The Wall Street Journal ran an article this weekend explaining that while Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been on medical leave for the past few months, he’s still taking an active role in some projects at the company — including Apple’s upcoming “portable device that is smaller than its current laptop computers but bigger than the iPhone or iPod Touch.”
There’ve been hints for months that Apple is working on something that would fit this description. But it’s not clear whether we’re talking about a touchscreen tablet without a keyboard, (which might be something like an oversized iPod Touch), or a miniature version of a Macbook (which a lot of people would probably decide to call a netbook no matter how much it cost).
My guess is that Apple will do what it’s always done here: Stand back and see what other companies are offering and then build a high quality version that’s stylish and easy to use. Apple wasn’t the first company to develop an MP3 player, but the iPod and iTunes changed the way that people think about digital music. If you were going to design an Apple netbook, what would it look like? Would it run OS X, have an iPhone-like interface, or something else altogether? How would you differentiate it from Apple’s higher end machines so that people felt a need to buy both one of these mystery devices and a MacBook?
And perhaps most importantly, if Apple puts out some sort of laptop or tablet with a 10 inch display, how much would you be willing to pay for it before deciding you’d rather just save money and buy a cheap Windows netbook or spend a bit more and get a full sized Apple laptop?