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Summary:

Apple Announces Netbook! That’s the headline you wanted to see, right? That’s the headline that industry analysts and so-called experts believe Apple must have to remain relevant in today’s economic climate. That’s also the headline you’re not likely to come across unless it happens to be April 1st.

The truth is, Apple already has a netbook on the market, which they’ve been selling for over a year now. It’s called the MacBook Air.

imacnetbook

Apple Announces Netbook! That’s the headline you wanted to see, right? That’s the headline that industry analysts and so-called experts believe Apple must have in order to remain relevant in today’s economic climate. That’s also the headline you’re not likely to come across unless it happens to be April 1.

“It’s not a space we’re interested in,” according to Steve Jobs, and a few others at Apple. At least one site run by a reputable Mac journalist claims to have first-hand knowledge that a netbook does indeed exist deep inside Apple’s headquarters, but goes on to back up what we’ve already heard: It’s a prototype, and it’s just not going to ship.

The truth is, Apple already has a netbook on the market, which they’ve been selling for quite a while now. It’s called the MacBook Air. It’s a powerful, good-looking notebook with a full-sized keyboard, spacious 120GB hard drive, and a 13.3-inch, backlit LED screen. It’s capable of running a full version of Mac OS X Leopard, iLife, iWork, and Microsoft Office at full speeds, as well as light-duty graphics work in Adobe Photoshop.

Compare that with most sub-$600 netbooks currently on the market, which run some obscure distribution of Linux, or cripple-ware known as Windows XP Home, and you start to see why netbooks aren’t all that appealing for many people. Not to mention, the standard LCD screens fall in the 10-inch range, the touchpad is practically guaranteed to wear out from excessive scrolling, the keyboards are 80 percent of “normal” size for people with Barbie doll-sized hands, and hard drives are smaller than your standard iPod.

And let’s talk about power. The MacBook Air features a full Core 2 Duo processor, while most netbooks are running an Intel Atom or Celeron processor that barely outperforms my digital watch in modern-day tasks!

Do you really want a netbook?

When I ask around to friends and colleagues about why they bought a netbook, the answer was always the same: “It was small and cheap.” But when I ask them what they thought of it outside those two factors, I didn’t get much in the way of positive comments. Tiny screen, hard to type on, cheap-feeling hardware, and junkware were a few of the descriptions I heard. I thought perhaps this was due to the fact that most of these people weren’t terribly computer-savvy folks, but apparently it’s more widespread than that.

According to this report from The NPD Group, a leading market research firm, only 58 percent of consumers who bought a netbook said they were satisfied, while 65 percent said they expected the same performance as a regular laptop. Many were so unsatisfied that they returned them. How many? Intel’s Sean Maloney was quoted in this article as saying, “They [netbooks] had very high return rates, and a couple of these guys [retailers] had return rates in the 30 percent range, which is a disaster.” Three out of every 10 get returned? Yikes!

In fact, after a slight dip in sales at Amazon.com, when interest in netbooks was at a fever pitch, Apple is back at the top of the sales chart with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which has been the top-selling laptop since the moment it was introduced.

Mac Users Want More

The market is apparently showing what Apple, and Steve Jobs, already knew. People want small and cheap, but they don’t want to give up power. As Mac users, we want more from our hardware, and we’re willing to pay a bit more for it. That demand prohibits Apple from selling a powerful, small, and cheap laptop.

Sure, it would be great to have a $500 MacBook. But do you really want to spend that much for a Mac that has limitations that might include a smaller keyboard, a smaller screen, a stripped-down OS, the inability to edit or even watch videos with smooth playback, or a hard drive only large enough to keep a small sampling of your iPhoto and iTunes collection on in order to save room for other documents. I sure don’t, and I suspect that I’m not alone.

Apple's MacBook Air

Apple's MacBook Air

The MacBook Air, as I stated earlier, is quite a capable little machine. The lack of numerous ports and a media drive initially struck me as absolute craziness at the highest levels at Apple. But when I look at how I use my current 15-inch MacBook Pro, I was surprised to notice how little I actually used the media drive; the Firewire and USB ports; the card slot and the ethernet port. I do most of my heavy-duty graphics work on a Mac Pro at the office, so the extent of my laptop use is light-duty graphics for the web, office and web apps, with the occasional iMovie or iPhoto work.

I suspect my laptop use is typical of most laptop users, except I paid a premium for some extra processor power that I don’t use, a slightly faster hard drive and slightly larger screen that aren’t worth the extra weight or battery use over a MacBook Air.

In fact, when I look at my usage, I really need a netbook. My next laptop will be something cheaper, smaller, lighter and just a little less powerful, but not crippled. A netbook. Most likely it will be named MacBook Air.

Note: I highly doubt Apple will ever release what most consider a netbook. But I’m fully prepared to eat my words, if I have to. After all, I didn’t expect an OS X upgrade to cost only $29, either. With Apple, you just never know what the next headline will be.

  1. This actually makes perfect sense. Having just spent several weeks traveling with both my iphone and my MBP, the one thing I kept wishing for as I either squinted to see the screen of the iphone, or cursed the weight of the MBP, was not something that was less powerful or capable, it was something that was bigger and more usable than an iphone and lighter than a MB or MBP. The MBA seems to fit this perfectly.

