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Netbook sales are for real: I hate to stir it.

post #1 of 133
Thread Starter 
I was in BestBuy today purchasing a new notebook computer for my business. We need a machine to process UPS shipments and process time card clock ins and outs that would not take up a lot of space and be economical.

We are a Mac office first and foremost. Everyone has Intel Macs from Mini's, MB, MBP, iMac's, and MP. However, purchasing a notebook (for space reasons in this room) from Apple was a bit of a stretch based on several factors. One, not a high priority to buy the computer to begin with, and two the cheapest MacBook is over $800 even from places like Amazon in my state. The economy in the crapper and me not having faith in any politician to make a good decision means, Windows machine. Hence, how I ended up at BestBuy.

I walk in and go straight for the computer section. Look for an iPhone charger from Apple and don't find one. I move on to the "Windows" computer section. I find the Netbook from Dell for $299 ($327.74) out the door with taxes that I want. I found it in front of about 30 people hovering over the netbook show and tell table and at least 10 staff people were helping customers make decisions and escorting them to the front to get the product.

My turn came up, I'll take this one and let's hurry this up, and off to the front I go. Except the guy helping me is a BestBuy Apple Expert. Big time Mac user. I make a comment about wishing Apple would make a NetBook. He commented that they really should because Netbooks out sale every other model in that particular store hands down. Daily shipments come in because of demand. I believe it! I am not in a very large market either. City may have 150,000 people, maybe.

I did not really realize the market potential for such a device, and I have been a large and outspoken person wishing Apple would make a sub-notebook and said I would purchase the day it comes out. Really, Apple needs to get busy.

Prices ranged from $275 - $800 for the devices. I would buy one the day Apple started taking orders. In this case price dictated my purchase decision, but this was a special case for us because of space constraints, price, and the reason for the purchase (not a high priority but makes us more efficient).

Apple not having a net book model is totally insane and are missing some boat of some sort that would sail. I love my unibody MB and wouldn't take anything for it, but there are times when I travel I just want a sub-notebook (netbook as much as I hate that phrase). I would pay for one too and not whine about them being $700 or more because having Mac OS X is worth that much to me on a supported machine.

Just my observation to share.
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post #2 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

I was in BestBuy today purchasing a new notebook computer for my business. We need a machine to process UPS shipments and process time card clock ins and outs that would not take up a lot of space and be economical.

We are a Mac office first and foremost. Everyone has Intel Macs from Mini's, MB, MBP, iMac's, and MP. However, purchasing a notebook (for space reasons in this room) from Apple was a bit of a stretch based on several factors. One, not a high priority to buy the computer to begin with, and two the cheapest MacBook is over $800 even from places like Amazon in my state. The economy in the crapper and me not having faith in any politician to make a good decision means, Windows machine. Hence, how I ended up at BestBuy.

I walk in and go straight for the computer section. Look for an iPhone charger from Apple and don't find one. I move on to the "Windows" computer section. I find the Netbook from Dell for $299 ($327.74) out the door with taxes that I want. I found it in front of about 30 people hovering over the netbook show and tell table and at least 10 staff people were helping customers make decisions and escorting them to the front to get the product.

My turn came up, I'll take this one and let's hurry this up, and off to the front I go. Except the guy helping me is a BestBuy Apple Expert. Big time Mac user. I make a comment about wishing Apple would make a NetBook. He commented that they really should because Netbooks out sale every other model in that particular store hands down. Daily shipments come in because of demand. I believe it! I am not in a very large market either. City may have 150,000 people, maybe.

I did not really realize the market potential for such a device, and I have been a large and outspoken person wishing Apple would make a sub-notebook and said I would purchase the day it comes out. Really, Apple needs to get busy.

Prices ranged from $275 - $800 for the devices. I would buy one the day Apple started taking orders. In this case price dictated my purchase decision, but this was a special case for us because of space constraints, price, and the reason for the purchase (not a high priority but makes us more efficient).

Apple not having a net book model is totally insane and are missing some boat of some sort that would sail. I love my unibody MB and wouldn't take anything for it, but there are times when I travel I just want a sub-notebook (netbook as much as I hate that phrase). I would pay for one too and not whine about them being $700 or more because having Mac OS X is worth that much to me on a supported machine.

Just my observation to share.


Apple will field a choice. I'm thinking that they're just working on how to do it and make some good profit.

Netbooks show that consumers are willing to buy multiple pieces of computing hardware if it works within their environment and price band.

Computer vendors are fighting to keep the price of hardware up but the problem is it doesn't take much power to surf the net and do basic tasks and that's what a large portion of people want to do.

