Apple will launch netbook competitor in '09, says analyst
Lousy economy will force Apple to launch a $599 laptop
Computerworld - Apple Inc. will roll out a lower-priced and lighter-weight laptop in the first half of 2009 to compete in the growing "netbook" category, an analyst said today.
The slipping economy will force Apple to address a glaring omission in its lineup: the lack of a lower-priced laptop, said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research Inc.
"Apple is facing the possibility that as the economic news gets worse, that they're increasingly pricing themselves out of an important market," said Gottheil. "Economic conditions are accelerating this."
Apple won't compete directly with netbooks on price or size, Gottheil maintained, but will have to respond with something he characterized as an "entry-level notebook" that could compete with the $300-$500 price tags of most netbooks. Currently, Apple's lowest-priced notebook is the older, white-cased MacBook, which the company retained when it unveiled new unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros last month. That MacBook lists for $999, although Best Buy has launched a sale of Apple hardware that prices the model at $899.
Gottheil pegged the debut of a lower-priced laptop at sometime in the first six months of 2009, and said that the most likely price point would be $599. He based that on comments a month ago by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who dismissed any desire to play in the netbook market as currently defined. "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that," Jobs said at the time.
Apple's answer to the netbook, continued Gottheil, would probably be more like the MacBook than the MacBook Air -- Apple's thinnest, lightest laptop -- but the company is also unlikely to simply copy current netbooks, which in some instances have sported screens as small as 7 inches.
"Apple feels compelled to be a little different," said Gottheil. "It will look at the netbook form factor and then decide, 'What are the appealing characteristics that we can create under our price umbrella?'"
Gottheil is betting that Apple will stress light and thin over width and depth. "I think this will be more paper-sized, with more screen than most netbooks," he said. The new unibody MacBook, which sports a 13.3-in. display, takes the tape at 12.8 inches wide by 8.9 inches deep, slightly wider than a piece of paper is long.
Other traits that an Apple netbook competitor might boast, said Gottheil, could include a touch-enabled screen and a limited amount of flash memory in lieu of a traditional platter-based hard drive. If the machine is flash-based, Apple might steer users toward its MobileMe online sync service for additional data storage. Apple could also point buyers to its new 24-in. stand-alone monitor, which includes a power connection to recharge a laptop, as well as USB 2.0 ports for jacking in a mouse and keyboard.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts