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Netbook sales are for real: I hate to stir it. - Page 2

post #41 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

I agree. Netbooks certainly seem to have made ultra-portables redundant.

Apple have sort of signalled the way but have muddied the waters. The Air is a premium product that will eventually only come with an SSD. It has a full-size keyboard, premium full-size display, will be as fast as a standard MacBook, yet weigh as little as a netBook. An Apple netBook is likely to have a 10" or 12" screen, use a low-power processor and use a standard (old-fashioned rotating :-) hard drive. The product differentiation will be clear. Of course, the netBook will outsell the Air many times over, just as the iMac outsells the Mac Pro. An Apple netBook will still be an item of beauty and come at a premium over other netBooks.

Bets on a netBook release - March, July or October? or Never?
post #42 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

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.

A cheap desktop PC is bulky and possibly noisy. Not to mention if you want to move the thing, you have to unplug a lot more stuff. You'd be hard pressed to find a new desktop with warranty that cheap anyway.

I found one for £222 in a quick search without a display. A cheap display would run about £50 so £272. A netbook can be bought for under £250 and will be cheaper to have delivered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

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.

The display is the main issue I see for Apple. They emphasized that shrinking the display was not a compromise they wanted to make. For them to now make a machine with a 10" screen means a reversal of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

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.

Since Asus sell their Nvidia model at $660, I could see them aiming closer to $699 as they'd include isight and all the other little sensors and things they put on their machine. They'd basically be taking the Macbook, shrinking it, using the Ion platform and a smaller display. A $300 saving over the base Macbook is a decent drop in price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

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.

A tablet idea would be great but it's not possible for ARM to be in the picture. Netbooks are popular because they run full operating systems and apps. If Apple go with ARM, no OS X software will run. It has to be Ion or nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timmillea

Bets on a netBook release - March, July or October? or Never?

The day after the Cube makes a comeback. I'd say Wednesday.

The current lineup needs a refresh ASAP, but if Apple go for the green Q8200 then we're looking at February 24th at the earliest for iMac and Mini updates. The Mac Pro should come sometime in March. This leaves April, May, June. Refreshed iphone should be announced in June.

I don't think Apple would offer a netbook with single core Atom so they'd wait until Intel had the dual core ones. But Intel aren't too happy with Atom processors and are holding them back as they don't make much profit on them. The even put them down saying they are half the speed of Celerons and people shouldn't want to buy them. I imagine Intel and Apple would have some sort of mutual agreement to avoid using them in mainstream computers.

My bet is Ion is for ATV and that's it.
post #43 of 133
netbooks are targeting cheap access, prices like 300$ the disposable pc, when i read about people that have one, they comment that they use online server based services so if it breaks stolen or lost no big deal, its easy to replace unlike my "_________" fill in the blank

i don't think in all reality a netbook is chosen to run photoshop regardless of speed,
simple stuff done simply, internet, mail, pictures, itunes,

the big selling points are CHEAP AND SMALL

all one needs is an iPhone AND a BT keyboard thats the ideal netbook
i want a convergence device, not another THING to carry, and worry

if there was a higher res screen on the ipod that could display more text, the above with BT keyboard would be even better.

the margins are very thin, its a grow into device, the major manufacturers want you to grow into their other products

you want to see the functional need of this device what % are used at class and colleges?
anyone with those stats.

CHEAP AND SMALL, CHEAP AND SMALL.....EASILY REPLACEABLE
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
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I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
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post #44 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I don't think Apple would offer a netbook with single core Atom so they'd wait until Intel had the dual core ones.

I thought dual-core Atoms have been available since January and that, according to the 'vine, Apple had them at least one month before.

I agree with another poster in a related thread that something has been amiss with Apple of late. It looks like several products have been pulled, delayed or rehashed at short-notice and we are yet to see the very late results. E.g., what happened to the forecast reduced margins due to a major product shift stated around 7 months ago in the financial conference call? No shift has taken place and margins were actually up in the most recent results. I am certain there are many great Apple products currently in the pipeline but I would love to know the inside story of all the apparent recent delays.
post #45 of 133
Quote:
Apple will field a choice. I'm thinking that they're just working on how to do it and make some good profit.

That doesn't stop them on the desktop. Just offer 3 year old specs as in the Mac Mini and Bob's yer auntie.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #46 of 133
I keep reading arguments why people want a Mac netbook.
Sure, I want a $499 Mac notebook too! Count me in!

But why should Apple release one? What's in it for Apple? I have yet to read a good reason.


Every netbook sold is a potential MacBook sale lost. Of course there will be people who'd never opt for a more expensive MB. But there will also be a lot of potential MB buyers, who have the money and are willing to spend it, but in the end decide a $499 netbook will do just fine.

From current profit margins every MB sale lost requires at least 3-5 netbook sales to make up for it.
But this means doubling or tripling current Apple notebook sales!
And that is totally unrealistic.

And if Apple cannot attract such an increase in laptop sales, the introduction of a Mac netbook will overall result in less profits!
So why should Apple do it?
They won't.


Probably everyone else in the computer industry earns lower margins on their laptops. They don't need to sell 3-5 netbooks for a single laptop sale lost.
And they are also likely after market share as well, which Apple isn't.


Two scenarios where a Mac netbook could make sense for Apple:
- As 'entry drug' into the Mac market.
But the iPod/iPhone already serve that purpose.
Also one could argue that most of these people will never buy a Mac anyway (as it will always be too expensive). That $499 sale for one Mac netbook will likely be the only money they will ever spend on anything Macintosh.

