Image credit: Gizmodo
Image credit: Gizmodo

With MacWorld just a few weeks away, folks are coming out of the woodwork with predictions that Apple will launch a netbook or something very much like it in January. This week’s prediction comes from Technology Business Research analyst Ezra Gottheil. He thinks Apple will release a machine that looks like a netbook (or maybe a tablet-style UMPC), but works a bit more like an iPhone than a netbook. Which is kind of what I’ve been saying for months. Except for one major difference: I’m not at all certain Apple will release an ultraportable computing device. Rather, I think that if the company pushes one out, it will have the following features:

  • It’ll cost $599 or more, which would put it near the top of the netbook market in terms of price.
  • It will run a stripped down version of OS X, much like the one you find on the iPhone, which would help Apple keep the little computer from eating into sales of the company’s bigger, more expensive computers.
  • It will be able to run third party applications, but Apple will control access to those applications, much as it does with the iPhone App Store. After all, if you could just download and install all your favorite apps for OS X, why spend another $500 to pick up a full sized Macbook?

It’s worth nothing that I don’t have any insider information and neither does Gottheil. We could both be totally wrong. Apple might be putting out a rebranded MSI Wind U100 with OS X preloaded for $599 for all we know. Or the company could ignore the netbook space altogether.

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7 replies on “Another Apple netbook rumor rears its ugly head”

  1. I wouldn’t hold my breath. It seems that Apple will downgrade its presence in this Macworld, and then drop it altogether. It was just announced that Jobs won’t speak there. Check

    for details.

    Given that major new announcements are very unlikely. We’ll probably get just upgrades of existing products.

  2. The closest thing to a ‘netbook’ that Apple can make is to add a keyboard to the iPhone. A fanboy from my MSN says that the 9″ and 10″ format factors used in netbooks suck because their small screens and small keyboards makes them ‘unusable’ and there’s no point on them. If something can be worse than Apple, it might be their fanboys.

  3. Apple is Apple and that means a sizable Apple-Tax on anything they make. One big issue Apple will face is that design studios/manufactures /competition are all wise to Apple’s esthetic now. Apple would have a rough time surprising anyone at this point. Between iPod, iPhone, and iMac their design aesthetic and technology is out in the open.

    – Glossy minimalist case design…duh
    – Multi-Touch screen…duh
    – Accelerometer so when you turn the device the screen changes orientation…duh
    – OS Works like an iBlah style device with ‘candy’ buttons…duh

  4. The MacBook does not run a stripped down version of OS X. You might have meant the iPhone instead.

    A subnotebook from Apple does not make sense as it’d cut into the (super high margin) MacBook Air – that’s the most portable Mac at the moment (in terms of physical size) and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If a smaller Mac notebook were to be announced, I believe we’ll see resolution independence too – running OS X with only 600 vertical pixels is sort of a challenge.

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