They need to stop yammering about the Cloud and start delivering some compelling solutions for keeping our growing stash of computing hardware in sync and connected.
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post #3 of 133
I wouldn't be surprised to see an Apple device based on the iPhone/iPod with a larger VGA screen (6-7 inches), 8-16GB of storage for $500. It wouldn't be too thin, maybe 1/3 inch thick, great battery life, wifi, and wireless data modem.
post #4 of 133
I have an Acer Aspire One, that I bring into work about everyday, and everyone is just impressed by the size of it, and the cost is right too. People want something that is small and portable and doesn't cost an arm and a leg to boot, other than needing a bit better graphics (here's hoping to Nvidia's Ion platform), netbooks fit the bill.

I even find it amazing that some of the people I work with, are asking me about Linux, which isn't even that mainstream, but I think netbooks are helping to get the 'Linux' idea out there. And that impresses me the most, as while I personally have an engineering/IT/bio background, I work in a forensic toxicology lab; most of these people are not hardcore computer users, yet they know about Linux.

BTW, I am triple booting my AAO with XP, Win7, and Ubuntu 8.10, and on my way to figuring out how to put OSX on there.

If Apple did ever put out a netbook model, I could see them pulling a Sony, but the MBA is just too expensive and limited for most people.
post #5 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

I wouldn't be surprised to see an Apple device based on the iPhone/iPod with a larger VGA screen (6-7 inches), 8-16GB of storage for $500. It wouldn't be too thin, maybe 1/3 inch thick, great battery life, wifi, and wireless data modem.

Problem is, such a device probably won't have a real keyboard, a key feature.

Convinced Apple won't ever make an affordable mini-notebook, I bought a Samsung netbook in November, my first ever non-Apple computer. I really like it and use it more than my Mac.

Apple should offer a netbook-like Mac but if/when they do, it'll cost a bundle.
post #6 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

I was in BestBuy today purchasing a new notebook computer for my business. We need a machine to process UPS shipments and process time card clock ins and outs that would not take up a lot of space and be economical.

We are a Mac office first and foremost. Everyone has Intel Macs from Mini's, MB, MBP, iMac's, and MP. However, purchasing a notebook (for space reasons in this room) from Apple was a bit of a stretch based on several factors. One, not a high priority to buy the computer to begin with, and two the cheapest MacBook is over $800 even from places like Amazon in my state. The economy in the crapper and me not having faith in any politician to make a good decision means, Windows machine. Hence, how I ended up at BestBuy.

I walk in and go straight for the computer section. Look for an iPhone charger from Apple and don't find one. I move on to the "Windows" computer section. I find the Netbook from Dell for $299 ($327.74) out the door with taxes that I want. I found it in front of about 30 people hovering over the netbook show and tell table and at least 10 staff people were helping customers make decisions and escorting them to the front to get the product.

My turn came up, I'll take this one and let's hurry this up, and off to the front I go. Except the guy helping me is a BestBuy Apple Expert. Big time Mac user. I make a comment about wishing Apple would make a NetBook. He commented that they really should because Netbooks out sale every other model in that particular store hands down. Daily shipments come in because of demand. I believe it! I am not in a very large market either. City may have 150,000 people, maybe.

I did not really realize the market potential for such a device, and I have been a large and outspoken person wishing Apple would make a sub-notebook and said I would purchase the day it comes out. Really, Apple needs to get busy.

Prices ranged from $275 - $800 for the devices. I would buy one the day Apple started taking orders. In this case price dictated my purchase decision, but this was a special case for us because of space constraints, price, and the reason for the purchase (not a high priority but makes us more efficient).

Apple not having a net book model is totally insane and are missing some boat of some sort that would sail. I love my unibody MB and wouldn't take anything for it, but there are times when I travel I just want a sub-notebook (netbook as much as I hate that phrase). I would pay for one too and not whine about them being $700 or more because having Mac OS X is worth that much to me on a supported machine.

Just my observation to share.

You are rationalizing the purchase of a laptop to process at business what a basic barebones system with an inexpensive 15" monitor will do? And this is somehow proof that netbooks are going to be the next big thing?

Netbooks are the last purchase I would make for in-house business processing. In fact, I wouldn't ever dream of a laptop doing that for my business.

I want my business processing systems to remain at my business, whether it's networked to connect within a company server [locked down] and thus all work is stored on the server, or remotely networked in a co-location where my system mounts remote company information and all work is stored on the server at the co-location.

Even a small business could have a separate server room, with a small blade system where all employees log into those systems and write access is strictly set up on the server and disabled on external systems, thus avoiding the disgruntled staff member who walks away with company business on a laptop/netbook or via a usb flash drive, CD/DVD, etc.

I'd buy a netbook for a kid to learn on.

Then again, I'm not a fan of laptops.
post #7 of 133
I totally agree, Apple will ignore this soon-to-be dominant sector at its peril.

I have never forgiven Apple for replacing the white iBook with the bigger and heavier MacBook. The iBook and its PSU were already on the heavy side for cycling with everywhere and took over half the maximum 5Kg weight permitted for hand luggage for most European charter airlines. The MacBook, Apple's new lightest laptop was even heavier! I put it down to the US-centric 'bigger is better' mentality, the anti-small-and-light prejudice ("no good for big fingers") that pervades most US technology reviews. In Japan and the Far East the opposite 'smaller-is-better' view prevails and stepping into a Japanese department store you would be forgiven for thinking that you were in a toy shop with half-size toy-versions of everything for sale.

Let us have a range of products. I am sure that Apple will release a netBook and their netBook (perhaps restoring the iBook moniker - the original net computer) will once again be a game changer and will come at a premium price that will be entirely justified. It makes sense for this to come with the slim-line, improved performance, Snow Leopard to lever its modest processing capabilities.

Waiting for 1, Infinite Loop is worse than watching paint dry. At last with paint, you know there will eventually be some closure.
post #8 of 133
They are taking off considerably and I think Apple would be wise to get into the market somehow. This is a sign of the end times for premium computer manufacturers because we are reaching a point where these machines are fast enough to handle what people need.

Televisions are getting the same way. 40" TVs for a few hundred pounds. They will get bigger but most people don't need bigger. So the price just keeps on dropping.

Apple's laptop sales on Amazon keep on falling and now netbooks take up the entire top 10.

It's possible that Apple are waiting on the Ion platform in order to introduce a netbook whose performance with 10.6 is enough that people will get a decent OS X experience on it.

Apple are rumored to be definitely using it. I seriously hope that it's not going anywhere near the Mini contrary to what this article says:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/app...-ion,6849.html

I'm pretty sure that it will be the ATV it's used for (the Nvidia people probably thought it was a Mini because it's a similar shape) but it could also be used in a netbook.

Thing is, Intel already have a dual core Atom (the 330) but it uses too much power for standard netbooks. This would be much better for powering a Mac netbook. The power usage also may not matter if they use the same battery tech found in the 17" MBP.

Apple could still be the premium model in this market.
post #9 of 133
The OP bought his netbook for what he really describes as a single-purpose use. That makes sense. Few people have ever bought a Mac for a single-purpose use other than as a server. However, I would not be surprised to see Apple make some kind of response to this get in this segment.

The big question in this market segment... Is anyone making money or are they just trying to grab market share? I don't know the answer but all indications are that if anyone is making money they aren't making much at all.

For poster "timmillea", the last iBook produced weighed 4.9 lbs per Apple's tech specs. The current unibody aluminum MacBook weighs 4.5 lbs.
post #10 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

The OP bought his netbook for what he really describes as a single-purpose use. That makes sense.

That doesn't mean netbooks are limited to doing just one thing though. Maybe one thing at a time but that's what people generally do anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

The big question in this market segment... Is anyone making money or are they just trying to grab market share? I don't know the answer but all indications are that if anyone is making money they aren't making much at all.

http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/07/21...ing-to-bother/
http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/...profit-margins

They aren't huge earners. It's not really possible when the price including parts can be $300. Apple probably makes that or more in profit on their machines.

This is why some companies are worried. The fact that consumers are lapping these up means that they are eating away profits from the larger laptops and not only from one brand but competing brands.

Some manufacturers are probably wondering why this is the case but you just have to go back 6 years when Apple had 700MHz G3s in their laptop lineup. They sold these machines to people saying they were highly capable at doing whatever they needed. Now Atom machines are at 1.6GHz with more and faster Ram at less than half the price and all of a sudden, Apple say they are not good enough for people.

Just checking the performance of Leopard on youtube on some of these machines shows that they are very much capable of delivering an adequate basic computing experience:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ7mDwMyTLk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgkpoWm05XM

Even runs Half-Life 2.

Ok, people will say about high definition video and things but I've never watched a complete high def movie in my life - Macs can't even play Blu-Ray yet. There are very few things these machines won't do that average users need.

I would actually buy a netbook myself rather than a laptop. I've owned laptops before and I don't like paying so much more than a desktop for lower performance and just being able to move it around. I'm not sure that I'd ever buy a laptop again. I'd probably have a high power desktop and use the netbook for taking with me on holiday or sitting elsewhere in the house. With VNC, you could use the netbook as a front-end to a more powerful machine for encoding.
post #11 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Ok, people will say about high definition video and things but I've never watched a complete high def movie in my life - Macs can't even play Blu-Ray yet. There are very few things these machines won't do that average users need.