- If Apple can eek out more money through accessories.
Apple makes a lot of money from iPod/iPhone accessories because in people's minds these don't count as part of the original purchase price. Also they make nice gifts so people buy them for others.
If Apple can develop a netbook that has a similar accessory universe they might make enough money overall in the end.


When will Apple release a Mac netbook?

Simpe: once MacBook and MacBook Pro sales drop dramatically - because everyone buys netbooks from competitors.
But last I looked Apple's notebook sales figures are still on rise...

In any other scenario Apple would only shoot themselves in the foot. Just because consumers want them, doesn't mean it will be profitable overall for Apple.

In the meantime perhaps another 'netbook like' product will be introduced, like a larger iPod touch basted 'tablet'.
And that is going to be it.
post #47 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

I keep reading arguments why people want a Mac netbook.
Sure, I want a $499 Mac notebook too! Count me in!

But why should Apple release one? What's in it for Apple? I have yet to read a good reason.


Every netbook sold is a potential MacBook sale lost. Of course there will be people who'd never opt for a more expensive MB. But there will also be a lot of potential MB buyers, who have the money and are willing to spend it, but in the end decide a $499 netbook will do just fine.

From current profit margins every MB sale lost requires at least 3-5 netbook sales to make up for it.
But this means doubling or tripling current Apple notebook sales!
And that is totally unrealistic.

And if Apple cannot attract such an increase in laptop sales, the introduction of a Mac netbook will overall result in less profits!
So why should Apple do it?
They won't.


Probably everyone else in the computer industry earns lower margins on their laptops. They don't need to sell 3-5 netbooks for a single laptop sale lost.
And they are also likely after market share as well, which Apple isn't.


Two scenarios where a Mac netbook could make sense for Apple:
- As 'entry drug' into the Mac market.
But the iPod/iPhone already serve that purpose.
Also one could argue that most of these people will never buy a Mac anyway (as it will always be too expensive). That $499 sale for one Mac netbook will likely be the only money they will ever spend on anything Macintosh.

- If Apple can eek out more money through accessories.
Apple makes a lot of money from iPod/iPhone accessories because in people's minds these don't count as part of the original purchase price. Also they make nice gifts so people buy them for others.
If Apple can develop a netbook that has a similar accessory universe they might make enough money overall in the end.


When will Apple release a Mac netbook?

Simpe: once MacBook and MacBook Pro sales drop dramatically - because everyone buys netbooks from competitors.
But last I looked Apple's notebook sales figures are still on rise...

In any other scenario Apple would only shoot themselves in the foot. Just because consumers want them, doesn't mean it will be profitable overall for Apple.

In the meantime perhaps another 'netbook like' product will be introduced, like a larger iPod touch basted 'tablet'.
And that is going to be it.

I think you're not accurately representing the opposing views that a few folks have made. Without question, Apple wouldn't enter this segment if they didn't think they could increase overall market share. You're right, they wouldn't do this if they thought the only thing they'd accomplish is to cannibalize potential MacBook sales.

Secondly, Apple is free to set prices where they want. There's no rule that says that it would require three netbook sales to equal the profit generated by one MacBook. So... that argument is a non-starter, IMHO. However, let's go out on a limb and suppose for a moment that the profit might be half that generated on a MacBook. If they sold two netbooks for each MacBook that they actually lose (and no one knows if that's a lot or just a handful), they end up with the same total profit. The extra benefit is that they've now expanded the overall share of OS X and further increased the potential of software sales.
post #48 of 133
When people talk about netbooks they usually mean dirt cheap. As in $299 cheap per the OP.

But we all know there won't be a $299 Mac netbook even in our wildest imagination.
So I'm willing to stretch this to $499. But anything beyond that point is losing the netbook appeal fast.

What if Apple were to introduce a $799 Mac 'netbook'? I'm sure people would moan.
And I have to concur. A netbook should be lots cheaper than that. $500 is a good starting price for a medium model. Not $800. This should be the top-end model.


Yet it would take a $799 (or even $899) price tag to not cannibalize MacBook sales too much.
Personally I don't see the point of a netbook with a $799 starting price.


Apple really high margins on laptop computers is a blessing, as most other manufacturers live on much less. But it's also a burdon as it becomes an obstacle in introducing netbooks.
Apple pretty much owns the top-end of the laptop market. They are therefore the most unlikely candidate to introduce something in the bottom slot.

There's more at stake for them, not just the profit margins: also brand reputation and awareness. Marketing-wise diluting this perception with 'cheap offerings' can be problematic.


In regards to netbooks, Apple painted themselves into a corner pretty much with their super-high margins and brand reputation.
post #49 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

The extra benefit is that they've now expanded the overall share of OS X and further increased the potential of software sales.

That argument is a bit moot.
Unlike Microsoft, Apple is not really much involved in the software market. They don't do games. All they have really is iLife and iWork. (Plus a bunch of high-end creative pro applications like Final Cut and Logic which won't run on a netbook anyway.)
And at $79 a pop they're not going to make lots of money on them either.


Apple is not after the software market nor market share in general. The Mac fan base is loyal, people don't jump from Apple to another manufacturer as quickly as people jump from HP or DELL. These have to have market and mind share to survive. So for DELL it makes total sense to introduce a $299 netbook as overall benefits outweigh the low profits.
But those fringe benefits are pretty worthless to Apple.
post #50 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

That argument is a bit moot.
Unlike Microsoft, Apple is not really much involved in the software market. They don't do games. All they have really is iLife and iWork. (Plus a bunch of high-end creative pro applications like Final Cut and Logic which won't run on a netbook anyway.)
And at $79 a pop they're not going to make lots of money on them either.


