The Netbook is the Macworld 2009 rumor of the minute – will it happen?

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Everyone is loving the “netbook” rumor right now. It’s everywhere – and it just keeps getting stronger. Well — maybe not stronger…but it is certainly getting louder.

I hate this rumor for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is that a “netbook” from Apple right now just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense for the same reasons an “iTablet” doesn’t make sense – and I don’t think there is a chance in the world that anything even resembling a “netbook” will come out of Cupertino…EVER.

Now – let me qualify that statement.

What is a netbook?

A netbook is a small computer with tiny keys that is made out of cheap plastic with a 10 inch (sometimes less) screen that is produced cheaply to be an inexpensive computer for light computing needs.

Apple will NEVER make one of those.

Could they make something like the 12 inch Powerbook in the future? Sure. Would it be a $399, $499 or even $599 machine? Hell no.

That’s not how Apple works – “economic downturn” or not.

If Apple does reveal a compact computer at Macworld in January (which I doubt) they’ll release something that is to netbooks what the iPhone was to smartphones.

The iPhone’s mere existence, however, makes the netbook rumor much less likely in my opinion. An iPhone is a great replacement for a netbook for almost 99% of the things you would use a netbook for. The only one I can really think of that a netbook would provide a superior experience for would be long-form word processing.

Other than that, an iPhone is a better, more intuitive choice than a small, poorly made (and yes, I’ve used a few of them) “netbook”.

I actually think we’re in for a big disappointment at Macworld this year. Currently I don’t think we’re going to see anything earth shattering at all. I think we’ll see a mostly software based, low key showing at the keynote.

It’s still early to tell, and we have several weeks before the event – but I’m just not feeling any “buzz” around this netbook rumor, and nothing else is creeping out of the woodwork…yet.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

3 thoughts on “The Netbook is the Macworld 2009 rumor of the minute – will it happen?

  1. I agree, why would they create a “netbook” when they already have a “netpad”?

    I’d much rather see a major upgrade to their hobby, and for once include those things that doesn’t necessarily make sense to them, just yet. Think: a set top device that can play (maybe BluRay) DVDs from my large collection which I already have, the ability to record TV shows digitally on a huge HD, the same HD which also will be used for Time Machine backups, and full Broadband/WiFi included, allowing me to also purchase more movies/shows/music through iTunes. And if all this seamlessly works with my iPhone/iPod touch, all the better! Why would I buy this? Because then I can finally dump all the clutter components…

  2. The iPhone is not a very good netbook replacement because of the screen size and battery life. If they make an iPhone sort of device with just better battery life, I could more effectively use it as a notebook replacement. I sometimes need to administer other devices remotely using an RDP client, etc., and that works fine on the phone but I need the darn thing to run longer, like hours, when I am working. A bigger screen would make life easier too. Suppose the whole thing was 50% bigger and not intended to be used as a phone. Put a big battery in there so it lasts maybe 5-6 hours, the storage could also be bumped with the bigger form factor, put in one of those 120gb or 160gb 1.8″ drives for secondary storage. That would be awesome! Cost – realistically, probably about $1000.

  3. Well, I know that Steve made it clear that cheap laptops are a market segment that Apple is not interested in entering. That being said, he also said the iPod would never do video or that the original iMac mouse was the best mouse ever. Personally, I think that Apple, at least in general, is interested in selling anything that makes them money as long as they can ‘get it right’. So, just saying, let’s wait and see.

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