Is an iOS Netbook in the Works?

by Chris Seibold Sep 28, 2010

Nothing gets Apple fans quite as excited as rumors about new hardware. A Verizon iPhone? Juicy! 30 inch iMacs? Tantalizing! A 1.5 inch iPod nano? Are you sitting in the closet huffing ether? Wait, it already exists? In that case, we'll just use the new nano as an example of Apple's unpredictability.

Which brings us to the latest rumor: Supposedly. Apple is going to churn out a netbook. The specs are typical: 11.7 inch screen, slightly undersized keyboard, low power chip etc. The trouble with this idea is that Apple has already, publicly and unequivocally, rejected the idea of a netbook.*

You likely recall the Apple's objections to the idea of a netbook. Steve Jobs complained that netbooks weren't better at anything.

Which is true. Netbooks don't really do anything better except convince people that they can get a laptop really cheap. Hence, the very idea that Apple would suddenly jump into the netbook market is absurd. Just as absurd as Apple switching to Intel chips for the company's line of computers after years of telling anyone who would listen just how inferior Intel chips were.

We've established Apple isn't afraid to bash an idea and later embrace it so a netbook of some sort is in the realm of possibility, right? Not really. Apple isn't going to make a smaller version of the MacBook Air at cut-rate prices just to appease those who are frustrated by the lack of a cheapish portable Mac. With the advent of the iPad things get a little more interesting and the idea of a 11.7 inch Apple netbook suddenly seems plausible.

How would Apple make it work? First, forget OS X on the Apple netbook. Apple has established Macs as premium computers worthy of premium prices. iOS, conversely, has been presented as the OS for products with great price points. You may recall how Apple gushed about the iPad's $499 price point.

Things make a little more sense now. You're not talking about a smaller Mac, you're talking about a slightly enlarged iPad that is easier to type on. A real keyboard hooked up to an iPad means more productivity, a better method of input for text and e-mails. The attached touch screen means more fun and a better way to browse documents. Bonus: No need for a trackpad.

Does it make sense from Apple's perspective? The company gets to use the A4 chip which is likely cheaper than any chip powering a Mac. Apple can charge extra for the device without having to pony up a significant amount of extra dough to get it produced. Best of all, it runs iOS and that mean it can run apps from the App Store. What's not to love, if you're Steve Jobs?

The truth has been sussed out, there is simply no reason not to make the device. Apple makes a few extra bucks and consumers have one more thing to buy. Everyone wins. Here's the trouble with the analysis: Apple generally avoids making products just to squeeze a few extra bucks out of folks. Apple isn't being altruistic when the company doesn't sell t shirts at the Apple store, the company is being patient. Apple knows that the value of the Apple brand is far more important then the short-term profit the company could rake in from a marginal product. Such a product would damage the brand, and thus it's not worth it.

Is there an iOS netbook on the horizon? If Apple believes that such a device would go extra large and decimate the netbook market you can expect to see it. If Apple thinks the rumored device would only appeal to people who already have or an iPad forget about an iOS powered netbook.





  • Apple is the restructuring Their software to be bi-compatible. I would hope they would use that this experience to help developers do the same.
    Owner Builder Insurance Brokers

    Jackysoom had this to say on Sep 17, 2011 Posts: 76
  • iOS is designed for iPads and iPhones hardware
    kral oyunoyun oyna

    solariz had this to say on Oct 04, 2011 Posts: 2
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