Apple is not after the software market nor market share in general. The Mac fan base is loyal, people don't jump from Apple to another manufacturer as quickly as people jump from HP or DELL. These have to have market and mind share to survive. So for DELL it makes total sense to introduce a $299 netbook as overall benefits outweigh the low profits.

I clearly said that it was an extra benefit, and only an opportunity as well. It wasn't the central point of my post and I don't think you're being intellectually honest by parsing out what I typed.
post #51 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

I clearly said that it was an extra benefit, and only an opportunity as well. It wasn't the central point of my post and I don't think you're being intellectually honest by parsing out what I typed.

Sorry, I didn't mean to step on your paws!
Just wanted to answer to each of your arguments which ended up in 2 posts. Your arguments were:
- more sales = more market share
- Apple can set their price point so it won't negatively affect things
- fringe benefits

I don't actually think they have that much freedom in setting any price point. To not cannibalize MB sales the price point would have to be too close to the MB - at which point the whole cheap netbook allure is lost.

Also Apple is not about market share - if it means equal (or even less) profits.
Only if it means more profits are they interested in higher market share. And as I tried to point out before unless their market share will skyrocket any netbook will likely reduce their overall profit. But even if that means higher market share - Apple is not interested.

And those fringe benefits are great for companies like DELL or Microsoft, but don't really appeal to Apple that much. I don't think Apple intends to sell more software products nor can it be a one-stop-shop for every computer market segment.
Sure, it could be an opportunity to try these things, but my guess would be that Apple would rather try a completely new market (cars?!?) than following Microsoft's or DELL's model.
post #52 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmillea View Post

I thought dual-core Atoms have been available since January and that, according to the 'vine, Apple had them at least one month before.

Those are meant for desktops/nettops. I think the Apple TV could use those. Their TDP is still pretty low at 8W but much higher than the 2.5W single core N270.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timmillea

what happened to the forecast reduced margins due to a major product shift stated around 7 months ago in the financial conference call?

They probably changed their mind as we went deeper into a recession and then just didn't bother telling us about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBit

What if Apple were to introduce a $799 Mac 'netbook'? I'm sure people would moan.

Not really because people would just say, finally they've made the MBA what it should have been, which is cheaper than the Macbook. I think they should drop the price lower than $799 though. The drop from Core 2 Duo to Atom save $150 alone. Moving to a 10" screen (1024 x 768 - same as 12" powerbook) and no optical would reduce costs too. $300 saving should be perfectly doable - note that the savings are in components alone so the actual profit margin stays exactly the same. In other words, not less profitable but more profitable because it means a wider audience. They could absorb maybe 50% margin difference due to this even if it wasn't quite a $300 saving on components.

Sony's Vaio P is £800 (over $1100) and I think it's pushing back into the wrong end of the market. When you make compromises for mobility (Vaio P has a 1.33GHz Atom), the machine becomes a luxury if you are paying more than a machine without compromises. It's not a machine you need as it would not be your main desktop or laptop. This is why 'disposable' and cheap works better.

I was just checking on ebay what netbooks were going for and found an example of this very thing. Someone is selling a netbook with a cracked screen, which got damaged during a flight. It would cost the guy more claiming via insurance and this is exactly the benefit of a netbook. Imagine if the same thing happened to the MBA. It's quite a scary thought and would probably lead a lot of people to not take it on certain journeys, but this really defeats the purpose of the machine.

The question I have is what happens if they don't make one? Do people see prices of Windows netbooks they can't resist and gradually the Mac lifestyle fades out? For people who feel comfortable hacking a netbook do this instead of supporting Apple? I know a few die-hard Mac fans and they are asking me how easy it is to buy netbooks and put OS X on them. I personally want to keep supporting Apple but the Core i7 desktops look so much better than what they have on offer.

Apple had best watch out because with virtualization, SSD, cheap Ram, EFI-X their OS won't be such an exclusive selling point. It's still software and consumers will show its copyright protection as much respect as they do Adobe's CS suite.

Being expensive isn't a bad thing, being inaccessible is.
post #53 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

When people talk about netbooks they usually mean dirt cheap. As in $299 cheap per the OP.

Sure, that's a draw and part of the reason netbooks have done so well in the past year.

When I bought mine, the features that made me switch to Windows were:

1) small
2) light weight
3) cool to the touch for laptop use

The fact that I could get it for $500 compared to Apple's low-end $1000 was an additional selling point. Had Apple offered a similar laptop for $800, I probably would have bought Apple's so I wouldn't have to use Windows. If Apple's was $1000, I'd have probably gone Windows anyway just to save money. (It's not my main computer so speed and specs didn't really matter.)

By the way, the price has already dropped $50 on the netbook I bought in November. Seems components are cheap and competition is stiff. I doubt Apple will bother trying to enter the netbook market. It's not in their DNA.

Apple does have to be very careful they don't offer something so cheap is kills sales at the high end. Just look at the Mac mini. It's been a problem for Apple so they've ignored it, hoping sales will slow and people will look at iMacs instead.
post #54 of 133
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

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.

