What price Apple to launch a netbook?

Asus’ Eee PC may well have started life with a 600MHz-clocked Celeron-M processor but the chip all netbook vendors are clamouring for is Intel’s made-to-order Atom N270 processor. But as InfoWorld is reporting, Intel can’t make – or rather, test – enough of the chips to meet demand.

US PC giant Dell joined the likes of Asus, MSI, Pioneer Computers and Acer this week with its new Inspiron Mini 9 and with Chinese vendor Lenovo due to deliver its first netbook next month, the market is suddenly crowding up with options.

But the question begging to be asked at the moment is – what about Apple?

Apple has proven that it can handle portable devices with its cut-down version of Mac OS X in its iPod Touch and iPhone. But how about an Apple netbook?

Apple execs will no doubt be watching the netbook market sales numbers with interest before jumping into the market but there are plenty of reasons to consider it a possible option.

It would greatly reduce the entry cost into the Apple world and give the company a way of getting Mac OS X into the hands of more users. The cheaper Apple can make its hardware, the more popular it would have to be.

At the moment, few netbooks come with an interface as slick as the iPhone. Asus’ original Xandros-equipped Eee PC and the Acer Aspire One with Linpus at least have some extra engineering on board. This is particularly important as Microsoft appears to be doing little perceivable work in matching Windows XP Home Edition to this new level of hardware.

For Apple to produce a netbook with an iPhone like interface, it would certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons or quite possibly end up being like setting loose a few Japanese giant hornets in a honey-bee colony, just as the iPod was to the MP3 player market.

It’d also be an ideal low-cost way for users who are wedded to the Windows computers to try out the Mac OS world and see what it’s like without having to invest significant cash into a new computer system.

But with the netbook market set to hot up in time for Christmas 2008, it’d be unlike Apple to leave the market to go ahead without its presence for too long.

What the netbook market really lacks at the moment is a top-drawer user interface that matches the lower screen resolution of these devices. Given Apple’s expertise in this area, it’s an obvious fit…

Would you be tempted to buy an Apple Netbook?

1 comment for “What price Apple to launch a netbook?

  1. September 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Like somebody on another site said – how’s apple going to make a 500$ netbook (which I think is sort of the upper limit for netbooks) when their ipod touch is 400$?

    i’m not sure that’s something that’s going to be coming….

    or maybe, they can just increase the screen size of the touch and stick a keyboard on it.

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