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Apple denies netbook rumours

Apple denies netbook rumours

Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook is scathing about netbooks, saying that it's not "something we would put the Mac brand on."

Hopes that Apple might be looking to dip its toes in the netbook market were impressively dashed this week with comments from the company's chief operating officer describing the low-cost mini-notebooks as “junky.

As reported over on VentureBeat, Tim Cook – who's at the helm while Steve Jobs is indisposed – took the opportunity during the company's latest earnings call to dispel rumours that an Apple netbook – a MacBook Air Nano, if you will – is on the cards.

During the call, Cook said that netbooks were so poor it would be a “stretch to call it a personal computer.” Putting the blame on “cracked keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, [and] very small screens” Cook said that netbooks didn't offer “a good consumer experience” and stated categorically that it would “not be something we would put the Mac brand on. It's a segment we would not choose to lay in.

While the dismissal seems pretty definite, it's hard to forget that Apple has been scathing about markets it intends to enter in the past: Steve Jobs himself famously decried flash-based MP3 players as junk that “just [gets] left in a drawer and never used” mere months before the company launched its own range of flash-based iPods.

Although a netbook is looking less likely, signs are still pointing to Apple's next product being something which sits comfortably between the iPhone and a MacBook – if not a netbook, then the rumours of an official Apple tablet are looking better all the time.

Do you think Apple is missing a trick by not bringing its famous design aesthetic to the netbook market, or are the low-cost devices better off if the famously expensive manufacturer doesn't try to muscle in? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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Jenny_Y8S 24th April 2009, 11:10 Quote
Apple won't do a netbook?

But they made one years ago, I know I had one!

http://images.appleinsider.com/macbook-mini-070214-0.gif

up to 5 hours of battery life with a 10" screen, was loved in Japan as they could use them on the narrow arsed seats they have on public transport.
ElThomsono 24th April 2009, 11:15 Quote
Like Apple could make a netbook; the mac mini costs more than most :o
Fruitloaf 24th April 2009, 11:22 Quote
I suspect the reason they're denying the netbook claim is because whatever Apple comes out with will doubtlessly be far more expensive than a netbook. Look for a Atom powered white plastic 10-12" machine costing £600 sometime soon probably powered by ION given the GF9400s adoption in most of the rest of the line.

Current netbook owners will go so what? The cult of jobs will cream themselves and buy them by the shed load.
Jamie 24th April 2009, 11:47 Quote
The iPhone more than caters for the netbook market in my opinion.
bowman 24th April 2009, 12:04 Quote
Oh yeah, netbooks are junky? Mine is just fine, creaks less than my full size laptop.

Hey, at least THE CHARGER DOESN'T SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=510321
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1296316&tstart=5
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=476068
interzen 24th April 2009, 12:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
Apple won't do a netbook?

But they made one years ago, I know I had one!

http://images.appleinsider.com/macbook-mini-070214-0.gif

up to 5 hours of battery life with a 10" screen, was loved in Japan as they could use them on the narrow arsed seats they have on public transport.
The 10" G4 iBook did much the same thing - cracking little machine, even if it did cost me over a grand at the time. Broke my heart when I had to get shot of it (was made redundant, needed the money etc.). If you want small form-factor OS X, just get a Dell Mini 9 or a HP 2133 and turn it into a Hackintosh :-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
The iPhone more than caters for the netbook market in my opinion.
Same could be said of the iPod Touch. I'm not bothered about making phone calls as I've already got two mobiles and it'll be a cold day in hell before I go back to O2 but I'm seriously considering getting a 16Gb Touch for internet tablet/netbook-y type things.
perplekks45 24th April 2009, 12:27 Quote
An Apple whatever for under £300? Hard to believe but something to hope for.

@ interzen: Be aware however that Safari is far from being stable on the iPod/iPhone so don't expect browsing to be as much fun as on a netbook/notebook/PC. Oh, and getting a new version of flash is fun too, if at all possible.
Cupboard 24th April 2009, 12:35 Quote
I reckon they just can't make enough money in the over-saturated market so it isn't worth them designing anything.
interzen 24th April 2009, 12:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
@ interzen: Be aware however that Safari is far from being stable on the iPod/iPhone so don't expect browsing to be as much fun as on a netbook/notebook/PC. Oh, and getting a new version of flash is fun too, if at all possible.
Fair point - I don't rate Safari (I do occasional Mac development work and always use Firefox ;-) ) but as long as it's stable enough to let me do mundane things like check my email, get the latest news headlines, lottery results or whatever then it'll do me. It's not as if I'd want to do any major-league browsing on such a small screen anyway. For these reasons the availability, or not, of Flash wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.

Oh yeah, I'd be able to use it to listen to choons whilst I'm cycling as well :-)
perplekks45 24th April 2009, 12:57 Quote
Well, I didn't try to convince you not to buy one. Having a 16 GB Touch myself and hell yeah, I like it. :D
But I recently tried to follow some live text football action on bbc.co.uk/mobile and it kept crashing every 5 minutes. Quite annoying but what the heck, it takes 2 seconds to open the browser again. ;)

What I definitely like is the Gmail app, a nice way of keeping everything organised.
sear 24th April 2009, 14:47 Quote
They're going to come out with one. It's only a matter of time. In fact, the more denials we get, the more likely they are to be releasing a product imminently. It's just too cute and niche a market segment to ignore.

Cook's comments are just too ridiculous to take seriously. I have an Acer Aspire One and it's served me well. Sure, I only use it for taking notes and browsing the web when I'm on campus, but it works great for me and aside from some decreased usability due to a smaller touch-pad and keyboard, it's not at all a bad computer for what it's made for. Maybe the average idiot gets frustrated because his or her netbook can't play DVDs or high-definition video properly, or the latest games, but that could be averted by, you know, buying a product that suits your needs rather than simply based on "cute" looks. Anyone who assumes they'll be getting the "full desktop experience" on a netbook needs to be shot, repeatedly. It's like complaining your cell phone doesn't produce photographs as nicely as your $10,000 Canon.
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