I would actually buy a netbook myself rather than a laptop. I've owned laptops before and I don't like paying so much more than a desktop for lower performance and just being able to move it around. I'm not sure that I'd ever buy a laptop again. I'd probably have a high power desktop and use the netbook for taking with me on holiday or sitting elsewhere in the house. With VNC, you could use the netbook as a front-end to a more powerful machine for encoding.

This starts to get into an essential question that I hope Apple is trying to sort out.

Of the various things customers use a Mac for, which ones would need to run well on a low-priced computing device?


We know Safari and Mail can run on low-powered machines. I assume iTunes and iWork can as well. Maybe the critical app will by iPhoto as I suspect Apple would consider iPhoto to be an essential application for a netbook-like device. It's doubtful that Garage Band plus all of the pro apps would be needed.
post #12 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

This starts to get into an essential question that I hope Apple is trying to sort out.

Of the various things customers use a Mac for, which ones would need to run well on a low-priced computing device?


We know Safari and Mail can run on low-powered machines. I assume iTunes and iWork can as well. Maybe the critical app will by iPhoto as I suspect Apple would consider iPhoto to be an essential application for a netbook-like device. It's doubtful that Garage Band plus all of the pro apps would be needed.

The apps will all run but they will hit certain usability limits like simultaneous playback/recordings of tracks as shown in the first video here:

Garageband: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuUvDHl19Rs
imovie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWSeCOUvM8E

iphoto should run just fine given that those apps do. I'm a little surprised at how smooth the transitions are like Spaces and all the menus. Very fluid.

You certainly wouldn't want to run some high end apps like Final Cut or even some of the Adobe suite mainly because you'd run out of screen space. They would probably run ok though.

You do actually get higher end netbooks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emoZ4CwIikc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUDakZi_sbQ

but then you get into the higher pricing of $660 or so. These aren't quite as good vs a white Macbook at $999 but they sure give the Macbook Air a run for its money for performance and portability.
post #13 of 133
What people perhaps don't see is that with Apple's (still rather small) market share the introduction of a Mac netbook will have serious consequences. It will shift the whole notebook product line - and profits. Into directions Apple will not want.

A Mac netbook will definitely eat away at the MacBook. Which is exactly why people want Apple to make one (so they don't have to spend the $$$ on a MacBook). And which is exactly why Apple is reluctant to release it.

And this will propagate. People who might have considered a low-end MacBook Pro might go for the 'middle of the range' MacBook instead.

And in turn the MacBook Pro will become the super-high-end laptop with also fewer people buying it.


The likely result:

- Slightly broader model range: Mac Netbook, MacBook and MacBook Pro.

- But each range with fewer options: as fewer people will buy MacBooks and MacBook Pros these ranges need to get trimmed down. There will for example be only one 15" and one 17" model.

- Apple will lose profitability: current laptop margins are between 25-32%. On an average price $1500 laptop that's close to $500 profit. What's the profit on a $500 netbook? $100? $50?


Apple will have to sell at least 5 - 10 netbooks to make the same profit as with currently 1 (average priced) laptop. To even be able to sell that many netbooks Apple would have to increase its market share dramatically. We're talking figures which are not realistic.

So this is not a good value proposition for Apple. It works for OEM manufacturers who are used to profit margins of 10% or less.


Apple is not in the 'many small numbers add up' computer business. It works for the iPod and iPhone. But those are 'appliances' to Apple not computers.

And that's the only way I can see Apple do a netbook: another appliance.
I fully expect an Apple 'netbook' (if it ever happens) to run the iPod/iPhone OS - not "Mac OS X". In fact Mac OS X won't be able to run on it.

I'd bet we will see such a device in 2009 or 2010.


And it will piss a lot of people off as they won't be able to run Word or Photoshop on that device.
iWork will have to do.
post #14 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

What people perhaps don't see is that with Apple's (still rather small) market share the introduction of a Mac netbook will have serious consequences. It will shift the whole notebook product line - and profits. Into directions Apple will not want.

A Mac netbook will definitely eat away at the MacBook. Which is exactly why people want Apple to make one (so they don't have to spend the $$$ on a MacBook). And which is exactly why Apple is reluctant to release it.

I'd make the same argument I've made for a xMac. If Apple made a netbook and priced it to make the same number of dollars in profit as a MacBook, it would still sell. If the low-power netbook costs $300 to make and is sold for $800, it's just as valuable to Apple as a MacBook that costs $800 to make and sells for $1300. And it gives the people what they want!
post #15 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post

If the low-power netbook costs $300 to make and is sold for $800, it's just as valuable to Apple as a MacBook that costs $800 to make and sells for $1300.

No it actually still isn't!

