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Analyst: Apple netbook likely in next two years

updated 09:45 am EST, Tue November 25, 2008

Piper on netbook plans

Apple will likely produce a netbook within the next two years, says analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. Although the research firm has been predicting the release of a more compact Apple portable for some time, and at one point proposed a release towards the end of 2008, it now suggests that the earliest an Apple netbook could come is sometime in 2009, in the form of a scaled-down MacBook Air.

The system would likely measure 11 inches instead of the current model's 13, says Munster, and cost between $800 and $1,000, rather than $1,800. Apple's alternate option is said to be some type of tablet Mac, but there is said to be no indication one could arrive before 2010. The iPhone in fact accomplishes much of what a netbook is capable of, according to Munster, leaving less incentive to compete with companies like ASUS and HP.

With regards to the existing Mac business, Munster notes that Apple is still predicted to ship between 2.5 and 2.7 million Macs during the current quarter, and likely in excess of 2.6 million due to healthy sales of the new aluminum MacBooks. The aluminum models are said to be selling better than the $999 plastic MacBook at retail, but the latter is expected to do better in the education realm.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Netbook/iPhone keyboard

    At a public library I use as a second office, those little netbooks are becoming almost as common as Macs and the owners I've talked with seem happy as clams with them. Apple is being foolish if it neglects that end of the market, particularly as flash memory prices come down and more students adopt netbooks. An iPhone-like touch screen interface would also set a Mac netbook off from the pack.

    Apple should also deal with the iPhone's limited text-input capabilities by creating ways to add a keyboard. A thumbing keyboard that surrounds an iPhone in landscape and adds battery life would be marvelous, as would the ability to work with their compact Bluetooth keyboard.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Scaled down MB Air?!

    "suggests that the earliest an Apple netbook could come is sometime in 2009, in the form of a scaled-down MacBook Air."

    Haha scaled down macbook air. Thats a great tautology. What are they going to leave off next? USB?

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "Scaled Down"

    Perhaps they meant size, not features...

    Besides, it doesn't seem like it's unnecessarily repetitive. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to WHY you consider it a tautology?

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not your typical netbook

    If Apple does come out with a net book it won't just be a scaled down laptop, it'll be an Apple and will have a though process to the overall design and functionality. For that reason, I'm skeptical about whether or not we'll actually see an Apple netbook. One of the key features is it's price, something I don't think Apple will hit. If Apple does come out with something, it'll be over a grand and it will set a new standard for that category. If I'd have to wager, I'd say it'd be more tablet like, touch screen incorporation a lot of iPhone like features including things like an accelerometer. Apple is not going to make just a scaled down notebook.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sick of Gene Munster

    Forgive me, but I for one am sick of reading about Gene Munster's ramblings. How much money do you get for giving this guy a regular platform for spreading his "wisdom", in hopes that he somehow influences Apple's stock price and thus the worth of his own portfolio?

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    two years...

    ... is forever in internet time. This guy has nothing to say.

  1. mytdave

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Inkling is right. Apple is foolish to neglect this segment of computing. These netbooks are showing up everywhere, and at a far faster rate than Macs are (most likely due to price).

    If it were my decision, I would not make another "me too" product. I would do 2 things:

    1. Expand the reach of the existing iPhone/Touch by enhancing it's existing capabilities - namely, make 'em easy docking with a monitor, and input through a bluetooth keyboard. A "finder" app is also necessary to give access to the iPhone file system allowing file creation, copy, move, delete - basic computing.

    2. Make another 'Air' model. Similar specs but with flash memory (say 32-64GB) and a ~10" screen - where the width and depth of the machine would be smaller (more netbook size), but the keyboard and thickness would remain the same. This is possible, with advancements in chips coming out now. This new Air would have to be priced around $800. At the same time, the 13" would have to be improved, because it can be, and also to differentiate it from the 10" with something more than just screen size. The new 13" Air should absolutely be equipped with an Ethernet port (dongle!), and be priced around $1300, and $1700 w/SSD.

    Between enhancements to the iPhone/Touch and a new 10" Air, Apple would have all the touch points of a 'netbook' without succumbing to the 'me too' mentality of just another mediocre product.

    Apple has a great opportunity to show product leadership here, and add to a powerful product line. If Steve & Co. don't want Apple to be all it has the potential to be, that's their choice, but it's very disappointing to many Apple fans and potential customers to not see them innovate in this space. And more than that, if they don't do something they'll lose potential sales and market share (hey Apple, people are buying netbooks instead of Windows laptops too).

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple can't price compete

    Apple CANNOT and will not (like Lexus, it is below their dignity) compete in the netbook price market. While Apple could produce a $500 laptop that has a small screen size and reduced resolution, it won't. Because you're happy spending $500 for their damn wireless phone.

    I like Mac OS X and I've got many licensed copies (new, retail), and it just so happens I managed to finagle a copy onto my own netbook since apple refuses to give me a CHEAP laptop that is worth a damn.

    Apple needs a classic, aircooled VW Beetle, not the new fangled expensive watercooled variety. Give us the people's mac.

  1. DDT_JMT

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I own a NetBook..Acer One

    I love my Acer NetBok. I grab it first when I want to do nothing but a bit of surfing the Internet and checking e-mail. I upgraded the RAM and with a 160GB HD it is more than capable as a music server and when used with an external DAC the system it quick and well rounded for even modest high-end audio. I can use several remote iTunes applications on the iPhone to control the music remotely (thank you Pineapple!).

    I paid $350 for the Acer One at Wal-Mart and the new shipments come with a 160GB HD and not a 120GB like the older models and I had an extra 1GB of PC5300 form when I upgraded my MBP from 2GB to 4GB so that upgrade (on the Acer) did not cost me anything beyond the already invested capital. It is a FANTASTIC unit and it runs OS X well - bu that is another story. I decided to NOT keep OS X on the Acer as it was a hassle to install and a hassle if any updates ever come down from Apple so I restored the machine to factory specs. XP SP3 runs very well and it was faster than my 15" PowerBook G4 1.25Ghz that I am using now to post this so it is a fantastic unit.

    I feel that Apple is missing the boat on the whole NetBook concept. A small 10" or 11" NetBook for $600 would be FANTASTIC. If they plan on charging $1000 for it they will most likely not sell many in relation to a MB or even MBA as the price versus performance would not be great enough.

    I sincerely hope Apple will release one soon as I would prefer OS X to XP SP3. I think 8.9" for the Acer One display is a bit small so a 10" or even 11" that is thin with a small or even no bezel would fit the bill. My only complaint regarding the Acer one is the smaller than most NetBook's keyboard. It is less than 80% the size of a regular notebook keyboard so it can be a bit of a chore when typing e-mails or creating documents. Other than the smaller screen (in relation to other NetBook's) and keyboard issue there is not much I would change.

    I think for a relatively small asking price of $350 ($344.88 at Wal-Mart) you cannot ask for anything more - save for OS X and even that is feasible thanks to a trick or two - not that I condone that, of course.

  1. Titanium Man

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Macworld Expo 2009

    Keep your eyes open for interesting news. Mark my words.

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