    Now, how to justify buying one with nary a travel plan on the horizon…

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  2. I have an MBA, and I’ve used the stand-alone optical drive just once to upgrade iLife. Plan to use it again in September to upgrade to Snow Leopard. Otherwise I wouldn’t need one – since borrowing a drive over a wi-fi connection is annoyingly slow.

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  3. the problem with the Air is that it has all of the disadvantages of a netbook, yet costs significantly more than even a normal MacBook.

    Honestly I’m pretty shocked that ANYONE would shell out so much money for what amounts to just a mildly thinner computer. But I suppose it looks really neat when you open it up at Starbucks.

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    1. Why does everyone hate on popular companies? Who wants to open an Acer netbook while drinking over-bitter coffee at McDonald’s? Coooool.

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      1. We’re not “hating on” anyone. Those of us who have managed to break free from the sheep mentality know that the coffee at McDonald’s is better than Starbucks at 1/3 the cost. We also know that Acer/Asus/HP/Dell/MSI netbooks are more functional and 1/2 the price of a MacBook which is nice to look at.

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  4. It is SO simple: They would have to design a new operating system. A Mac OS X Light – or a iPhone OS Extended. No way. End of story. :)

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  5. I’ve telling people the exactly same thing, but they just don’t believe.
    Take a look: http://altcore.blogspot.com/2008/12/netbook-da-apple-uma-obsesso.html

    Wake up fanboys, please!

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  6. The netbooks i have seen honestly are not worth buying considering the advancements on computers these days a netbook are practically being outdated the day you buy them. Also think about what a netbook in for, quick portable small task computing. You are not running major programs here people. Macbook air is a nice computer but lacks things that a netbook have like a cd drive and multiple usb ports. I think these few things are critical for on the go business computing but if people are just buying them because they are cheap you would be better off getting a PSP.

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  7. Apple is wrong, soooo wrong for not putting out a netbook. I just loaded OS X 10.5.5 on my MSI Wind (Yes, it’s a Hackintosh) and I LOVE IT. In Fact, I love it so much that my next purchase will be a Macbook Pro.. I’m a windows guy (and honestly Windows 7 is AWESOME too) and would have NEVER have given Mac a chance, but now that I’ve had time to play with the OS I am willing to spend the extra $$$ on the Mac hardware. Although I will probably wait until the end of year and will dual boot with Windows 7 Ultimate.

    Apple could use cheap netbooks to increase their position in the windows market.. Why not? They sell the Mac mini for almost no profit? I’m sure plenty of Mac mini users upgrade to iMac’s relatively quickly? I bet the same thing would happen in the netbook segment. It’s the free drugs theory, when they’re hooked, then you make them pay…

    Just my two cents… Anything to put OS X into the hands of someone that wouldn’t normally go there is a good thing, even if they have to sacrifice a few dollars (or lower than normal profit margins) getting there…

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    1. My opinion is a little bit different on this Hackintosh thing. I own a MSI Wind running OS X 10.5.7 but I must say it doesn’t taste like a real Mac.

      In fact, I think my opinion is different because I’m a Mac User and don’t discover OS X on a hackintosh, but OS X is far more better than what you are actually experiencing. It’s far more comfortable and usable.

      I must admit I was pretty impressed by perfs since I managed to do way more than I imagined : edit a movie with iMovie, use GarageBand as a 4-track recorder, edit pictures, run Kinemac, etc. But at the end of the journey, there was something wrong…

      Owning a Hackintosh and a Macintosh allowed me to see that Mac was not only OS X, it was also hardware. In fact, when Macusers tell you Mac = a combo of hardware and software, people usually laugh. I personally thought they were a little bit mistaken and that they overconsidered the hardware side of Mac. To be honest, I was insanely wrong.

      A hackintoshed netbook as nothing to do with Mac. It gives you only a little part of what Mac is. Those netbooks are cheap and that’s for sure. So I guess if you love your hackintosh, you’re a Mac fanboy and you don’t know it yet. I’m quite sure you wouldn’t believe your eyes if you used a real Mac daily…

      That being said, I wonder if the netbook market is not already dead. They now turn to 11″ computers and tablets ( especially Archos ). Problem is people see netbooks as sub-notebooks because manufacturers release sub-notebooks netbooks. Moreover they all do the same hardware : N270 Atom, 160GB HDD, 1GB RAM, Windows XP…

      Thus I think it’s not Apple’s strategy to release such a thing. Why would they build a netbook while surveys shows people are disappointed ? Why would they release something which means cheapness ? Yhey have to release something else. Let’s say if Archos 9 tablet ships with Windows Seven and that Archos guys don’t optimize Seven for the touchscreen, it woudl be a good idea to release a MacTablet with a dedicated OS X. Then Archos tablet will be seen as utter crap and Apple stuff could be seen as innovative, revolutionary and different.

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  8. Wow, I promise to proof read on future posts!!

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  9. While I always have my Macbook with me, I am finding my iPhone takes the place of what I’d use a netbook for.

    I’ve looked at them, but the iPhone being able to e-mail, tweet, newsread over AT&T, plus using QuickDocs as a word processer, I find I’m very productive that way.

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    1. This is a much better argument then the extremely flawed argument the original article tries to make. There is no universe where a $1500 laptop is a competitor to 300-500 laptops.

