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Rumour: Apple preps Air 'netbook'

Rumour: Apple preps Air 'netbook'

Apple's MacBook Air is already slim - but rumours state an even smaller 11.6" version is on the cards.

Apple's opinion of netbook devices is well known, but it looks as though things might be changing with rumours of a 11.6" MacBook model that sounds remarkably netbook-like on the horizon.

Industry rumour-broker DigiTimes has gone on record as stating that Apple will be launching a new edition of its MacBook Air ultraportable laptop featuring a 11.6in screen and an even smaller form factor - the closest thing to an official Apple netbook that you'll ever see.

While the form factor of the device is netbook-like, the specifications are anything but: DigiTimes analyst Mingchi Kuo believes that the 11.6" MacBook Air will feature the same processor and memory setup as the current model, meaning full-scale performance from an extremely small-scale device. Sadly, if the specifications are duplicated exactly, it also means frustrations like a single USB port - an awkward limitation for a device which has no on-board wired networking capabilities.

The other distinguishing factor is, of course, the price: with the current MacBook Air starting at a whopping £1,174, a smaller and lighter edition is likely to cost even more - despite the smaller screen size. With netbooks commonly costing below £300 - and sometimes even below £200 - that's a tall order.

DigiTimes also claims that Apple will be releasing a new iPod Touch towards the end of the year, which will use the same A4 processor found in the iPad and feature a 3 megapixel camera on the rear.

Would you be interested in a smaller MacBook Air as your portable computer of choice, or should Apple just bite the bullet and release a true, low-cost netbook? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

25 Comments

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hbeevers 16th July 2010, 11:53 Quote
I would be surprised if the apple netbook would actually be anything too special, it's intel core 2 duo processor is better than an atom dual core but it's not £700 better. Acer timline notbooks can be found at 13.3 inch screen sizes with CULV processors for around £500, these have 1066MHz ram and usually 3GB of it, unlike the air's 2GB. Apple can't really use it's OSX as a selling point either saying it's 'faster and cleaner' as so many netbooks use linux, i use ubuntu 10.04 on mine, it starts up in 10 seconds, could you do that mac? nope.
Apple's arrogance with pricing is what annoys me mostly over £1000 for a netbook is outrageous, even an aluminium core 2 duo one, if it had something like an i5 in i'd understand but it just doesn't have the hardware to justify such a price. Soon sony and asus will be making laptops and desktops that look as good as macs, cost half the price and have better hardware and are running windows 7, then apple will be in trouble although it's got it's macfans to keep buying things of it. Linux if faster and cleaner than mac OSX and windows 7 is more accessible and in my opinion looks about as good and has the programs you want. if you ask me apple is in trouble over the next few years.
mclean007 16th July 2010, 11:56 Quote
I think a single USB port and no Ethernet is actually far more palatable on an ultraportable/netbook format device than on a laptop. You'll be pretty much exclusively using WiFi and/or 3G (whether by Bluetooth or integrated 3G module) on a netbook.

Come to think of it, with 802.11n, I hardly ever bother to connect my MacBook Pro via Ethernet - the speeds are sufficient for everything I need and any bottlenecks are in my ADSL line, so gigabit gives me no discernable advantage.

The single USB port isn't a massive issue in my opinion. If needs be, you can connect a USB hub. Anyway, nobody buys an Air for practicality - if you want to be sensible, why not get a marginally thicker MacBook Pro with better connectivity, better battery life, better performance, integrated optical drive and a 30% lower price tag? I'm sure the same logic will apply to the 11.6 incher - a beautiful piece of technology to show off in Starbucks, with the all important Apple logo on the lid. That's if it ever comes to fruition (no pun intended).
mi1ez 16th July 2010, 12:31 Quote
since it's a bit smaller, they can stick it up their...
Guinevere 16th July 2010, 12:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbeevers
it starts up in 10 seconds, could you do that mac? nope.

Well because apple laptops are famously frugal with battery drain in sleep mode, I never shut my mac down when out and about. A wake from sleep is instant, and even a day asleep will only knock a few percent off the battery.

