Netbook from Apple next month? Don't bet on it!

Netbook from Apple next month? Don't bet on it!

Summary: The big story in today's hot sheets is that Apple might announce a netbook next month. Don't bet on it!

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The big story in today's hot sheets is that Apple might announce a netbook next month. Don't bet on it!

The origin of the story seems to be this piece on Computerworld:

Apple Inc. will introduce two netbooks at the MacWorld Conference and Expo next month that will be tied to the company's App Store, as is its iPhone, an analyst said today.

"I don't have any inside information," said Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research Inc., as he spelled out his take on Apple's next hardware move. "This is just by triangulation."

Citing evidence that included the gloomy economy, climbing sales of the least-expensive laptops and comments CEO Steve Jobs made in October, Gottheil said Apple would show a pair of netbooks at January's conference, then as it did two years before with the iPhone, put it on the market midyear.

"They like to have a big surprise at MacWorld," Gottheil said. "They don't need to have one, but they like to."

So this whole brouhaha is based on little more than speculation (or triangulation, which I take to be a hip word for guessing), and to me it seems highly unlikely. Here are some reasons why:

  • Just as with the "$800 MacBook," any big shift in pricing would likely cannibalize sales elsewhere.
  • Netbooks is a highly competitive market centered around price (low price). That seems like a very unlikely market for Apple to enter into.
  • Is Apple ready to start destabilizing iPhone sales by releasing the "next big thing?" I don't think so.
  • Isn't the MacBook Air Apple's answer to the netbook?
  • What's the profit margin on a cheap netbook? I can't see it being anywhere near the 30% that Apple is used to. I can't see Apple bothering with a product that offers razor-thin margins.

What do you think? Is an Apple netbook on the cards? Would you buy one? Anyone else want to try some triangulation?

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Enterprise Software, Laptops, Mobility

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16 comments
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  • unlikely...

    i think they'd introduce a mini-tablet (or super iphone, if you will) before a netbook.
    lostarchitect
  • I swear this is the 100th Apple netbook speculation post on ZDNet alone...

    What's up with this? Apple only sells to the elite, the elite do not buy cheap. Let it go already.
    T1Oracle
    • I am far from elite....

      Live in a one bedroom apartment. Basically no more than
      three rooms realy one being a bathroom. Drive a 1989
      Honda Civic purchased with cash. Use energy efficient
      lights to save on electricity. No I'm not elite but I do own a
      Mac cause I see value in the purchase.

      I don't know what the value is in a netbook? Is its selling
      point that it is cheep?

      If I were to do mobile computing and I wanted cheep I'd do
      an iPhone or maybe iTouch. Its ultra portable and because
      of that I see laptops in general as rather bulky for my
      needs/wants. But so far I'm not into the whole mobile
      computing concept. I have a 24" iMac at home which I use
      as a computer system and entertainment system including
      as my TV.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Jim - A Netbook's Good As a Second Bangaround PC

        I wouldn't use one for heavy-duty computing or storing anything important - but for picking up e-mail or Web surfing when my main system isn't conveniently located, or taking on the road as my wife does (she also uses OpenOffice for writing on it), the Linux ones work great because they're light, portable, durable (especially if you don't have a spinning hard drive installed!) and inexpensive.

        Its sole selling point is [i][b]not[/i][/b] that its "cheep", but that it's small and cheap enough not to be a life-altering experience if you lose or break it, but just big enough to work on - which an iPhone or any smartphone isn't, really.
        drprodny
  • Turn the iPhone into a Netbook

    Attach a keyboard and add some office-type apps
    justit1234@...
  • Who said Netbook need to be cheap?

    How about $2000 NetBook from Apple?
    Dealing
    • already have one

      http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=macbook+air+price&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&cid=15208152194192709192&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&resnum=1&ct=result#ps-sellers
      eggmanbubbagee@...
  • RE: Netbook from Apple next month? Don't bet on it!

    Apple will absolutely put out a netbook, the market is too big to ignore. I would guess within six months, mayne announced at MacWorld. It will be higher priced than other netbooks, maybe in the $500-700 range, and OS X will be enough of an advantage to sell it at a higher price point.

    About the only way they can screw it up is if Steve Jobs continues his obsession with huge screens, a MacBook Air is light, but NOT small.
    bdegrande
  • RE: Netbook from Apple next month? Don't bet on it!

    So you're asking Apple to rebunk everything Jobs said Jan 08
    when the Air was introduced?
    justit1234@...
  • One Data Point In Favor of an Apple Netbook

    I couldn't wait any longer for one, so I bought a 13"
    Macbook as a replacement for my cherished 12"
    Powerbook. I think this pretty much outweighs all the
    evidence against, so it is safe to say that Apple will release
    a netbook in January.

    Paradoxically, if I had put off my purchase and waited for
    the netbook announcement, there would be no netbook
    announcement.

    As supporting evidence, I'd like to point out that I washed
    my motorcycle last week, just before torrential rains.
    Marcos El Malo
    • clearly...

      you are in the same "luck bracket" as me.
      lostarchitect
  • RE: Netbook from Apple next month? Don't bet on it!

    In my opinion, Macboook Air is the answer of Apple to Netbook phenomemon. Macbook Air does not have any optical drives, 1 USB and 1 audio jack and nothing more.

    I think if Apple can pull down the price of Macbook Air around $600 to $800 bracket then that is the time we can call it a full-plegde netbook.
    erichmercado
    • If Apple COULD, erich, I'd Buy One Now!

      Obviously a $600, or even $800, MacBook Air would go a LONG way towards making such a limited device worth buying - though I would point out that the EEE PCs and most other Netbooks have multiple USB 2.0 ports and flash media slots (neither of which the MBA possess). But I can't see Apple doing that - not without making the MBA so low&slow that it wouldn't even run OSX effectively!

      Apple makes quality boutique computers - and charges accordingly for them. A "cheap Apple" would be akin to a Tolerant Mormon or an Honest Republican - a Universe-bending event of such proportions that the fabric of Time & Space itself would warp and snap....
      drprodny
  • Leaked Memo Could Prove IPhone Will Sell At Wal-Mart

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/155667/rumors_build_on_walmarts_iphone_plans.html

    11 days til we find out if it's true or not...if it is...watch out!!
    itanalyst2@...
  • MacBook Air definitely NOT a netbook!

    I'll go out on a limb and assume that a netbook is
    supposed to be lightweight in capacity and functionality,
    not just in weight. AND not a professoinal - level
    computer.

    The MacBook Air seems than a MacBook from last year
    (even though it's the same processor) and has been my
    favorite because it's exactly what I need. (it's probably my
    12th Mac since 1985).

    I don't believe I would ever be in the netbook market.
    Windows at $200 is still Windows and no thanks on Linux.
    I've tried it twice in the last 3 years and just couldn't get
    excited about it.
    mlindl
  • What's a netbook?

    According to Wikipeida a netbook is "A netbook is a light-
    weight, low-cost, energy-efficient, highly portable laptop
    suitable for web browsing, email and general purpose
    applications ? primarily noted for its small form factor.
    Netbooks typically have less processing power than full-
    featured notebooks and limited ability to run resource-
    intensive operating systems."

    That's a pretty limited purpose machine and my iPhone
    does most of that.

    No, Apple won't do a netbook anytime soon. Why?

    A netbook will be interesting to them only if they can bring
    something really new and paradigm-changing like they did
    with the iPod and the iPhone.

    I look for them to get more into the social networking
    thing.
    mlindl