      The iPhone for a lot of users I think could replace what they’d use a netbook for, and it’s logical to think that Apple will keep pushing the iPhone as their competitor in the segment.

      Apple basically portrays themselves as a premium/image brand, and that’s probably why they’re staying out of the NetBook market. You don’t see Mercedes Benz competing with the Corolla, and that’s because MB owners like that their cars are somewhat exclusive. People like to whip out their glowing white Apple logo-ed beauties to show off that they have a fancier, better computer than the next guy. It shows in most forum threads about this topic as well, it’s a somewhat elitist and status oriented group, the same as you’d run into with luxury car enthusiasts. People who are passionate about the make and like it being exclusive.

      That said, there is merit to the idea that Apple will do something unusual in the segment. Something between the iPhone and a full PC, for example…a larger screened iPhone tablet or something isn’t completely unreasonable.

      But it seems plenty of Apple users are happy to keep Apple as a nitch brand that carries a status with it. It’s curious whether Apple will mirror that mindset, or look into expanding into bigger and better markets.

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    2. @James.

      If the MBA had a 500gb drive, I’d actually think of getting one. There’s times when having a light, MacBook-footprint laptop would be great.

      My ’06 WhiteBook needs an update, and I gave the Air a ton of thought. But the 1 usb/small hard drive is too much of a sacrifice for me. There’s a few spots at the house and at work I need a wired connection and losing the one USB port to that would be a killer.

      But, as I said (and you agreed with), my iPhone does quite well in that.

      Today, I was in a doctor’s office and saw a book in a magazine I want to get. Rather than jot the name down, I just took a pic with the iPhone, and when I got in the car used the Amazon app to add it to my wish-list.

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  10. Uh. The comparison here between the MBA and netbooks is a bit moronic considering the price difference which is the one fact conveniently left out here. I realize that this is an “apple blog” and I love my apple as much as the next person, but you really don’t need to be so blatantly biased.

    MBA $1400 vs Netbook ~$400.

    The whole point of the netbook is to augment standard machines with one that is extremely portable, has “good enough” power to do 90% of what most people need, and at a very small cost. Considering that, comparing the MBA to a netbook makes me think that you don’t understand the concept.

    Netbooks even fit into a manilla envelope if that’s what you’re in to…

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    1. “The whole point of the netbook is to augment standard machines with one that is extremely portable, has “good enough” power to do 90% of what most people need, and at a very small cost. Considering that, comparing the MBA to a netbook makes me think that you don’t understand the concept”

      Absolutely.

      I’m as much of a “Mac person” as you’re likely to find; I currently have five of them in my office, four at home (including three laptops), and I advocate for the platform as much as possible. Macs run my business, and I can’t imagine my life without them.

      Having said that, I recently bought a netbook for general family use, and I love it for on-the-go computing. In fact, I liked it so much, I bought two more for myself and my daughter this weekend. For $250 on sale at Target, they were a no-brainer, and only the blindest partisan could fail to see that.

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  11. There is a need for a true netbook. The iPhone actually proves that. I see quite a few people surfing the web and emailing on their iPhones at Starbucks. However, many of them would like something a little bigger and more functional.

    I suspect that Apple is working on one. What Apple wants to do is completely redefine that market like what they did with the iPhone and iPod. Remember there were MP3 players before the iPod, but Apple completely redefined what an MP3 player should do and took over the market. There were smart phones before the iPhone, but the iPhone completely changed the genre.

    I suspect Apple will do the same for the “netbook” market. My suspicions is that it will be something between a iPhone and a MacBook. It will have a touch screen, no mouse, and a fold away keyboard. You can bring up an on screen keyboard if you’d like. There are two things holding it up: Price and Weight.

    For Apple to be able to produce their “netbook”, it will have to be a high quality machine they can sell for $600 to $700. Even more important, it has to weigh substantially less than the MacBook Air which tips the scales at a mere three pounds. Battery life is also very important. It has to be able to run for at least eight hours.

    This machine will mainly be used for Web cruising with applications like the iPhone has. However, there will be some iWork functionality for writing and other work. It will also synchronize with a regular Mac.

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  12. What’s so weird is I’ve been literally riding the fence for 12 months about this.

    I love the MacBook Air. Everytime I see one it’s exciting and I’m blown away at just how small and light it is! The speed, sure it’s slow but it’s not horrible and it’s not meant to be super fast or powerful and then I look at those $499 Eee PCs with 10 inch screens and have second doubts like do I want to succumb to that kind of speed and find new apps to run or try to get OSX installed on it?

    It’s just challenging and a Macbook Air always is the machine I go back to as a “netbook” the price is always too high but one of these days I’ll buy a smallbook and I sitll have no clue if it’ll be an Apple or Dell or Asus.

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  13. I have 1st gen Macbook Air and it’s one of the worst Apple products I’ve purchased over the last years. It works but as soon as you start to do something for real, it starts to heat and the fan kicks in. At the same time it’s slowing down. I might have upgraded to the latest model but won’t until Apple adds second USB to it. For example when travelling you want to have card reader in one and external hard drive on another. MBA is also very fragile, just had the whole cover replaced (glued to the LCD) due a bent corner.