This only accounts for people who would have purchased MacBooks (and now purchase a Mac netbook). But it doesn't account for people who would have purchased a low-end MacBook Pro and now purchase a MacBook (as they expect a 'middle of the line model' will be good enough).
There are even higher profits lost there.

So my guess would be that that $300 Mac netbook would have to sell for $900-$999 to truly be as valuable to Apple.

Which oddly is the exact same price as the 2GHz white MacBook that Apple still sells and even updated the specs of recently. Hmmm....

I do think that $999 is as far as Apple will go with cheap 'Mac netbooks'.


And I also think that a lot of people simply want Apple to introduce a sub-notebook. The line is blurred between people wanting 'cheap' or wanting 'small'. A 11" MacBook Air could do well. Even at $1,599.
But that's a whole other thread as the inherent problem is that a small machine is perceived as 'less capable' while it would have to be more expensive to provide the same power as a larger laptop (due to miniaturisation costs).
Only where consumer expectations are met (i.e. small = less powerful = cheap) can success be guaranteed.
post #16 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

I do think that $999 is as far as Apple will go with cheap 'Mac netbooks'.

You're probably right. Do you think Apple will bother to make one? I suspect it's a market they'll stay out of.
post #17 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post

You're probably right. Do you think Apple will bother to make one? I suspect it's a market they'll stay out of.

I am absolutely certain that Apple would love to be in the netbook market.
But I'm also sure they've done their numbers and realized that it will very likely mean overall fewer profits. Ouch.
What to do?

My expectation is that Apple decided to create a new device that fills the netbook niche without being perceived as a 'Mac' which can eat away at MacBook and MacBook Pro sales. I call it 'iPodBook'. It might be a tablet with or without a real keyboard. But it will not run Mac OS X.


For Apple there are 2 tricky parts to this device:

That 'netbook' will have to do a bit more than just Mail and Safari. At least word processing, photo archiving. Pages and Numbers from iWork would be great to have.
The iPod/iPhone OS X is not there yet. Perhaps with version 3.0.
So we will have to wait at least until the WorldWide Developer Conference (or whenever iPhone OS 3.0 is introduced).
But I can also see these application run as virtual apps inside Safari, like what MobileMe tries to do.

But the even bigger issue: will people accept a 'netbook' from Apple that is not a Mac? That will not run Word or Photoshop? No matter how slow?
And I think this is the really tricky one.
On the one hand Apple cannot release a $500-$800 Mac netbook as this will destroy their profits.
On the other hand anything with a keyboard resembling a small notebook but isn't able to run Mac applications will likely cause broad user unhappiness too. What to do?

The only solution IMHO is to not include a physical keyboard so people don't perceive it as a 'laptop' expecting to run Mac OS X.

An 'iTouchSlate', an oversized iPod touch, is the most likely compromise.
But will people accept a 'netbook' appliance that doesn't have a keyboard built-in? On-screen touch keyboards or external wireless keyboards are not ideal.
post #18 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

An 'iTouchSlate', an oversized iPod touch, is the most likely compromise.
But will people accept a 'netbook' appliance that doesn't have a keyboard built-in? On-screen touch keyboards or external wireless keyboards are not ideal.

Agreed, on-screen keyboards are hard to use, so such a device wouldn't appeal to me. Neither would a quasi-Mac with a limited OS. A smallish Mac notebook priced at about $800 would appeal though. At any more than $800, I'll stick with my Windows netbook.

Except for its weight, I thought the 12" PowerBook was nearly ideal as a take anywhere Mac. If Apple reintroduced such a Mac that was lighter and even a little smaller, I think it would really sell well, no matter what the price.
post #19 of 133
Full agree (typing this on a 12" PowerBook - best notebook Apple ever did)!

All these conundrums are the exact reasons why there isn't an Apple netbook (yet).

The market for a non-Mac OS X netbook is not very large. Imagine a netbook running only Ubuntu (i.e. no Windows in whatever form). I wonder how large that netbook crowd would be.
But will a $1,599 11" MacBook Air do any better? It'd be small. But expensive. Considering that this price doesn't even get you a CD/DVD drive...


There's one device that might break this conundrum:
An iPhone OS based notebook with a smooth VPN/VNC client to access a Mac. The device can run Mail and Safari on its own but one can also tap into a Mac and run applications remotely.

- A $500 device which doesn't have to be a 'Mac' while still running Mac applications (if you have remote access to one).
- A netbook which would not eat into Mac sales as it would require a remote Mac to actually run Mac applications
- A device with cheap components as its perceived speed comes from the remote host.