So who needs an instant boot if the alternative works perfectly... like who cares how long their mobile takes to boot from a cold start. I mean like really cares.
StoneyMahoney 16th July 2010, 13:18 Quote
@hbeevers - you've never used a mac, have you? You'd know that boot time wasn't an issue if you had. You'd also know why they're more expensive and why Asus and Sony can never compete with them - build quality. Acer's finetip keyboard is good, but it's record on trackpads isn't great - I seem to recall lots of complaints about stiff buttons on the Timeline series in particular - whereas Apple have had reliably excellent ergonomics for a long time now. And Sony? Are you kidding me? They just look like Apple knock-offs and bad ones at that with worse specs. Concerning Linux, installing it on a netbook is a little hit and miss when it comes to hardware support. OS X has no such problems on any of the machines you can get it preinstalled on. And drop the "Linux is gonna take over!" line - it's more than a decade old and is still no closer to fruition. Bottom line - as long as people can afford Macs and they're worth buying (they can and they are) then they will continue to give Apple more money than Microsoft. You did know Apple is worth more than MS, right?
StoneyMahoney 16th July 2010, 13:20 Quote
OMG, I sound like a total fanboi there. I'm not, honest, Apple's laptops are nice, but their desktop range is now awful. And I wouldn't buy an iPhone/iPad/iPod if you held a gun to my head and it came with a years supply of legal marijuana.
gavomatic57 16th July 2010, 13:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
Well because apple laptops are famously frugal with battery drain in sleep mode, I never shut my mac down when out and about. A wake from sleep is instant, and even a day asleep will only knock a few percent off the battery.

So who needs an instant boot if the alternative works perfectly... like who cares how long their mobile takes to boot from a cold start. I mean like really cares.

+1

They can use OSX as a selling point - as much as I love linux, OSX has far better 3rd party off-the-shelf software support, it looks good and is the full OS, not the deliberately restricted £100 service pack for Vista that Windows 7 is.

Most netbooks I've seen with Windows 7 are running Home Basic for crying out loud.
gavomatic57 16th July 2010, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyMahoney
OMG, I sound like a total fanboi there. I'm not, honest, Apple's laptops are nice, but their desktop range is now awful. And I wouldn't buy an iPhone/iPad/iPod if you held a gun to my head and it came with a years supply of legal marijuana.

Considering the crud the likes of PC World are now selling, they're not actually that bad on the desktop. Sure it's nowhere near what we could build for the same money, but the number of high-powered machines available to consumers off the shelf is pitiful. The 27" iMac with an i5 or i7 is a nice bit of kit.

Yes, you are better off staying away from the iPhone. I have one and now I wouldn't want to use anything else. It limits your options somewhat.
sotu1 16th July 2010, 14:31 Quote
Build qualilty? Not so sure about that - I have had 3 repairs in as many years. But my biggest gripe is the pathetic number of USB ports and even worse still is that ridiculous adapter they use for monitors. Knowing apple, you'll be needing an adapter to give you one USB port...and the fan boys will say it's because USB unnecessary because you have the keyboard and trackpad right there....

However, they are excellent pieces of kit - no doubts. OSX is great to use and the ease of working on them....it's good.
StoneyMahoney 16th July 2010, 15:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
Considering the crud the likes of PC World are now selling, they're not actually that bad on the desktop. Sure it's nowhere near what we could build for the same money, but the number of high-powered machines available to consumers off the shelf is pitiful. The 27" iMac with an i5 or i7 is a nice bit of kit.

Yes, you are better off staying away from the iPhone. I have one and now I wouldn't want to use anything else. It limits your options somewhat.

I'm not a fan of the iMac. You push it hard and it quickly gets quite hot and loud. I don't like the new refresh of the Mac Mini either, it's just too expensive now. I like the old Mac Mini, I'm typing this on one now and I've got one under the TV (best HTPC eva!). I don't like the iP* because of the whole artificial ecosystem Apple have built up around it with their usage restrictions.

I must admit, I do love the Mac Pro. Hands down the most incredible case internals ever seen. Shame it's a workstation, it's just *soo* expensive. Apple really need to do a Mac Semi-Pro or something ;)
StoneyMahoney 16th July 2010, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1
Build qualilty? Not so sure about that - I have had 3 repairs in as many years. But my biggest gripe is the pathetic number of USB ports and even worse still is that ridiculous adapter they use for monitors. Knowing apple, you'll be needing an adapter to give you one USB port...and the fan boys will say it's because USB unnecessary because you have the keyboard and trackpad right there....

However, they are excellent pieces of kit - no doubts. OSX is great to use and the ease of working on them....it's good.