Dave

Dave, please reread the original post I made. Space constraints happened to be one of the main reasons for this purchase. However, the point of the post was not so much what conditions caused me to make the purchase as much as what I experienced while purchasing the machine. Sales quantity is there so why Apple ignores this, is beyond me. I think they went the wrong way with when they released the MBA. I would have thought an ultra-portable would come first.
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post #55 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

Sorry, I didn't mean to step on your paws!
Just wanted to answer to each of your arguments which ended up in 2 posts. Your arguments were:
- more sales = more market share
- Apple can set their price point so it won't negatively affect things
- fringe benefits

I don't actually think they have that much freedom in setting any price point. To not cannibalize MB sales the price point would have to be too close to the MB - at which point the whole cheap netbook allure is lost.

Also Apple is not about market share - if it means equal (or even less) profits.
Only if it means more profits are they interested in higher market share. And as I tried to point out before unless their market share will skyrocket any netbook will likely reduce their overall profit. But even if that means higher market share - Apple is not interested.

And those fringe benefits are great for companies like DELL or Microsoft, but don't really appeal to Apple that much. I don't think Apple intends to sell more software products nor can it be a one-stop-shop for every computer market segment.
Sure, it could be an opportunity to try these things, but my guess would be that Apple would rather try a completely new market (cars?!?) than following Microsoft's or DELL's model.

Like just about everyone else here, I have no idea whether Apple is going to enter this segment at some point. What I'm comfortable saying is that if they choose to, it will be with the expectation that they will make a greater total profit otherwise they won't do it. How they conceivable do that can be debated but in my mind it would encompass two factors: Generating decent profit on each netbook sold and increasing the total market share to compensate for some lost MacBook sales (whether small or significant). Apple are pretty smart and I think they would know how to balance those factors if they want to take the netbook plunge. If they think they can't increase market share then undoubtedly they won't do this.
post #56 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

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.

The performance differences you would see in every day tasks would mostly come from being able to multitask. You would certainly see a difference in such tasks as rendering images, compressing video files, or viewing a HD movie without dropping frames.

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 is essentially a thinner lighter MacBook. To design and build smaller components without significantly compromising performance is expensive.
post #57 of 133
This could be true under the assumption that only netbooks improve and the Air doesn't improve. But that's not very likely.


Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitespecter View Post

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 #58 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They probably changed their mind as we went deeper into a recession and then just didn't bother telling us about it. [...]
Finally they've made the MBA what it should have been, which is cheaper than the Macbook.

All good points.

I wonder how expensive these milled aluminum blocks really are. Whether this was the transition they were talking about (the MacBook unibody model). Or whether they do plan another unibody model, a small MacBook Air 'netbook' perhaps?
It should be something that is high volume and lower margin. Although Apple's idea of 'lower' magin is probably 28% instead of 30% and not 10-15%...


Can we find a sweet spot pricing for an Apple netbook?
I think we all agree that a netbook for $499 would make a much bigger splash than one for $799. The latter would probably just be perceived as a price drop on the $999 MacBook.

Even with cheap parts how much profit can Apple make on a $499 netbook?
$100? $200? $300?
Assuming current 30% margins will roughly apply then profits would be $150. Considering the $1,599 MacBook earns them $480 Apple needs to sell 3+ netbooks for each MacBook sale lost.

Apple sold 1.796mio notebooks last quarter. We don't have actual further break downs but let's assume 1/2 of these are MacBooks, the other half MacBook Pros and Airs (probably an even higher MacBook ratio).
Let's further assuem 1/3 of all potential MacBook owners will buy a Mac netbook for $499 instead. Again 1/3 is a reasonable number. The real figure will likely be much higher since MacBooks are key educational products and students are likely to snatch up a $499 machine instead.
That means 1/3 of 1/2 of 1.796mio sales lost to Mac netbooks, ca. 300,000 units.
To make up for the $330 profits lost Apple needs to sell another 660,000 netbooks for a total of 960,000 netbooks sold in a single quarter. And this will also comprise a 37% increase in total laptops sold to 2.46mio.


Do you think this is realistic in the current economic climate?
If yes, then Apple should go for a $499 netbook. If not, then prices would have to be raised.

At $599 (a $250 profit for Apple) they need to sell an extra 276,000 netbooks for a total of 2,072mio notebooks, an increase of 15.2% in sales.

At $699 (a $350 profit for Apple) an extra 111,000 netbooks for a total of 1.907mio notebooks, an increase in 6.2%.

That latter figure is probably realistic and doable. But at $699 a Mac netbook is not all that exciting...

Yet anything lower more and more becomes a huge gamble.
And this doesn't even account for 'worse' conditions:

- What if MacBooks make up more than 1/2 of all Apple laptops sold?
- What if more than 1/3 of potential MacBook owners go for the netbook?
- What if further sales will be lost on MacBook Pros by people now going for the middle-of-the-road model instead (MacBook)?
- What about increased service costs? With many more low-end customers come more support requests. All need to be paid for.


But even at $699 for a Mac netbook with the specs of a $499 Asus or DELL netbook, would people go for that?
Would that really be the 'Mac netbook' everyone's craving for? Or would it just be another 'Macs are too expensive' argument?
At that price Mac netbooks would probably be a very mild success, if any.
post #59 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

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.

This is true.

Quote:
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).

Its true with the new MacBook update, their is less size difference between the standard MacBook and the Air. While their is a lot of difference in functionality and price. I can agree Apple will need to realign the price of the Air to close the functionality gap with the standard MacBook.

Quote:
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 find it difficult to argue that more performance is unnecessary. In notebooks in general you see the performance compromise in comparison to desktops.