    On our recent 5-month trip I wanted to carry something more “disposable”. Acer Aspire One isn’t the best netbook out there but I was suprised how well it was able to run OS X. Unfortunately the machine died after 1.5 months on the road — or in the water, next to Antarctica. I bought a Macbook later to replace it.

    After netbook w/OS X and MBA I’m waiting for just one thing — Apple to do the netbook the right way.

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  14. Fine.

    But this doesn’t mean a new type of mobile device isn’t coming from Apple….soon.

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  15. [...] Go here to see the original: MacBook Air is the Apple Netbook, End of Story [...]

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  16. You sound just like Apple in trying to excuse away the desire the public has for something that Apple simply cant compete with. Instead of saying why they wont make one, they tell you why you don’t need one. Why don’t they say that they simply arent able to charge twice the price for something by slapping a neat light up logo on it? As for your assumptions about netbooks, HP makes a 10″ model with a keyboard thats 95% full size (bogger then the 80% you claim to be the biggest), a 160gb hard drive (40gb larger than the biggest iPod which you claim netbooks don’t exceed), and it runs Vista Business (which is more powerfull then the XP Home you say all netbooks are limited too). Perhaps you should do a little more research before you continue to spew the Apple Corp excuses.

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    1. he means MOST netbooks

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  17. What a few people leaving comments seem to miss is that for the vast majority of Mac users, anything less than the Air is unacceptable as far as speed, power, screen & keyboard size goes. You may *think* people want a netbook, but all they really want is a cheaper laptop.

    Yes, there is no comparison between a $1400 Air and a $400 netbook. That argument goes both ways though.

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    1. So what? Does Apple want new users, or just continue selling to the Apple fanbase? As a later commentator noted, Acer got his money, not Apple.

      Also, I strongly disagree about the utility of netbooks. I don’t own a netbook, but for >5 years my laptop was lower spec than most netbooks (and about the same size) – a Sony SRX-87 with Pentium-850 and 256MB RAM. I even did software development and used Photoshop on it.

      And the netbook combination of small but usable size and performance, low cost, and long battery life does not make it just a “cheap notebook”.

      If Apple doesn’t think enough of their current customer base + new customers would buy a fruity netbook, fine. But don’t claim a MBA is the solution to those who want a netbook.

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  18. I use my iPhone as a netbook and have no need for anything else. However, I also don’t think you can state that Ubuntu (a very popular Linux distro especially for netbooks) is obscure.

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  19. I need 4Gigs of memory for my virtual Winboxes, that’s why I chose the new 13″ MacBook Pro and not the Air, although the Air has one other major drawback : it does not have the new trackpad, the only trackpad I’m comfortable with.

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  20. True, the Macbook Air is more expensive, and the netbook is cheaper, but people who really and truly care about quality over quantity tend to go for the most expensive and better-looking buy, and those who can afford it, also.

    You can use your iPhone as a netbook and it wouldn’t make much of a difference, except for mobility. That is, if you have the proper upgrades… But I agree with Mike. Most people look at apple and apple only (much like my mother) and don’t really take in the facts, such as: Is there anything out there better than this? Are they telling the truth or are they just marketing?
    These are important questions when evaluating technology…

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  21. [...] Here is the original post: MacBook Air is the Apple Netbook, End of Story [...]

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  22. (P.S.)The Macbook Pro is a much better buy. As far as capability goes, the Macbook is definitely the better steal than the Air… :)

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  23. Honestly I don’t see what the deal is with netbooks or the macbook air. Let’s face facts here. Besides cost there is no other benefit to owning a netbook. It’s footprint is virtually the same as a 13 inch macbook when you throw it in a backpack or a carrying case. You’re STILL lugging around something that doesn’t fit in your pocket. Apple doesn’t need a netbook, which I’ve been saying for over a year now, because the combination of an iPhone/iPod touch and a macbook is significantly better than any combination of netbook and desktop. Which is what you will need to purchase if you plan on doing anything other than basic word processing, and surfing the internet. So you spend $400 on a nice netbook, then another $1000 on a desktop. Or you can buy a new Macbook Pro, and an iPod touch for $1200. Seems like a no brainer to me.

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    1. I’m very impressed with your comments. My desktop PC is dying as we speak and I’m leaning strongly toward a Mac…but which Mac?
      I consider myself to be ‘into photography’ and ‘family history research’. So, do I want the Mac Desktop with big monitor? along with the iPod Touch for portability? or do I want a 15″ MacBook Pro with the iPod Touch?

      The other option would be a 15″ MacBook Pro that I can dock to a non-Apple monitor when I want to ‘see large’? HELP…need to make a decision soon. -R

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  24. Comparing the Air to a netbook appears to miss the point.

    The Air is equivalent in my mind to a ultra-mini notebook – full power, small size/weigh trade offs.

    The netbook is a small, cheap PC which allows one to browse the web, look at email, some music/videos and perhaps some MS Office documents. It is literally meant to be a cheap, DISPOSABLE computer.

    The iPhone/iPod Touch meets some of the netbook need, but not all. Hence the MSI Hackinstosh mentioned above. Also, for those of us who are aging, I simply cannot DO what I want on a such a small screen.

