Why Apple Won’t Be Making a Netbook
Some rumors are going around that Apple will release a netbook next year. But there are many reasons why this simply won’t happen. The rumors are the result of wishful thinking by people who love the concept of a netbook and would naturally like to see one from Apple.
The MacBook Air already owns the lightweight MacBook space. And it is expensive. A $500 version of a MacBook would kill Air sales. And the Air is already a slow processor, no frills Mac, so what would Apple take away to drop the price more than $1,000?
Apple just doesn’t make cheap products. A netbook is a cheap product. It is meant more for geeks who can squeeze out the little bit of power from a netbook. But a casual user would just be disappointed in how slow a Mac netbook would have to be, and how small the screen would have to be.
Some have speculated that a Mac netbook would actually run an iPhone-like OS and not really be a normal Mac. But this is just a large-screened iPod Touch with a keyboard, isn’t it? That’s a good idea, but it isn’t a netbook. Netbooks run Windows (usually XP) which makes them so useful as you have a huge library of software available.
Getting back to the Air, I just can’t see Apple making 2008’s big announcement about the Air — a lightweight portable Mac, and then 2009’s big announcement about an even lighter weight, more portable Mac.
How about the plain MacBook? Apple seems to want to keep the lowest end MacBook at around $1,000. Twice the price of a netbook, sure, but you get a lot for that money. It is a pretty powerful little machine.
A netbook is a small ultra-portable laptop that is very inexpensive. A typical one costs less than $500 and weighs less than 3 pounds. They have very small screens and slow, energy-efficient processors. They are called netbooks because they are primarily for email and Web surfing, not for processor-intensive applications or development.
I love them too, and wish Apple would come out with one. But here is why they probably aren’t even considering it.
So don’t hold your breath for a Mac netbook. I’m sure Apple has a iPod Touch “plus” or “pro” as a prototype somewhere, and maybe that will emerge one day. But I think the only budget Mac that will be available for a long time will be the Mini. Look for an update to that in January.