However, this requires a very fast network.
And likely a 3G dataplan to be able to access your home Mac (almost) anywhere.
Would people pay $500 + $40 a month for wireless data?
Would even 3G wireless data be fast enough for a remote session? 300 Kbps or even 500 is not that fast.
post #20 of 133
An Apple netbook is easy to make and would be a smash.

Put an Atom chip and the NVIDIA 9400m in the MBA. Price it at $650.

Apple may have an advantage here. I suspect that many OEMs will put Win 7 Starter in the netbooks in order to save money. OSX will shine compared to that version of windows.

Even at $650 people will pay a premium for OSX and a MBA.
post #21 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmillea View Post

I totally agree, Apple will ignore this soon-to-be dominant sector at its peril.

You cannot simply look at NetBook popularity in number of sales, you also need to look at revenue being made from them. Selling more doesn't matter if you aren't making more money.

Quote:
I have never forgiven Apple for replacing the white iBook with the bigger and heavier MacBook.

The 12" iBook is actually slightly thicker (1.35" vs .95") and slightly heavier (4.9 lbs vs 4.5 lbs) than the MacBook.

You also forget about the MacBook Air which is .76 inch thick and weighs 3 pounds.
post #22 of 133
NetBook revenue is being left out of this discussion. Intel sold a lot of Atom processors and didn't make much money from them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They are taking off considerably and I think Apple would be wise to get into the market somehow. This is a sign of the end times for premium computer manufacturers because we are reaching a point where these machines are fast enough to handle what people need.
post #23 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

NetBook revenue is being left out of this discussion. Intel sold a lot of Atom processors and didn't make much money from them.

Frankly, that is for Apple to worry about, not anyone here. If the product is in strong enough demand, Apple either need to make one (I don't care about their figures or profit margins, only how much the device costs me), or simply miss out and get left behind. Right now they're doing a good job of missing out and getting left behind.

Quote:
You also forget about the MacBook Air which is .76 inch thick and weighs 3 pounds.

...and £1000 too expensive. When Apple slices £1000 off the asking price of the MBA, then they'll have something to compete in the netbook market. When Apple say they can't make a decent computer for $500, it's all too clear these days that they are simply not trying very hard.
post #24 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

Frankly, that is for Apple to worry about, not anyone here. If the product is in strong enough demand, Apple either need to make one (I don't care about their figures or profit margins, only how much the device costs me), or simply miss out and get left behind. Right now they're doing a good job of missing out and getting left behind.

You are correct in one sense. Apple is missing out and getting left behind on billions in lost revenue and cutting their workforce like other computer companies. Because Apple only sells profitable products.


Quote:
...and £1000 too expensive. When Apple slices £1000 off the asking price of the MBA, then they'll have something to compete in the netbook market. When Apple say they can't make a decent computer for $500, it's all too clear these days that they are simply not trying very hard.

I was simply pointing out that Apple does make an ultra-lightweight notebook.
post #25 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

You also forget about the MacBook Air which is .76 inch thick and weighs 3 pounds.

I briefly considered the Air because it's a three pound Mac. Then it hit me that I could buy three Windows netbooks for less money and I'd be stupid to go for the Air. I may be a Mac fan but I'm not stupid.
post #26 of 133
It costs three times the price of a Windows netbook because it offers three times the performance of a Windows netbook. You get what you pay for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post

I briefly considered the Air because it's a three pound Mac. Then it hit me that I could buy three Windows netbooks for less money and I'd be stupid to go for the Air. I may be a Mac fan but I'm not stupid.
post #27 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

So my guess would be that that $300 Mac netbook would have to sell for $900-$999 to truly be as valuable to Apple.

Not entirely. I don't know how many studies have been done about netbook buyers/owners, but I would assume that they have another computer at home to do all of the "heavy lifting".

What I'm getting at is:

one - people would be willing to deal with a more hampered laptop because they have a computer at home to do everything else. If it runs the iPhone OS, all of the iApps for that OS, and it has Safari, a word processor, email, and iChat I think it would fulfill most people's needs

two - the netbook is an add on or an introduction to Mac. Simply put, if you put out a netbook, the people who buy it would likely have an iMac or Mini at home. Also, they would likely purchase multiple netbooks as well (is there a better option for getting your kid their own computer? not that I can think of). All of them can easily network with Apple's wireless networking technology, which we all know and love.

In other words, a netbook might not be as profitable by itself, but it could actually lead to even more sales (especially is users start buying from the app store to fill out their machines). Remember the whole "halo effect" that the mini was supposed to promote? (you know, the phrase we haven't heard since the last update to the mini two years ago?) A netbook could actually deliver on that.
post #28 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

I don't care about their figures or profit margins, only how much the device costs me

Best business plan yet.
post #29 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

It costs three times the price of a Windows netbook because it offers three times the performance of a Windows netbook.