    An Ipod Touch Slate at about 4.8-5.6 inch screen would be ideal (800×480), or small macbook with a 8.9-10″ (1024×600) screen, running a Core Duo so that I have the benefit of an Intel chips and OS X 10.5. The Air is just too big and too much $$ for the purpose of a “netbook”.

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  25. We have been on the road for 10+ months over the last 1.5 years, with a netbook, MacBook Air and a MacBook. When you really want to optimize what to carry, the smaller footprint of a netbook really makes a difference.

    I would happy to pay Apple-premium for an Apple-netbook running real OS X. Or in other words, Apple should make a laptop smaller than 13″.

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  26. Not bad writing, however, many people including the author of the article are missing the point. The Macbook Air is NOT in competition with the netbook market, it is in competition with the ultra-portable market. If you want a small light laptop with almost as much power as a regular laptop, Sony has one with an 11.1″ screen. By the way, the Macbook Air technically isn’t in the ultra-portable market because of the size of it’s screen which is larger than the 12″ screen typically attributed to an ultra-portable.

    The netbook is typically a cheap computer, though there is a decent amount of personalization through companies like Dell. If the writer wishes to complain about the size of the netbook harddrive, then he needs to issue the same complaint about the Air. True some netbooks come with small 8GB SSDs, however, there are more out there with 120GB and even 250GB HDDs. The Air comes with a 120GB HDD or a 128GB SSD.

    I will admit I have a netbook. I bought it because I broke 2 ribs in a nasty fall and couldn’t carry my 15″ laptop because it put too much stress on the injury. It has been a great little laptop for taking notes, browsing the net and even watching movies or listening to music. I chose the SSD version and have run it with Ubuntu, until recently when I upgraded it to Windows 7. Obviously it won’t do everything I need a computer to do, but it is much easier to carry around campus than 4 spiral bound notebooks or even a regular laptop, and the SSD means that if my clumsiness strikes and I fall and break the netbook, my files aren’t destroyed.

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  27. Oh yeah baby, yes please, let’s spend 1500 dollars on a crippled machine…
    cause it’s so pretty…

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  28. This type of heavily biased and ignorant article makes me feel shameful to be a Mac user. You need to study netbook 101 before writing anything like this. Jkontherun’s article about the requirements for netbook will be a good start.

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    1. The “requirements” for a netbook isn’t the point of this article, at least it wasn’t my intention for it to be.

      The point I was trying to make was that the vast majority of Mac users (not netbook users in general) don’t want to give up power, speed, full-size keyboard and a bit larger screen & HD. Most Mac users demand a little more than the typical netbook can offer.

      It’s not that a Dell (or other PC brand) netbook is bad, it’s that it’s just not the typical Mac user market. This is why Apple hasn’t released one… yet.

      Apple may end-up releasing one some day, but I don’t see them releasing one in the near future just to compete with the ones out there now. There’s little profit in them, and Apple can’t dominate the market with them – so there’s little reason for them to enter the market to begin with.

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  29. [...] I have been a big advocate of Apple introducing a more budget netbook but I can see why analysts don’t see a point for Apple introducing a cheap netbook (even though Apple has been working on prototypes). Mac users are not looking for a cheap laptop [...]

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  30. I have an iMac and an Acer Aspire One. What am I using the little guy for? As an e-book reader. The netbook has an extra 8MB SSD with FIVE THOUSAND pdf documents on it and room for more. Load a pdf into Acrobat Reader, flip the view sideways and select fullscreen view, and it will rival any Kindle or Sony Reader. That’s several years worth of reading.

    The netbook is disposable. My e-book library is not, and it is maintained on and backed up from the iMac.

    Now what someone else uses their netbook for will be completely different. But that is the whole point. It is cheap, cheerful, completely adaptable to the user’s needs and when it goes, I’ll just get a new one. If I tire of reading e-books, it may get a new life as something completely different.

    How does this possibly compare to the MBA, for which I’ll have to re-mortgage the house and sell my firstborn into slavery? How does it compare to the iphone/ipod touch, which does not give me access to my own filesystem unless I go into jailbreaking territory?

    The MBA is a thing of beauty, a masterpiece of design. But it is not competing with netbooks, not even close.

    I’d have to agree about the weird Linux distributions that come with some netbooks. But you can wipe it off and use eeebuntu instead (which works flawlessly on the AA1, BTW).

    If Apple chooses not to compete in this space, that’s fine. Their decision to make. My money went to Acer instead. Love that little blue computer.

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  31. Hmmm, I agree with the opposers. Makes no difference to me. I personally hate desktops though… But that’s just me…

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    1. I like having both. My MacPro is my main work-horse computer, but I love having the ability to “take it on the road” when I have to.

      Laptops have become fairly powerful the last few years, to the point where only the most demanding users actually “need” a desktop.

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    2. Christopher Anderson Sunday, July 5, 2009

      I like my Mac mini with dual 24″ displays. Makes using any laptop seem like too little screen real-estate to be productive.

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  32. [...] latest article for The Apple Blog covers my thoughts on the lack of an Apple netbook, and why I don’t think we’ll ever see one from [...]

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  33. I stopped reading at “… cripple-ware Windows XP Home …” – nice disqualification! Thought only 13-year-old fanboys have to write such crap … I was wrong.

