Apple execs haven’t ever been shy in telling the world what they think about netbooks. And during an earnings call yesterday Apple COO Tim Cook reiterated Apple’s position on netbooks: they’re awful little things that Apple doesn’t “believe that customers will be interested in,” and you’re better off buying an iPhone or iPod touch.
Never mind the fact that well over 10 million netbooks were sold in 2008, and 2-3 times that number are expected to sell in 2009. Apparently customers aren’t actually interested in netbooks… you know, becuase Apple isn’t interested in making them.
Of course, there’ve been rumors going around for months that Apple is planning to launch a small tablet-style device that falls somewhere between an iPhone and a laptop. I suspect within the next few months Tim Cook and friends will be trying to convince us that the reason they’ve been scoffing at netbooks is because they’ve come up with a much more useful mobile device that offers more power and a larger screen than an iPhone, but which is still easier to carry around than a full sized laptop.
But considering one of Cook’s primary complaints about netbooks it their “cramped keyboards,” I kind of don’t see how releasing a tablet without a keyboard at all will address the problem.
Update: While the article linked to in this post is dated this week, it seems to be referring to Cook’s comments from Apple’s last earnings call. The company held another call today to discuss the latest earnings, and it turns out that Cook still isn’t ready to announce anything resembling a netbook. But his stance does seem to have softened a bit. He now says “some customers, maybe many” are disappointed with the cheap mini-laptops, and that Apple doesn’t see a way to build a “great product” in this space for under $499.