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Apple: Netbooks are ‘junky’, has ideas of its own

April 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm


There has been many rumours in recent months over whether Apple will release its own entry into the netbook space. However, during its latest quarterly results Apple appeared to shoot down any ideas that we will see a netbook as exists in its current form. In fact, Apple tore into current netbooks which half bordered into rant territory.

For us, it’s about doing great products. And when I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, and just not a consumer experience, and not something that we would put the Mac brand on quite frankly. And so, it’s not a space as it exists today that we are interested in, nor do we believe that customers in the long term would be interested in. It’s a segment we would choose not to play in,” said Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook.

Somewhat perversely, Apple claimed that instead of using netbooks, consumers only really need an iPhone or iPod Touch. “People that want a small computer so to speak that does browsing and e-mail, might want to buy an iPod Touch or they might want to buy an iPhone. And so, we have other products to accomplish some of what people are buying netbooks for,” said Cook.

The big tease was left till the end though, when it appeared that Apple are planning something. It’s probably just something very much unlike what one sees as a netbook as today. Cook said, “if we find a way where we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we will do that and we have some interesting ideas in the space.”

Given that Apple reported record profits of $1.21 billion on revenues of $8.16 billion, it doesn’t seem like Apple needs to hurry in releasing a netbook-like device. The company continues to do well making healthy margins on its premium products.

My view is that given how negative he talks of netbooks shows that Apple is planning something. Apple has a history of trash talking product spaces and denying interest right up until they launch their own offering. It is more evidence that if there is such a thing as an Apple netbook or tablet, it won’t look like a standard-issue netbook. It will be the logical development of the iPhone platform.

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