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  34. Jose A. Mari-Mutt Friday, July 3, 2009

    I upgraded from a white MacBook to the 13-inch 2.53 MacBook Pro but returned the computer a day later because I could not stand the very shiny display. I work a lot in my rocking chair during the day and the background constantly moving back and forth was just too annoying. In addition, the MBP got hotter underneath and blue skies in photographs had a rather unnatural violet tinge.

    The MacBook air shares with the MBP the illuminated keyboard, aluminum unibody construction, gestures keypad and sealed battery, but has no shiny glass over the display (the display actually shines slightly less than the MacBook’s). In my opinion, the computer is also more elegant than the MBP because only the keyboard is black.

    The MBA is as fast or slightly faster than the white MacBook and is, of course, much lighter. I now use it as my main computer, for netbook use I have an iPod touch.

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  35. I love small. Have a 12″ G4 PB and a Touch. A few years ago I tried a Fujitsu tablet. Never thought about it but never used the keyboard, folded it and always used it as a tablet. Then I had the bright idea to osx a Dell Mini 9. Dumb idea but I learned a few things. 1), the screen is simply too small to have a decent experience with osx. Too many compromises due to space limitations. 2), the screen is too small to read if you try using the keyboard. Its ok for a 1/2 hour but after that its a strain on the eyes and the back. The Touch is fine. As a tablet it is much easier to hold at a proper distance.

    I can see a tablet but any notebook with less than an 11″ screen is problematic.

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  36. Has anybody actually tried to book hotels and airline tickets online with their iphone? I have, and it is difficult to negotiate the date choosers, and the multitude of dropdown boxes required for completing such a purchase. There are plenty of simple processes that regular travelers need to do which require more functionality than an iphone and less footprint than a MBA.

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  37. [...] TheAppleBlog: “MacBook Air is the Apple Netbook, End of Story” [...]

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  38. I have an iPhone and a $387 Asus netbook. I love my iPhone, but there’s no way it could replace my netbook. I need a keyboard and a screen that’s big enough to display a web page at a readable size. I recently traveled for 2 weeks with both systems, and I used the netbook far more because it was such a hassle to use the iPhone for checking train schedules, troubleshooting one of my web sites, or writing business emails. The iPhone was good for only two things: displaying maps when I was lost, and letting me quickly check (but not easily respond to) email.

    I also disagree with the commenter who suggested that there’s no difference between carrying a netbook and a regular laptop. My Windows laptop is considered ultra-portable, but my 10″ netbook is more portable–it fits in a smaller bag, it weighs less, and it takes up less space on an airplane table and other cramped spots that are common when you’re traveling.

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  39. I agree – the iPhone is no substitute for a laptop. I don’t know why that’s even a consideration as such.

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  40. [...] TheAppleBlog: “MacBook Air is the Apple Netbook, End of Story” [...]

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  41. [...] I have come to this same conclusion as The Apple Blog, MacBook Air is the Apple Netbook, End of Story. I have an Air, and I have a netbook. The netbook is just a “I must have every gadget [...]

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  42. Christopher Anderson Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Macbook Air is simply too big (read wide) and expensive for my travel needs. I prefer the netbook form factor. The performance sucks and the screens can be too small with poor resolution. The form factor makes it all worth it. I wish Apple understood this new form factor. I have to buy a Dell Mini 10 now.

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  43. lemonadesoda Monday, July 6, 2009

    An Apple netbook, in an 11″ or 12″ format, sans fat bezel, would sell like hotcakes. It doesnt need to be lighter than the Air. But it needs to be smaller to fit into a briefcase or attache case, and have a matte not glossy screen, USB direct, VGA direct, and then it would be a the idea productivity tool for corporate road/airwarriors.

    It would also help if it was bootcamp ready. After all, no matter how much you might like OSX, it isnt in the office.

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  44. I am sitting here typing on my MacBook, next to me is my newly purchased EccPC 1000. Why? Traveling to Europe, did not want the size and weight of the MacBook. I took a week to “get” Windows, and now can email, find the files I save, upload photos(which is a must have for this photo trip), and ck email. Cant use my iPhone abroad because ATT will eat my bank account. So NetBook ( $350) or so, was worth it. Typing on it, not really an issue after a bit of practice, battery life, insane, screen is OK. So in the end, it was the size and weight. Thought about MBA, way to much money, and if I was going that way, I would bit the bullet and take my new MacBook.

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    1. Size and weight? It weighs just about nothing! Only like three pounds! And MacBook Pro is much much better, so I agree.

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  45. The Apple MacBook Air is too heavy and too large. Make a MacBook Air mini with 1/4 size and 1/3 weight and then it will cut it. With more ports, of course.

    Or…

    Apple Mac Tablet. Put Mac OS X inside for Apple Keynote and Microsoft PowerPoint, video out-port for videoprojector presentations, at least two USB 2 ports for wireless remote control and pendrive, and as light (300 g or less) and small (pocketable) as possible, and we will order thousands for our University.

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  46. [...] was reading an interesting article on The Apple Blog [Link to Article] that discussed the infamous MacBook Air, and how it was the Netbook of their our dreams. They [...]