I seriously doubt that.

However, I wasn't buying a portable computer to replace my desktop Mac. I just wanted something small and light. Even if the netbook's performance is one third that of an Air (again doubtful) it's perfectly adequate for my use.
post #30 of 133
Well lets see....

Netbooks use 1.6Ghz Atom processor, 533 FSB, Intel GMA 950 graphics, DDR2 memory.

MacBook Air uses 1.6/1.86Ghz Penryn processors, 1066 FSB, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 graphics, DDR3 memory.

The processor, graphics, and overall system speed of the MacBook Air are several times faster than that used in the netbook. But its par for the course as price over performance is the point of netbooks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post

I seriously doubt that.

However, I wasn't buying a portable computer to replace my desktop Mac. I just wanted something small and light. Even if the netbook's performance is one third that of an Air (again doubtful) it's perfectly adequate for my use.
post #31 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The processor, graphics, and overall system speed of the MacBook Air are several times faster than that used in the netbook. But its par for the course as price over performance is the point of netbooks.

You use the word "several" loosely.

I don't want to debate performance of the MacBook Air. It is obviously a faster computer than a current Atom netbook. Should I need a faster portable and have money to burn I might consider buying an Air. I'd also have to consider the larger size of the machine and the loss of two USB ports, ethernet port and SD card reader. It would be a tough call, considering it would cost me at least three times what I paid for my netbook.

The MacBook Air is a very nice portable Mac for those who can afford and justify it. But it can't really be considered a netbook and is not in consideration by many people who might buy a netbook. I would guess there are hundreds of times more netbooks sold than MacBook Airs. If Apple wants to play in the mini-notebook market, they need something other than the Air. (Some have suggested the iPod touch and iPhone are it; but they aren't fully functioning computers, with real keyboards, ports, etc.)

Since Apple's margins are in the 30% range and they're used to making hundreds on each computer sale, it would be very difficult for them to enter the mini-notebook market. I would understand if they stay out of it. Apple is a very successful company. They have like 30 billion in the bank.
post #32 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Well lets see....

Netbooks use 1.6Ghz Atom processor, 533 FSB, Intel GMA 950 graphics, DDR2 memory.

MacBook Air uses 1.6/1.86Ghz Penryn processors, 1066 FSB, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 graphics, DDR3 memory.

The processor, graphics, and overall system speed of the MacBook Air are several times faster than that used in the netbook. But its par for the course as price over performance is the point of netbooks.

Dur, one is min. $1800 vs $300-400 (typically). But you're probably not going to be doing any major work on a MBA either, not with current speeds of most SSD's or if opting for the 4200 RPM 1.8" HD. The MBA is just a thinner MB, but with far fewer ports, and just big of a footprint. The Nvidia 9400 is nice, but Asus offers a 9300 in some it's netbooks for around $650.
post #33 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post

You use the word "several" loosely.

I was simply pointing out the Air as Apple's ultra-portable option. I wasn't pushing you to purchase one. At the same time its not correct to point out the price difference between the Air and a netbook without adding that their are performance differences.


Quote:
(Some have suggested the iPod touch and iPhone are it; but they aren't fully functioning computers, with real keyboards, ports, etc.)

In 2008 the smartphone market sold 190 million units, while netbooks sold 11.4 million units. Their is a reason Apple has put its attention into the smartphone.
post #34 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmillea View Post

I have never forgiven Apple for replacing the white iBook with the bigger and heavier MacBook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

For poster "timmillea", the last iBook produced weighed 4.9 lbs per Apple's tech specs. The current unibody aluminum MacBook weighs 4.5 lbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The 12" iBook is actually slightly thicker (1.35" vs .95") and slightly heavier (4.9 lbs vs 4.5 lbs) than the MacBook.

From Apple Specs:
iBook G4 (mid 2005) - weight: 4.9 pounds (2.2 kg)
MacBook (2006) - weight: 5.2 pounds (2.36 kg)

The iBook was smaller and lighter than the MacBook that replaced it!

For those wondering about performance of OS X on current netBooks, I have been using an Advent 4211 (MSI Wind Clone) as my main 'Mac' for around four months. I upgraded the HD to 320GB, swapped the wireless card to function with Mac OS, doubled the RAM to 2GB and have an additional 9-cell battery which gives around 7 hours of "wireless connectivity". The performance is zippy for most things and I only really notice a performance hit compared to my old Intel iMac when using Open Office to open large multi-sheet workbooks, or ripping DVDs (from an external DVD drive). In docked mode I use an Apple wireless keyboard and mouse and it drives a 20" LCD display at 1680 by 1050 happily. In fact the latter is a Samsung model with built-in webcam and USB-based audio in and out, giving much of the functionality of Apple's latest Cinema Display.

