Will Apple Come Out With A Netbook?

Over at the AppleInsider there is some speculation that Apple may be planning a netbook type computer. What is also interesting is that if a netbook is part of Apple’s plan, it could be in the sub-$500 price point. This in itself would be surprising since traditionally Apple systems have also been more expensive that their PC counter parts. But times are changing.

For those of use who were around in the 70’s and suffered through the high inflation, long waits in the gas lines, and who also expereinced the rececessions that followed, there is one thing we may all agreed with. It appears that this current recession [depression], is worse than what we have expereinced before. With this point in mind, higher end products may suffer from a lack of sales. People may hang on to their stuff longer to save a few bucks. The AppleInsider states:

The company has until now insisted on keeping its prices largely unchanged and instead has upgraded the specifications of its systems to maintain that price. That has kept its average selling price high but has also all but locked the company out of the entry-level and developing-world markets; these are now being joined by cash-strapped customers even within the US, making it that much less likely any of them will pay Apple’s minimum asking price. At $999, the least expensive MacBook is twice or more the cost of the most frugal Windows alternatives, Gottheil says.

Gottheil dismisses the notion of an artificial premium on Apple products, noting that they often compete well for the features, but is certain that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has reached a breaking point where perceived quality can’t override genuine financial woes from customers.

“It is too much to ask consumers to pay more than twice as much for a PC in these times,” the analyst says.

The article also states that:

Crucially, he also takes to heart Jobs’ assertion that $500 systems are typically “junk” and believes that Apple will price the system at $599. The figure would be just low enough to draw customers who would pass over the plastic MacBook but high enough to avoid the risk Apple’s co-founder perceives in dropping the price particularly low.

OK. How about a $599 Apple netbook? Will there be any takers?

Comments welcome.


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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • george

    dont they already have the macbook air?

  • Pingback: Will Apple Announce a Netbook? | UK Netbook Review - Compare, Review and Discuss Netbooks()

  • Jeff

    They do have the air, but it is far from a netbook.

    The problem with apple computers (realistically the only I can think of) is their need to keep all of their PC’s in the high end spectrum.

    We saw from the clone that was quickly shut down that it can be very cheap to make a mac computer, and a netbook would put them out there. I have been looking at netbooks for travel myself.

    a 600 dollar mac would draw in a lot of new customers, and may even gateway them to the larger more powerful systems. Many who are afraid of a new OS could learn cheap, and upgrade if they liked to a more full featured computer.

    Sadly, mac holds its place by identifying with the “hip” crowd, which makes them price high to follow the price line of trendy items.

    We can only hope.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Thanks for the comments. I think I would consider a Netbook to be something with a screen size 9″ or smaller. weighing in at about 2 lbs, using XP or Linux.

    Just my 2 cents. :-)

  • Ailurophobe

    I don’t think Apple will make a netbook in the near future. An iPhone fits in the pocket and a MacBook fits in the briefcase. A netbook doesn’t fit in the pocket and is not as capable as a MacBook. This is the company that has resisted demand for a xMac between iMac and PowerMac for years despite the fact of there being actual demand for one. They are not going to put an extra product between iPhone and MacBook unless it can deliver something in the user experience neither of those can. And being cheaper than MacBook and being able to run Flash or Java unlike iPhone just isn’t enough for Apple because…

    1. They don’t won’t to build cheaper Macs. Despite what analysts whine year after year entering an entirely new market segment that is already heavily competitive and has low profit margins is not a smart move. You’ll just burn up lots of money in development and marketing and never get a profit to show for it. So Apple will not build cheap PCs unless they do something others don’t do well so that they don’t have direct competition. They never would have built iPod or iPhone if there had been credible competition for quality of user experience at launch. (BTW, the reason copycat netbooks work for others is because they already had market presence in cheap laptops and no premium brand to protect -> much less cost to market.) Besides there is the ROI issue, Apple almost certainly gets better return for the money they would use on making a netbook if they spend it on developing the higher margin products they already have. Or new higher margin products. Returns from investing on a netbook would be at best low. People seem to think that low returns is better than no return, but Jobs probably thinks that he can get much better elsewhere. He has that kind of mind.

    2. Apple doesn’t want to run Flash or Java (or unmoderated apps of any other type) on small compact mobile devices. Not on iPhone and not on a netbook. Which kind of begs the question: what would a netbook do that an iPhone can’t do and still fit in your pocket and function as a phone? Apple might change its mind if Sun and Adobe came up with mobile profiles for Java and Flash that… worked kind of like AJAX already does… People seem to have trouble realizing this but in mobile devices less is better, anything that doesn’t do something that was impossible before is not really a feature, it is bloat that directly reduces quality.

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Thanks for the comments and for sharing your thoughts. It is appreciated.

  • http://www.mynetbookreviews.co.uk Netbooks UK

    of course Apple will come out with a netbook. I have heard reports however that it will mainly be an ebook reader

  • http://twitter.com/SourceBolt Muhamed Heljic

    MacBook is the lowest Apple should go in terms of spec in a portable PC device. They should consider dropping the price slightly, then that would attract more consumers. Would a MacBook with an aluminium body be going too far?