But, I'm not buying that this week's single line in the BoyGeniusReport does in fact signal the arrival of a $99 Apple netbook.
Here's the line:
The $99 3G netbook will start selling this summer, and the first one won’t be a Windows OS.
Here's why it doesn't necessarily sound like a confirmation that the "$99 3G netbook'' that the source was talking about is going to come from Apple.
--Just because most of the rest of the report is about a new iPhone and its announcement ("around mid-June") doesn't mean the last line is.
--The fact that "the first one won't be a Windows OS" is an odd point of distinction. Apple of course builds devices on the Mac OS. Why not just say, the first one will be built on the Mac OS.
--The lowest cost alternative would be a netbook built on Linux or other free "open'' version of Unix (the Mac OS is a for-a-price variant of Unix).
--If it really is a $99 3G netbook from Apple, come right out and say it. The word "Apple" is nowhere associated with the description.
Besides, can you really imagine a $99 netbook from Apple? That would undermine its whole premium-pricing business model.
Of course, there really is no such thing as a $99 netbook. Dell and Acer each have promoted $99 netbooks. And that price always is bundled with something that costs a lot more. You can't just spend the $99 and get your netbook.
Dell promoted a netbook for $99 direct to Dell customers. But you had to buy another $898 or more Dell laptop to get it. Standing alone, the Dell netbook now goes for $249.
Dell and Acer each promoted a $99 netbook, in conjunction with AT&T. But in those cases, you had to commit to buying AT&T service for a couple years, at $60 a month (like when you first signup for an iPhone).
So the netbook actually costs the $99 buyer $1,540 over the two years.
AT&T just wants more devices tied into its network and is willing to subsidize the purchase.
In effect, netbooks and smart phones are the new "hot" descendants of cellphones.