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  47. The Apple Macbook Air is defenitly too big to be bring along in backpacks for students going to university. That extra bulk does get tiring after a while. How about the rumored tablet that Apple tablet touchscreen 9.7″ . According to a reputable Mac forum and a large chinese newspaper, Apple is setting itself up for a new netbook push. Check this out http://www.bestnetbooksof2009.com/2009/07/apple-china-netbook.html

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  48. I STILL think people are making too big a deal of this for my taste. Can anybody answer me this? : Why don’t people just shut their front doors and get what they want

    It shouldn’t matter what others think is better, as long as you are satisfied, then isn’t that what really counts?

    Please reply.

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  49. This is coming from the perspective of a someone who has always used Windows and is now seriously considering getting the MBA either this generation or next.

    That being said, I consider it a netbook. As the video stated, the definition of a netbook is so malleable that not everyone is going to agree about what a netbook is.

    Taking all cost out of consideration (which isn’t possible for some people I know), I view a netbook as a secondary computer. It makes sacrifices in terms of connectivity, or ports, and size in order to make an extremely portable, albeit underpowered solution.

    As far as the underpowered portion goes, that’s purely objective. Anyone getting this to do things that require a powerful computer is just ignorant for getting such a machine in the first place. To check email, surf the web, sync your iPod/iPhone/music device, word processing, watch videos, or anything of the like this thing is more than capable. It appears to be very snappy with anything that isn’t graphically intensive like gaming and the like. And as stated noone should be buying this thing to game on.

    I personally am wanting something small, light, and portable to use to do all the things stated above. On top of that though, I also want a full-sized, lit keyboard and a slightly bigger screen than conventional netbooks.

    In terms of usablity, it is a netbook. It is just a netbook for the people that don’t want to have to strain their eyes and wrists so much and have a stylish machine to boot.

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  50. A MacBook Air is not a netbook its a full sized super thin note-book, an Apple tablet is not a netbook it is an oversized I-Pod Touch (which is not necessarily a bad thing). Although I believe Apple is missing the boat on this market segment. Consumers are not after another stylish gadget, they are looking for something compact and practical. A mini-notebook fits the bill perfectly in my opinion. Unless the Apple tablet has a keyboard accessory (which would seem to defeat the purpose of portability), it is not going to have the kind of impact on this new market segment (Netbooks) that Apple execs likely expect. A touch keypad will simply take away valuable screen real estate. Tablets are going to end up cannabalizing Apple’s other offerings like the I-Pod and I-Touch. Apple is not leading this the Netbook craze, they are following it (unfortunately). That is not a good thing. Netbooks are nothing new, Toshiba was the first to offer a mini-notebook April of 1996!

    I’ve heard all the same old criticisms about Netbooks: screen size, weak processors, cramped keyboard etc.. etc …

    Do I-Touch’s and I-Phones offer 160GB-250GB drives and robust operating systems? Can you run and efficiently use a word processor on an I-Touch? Is a Blackberry keyboard a form of torture? Is it fun and efficient surfing the net on a 3.5 inch screen?

    The keyboard is the “key”. Consumers are tired of pecking at their MID’s and Smart Phones when trying to text one small sentence. A mini-notebook remedies this perfectly by providing a smaller (although useful) keyboard, portability, and larger screens than smaller MID’s.

    Apple makes some great stuff, but I am not blinded by their products. We really have a new breed of computer users that I refer to as Apple-Snots!

    I cannot help but wonder if Apple has been a little blind-sided by Netbooks. Apparently the Apple Tablet is in its 3rd or 4th incarnation as a proto-type. Have they waited too long to release this product? Hearing Jobs whine about Netbooks claiming that Apple will not release a similar device because of quality concerns and price point makes me laugh. This is the company that brought us the I-Pod (a revolution) but it is unable to tackle Netbooks! (LOL) Time will tell.

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  51. [...] was reading an interesting article on The Apple Blog [Link to Article] that discussed the infamous MacBook Air, and how it was the Netbook of their our dreams. They [...]

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  52. I have used a mac since 1984. I love macs and currently have mac 2 laptops and 1 desktop.

    Apple currently can not compete against the ASUS eee pc 1005ha netbook with the six cell battery.

    For under $300 (from PC Mall) I have a laptop with 1 gig of ram (extra ram purchased separately), a 7 hour battery, built in camera with mic.

    I can watch Hulu, access Facebook, post to Twitter, use Skype’s video and edit my research database online for all of seven hours. With the built-in usb port I transferred all my movies and pics off my camera to post online with ease during my trip last week.

    Battery life is a nightmare on Apple products. I’ve had 1 iPod & 3 iTouch but their battery life when watching video can not compete with the ASUS 6 cell/ 7 hour battery. My newest mac laptop purchased in February 2009 only provides 4 hours of battery life.

    For those of us who are older with bigger less nimble fingers the iTouch’s keyboard make it a nightmare to use. The ASUS keyboard while cramped is far easier to quickly type with than the iTouch.

    Enabling wifi on the iTouch drains the battery so quickly a power gorilla is required for any extended use beyond a couple of hours.

    I can never get the iTouch to recognize the Apple Snow airport I use at home. The little ASUS pc had no problem accessing my home airport. The little netbook meets all these needs.

    The ASUS netbook will not be my primary computer for video or graphics editing because I have a mac desktop and a couple mac laptops customized for that purpose. However, the ASUS eee pc 1005ha has become the primary laptop I carry with me every day.