Quote:
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.

I think for netbooks to do this, their will need to be some models with larger screens, full keyboards and larger track pads.

Quote:
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.

Yes its true Nvidia is bringing the 9400 to netbooks, which will greatly improve performance. But its all a sliding scale, more expensive ultra-portables will move on to better graphics cards.
post #60 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

.....I can agree Apple will need to realign the price of the Air ....
.

Seems like they are.

Have you noticed how cheap a refurbished Air is?

I think Apple have room to move in the price of the MBA.

If they changed the cpu to an Atom that'd give them even more room to lower the price.
post #61 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Not really because people would just say, finally they've made the MBA what it should have been, which is cheaper than the Macbook. I think they should drop the price lower than $799 though. The drop from Core 2 Duo to Atom save $150 alone. Moving to a 10" screen (1024 x 768 - same as 12" powerbook) and no optical would reduce costs too. $300 saving should be perfectly doable - note that the savings are in components alone so the actual profit margin stays exactly the same. In other words, not less profitable but more profitable because it means a wider audience. They could absorb maybe 50% margin difference due to this even if it wasn't quite a $300 saving on components.

I agree the Air should at least be the same price as the MacBook.

I don't think they should drop the Core 2 Duo for the Atom, they should go in the opposite direction and use faster low powered Core 2 Duo.

I think Apple wants its screens to display 1280x720 at a minimum.

Quote:
This is why 'disposable' and cheap works better.

It can be argued that sub-$1000 PC notebooks have been cheap and disposable for some time.

Quote:
I was just checking on ebay what netbooks were going for and found an example of this very thing. Someone is selling a netbook with a cracked screen, which got damaged during a flight. It would cost the guy more claiming via insurance and this is exactly the benefit of a netbook. Imagine if the same thing happened to the MBA. It's quite a scary thought and would probably lead a lot of people to not take it on certain journeys, but this really defeats the purpose of the machine.

This has always been the case with portable machines. They go through a lot of wear and tear. They get dropped and damaged. Its not a new phenomenon with netbooks. Performance notebooks are going to be important as they will dominate the computer market in general.

Quote:
Apple had best watch out because with virtualization, SSD, cheap Ram, EFI-X their OS won't be such an exclusive selling point. It's still software and consumers will show its copyright protection as much respect as they do Adobe's CS suite.

When Apple first announced switching from PPC to Intel, we had a lot of debate and discussion about hacking OS X onto generic PC's becoming a normal part of the market. In reality the very opposite happened, Apple sold more computers than it ever had before. So far this hasn't been proven to be a significant problem.
post #62 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The performance differences you would see in every day tasks would mostly come from being able to multitask. You would certainly see a difference in such tasks as rendering images, compressing video files, or viewing a HD movie without dropping frames.

With the exception of viewing HD movies (and my netbook does 720p video fine already), how many people that buy ultra portables do you really think do all of that? My netbook has no problems running several applications at once, especially now that it has 2GB of RAM. The Air was billed as a second computer, one that people use on the road because they have a more powerful one at home. Again, how does a netbook of similar size at half the cost not apply?
post #63 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

I keep reading arguments why people want a Mac netbook.
Sure, I want a $499 Mac notebook too! Count me in!

But why should Apple release one?

I've gotta say, I have a new MacBook with the back lit keyboard and multitouch and REALLY LOVE it.
That being said, I see the $1,500 sitting there that I mostly use for just Firefox and Poker Stars.
I could easily do the same with a cheaper laptop, but again, I really love OS X and the MacBook.
Tomorrow, I'm actually going shopping for either a cheap ($499) XP laptop, or maybe even an MSI Wind. This is revenue that Apple could have made.
I agree with the thought that Apple would say, so what? It's only $50 profit, but when these little guys are flying off the shelves, they would open the Apple world to many new potential customers (upgraders).

So, tomorrow, if I find an MSI Wind, my MacBook is going on eBay (100% flawless by the way).

I'll put OS X on the Wind for both fun and for the OS X usability. I'll miss the multitouch, but I will enjoy the $1,000+ back in my account!

Then, of course, one day later, Apple will announce a netbook.........
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post #64 of 133
I think people will grow to use ultra-portables for whatever they can do. People will play games and watch HD video if the machine is capable of accomplishing these tasks. I didn't say netbooks cannot multitask, but with more system resources multitasking is snappier and faster. You can never have too much snappiness and speed.

I don't completely understand your question about a netbook of similar size and cost applying to the MacBook Air. I've never said netbooks were not useful, I've only said you are getting better performance with the higher cost of the Air. How useful that is to people will be determined by sales.

From what I understand most of you are arguing that netbooks offer good enough performance at an extremely low cost. I'm sure that is of value for some people. But if this was of primary importance to the majority of the computer market their wouldn't be much of a $1000+ notebook market.

Since notebooks are quickly becoming the primary machine for most people. I would say portables with excellent performance are extremely important. Software only continues to be more demanding of hardware not less.

This is from a benchmark review of the Eee PC 1000H.

"For the most part, the results confirmed what could already be reasonably predicted: the Intel Atom platform cannot keep up with a mobile Core 2 Duo in terms of benchmark performance. Whether or not this performance difference will be noticeable in the real world really depends on what you plan to do with this notebook. If you plan to run CPU intensive applications or modern games, you will definitely want to look elsewhere, and in fact, outside the netbook class entirely. If, however, all you want to do is browse the Internet, take notes, and watch a few videos, chances are you won't miss the extra power at all."

Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitespecter View Post

With the exception of viewing HD movies (and my netbook does 720p video fine already), how many people that buy ultra portables do you really think do all of that? My netbook has no problems running several applications at once, especially now that it has 2GB of RAM. The Air was billed as a second computer, one that people use on the road because they have a more powerful one at home. Again, how does a netbook of similar size at half the cost not apply?
post #65 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Since notebooks are quickly becoming the primary machine for most people. I would say portables with excellent performance are extremely important. Software only continues to be more demanding of hardware not less.

And I would agree if we were talking about the Macbook or the Macbook Pro, but the Air was not designed to be used as a primary machine. My point is that if you are going to have a secondary machine that you plan on using primarily for light tasks (which is what the Air was designed for), why spend two to three times more than you have to?
post #66 of 133
Their are two ways to look at this.

Benchmark tests show performance wise, the Air is on par with the lowest MacBook. From a technical standpoint the Air could be used as a primary machine. Together with the Apple LED Cinema Display it can act as a desktop and ultra-portable.

It can also be looked at from a total cost of ownership. Because of its performance advantage the Air will be usable for a longer number of years than a netbook. The Air will retain a good resale value longer than a netbook.

But this certainly all depends on the needs of the individual and what they find most valuable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitespecter View Post

And I would agree if we were talking about the Macbook or the Macbook Pro, but the Air was not designed to be used as a primary machine. My point is that if you are going to have a secondary machine that you plan on using primarily for light tasks (which is what the Air was designed for), why spend two to three times more than you have to?
post #67 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

I think people will grow to use ultra-portables for whatever they can do. People will play games and watch HD video if the machine is capable of accomplishing these tasks. I didn't say netbooks cannot multitask, but with more system resources multitasking is snappier and faster. You can never have too much snappiness and speed.

I don't completely understand your question about a netbook of similar size and cost applying to the MacBook Air. I've never said netbooks were not useful, I've only said you are getting better performance with the higher cost of the Air. How useful that is to people will be determined by sales.

From what I understand most of you are arguing that netbooks offer good enough performance at an extremely low cost. I'm sure that is of value for some people. But if this was of primary importance to the majority of the computer market their wouldn't be much of a $1000+ notebook market.

Since notebooks are quickly becoming the primary machine for most people. I would say portables with excellent performance are extremely important. Software only continues to be more demanding of hardware not less.

This is from a benchmark review of the Eee PC 1000H.

"For the most part, the results confirmed what could already be reasonably predicted: the Intel Atom platform cannot keep up with a mobile Core 2 Duo in terms of benchmark performance. Whether or not this performance difference will be noticeable in the real world really depends on what you plan to do with this notebook. If you plan to run CPU intensive applications or modern games, you will definitely want to look elsewhere, and in fact, outside the netbook class entirely. If, however, all you want to do is browse the Internet, take notes, and watch a few videos, chances are you won't miss the extra power at all."

I've never once run into a web browser or office suite, today, that I couldn't be running with the same Athlon XP 1800+, 1.5 GHz single-core PC I had back in 2002. Given about a gig of RAM and a 1 to 2 GHz CPU, most SW is simply just not that demanding, and most of the CPU cycles will just sit idle.

Certain apps have gotten more bloated, and OS' have added more features, but if all I'm doing is spending most of my time in a web browser, it really makes no difference of its cost or the OS, as long as it meets certain requirements, but it just doesn't take a lot to do that anymore.

My netbook weighs less, has more ports, a bigger, faster HD, smaller footprint, also uses an LED LCD, has a swappable battery, and costs less than a 1/4 of a MBA. Granted, it has a smaller, lower res screen, small trackpad, slower CPU, thicker, and doesn't have an Apple logo, but I've never once though, that gee, I wish I had a C2D in it, for what it's intended purpose is, as it would be a complete waste, 99% of the time.

And for the record, this netbook is my 4th current computer (a PC tower, a Mac Mini, and PC laptop), but has replaced my laptop on any trips I take. Netbooks aren't primary computers for most, and neither is the MBA.
post #68 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

If yes, then Apple should go for a $499 netbook. If not, then prices would have to be raised.

At $599 (a $250 profit for Apple) they need to sell an extra 276,000 netbooks for a total of 2,072mio notebooks, an increase of 15.2% in sales.

At $699 (a $350 profit for Apple) an extra 111,000 netbooks for a total of 1.907mio notebooks, an increase in 6.2%.

That latter figure is probably realistic and doable. But at $699 a Mac netbook is not all that exciting...

Compared to a $999 entry point, I think a $699 Mac portable would appeal to a lot of people. The lowest priced netbooks usually include Linux, which is free OS and likely won't have the same build quality as Apple's - I know their build quality is far from perfect but it's still pretty good. Add in prolonged battery life, multi-touch gestures and the premium is worth it.

But then it's like what you're saying, the elevated price point takes away some of the benefits of the disposability plus they will be compared directly to full blown PCs at that price.

I do think they are missing out on a lot of sales though. I know a lot of people who have bought PC laptops because their maximum price point is £400. Apple's entry point of £700 doesn't even come close. Apple may not care of course but if those people get PC laptops, they are more likely to get PC desktops, Windows mobiles, Windows software and share Windows software with people to whom they will recommend Windows and PC stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenobell

From what I understand most of you are arguing that netbooks offer good enough performance at an extremely low cost. I'm sure that is of value for some people. But if this was of primary importance to the majority of the computer market their wouldn't be much of a $1000+ notebook market.

