Apple’s not releasing a ‘netbook’ – here’s why…

‘Netbooks’ are doing really well right now. If you look at Amazon’s Top 10 selling computers they are ALL netbooks (except for the Macbook – which is more than twice the price of many of the other machines in the list) – so I can see where the rumor that Apple might be throwing their hat into the ‘netbook’ ring would come from.

It still seems unlikely, though, that Apple would venture down this road. Why?

Well – look at that Top 10 again. The only full blown notebook computer on that list is is the Macbook – and as I write this it’s number 6.

Now lets expand that look. Take a look at the Top 20. Every computer in that Top 20 is a netbook – except numbers 6 (Macbook 2.4 Ghz) , 11 (Macbook Pro), 13 (Black Macbook), and 19 (Macbook 2.1 Ghz).

So while the rest of the industry is getting trampled by these Acer and Asus ‘netbooks’ Apple is still holding its own.

An Apple ‘netbook’ could seriously cannibalize sales of the already extremely popular Macbook.

What’s much more likely is that Apple is going to refresh the Macbook and Macbook Pro like we all expect in October. The Macbook might receive a slight price drop – but don’t expect it to go down to $500. Apple doesn’t need to do that. If they could get the price down in the $700 – $800 range – they’d blow these ‘netbooks’ out of the water.

Some would argue that they’re already doing a good job of that since the Macbook and the Macbook Pro are faring so well against this inexpensive competition.

There is no doubt that people are looking for less expensive computing options in this economic down turn – but there’s also no doubt that Apple is riding a wave of success that isn’t going away anytime soon.



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  1. That’s like saying Apple should not make an iPhone, because it would hurt iPod sales.

    If Apple made a Netbook, it would be #1 on that list.

  2. Apple is not afraid of cannibalizing its own sales. Better Apple than some other company … as they’ve shown time and time again with the iPod line-up refreshes.

  3. @Paula and John

    I see your points. I still don’t believe Apple would make a netbook – Leopard isn’t going to run well on those atom processors – it barely runs at all on my Mac Mini – which has the same specs as most of those netbooks.

  4. The Amazon list doesn’t count computers sold at Apple stores and that is a huge number. The pricing you cite doesn’t include education discounts. If you take the education discount (about $150?) and the summer iPod promo ($200 benefit) then the MacBook is actually selling for about $900 (for students and faculty). You also have to include the Windows Tax. When you buy a windows machine you need to buy a bunch of anti-virus software and you might want to pay to have that installed. There was a recent article describing how that amounted to about $500 for one purchaser. He was happy to pay the install fee as it took the geeks in the store over a day to figure out the installation. The point is that you can’t simply compare the sticker prices of MacBooks and netbooks. The MacBook price tag is a bit higher but you get a lot more.