experience he is betting Apples would be better... if they made one...

            Do you not understand what your saying he said is different...? Oh.. of course you do, you just like trying to be funny, no matter what it takes.
            doh123
          • RE:Two points here....

            "I honestly don't know much about that product."

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eee_PC

            As you are at that check these one as well:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspire_One

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSI_Wind_PC

            After tell us if Apple will ever be interested by producing subnotebooks with really low price(In Europe,up to 399 euros and down to 299 euros).
            The success of these tools is not related to their design,though the Aspire one has a great design, or to what make Apple succesful in developped countries.
            The main target of these tools are people who don't and will probably never buy Mac.
            timiteh