I guess I should have said ergonomics rather than build quality, you're right. I can understand why Apple went with Displayport, it does give you lots of flexible video out options (if you have the right adapters, you can just hear the accountants chuckle when I say that) but my Powerbook G4 has a full size DVI port on it for crying out loud. What was wrong with that? Can't say I really agree on the USB ports issue though, but I suspect we use our Macs for different things.
HourBeforeDawn 16th July 2010, 18:15 Quote
Is it me or has Apple been really pushing a lot of over priced useless products? I mean are Apple followers that brain washed at this point?
Eggy 16th July 2010, 18:27 Quote
Plenty of people will buy it because, you know, it looks so darn pretty.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
Is it me or has Apple been really pushing a lot of over priced useless products? I mean are Apple followers that brain washed at this point?
Retorical question.
Tom @ CCL 16th July 2010, 18:35 Quote
From a position of being able to get my hands on any laptop available, I ended up buying a Macbook Pro purely for the quality.

First thing I did was install Windows 7 on a partition and start using that. Now that I have gotten used to OSX I have not even loaded up Windows at home for the past month and a bit.

Quality all round hardware that does the job, buy the hardware for the wrong reasons and like any bit of kit it will perform poorly.

13" Macbook Pro is without a doubt the best high performance long battery life laptop available. Find me something that can give me 10 hours real world battery life working with a rugged chassis and good quality screen. You can't as I looked at all the ULV laptops available at the time.

Saying that I wouldnt touch a Mac Mini now due to the price, or any of the other desktops thinking of it. Macbook Air is a designer item and gets beaten by the Macbook Pro.

If I wasnt using my machine out and about so much I would have just gotten the normal Macbook as this is a superior value option to the Pro depending on your use.

Can see a point in most of the products Apple make, but their desktop/laptop range are a premium product and priced accordingly. You are paying for the design more than the components in them... yet the chosen components work better than on any other laptop.

Each to their own, but having sat on the "specs are rubbish" camp for a decade when I finally did not care about the pure specs and took the plunge I am kicking myself for using such shoddy laptops in the past.

Why oh why did I buy a Clevo barebones before this.... :(
sotu1 16th July 2010, 18:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneyMahoney
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1
Build qualilty? Not so sure about that - I have had 3 repairs in as many years. But my biggest gripe is the pathetic number of USB ports and even worse still is that ridiculous adapter they use for monitors. Knowing apple, you'll be needing an adapter to give you one USB port...and the fan boys will say it's because USB unnecessary because you have the keyboard and trackpad right there....

However, they are excellent pieces of kit - no doubts. OSX is great to use and the ease of working on them....it's good.

I guess I should have said ergonomics rather than build quality, you're right. I can understand why Apple went with Displayport, it does give you lots of flexible video out options (if you have the right adapters, you can just hear the accountants chuckle when I say that) but my Powerbook G4 has a full size DVI port on it for crying out loud. What was wrong with that? Can't say I really agree on the USB ports issue though, but I suspect we use our Macs for different things.

USB is the biggest thing putting me off a new MBP. 2 USB ports is just piddly really. Even on a 17" you only get 3. My MBP is pretty much a desktop replacement.

Ergonomics are good. Nice. Yes. Lovely in fact.
Tom @ CCL 16th July 2010, 18:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1
USB is the biggest thing putting me off a new MBP. 2 USB ports is just piddly really. Even on a 17" you only get 3. My MBP is pretty much a desktop replacement.

Ergonomics are good. Nice. Yes. Lovely in fact.

I use mine with my monitor which has 4x USB ports, just plug in the Display Port + one USB cable and I have my laptop working on my desktop with Printer, Mouse, KB.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 16th July 2010, 21:13 Quote
OMG I know people out there that just can't wait to pay $2000 for something they could get for $500. Apple rules.

If Apple says you only need one USB port then by golly you only need one usb port.

besides a slimmer design Apples laptops don't really offer any thing that suggest a $2000 price tag versus Windows 7 laptops
The_Beast 17th July 2010, 00:02 Quote
Very cool but anyone with common sense will see that you could get the same thing for 1/4 the price
Edge102030 17th July 2010, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbeevers
Linux is faster and cleaner than mac OSX.
Faster..maybe, but most definitely not cleaner. How is a plethora of scattered distros cleaner than one linear line which improves with each release? I have yet to see a GNU/Linux distro that looks as good as OS X and which also has the same built-in/easy to access capability.

