Apple: "No, but......." to netbooks

Posted on by Mike Evans

8872-introshot THIS MORNING'S financial results from Apple show first-quarter revenues of $8.16bn and net profit of $2.1bn thanks, largely, to iPhone and iPod Touch sales. Not such positive news for the prospects of a Mac netbook, according to the statement by Apple COO, Tim Cook. Despite the fevered rumours in the Mac world, he says that current netbooks, with their small keyboards and small screens, do not cut the mustard. The size format would not provide the expected Mac experience, he believes.  Nevertheless, Jason Snell of MacWorld sees method in this play-down by Apple. Says Snell:

"If you follow Apple regularly, you’ll know that the company often runs down its competitors in a category before introducing its own game-changing product in that category. Cook’s past statements lead me to believe that Apple is indeed planning its own answer to the netbook—and his statements during Wednesday’s conference call did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion."

The smart money is on Apple announcing something this summer, something between the iPhone and the MacBook Air. Apple's current position, that the MacBook Air represents the ideal portable computer for keeping in your bag at most times, falls down because it does have the disadvantage of being just that bit too big--identical to the MacBook but thinner and lighter. I would trade off thinness for a slightly smaller format, perhaps with a 10in or 11in screen and a tad less space on the keyboard. I would prefer this machine to run full OS X rather than the iPhone OS. And I'd like built-in 3G, please Mr. Apple. 

At the moment I am delighted with my first-generation MacBook Air and intend to keep it in my bag until Apple do decide what to do about the netbook phenomenon. I do not believe they can totally ignore the new genre because people do seem to love the smaller footprint and lightness of the netbooks.

Note: Photographs above courtesy of Trusted Reviews' Ultimate Netbook comparison.

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