Netbooks have only just started to take off. The screen size will certainly affect purchases but someone will eventually put netbook hardware into a 13-15" model if they haven't already. The current dual core Atom could easily fit a full size laptop and it could be very thin.

October 2007 was when the first EeePC launched so the market only really began 16 months ago. It's very early days and the first models were not really all that powerful. The netbooks only really started to be worthwhile with the 1.6GHz Atom introduced in March/April last year so less than 12 months ago.

When there are 13" netbooks with dual core Atom, 2GB Ram, 80GB SSD and Nvidia graphics, the $1000+ laptop market will start to drain rapidly.
post #69 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

When there are 13" netbooks with dual core Atom, 2GB Ram, 80GB SSD and Nvidia graphics, the $1000+ laptop market will start to drain rapidly.

At that point, the only real difference between a netbook and an entry-level notebook is the CPU and maybe a smaller drive. How much build cost difference can that account for?
post #70 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

When there are 13" netbooks with dual core Atom, 2GB Ram, 80GB SSD and Nvidia graphics, the $1000+ laptop market will start to drain rapidly.

I agree. We've come to the point where 95% of users will be satisfied with a low cost laptop. I can't see many people spending more than $500-600, even for the higher end, after this year. The EeePC got something started and I don't think it can be stopped.

After you've used an Atom netbook, you realize it can do all the stuff you need to do with it. Few people need more unless their portable is their only computer. A bigger screen is all the netbook needs.

Apple made a good move in October dropping the price on the low end MacBook to $999. I think they're going to have to go further. I've owned five Mac portables but doubt I will again unless the prices come down.
post #71 of 133
There's a thought I had:

A real Mac netbook breakthrough could be possible if Apple were to use ARM Cortex CPUs. We're talking operating days on a single battery charge, not hours, while providing similar (and soon better) performance than Atom chip with a quad-core A9 scheduled for beginning of 2010.
What's needed?


1.) New flavor of Mac OS X

We agree that ideally an Apple netbook should be a Mac and not a resized iPod touch. So what if Apple were to offer a new build of Mac OS X for Cortex A8?

OS X is capable of handling multi-binaries, currently PPC and Intel. A simple extra compile flag and a Cortex A8 binary would be added. In an ideal world all that's needed is a recompile of existing applications.


2.) Which applications are 'Mac OS X ARM' capable?

That's where the new Mac AppStore comes in. Available initially only on those ARM based Mac laptops and offering users a quick way of finding Mac applications capable of running on the ARM chip.


3.) CPU Extras

That ARM chip could effectively replace Intel processors for all lower-end Macs.
Intel won't be happy, but Apple will as it can build its own extras into that chip, thanks to PA Semi, speeding up those areas where the low-power chips currently lack: compression/decomression, multimedia etc.

As long as programmers just use Apple's CORE libraries their applications should compile fine for these chips.

In effect Apple can build a Mac CPU that not only runs energy efficient but also can fully replace low to mid-level Intel CPUs in most applications. And run circles around other Atom based netbooks.

And we could see new hardware technologies added much quicker and more efficiently.


4.) Timeline

WWDC would be the best place to introduce the new flavour of Mac OS X. The new Mac 'netbook' would be introduced but available in October/November, giving developers time to adjust their code so apps also build for the ARM CPUs.

And by the time these new netbooks are ready for their first refresh in Feb/March 2010, the quad-core A9 might already be available, which will be used optimally by Snow Leopard (ARM) while still running a day on a single battery charge.


This could work.
And with most controllers (memory, HDDs, etc.) on CPU as well, production costs could be so minimal that a $399 netbook could be doable. $499 with unibody.
This would be a nice shake up.
And finally Apple would have its own CPUs. A long time dream. And no more cloner worries.

What do you think?
post #72 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMick View Post

So, tomorrow, if I find an MSI Wind, my MacBook is going on eBay (100% flawless by the way).

I'll put OS X on the Wind for both fun and for the OS X usability. I'll miss the multitouch, but I will enjoy the $1,000+ back in my account!

Then, of course, one day later, Apple will announce a netbook.........

I'll update my own posting.
I ended up buying a Dell Mini 9 Inspiron. I really truly do hate to use Windows, BUT, (notice the big BUT), my MacBook was $1,500. All that I use it for is online poker and web browsing - that's all. I bought the Mini 9 for $300. So, for the difference of $1,200 is it worth it to have the MacBook? The jury is still out after only one night.
I REALLY miss the multitouch, but again, for the money, it's probably worth it.

A netbook isn't for everyone, but I'm not everyone. I'm just me. The netbook IS perfect for me. I only need it in a hotel, and sometimes on my lap at home while watching tv.

C'mon Apple. I'm just itching to spend some of my money with you!

Hey, maybe I'll tear apart the Mini 9 and will add a gps and OS X to it!
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post #73 of 133
No, they don't serve the same markets. The fact you keep neglecting is that as netbooks improve notebooks will continue to improve.

By the time netbooks are where you have described, 1920x1200 screens will be common, 3GHz processors, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, faster graphics. These machines will continue to far out perform sub-$1000 machines.

