posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Nov 2008 22:45 UTC
IconApple isn't exactly known for catering to the lower end of the market, but so far, it doesn't really seem to have slowed them down much. They are selling more Macs than ever, and especially in the ever-growing notebook market, Apple is very successful. However, with people all worried about possible economic downturn, and with the success of cheap, small laptops (netbooks), people are starting to speculate if Apple will enter the netbook market.

Even though I personally don't have much faith in whatever all those analysts come up with, they usually do supply us with interesting ideas and subjects to talk about. Ezra Gottheil, from Technology Business Research Inc., predicts that Apple will enter the netbook market in 'the first half of 2009', forced by the state of the world economy and the growing popularity of netbooks.

"Apple is facing the possibility that as the economic news gets worse, that they're increasingly pricing themselves out of an important market," Gottheil explained, "Economic conditions are accelerating this." Gottheil doesn't necessarily expect Apple to release a true netbook - he believes the company will introduce a cheap (USD 300-500) notebook to compete with netbooks. The current cheapest MacBook costs USD 999. He believes the company will focus on lightness and thinness, instead of width and depth. It will sport a larger screen than most netbooks.

While the accuracy of analysts is debatable, the idea is interesting. Apple's core belief is "offer more for the same price, instead of offering the same for a lower price". To start competing with the successful netbooks, Apple would have to abandon this concept, and I'm not sure the company will do that. Who knows where the economy is really going? Have you, personally, felt the consequences of the crisis yet? Will it really spread out in such a way that it will affect Apple's sales figures?

Add to this Jobs' recent comments regarding netbooks, and I have my doubts we will see Apple entering this market any time soon. What are your thoughts?

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