Apple COO Says No to Apple Netbook, Denigrates Existing Models

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Apple COO Tim Cook
Apple COO Tim Cook

Apple COO Tim Cook told analysts Wednesday that while his company was watching the netbook space, there were no plans for an Apple entry into this space any time soon. He also denigrated the quality of both the hardware and the software of existing netbook models, and predicted that customers won't be satisfied with what is currently available.

The comments came during Apple's quarterly conference call with analysts when one analyst asked CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Mr. Cook what they thought of the netbook space, which saw enormous growth during the December quarter for PC companies such as Acer.

"We're watching that space," said Mr. Cook. "Right now from our point of view, the products in there are principally based on hardware that's much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays, etc."

"We don't think that people are going to be pleased with those type of products," he concluded, but he then hedged with a, "but we'll see. We are watching the space. About 3% of the PC industry last year was in this netbook kind of category. So it's a category we watch."

To add some further fuel to eventual Apple netbook speculation, Mr. Cook added, "We've got some ideas here, [but] right now we think the products there are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers that they're happy with."

Apple has long resisted the low end of the market, with desktop offerings like the Mac mini being the rare exception -- and the Mac mini has remained a niche Mac within Apple's niche space in the computing business.

On the laptop side, Apple's least expensive MacBook is the US$999 previous generation MacBook, with the "unibody" MacBook starting at $1,299.

Netbooks typically retail under $500, with many models being in the $300 range. They typically have very small form factors, including small screens and keyboards, and sometimes limited functionality (browsing, e-mail, document writing), which are the kinds of limitations Mr. Cook asserts will leave users less than satisfied in the long run.

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Netbooks are supposed to have very small form factors and limited functionality. They aren’t meant to replace desktops like some laptops are, they are meant to complement an active lifestyle with the capability of accessing the internet while on the go, while entailing the smallest impact on how much you are carrying around with you.

I’d imagine a 7 inch netbook would be perfect for women to stash into their purses while a price tag of $200 (what I think is the perfect price for a netbook) would not cause significant alarm should that same netbook become damaged while inside said purse. Atleast I would not be as concerned with possibility of damage as I would if it were an UMPC such as the $900 Vaio P (I remember the first ones running around $2000).


Weight might be the key here. I would be willing to shell out, say $800, for a 1 kg Apple. Pretty much regardless of CPU power.

Meanwhile, I alternate between a MB and a $200 eeePC depending on the distance I must carry it on any single day.


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