Originally Posted by TenoBell
An extremely small number of people are going to bother doing this. To the point its inconsequential when looking at over all netbook and macbook sales.
You're completely missing the point. Haven't you ever noticed the rabid loyalty commanded by the Duo, the Powerbook 2400, the 12" Powerbook, and now the MacBook Air? People want extreme portability and lightness. Yet Apple's only offering in the space is the Air, at $1799, and it carries a lot of compromises that are hard to stomach at such a price (USB ports especially!). Meanwhile, "netbooks" offer a good 80% of its functionality for less than $400 - sometimes less than $300. You lose some performance and some screen space. Meanwhile, you gain some ports and it's smaller and lighter, and a LOT cheaper.
I'm willing to bet you'd see a much larger market OVERALL if Apple were to release a similar computer with Mac OS X on it, even at a "premium" of $599 or so. A "MacBook Mini", as it were.
Let's look at your generic netbook:
- Intel Atom 1.6Ghz, with HyperThreading. Dual-core parts early next year.
- Intel GMA950 graphics. NVidia chipsets next year.
- 1GB of memory
- 80/160GB hard drive or small SSD. Fast, cheap, large SSD's entering market now (RunCore).
- 802.11g. Sometimes 802.11n, sometimes Bluetooth. Sometimes an ExpressCard slot.
- 3 x USB 2.0 ports, 10/100 Ethernet, VGA. Usually a webcam.
- 1024x600 screen, either at 9 or 10 inches
- Less than three pounds; battery life of anywhere from 3 hours up to 7 hours (!)
The CPU is similar in performance today to a Core Solo, but that is soon to change. Graphics are equivalent to the Mac Mini and previous MacBook, and also set to improve imminently. Memory can be expanded cheaply. Hard drive is the same as the MacBook Air, and we should see VERY fast, large, cheap SSD's penetrate the market imminently which changes that whole equation - the new RunCore parts are cheap, large, and screaming fast. Wireless is similar - my Eee has 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1, for instance. More USB ports than an Air, and still includes ethernet. Screen resolution is lower, but that's entirely up to the manufacturer - the HP MiniNote 2133 had a 1280x768 display on a miniscule 8.9-inch screen.
In other words, this isn't a toy. This is equivalent to a standard Mac of a year or so ago, with the sole exception of screen/keyboard size.
Let's take my personal favorite, the Eee 901, and make a couple additions:
Eee 901: $400 at ZipZoomFly
2GB Memory: $22 at Crucial
64GB SSD (75MB/s read, 55MB/s write): $199 at MyDigitalDiscount
Okay, we're slightly over $600, but what do we (I) have?
- 1.6Ghz Intel Atom, which I can attest is plenty fast to run OS X. Boots in 30 seconds, for example.
- 2GB memory
- 68GB of VERY fast solid state storage, which costs MUCH more at Apple. No moving parts!
- 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1, Webcam - same as any MacBook model
- 10/100 Ethernet, VGA, 3 x USB 2.0
- Intel GMA950 graphics. Weak, but enough to handle all of Apple's various video technologies (Quartz, OpenGL, etc). You'll never notice it until firing up a 3D game.
- 5 hours of real, usable battery life, in a 2.2lb package.
Put that in a sleek case and sell it with OS X. Lighter than Air. For $600 or so, Apple could easily release a system similar in design to a last-generation MacBook, just with a smaller screen and keyboard. An entry "MacBook Mini", just like the Mac Mini is about a generation behind and a cheap entry Mac.