Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Apr 2009 21:58 UTC
Apple During the conference call yesterday about Apple's financial results, COO Tim Cook reiterated Apple's negative stance towards the netbook market. While many of us might want to see a relatively cheap Apple netbook with Mac OS X, all the recent figures do seem to confirm that it simply isn't a good idea for Apple.
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Why Apple is Afraid
by Theophilos on Fri 24th Apr 2009 07:04 UTC
Theophilos
Member since:
2006-01-20

Here come netbook manufacturers. Here are the pros:
* They are "cute"
* The 10" resolutions are decent
* The newest models have nearly full-sized keyboards
* Insanely long battery lives
* Sub-$400 (I picked up a 1000HE for $320).
* Great for web, music, and movies

Here are the cons:
* No optical
* Small screen

Let's ignore the first one, because who cares? Web and flash drives will handle most situations for most people. USB drives will suffice for everyone else. It's not a big deal.

The second one only matters to old people. Young people don't mind small screens. We're used to it. We grew up on cellphones. (By the way, that's also why we've stopped wearing wrist watches. Simple test: if you have a watch, you're probably old)

So all this adds up to a simple conclusion: Nebooks are the perfect computer ... for the young hipster.

See, the real reason for all the nay-saying is that Apple is afraid that netbooks are going to eat their lunch. They appeal to one of Apple's core market (media professionals are the other, but I'm not sure which is bigger).

Now, Apple, I'm sure, could make a computer sexier than all the other netbooks put together. For the same hardware, they could even make it cheaper, since they wouldn't have to pay the MS tax for the OS. However, what would they get out of it? The only way to make it worth their time is to add their own Apple tax, but then the thing moves up to the price of a normal notebook. They would also severely undercut their other notebook models.

But if Apple does nothing, then more and more of that core market is going to migrate over to netbooks. These machines are getting more advanced with every iteration. If Apple doesn't come up with a good plan by Christmas this year, they're screwed. They'll just have to rename their company to iPod, because that's all they'll sell.

Ultimately, this is all an unintended consequence of Moore's Law. There was much discussion on this on Slashdot recently. Except for video games, there hasn't been a compelling reason to seek out greater processing power for about 5 years. Dual core is kinda helpful, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what to do with 4 or 8 cores. All the benchmarks are always people encoding video and compressing zip files. What the hell is the point of that? Now it looks like manufacturers realize that the immediate future lies in making things smaller instead of faster.

I've already retired my loud 500w desktop with the 8800gt for this 1000he. It powers my 28" LCD at 1920x1200 just fine. I miss some of my 3D games, but I'm just waiting for the Nvidia Ion-based netbooks to come out and I think I'll be happy with that for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I think every notebook company will be shaking in their boots.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Why Apple is Afraid
by darknexus on Fri 24th Apr 2009 08:17 in reply to "Why Apple is Afraid"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Hey, thanks for your generalizations ;) . I wear a watch, and I'm 23... you'd call me old, then? I wear one because it's more convenient than pulling my cel phone out of my pocket or bag, seeing as how I don't go around with it glued to my hand the way some seem to do. So... am I old? Or are you, possibly, older than me? ;)
As for screen size... well, it doesn't personally affect me one little bit since I can't see it, but there are a lot of young people that have some form of vision impairment that requires a correction. It hits the young, and the old, and then a small screen might become a problem. Personally, I bought a 10 inch netbook because of the keyboard size, those 8.9 inch and 7 inch keyboards are just too darned cramped for me.
Careful when generalizing. ;) It may come back to byte you, cheesy pun fully intended.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Why Apple is Afraid
by phoenix on Fri 24th Apr 2009 17:28 in reply to "Why Apple is Afraid"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

The second one only matters to old people. Young people don't mind small screens. We're used to it. We grew up on cellphones. (By the way, that's also why we've stopped wearing wrist watches. Simple test: if you have a watch, you're probably old)


At what age do you become "old"? ;) I have a watch, and I'm only 31. I prefer the watch as it's a lot easier to just turn my wrist and look, then to pull out my cell phone, click a button or open it, and then find the little clock area.

Same with the wife. She spends many, many hours on the cell texting, yet still has a watch as it's easier to use a watch than a cell clock.

See, the real reason for all the nay-saying is that Apple is afraid that netbooks are going to eat their lunch. They appeal to one of Apple's core market (media professionals are the other, but I'm not sure which is bigger).


We'll have to wait to see how the Sony palmtop (I really dislike the term netbook) sells. If it sells well, then Apple may take notice that there's a market for more expensive, more featureful palmtops. If that happens, then I can see them bringing out a similar palmtop (widescreen, better resolution, multitouch trackpad, signature white case, hardwired battery, etc). But, it won't have a headphone jack, as that would canibalise their iPod Touch market. ;)

I've already retired my loud 500w desktop with the 8800gt for this 1000he. It powers my 28" LCD at 1920x1200 just fine. I miss some of my 3D games, but I'm just waiting for the Nvidia Ion-based netbooks to come out and I think I'll be happy with that for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I think every notebook company will be shaking in their boots.


That's probably what Apple is waiting for. The current generation of Intel palmtop/MID graphics chips don't really have enough juice for all the gooey-goodness of a real MacOS X desktop. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple came out with a palmtop using dual-core Atom CPUs and nVidia ION chipsets.

IMO, that would complete their spectrum:
iPod Touch -> iwhatever palmtop -> iBook -> iMac

From music player/game thingy to ultra-portable computer and media player to laptop to desktop.

Right now, they're missing "something" between an iPod Touch and the iBook. (Actually, if they branded their palmtop the iBook, then they could probably spin it as an ultra-portable laptop and still claim that "netbooks" are a fad.)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Why Apple is Afraid
by tonywob on Sun 26th Apr 2009 09:48 in reply to "Why Apple is Afraid"
tonywob Member since:
2005-07-06

I couldn't agree more, my netbook is cheap, quiet and does everything I need it to do. My Macbook Pro gets too hot, is too heavy, and is overkill for what I spend most of my time on a home computer doing. Although, I won't dispute that I do need my Macbook for work, especially for compiling software.

I find it funny and annoying at the same time when people buy large, expensive, power-hungry computers just for surfing the Internet and reading emails. It's analogous to a 70 year old man, driving at 25mph on a Sunday morning in a fast, petrol-hungry Mercedes convertible. Most non-techie people that I know, only use a computer for the Internet.

Reply Parent Score: 1