The Advent weighs around 1.2Kg and cost £220. The upgrades took it to a little under £300. I would have happily paid up to double this for a Apple netBook but not four times for the MacBook Air.
post #35 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

It costs three times the price of a Windows netbook because it offers three times the performance of a Windows netbook. You get what you pay for.

What extra stuff are you doing on the MBA that warrants it being 3 times more expensive? Netbooks can browse the web, do email, office work, view pictures, videos, and light gaming. What more do you actually want from a portable device? Why spend 3 times what is necessary to achieve that? Most of the tasks above are relatively simple, which means that the processor in the MBA is sitting around idle most of the time, which is not a very good way of utilising your available resources. Meanwhile, the netbook processor is slower, but it is still more than adequate for those tasks.

Ironically, the one thing the MBA would be more powerful for is gaming, even though Macs are anything but a gaming platform! You'd have to stick on Windows anyway to make use of that.

To me, it seems like the MBA doesn't really know what it is. It touts being able to do all the things a netbook can do, and be very portable, but then is bizarrely 3 times more expensive!
post #36 of 133
Quote:
To me, it seems like the MBA doesn't really know what it is. It touts being able to do all the things a netbook can do, and be very portable, but then is bizarrely 3 times more expensive!

The Air actually predates most of the netbook craze and has it's own cadre of competitors. It really represents a pre-netbook mentality when companies said that thin and light had to cost a lot (see Vaio TT, Voodoo's notebook, and others). The truth is that given a larger screen size and even the enhanced graphics of the Ion platform (see the 13" MSI Air clone or Dell Mini 12), most users would struggle to notice any difference in daily use between a netbook and an Air.

Remember that these netbooks are about as fast as the fastest Powerbook G4s were. That said, if you could get a 12 or 13" thin and light netbook for $800 or less (and that WILL happen this year) that does 90% of what an Air can, what's the point of the Air? It becomes an extremely small niche machine.
post #37 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

To me, it seems like the MBA doesn't really know what it is.

I think it's designed to fit the ultra-portable sector and the problem that I see is not so much that the Macbook Air doesn't fit its target market but rather the netbook market pretty much makes the ultra-portable market redundant.

Apple's product is probably safer than other ultra-portables like Sony's though because Sony does sacrifice performance and screen size and yet has an ultra-portable price tag. The Macbook Air is meant to be basically Macbook performance but much lighter (even though it's just over 30% lighter).

Still, I really don't know who needs this level of performance on the go - maybe business execs who sit in First Class on flights are playing Call of Duty 4.

I'm sure that we'll find out this year if netbooks will wipe out ultra-portables or if both markets can co-exist. I personally believe and hope that netbooks will reduce sales of ultra-portables to the point where they are no longer worth making.

As InfiniteSpacer mentions, Nvidia's Ion will be a significant blow to the ultra-portables. I reckon once they get dual-core Atoms this Summer, the ultra-portable sector is finished and people will simply call netbooks ultra-portables.
post #38 of 133
I agree. Netbooks certainly seem to have made ultra-portables redundant.
post #39 of 133
The first thing that came to mind here is why any rational person would buy a laptop for time card processing and other stationary computing tasks? From my perspective this is an example purchasing the wrong hardware for a given task.


As to all the hand wringing about profits for poor Apple, I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up making more money off a netbook. Say Apple targets a $500 selling price, which would be about right. At Apples volume the processor might be $45, the GPU $40, the RAM $35 and the display $65. All the rest of the crap isn't going to add up to much more $100. Apple could potentially make more than $200 off every machine.

Remember the other netbook makers are making a profit right now. Since Apple builds in a bigger profit margin and people here are completely willing to pay $500 dollars for a Apple netbook, they won't have a problem.

The more interesting issue is just exactly what will be Apples solution. For all the love of Atom I'm still thinking that Apple will come up with an ARM based system simply because of it's much lower power usage.

Frankly I don't see a lot of innovation in the current crop of netbooks. All Apple needs to do is integrate some tablet technology with some state of the art battery tech and they could have a machine that could run for days.


Dave
post #40 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmillea View Post

From Apple Specs:
iBook G4 (mid 2005) - weight: 4.9 pounds (2.2 kg)
MacBook (2006) - weight: 5.2 pounds (2.36 kg)

The iBook was smaller and lighter than the MacBook that replaced it!

You haven't forgiven Apple for adding 0.3 lbs to a computer? BTW, from 1 November 2007 onward, the WHITE MacBook has weighed in at 5.0 lbs. Now if you really want to lighten your load, go out and buy a 4.5 lb aluminum MacBook.
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