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Why no Apple Netbook?




One of the things that people expected from Apple during the recent announcement was a netbook. A mini Macbook Air would have been a game-changer in the netbook wars. It never came out.

Steve Jobs himself, when asked about netbooks, said “that’s a nascent market that’s just getting started.


apple netbook

On the other hand, I have some idea why Apple hasn’t joined the netbook market.

  • An Apple Netbook will ultimately kill the Macbook Air. The netbook will become the lightest Apple laptop that will diffuse the attractiveness of the Macbook Air — small and light. The netbook will naturally have an Intel Atom 1.6GHz which is indistinguishable from the Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz of the Macbook Air to most people.
  • Apple will be forced to enter the $400-$600 price-point for the netbook, something that would be very hard for them to develop given the somewhat expensive manufacturing process they employ. The Mac OSX alone costs $150. In comparison, the 32GB iPod Touch alone costs $399. If Apple price the netbook near the $800 range, it could also eat away the $999 Macbook market.
  • Apple maybe looking into other form-factors — something in the line of the rumored Mac Tablet (or that networked HDTVs). They might be pre-occupied with that to look into the netbook market.

What do you guys think? Can Apple squeeze in a netbook in its laptop lineup?



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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12 Responses

  1. Aldrin says:

    i think their real concern is the price. netbook is way too low-priced and they can’t afford it.

  2. jhay says:

    I think it’s the price too, it’s too cheap for a Mac. ;)

  3. vance says:

    ahem.. cough.. isn’t macbook air their “Netbook”, hehehe.. although pricey, for them its their own version of netbook (high class netbook)..

  4. kouji haiku says:

    i think i read somewhere, engadget maybe, that apple wanted to get into the sub-$1,000 range, but it didn’t want to dilute its upscale brand image, by offering something that was too inexpensive.

  5. paul says:

    ‘coz apple caters to the “i’m different & i can afford it” market. why would they allow us cotton-picking peasants to own one?

    hehehe… sour-grape mode today…

  6. jo3l says:

    apple is not for mass and ph is not their target market

  7. Obed says:

    They just can’t, if they will make a netbook:

    1. People will switch to netbook, Air will loose income

    2. Price will be small, so Macbook will loose income too

    3. They can’t afford to sell those netbook from $200 – $500 max.

    4. If they will sell it @ $600 there are a lot of netbook that has a greater specs than they can offer.

    6. If they will sell it @ $300 you must get a contract @ AT&T for 2 years with a $50 monthly fee. Just kidding hahaha

  8. IMO, Mac air is basically just a net book minus the standard net book form factor.

  9. J says:

    That means that it isn’t a netbook…

    The MBA is definately not classed as a netbook, IMO. It’s 13.3″ for starters and that price, oh the price.

    I think Apple hasn’t entered the market because firstly, when the market activity started to pick up (early 2008), Apple had just released the MBA.. Announcing interest in netbooks would jeapordise its sales. In all honesty i think the MBA was just a WOW product.. I mean everybody knows what the MBA is.. but how many own one?

    Now, the new MB’s pose another restriction on Jobs. Announcing netbook interest = MB suicide. I know this is just restating the article but over the past few months I’ve been researching Apple’s decision surrounding netbooks for a marketing paper. Everything leads to these reasons. And price issues. However c.$6/700 and I think they could have a winner. At the end of the day Apple fanboys will go ga-ga.

    If Apple does enter the market I presume it wont be until mid 2009.. when there will be 2nd maybe 3rd gen Atoms..

  10. yam says:

    I think it is not the Air that is positioned to be Apple’s Netbook. It’s more likely the iPhone/iPod Touch. Both can surf the web, fetch email, play casual games etc. just a thought.. :)

  11. raph says:

    just read this article: The iPhone is Apple’s netbook … Apple is not looking to play in the sub-$500 laptop market, says CEO (http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9117785)

  12. kenshinflyer says:

    To quote paul’s comment, Apple doesn’t dare enter netbook territory because, since Apple produces such “I’m different & I can afford it” products and want to stay that way, they don’t have the balls to stoop a bit lower to try and reach out to the “cotton-picking peasant” masses.

    Apple is missing a lot here. As of now they are a “misunderstood” brand. Letting the common, PC-using folk know who they really are should be a good way to finally make them understand.

    So I hope Apple (as well as all the Mac fanatics out there) understands why that lady who bought that HP laptop muttered that “she ain’t cut to be a Mac person.”

    Sure, Mercedes-Benz is also an exclusive marque, but bear in mind that they made the ridiculously-common MB 100 van to reach out to a segment that’s different from the usual SLK- or C-series- buying crowd.

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