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  53. [...] of smartphones, I know, my last four phones were Nokias. Apple on the other hand believes that the netbooks are too much of a compromise and the iPhone or MacBook Air is all you need to stay connected and portable. The huge volume of [...]

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  54. The MacBook Pro 2009 is yet another success for Apple, and i just found a great place where I can buy it with half the price retailers offer. Check out http://bit.ly/6FRFbm and get ready to join the Apple adventure!

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  55. Dempsey wrote:

    “Sure, it would be great to have a $500 MacBook. But do you really want to spend that much for a Mac that has limitations that might include a smaller keyboard, a smaller screen, a stripped-down OS, the inability to edit or even watch videos with smooth playback, or a hard drive only large enough to keep a small sampling of your iPhoto and iTunes collection on in order to save room for other documents. I sure don’t, and I suspect that I’m not alone.”

    Yes, 100% there is a market for sacrificing features for users who do not need a ton of memory or processing power. Sorry but it’s true.

    Look, I’ve been a loyal Mac user for more than a decade. We have five Mac laptops in the house right now (three in use, two out of date). My 13 year old son is torn between an iTouch (a mini-netbook if you ask me) and a Dell netbook. It kills me to go to the dark side, but that’s the decision we’ve made: Dell.

    The iTouch for $300 is not as much value as the $500 netbook and the $1000 MacBook is not worth twice the money as a netbook. It’s that simple. Yeah, I don’t want to sacrifice those features, but, even more, I don’t want to pay twice the money. Not in this economy, for sure.

    Jobs can talk all he wants about not wanting to be in the Netbook market, but I think Apple is going to take a big hit. The market will divide and conquer them by positioning netbooks between the Apple hand helds and the expensive laptops.

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  56. BTW Acer will soon release a netbook with a 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo (only 10W TDP), 11.6″ 1366×768 LED display, 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 4GB), 320 GB HDD, all for around $500. 8 hour battery life to boot.

    This is what an Apple netbook should be… Apple is plain ignorant if they continue to ignore the netbook market.

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  57. I’m doing the research now, and came across this blog. I’m planning on getting a netbook for Christmas to replace my old clunker 14′ HP laptop. I also have an iPhone. I see all the points people are making, but I guess it comes down to what you intend to use it for. I can’t see spending the MBA price if I just want a travel/writing companion. I’m looking to write documents and watch movies… that’s pretty much it, and a netbook seems perfect. The iPhone just can’t compete with that. I love it, I can’t live without it, but it won’t do the job I need as a netbook would. Sorry, Apple… but I would purchase a Mac netbook IF one was available… the MBA doesn’t qualify as one.

    Oh, and you are wrong about Mac users wanting all power, speed, and cool shiny logos. A lot of us just want simplicity, smoothness, and ease. The power needs for simplicity are all we want. We’re not looking to make iMovies or run intensive apps on our netbook… we want a simple companion to smoothly run our simple tasks. The iPhone falls short on being a decent wordprocessing utility, and your MBA rises to far beyond the simplicity we want.

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  58. I am going to back-peddle a bit on my declaration that cheaper netbooks will splinter Apple by claiming the middle ground and make their laptops seem overpriced/over-featured for some, and make their handhelds look under-powered.

    Yeah, I did end up buying that netbook for my kid (Asus, not Dell, as it turned out) because Apple doesn’t offer that middle-ground solution. Not right now, at least.

    But it may have been shortsighted of me to assume Apple has to mimic (or put their on spin on) the netbook concept in order to compete against netbooks.

    After paying better attention to what JayPen and Jason Harris said earlier in this thread, I can now see that Apple has probably determined that the netbook concept is indeed just a cheap imitation of a laptop. It probably signals the laptop lifecycle is coming to an end. And based on that, Apple has probably already moved ahead and set their sights beyond the netbook idea. They are already zeroing in a more innovative concept: the tablet.

    It was enlightening for me to check out: http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/16/technology/apple_tablet/

    and,

    http://www.businessinsider.com/look-its-a-copy-of-sports-illustrated-from-the-future-2009-12

    Now, if the tablet is another $1000 alternative to a laptop, no thanks. But if it is a $500 alternative to a $350 netbook, that makes sense.

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  59. Rather interesting site you’ve got here. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

    Truly yours

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  60. [...] During the launch of the iPad, Steve Jobs downplayed the role of the netbook as the supposed middle ground between full laptop and smartphone. In reality of course, the netbook was a trend that when viewed under the surface can in fact be easily credited to Apple’s direct affect on its rivals. It was following the launch of the MacBook Air, the super light ultra portable laptop that we started to see the first wave of what would become known as the netbook. And although not as powerful as the MacBook Air, these netbooks carried the idea forward of being a light and portable laptop variation or alternative. [...]

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  61. I have been meaning to look further into making the move from Windows to Mac, but I still prefer familiar layout and lower prices of Window systems. But I have to say that the MacBook Air looks like a very nice piece of machinery.

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  62. http://www.casino-online-spielen.com
    This actually makes perfect sense. Having just spent several weeks traveling with both my iphone and my MBP, the one thing I kept wishing for as I either squinted to see the screen of the iphone, or cursed the weight of the MBP, was not something that was less powerful or capable

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  63. i think that apple is the best but should make the net book by the 27 of this month who’s with me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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