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

The big story in today's hot sheets is that Apple might announce a netbook next month. Don't bet on it!
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

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?

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