5 Reasons Why An Apple Netbook Will Be Released At Macworld
Ever since the invention of the Macintosh that has been a battle between the notions of price and quality at Apple. Originally Steve Jobs wanted the Mac to be an affordable computer, "for the rest of us." Of course once the team crammed all the features Steve wanted in there the computer's price became much higher.
As it turns out the definition, "for the rest of us" leaves out quite a lot of people.
It is with this backdrop that we find ourselves confronted with the curious challenge of the so-called Netbook.
Netbook's have an interesting appeal--I find myself seduced by them too. Small, compact, and powerful enough to do things we do a lot on computers and unencumbered by features we don't need.
Manufacturer after manufacturer are coming out with them, including folks like Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Even without this trend it is my strong hope, and belief, that Apple will follow suit at Macworld. It is in this spirit that I present to you my 5 reasons why Apple will be releasing a Net book (iBook?!) at Macworld.
Reason 1: It's the economy, stupid
Steve Jobs is fond of saying that a good computer cannot be made for under $500. He also said that an iPod screen was too small for video and we all know how that worked out.
The fact is times are tough, and when times are tough people, more than ever, research before they buy. And what they discover is that if they want an Apple equivalent of a Netbook they could go with the Air, for about $1000 more, or go with a Macbook, for at least $500 more.
Just like the Mac mini had to be made in order to fill a gap in the marketplace so too an Apple Netbook is required. As Netbook specs improve people will buy them as second or third laptops. Apple will lose money if it doesn't engage this market.
Reason 2: Chips, chips, chips
When the move to Intel was announced Steve Jobs was clear that Apple was excited because of the variety of products it could release under the Intel family. This to me reads Atom, which powers most Netbooks. It may not look like any other Netbook (or at least his Steveness will convince us it doesn't) but no doubt whatever Apple releases will have this kind of chip.
Reason 3: The iPhone
Here is where I'm convinced Apple could be the differentiator for Netbooks. I think Apple should release a tablet style Netbook that leverages the operating system work that has been done on the iPhone. Basically a notebook sizes iPhone. Practically the same design and all powered by OS X underneath. Apple could even utilize the same App Store structure for the release (and monetization) of applications development for the big version of the iPhone
This product would be a super-thin screen folks could carry everywhere. Unlike the Tablet-PC there wouldn't be the expectation that this could be docked to a real keyboard, or that it would a persons dedicated machine. But for reading email, surfing the web, writing documents using a virtual keyboard this device would be perfect.
This would solidify Apple's place as the operating system of choice for multi-touch devices and be a natural extension of the iPhone's success.
Reason 4: Steve gets to say he invented it
The Netbook landscape right now looks remarkably similar to the portable music player market pre-iPod (it actually looks a little more mature). It is a fragmented landscape, with a bunch of crappy looking devices that are essentially shrunken down laptops. Smaller screen, lower processor, less ram, and in some cases the ever-so-friendly Linux.
If Steve blasts in with an innovative reinvention of the Netbook Apple has the opportunity to define and own the Netbook space. Like with the iPhone and iPod, Apple could become the de facto choice for an alternate laptop device. And Steve gets to say he invented it.
Reason 5: Another reason to extend iTunes Reach
A Netbook has the potential to be much more than just a word processing, web-surfing, and emailing machine. It could become the ultimate portable media player. And anything media has to have iTunes running on it.
More than just media, Apple could use iTunes to be the syncing tool between a users main machine (Mac or PC!) and the Apple Netbook. This would continue to extend iTunes reach not only as a music player, but as an operating system for the Apple hardware universe.