The menus of most Linux distros are an utter mess, rather than a 'control panel' or 'system preferences' window, you have a great long list of options. The applications are poorly organised into groups and the reliance on terminal to achieve most 'advanced' things is just a pain in the arse after about the 10th time. While having to use the terminal has helped me with a lot of things, mostly learning the syntax so i can use it for other uses, who really wants to bother with all that crap?
gavomatic57 17th July 2010, 17:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge102030


The menus of most Linux distros are an utter mess, rather than a 'control panel' or 'system preferences' window, you have a great long list of options. The applications are poorly organised into groups and the reliance on terminal to achieve most 'advanced' things is just a pain in the arse after about the 10th time. While having to use the terminal has helped me with a lot of things, mostly learning the syntax so i can use it for other uses, who really wants to bother with all that crap?

Sorry, but that's a rather sweeping generalisation. It applies to a default Gnome installation but not KDE, which has a settings window rather like the one in OSX. Also, Mint which uses Gnome has been customised to include a control panel.

The main thing with either is that you can do whatever the hell you want with it quite easily.

You don't actually need the command line that much anymore. My mother uses Ubuntu and has never seen the command line. I use it out of choice though.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 18th July 2010, 07:35 Quote
Face it as much as people want to use another OS they will all realize that Windows 7 is the best option.
gavomatic57 18th July 2010, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krayzie_B.o.n.e.
Face it as much as people want to use another OS they will all realize that Windows 7 is the best option.

Now that's funny.
roundyz 19th July 2010, 02:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge102030


The menus of most Linux distros are an utter mess, rather than a 'control panel' or 'system preferences' window, you have a great long list of options. The applications are poorly organised into groups and the reliance on terminal to achieve most 'advanced' things is just a pain in the arse after about the 10th time. While having to use the terminal has helped me with a lot of things, mostly learning the syntax so i can use it for other uses, who really wants to bother with all that crap?

Sorry, but that's a rather sweeping generalisation. It applies to a default Gnome installation but not KDE, which has a settings window rather like the one in OSX. Also, Mint which uses Gnome has been customised to include a control panel.

The main thing with either is that you can do whatever the hell you want with it quite easily.

You don't actually need the command line that much anymore. My mother uses Ubuntu and has never seen the command line. I use it out of choice though.

Firstly you have either the dot files in your home dir or /etc/ for config, no need for a control panel. \Secondly the terminal is a must, way better than forms (try designing them..) give me text files anyday!
Yslen 20th July 2010, 01:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge102030
Faster..maybe, but most definitely not cleaner. How is a plethora of scattered distros cleaner than one linear line which improves with each release?

But you only use one distro, not all of them at the same time! Many have specific purposes, but the mainstream distros could easily be likened to OS X - improving with each release.
Quote:
I have yet to see a GNU/Linux distro that looks as good as OS X and which also has the same built-in/easy to access capability.

Ubuntu 10.04 easily looks as good, in my opinion. Actually, I'd say it looks better. It's also really really easy to use out of the box - my mother uses it.
Quote:
The menus of most Linux distros are an utter mess, rather than a 'control panel' or 'system preferences' window, you have a great long list of options
.

There is a control panel option, but the "list of options" is just the control panel items in an easily-accessible menu - you don't have to open a window to get to something.
Quote:
The applications are poorly organised into groups and the reliance on terminal to achieve most 'advanced' things is just a pain in the arse after about the 10th time. While having to use the terminal has helped me with a lot of things, mostly learning the syntax so i can use it for other uses, who really wants to bother with all that crap?


That depends on what you call advanced. If you exclude all the stuff you can't do on windows or OS X, there's not a lot that you have to use the terminal for if you don't want to. Installations can be done through the software centre or with .deb files in ubuntu, and stuff like adding repositories can be done via the "software sources" section of the system menu. It's faster to use the terminal in a lot of cases, if you know what you're doing, but it's not actually necessary. If you actually are someone who needs to use it, you presumably understand computers and won't find it difficult.

As for the badly organised menus, I don't find them too bad at all, and you can reorganise them. Of course, there's no point, because it's much quicker to use gnome-do and/or put your commonly used apps on one of the many docks available for ubuntu.

Obviously I've only talked about the OS I'm familiar with here, but I think one decent OS X contender is enough to be getting on with.

Oh, and it shuts down it 4 seconds, on my mum's 3 year old celeron-powered Acer laptop. So yes, it's fast. I'd love to see this thing running on an i7 with an SSD... <drools>
Yslen 20th July 2010, 01:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57

You don't actually need the command line that much anymore. My mother uses Ubuntu and has never seen the command line. I use it out of choice though.

Haha, linux mums FTW! But yes, exactly, my mother has no idea how to use a terminal (or even how to open one) but doesn't need to either.
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