12/23/08
10:02 am

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.
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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comments: One Response to “Why Apple Won’t Be Making a Netbook”

      12/30/08 @ 12:52 am

      I just got around to visiting the site. MacMost videos on YouTube have become the first resource I search when wanting to learn more about the Mac.

      BTW, I agree with you and feel no need to have a smaller, underpowered, laptop.

      Regards,

      JL

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