I can agree netbooks will erode the sub-$1000 notebook market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

When there are 13" netbooks with dual core Atom, 2GB Ram, 80GB SSD and Nvidia graphics, the $1000+ laptop market will start to drain rapidly.
post #74 of 133
Notebooks are quickly becoming the primary machine. Because of this $1000+ notebooks have been one of the fastest growing computer segments. People who need performance are not going to settle for a netbook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undo Redo View Post

I agree. We've come to the point where 95% of users will be satisfied with a low cost laptop. I can't see many people spending more than $500-600, even for the higher end, after this year. The EeePC got something started and I don't think it can be stopped.
post #75 of 133
This is a lot of development work for a market that isn't very profitable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

There's a thought I had: A real Mac netbook breakthrough could be possible if Apple were to use ARM Cortex CPUs. ?
post #76 of 133
To make what you want at the price that you want, is a loosing proposition for Apple.

The same way in the long run netbooks are a loosing proposition for other computer manufacturers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iMick View Post

A netbook isn't for everyone, but I'm not everyone. I'm just me. The netbook IS perfect for me. I only need it in a hotel, and sometimes on my lap at home while watching tv.

C'mon Apple. I'm just itching to spend some of my money with you!
post #77 of 133
Hi all

Interesting read, pretty much agree with hobBit, $299-$499 price point to grab the sales, less a mini macbook more an appliance to protect the notebooks, not too sure though about a whole new platform, how about a shared one?

I was reading today about nVidia's Tegra platform for MIDs, bags of power for handling media and general computing such as, oh I don't know, surfing, mail, chat and basic work apps and all with low power requirements giving extended battery usage. I think its was hmurchison who said in another thread that this sort of Soc should be used in the Apple TV instead of x86, but obviously designed by PASemi.

So here's a crazy idea, an Apple netbook and Apple TV using the same ARM based platform!

Both using a 720p screen (1280*720), both share the same development platform for Apps and games distributed through the iTunes Store, the netbook can use the ATV 10foot interface for media and the ATV could access apps, games, web, mail and chat that some have been calling for.(not too sure about web on a tv!)

Apple gets in on the netbook market with a MID without threatening the laptops and creates an Apps/games ecosystem around ATV, giving it more utility and user appeal.
post #78 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

At that point, the only real difference between a netbook and an entry-level notebook is the CPU and maybe a smaller drive. How much build cost difference can that account for?

I just noticed Dell actually sell a 12" netbook - the Mini 12.

single core 1.6GHz Atom
1GB Ram
Windows XP
80GB 4200 rpm drive
12.1" screen
wifi, bluetoooth, webcam

$599

But they also sell a Vostro:

1.6GHz Core 2 Duo
2GB Ram
Windows Vista
160GB 5400 rpm drive
15.5" screen
wifi, bluetooth, card reader, firewire

$429

The Mini 9 can be bought for $329 with 8GB SSD but add a hard drive and it gets close to the Vostro.

This is possibly why a netbook would have to be limited to certain sizes - Intel have a definition of a 10" screen or less, anything above and Intel charge more for the chips. It's not just the chips either, it will be a similar deal when it comes to mobile vs desktop. The bigger things are, they can use cheaper components.

Volume of sales is probably a factor in this too.

Dell aren't the cheapest though and you do get netbooks with hard drives for a very low price and they would drive a 20" display. The built-in screen doesn't really have to be that big as long as the resolution is enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenobell

The fact you keep neglecting is that as netbooks improve notebooks will continue to improve.

Computational requirements in a lot of areas don't keep increasing. People using laptops instead of desktops for average tasks are more than satisfied by the Core 2 Duo chips. A Core 2 Duo uses about 5% CPU while browsing and maybe 25% if Flash is on. Cut the processing power in half and browsing is still only using half the power available.

My friends who use Macs at work have now bought second hand PC laptops for under £100 for use at home. Their needs don't exceed those of the old 1-1.5GHz Pentium-M chips. They like the Macs and the OS but Windows is good enough and Apple's £700 entry point just isn't worth even considering. For an extra £150, they would have a warranty and batteries that last longer with a netbook.

But I can understand the point that if Apple don't go to netbook prices, they might not make the sale anyway and if they make a cheaper laptop, they still won't sell a netbook CPU compared to full blown machines from the likes of Dell, which are still cheaper.

Maybe they should just lower their prices a bit. An average shopper looking at a Dell or a Mac will see $429 for 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo or $999 for 2GHz Core 2 Duo. The performance difference they will notice will be negligible, the $500 saving isn't.

Right now, it's still not a major issue but when we get quad core mobile chips at the end of this year, are Apple going to wipe out dual core machines and put a quad on the bottom end at the same price? If they do then PC manufacturers will sell dual core machines for even less. If a Core 2 Duo is $429 now, next year it could be £329 or less.

Collectively, the entire industry has to move forward in this way to keep it profitable. They have to keep increasing spec and maintain price points. The netbooks are going to damage that strategy because when one manufacturer jumps, the rest have to follow suit in what people call the race to the bottom. But they can't avoid this forever and the netbooks are showing this up very well.

Intel aren't slowing down chip development, nor are graphics card manufacturers. SSD manufacturers are rushing ahead - OCZ announced another model that rivals the X25-M and possibly half the price due at the end of March in sizes up to 250GB. Netbooks aren't the end of high priced computers but they are a sign that the end is coming pretty soon.

Question: if a 9" 1.6GHz single core netbook costs $250 today, what spec will a $250 netbook have in 2-3 years? As I say, add another core or two, SSD and a bigger screen and why would the majority of end users buy something more than that?
post #79 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Computational requirements in a lot of areas don't keep increasing. People using laptops instead of desktops for average tasks are more than satisfied by the Core 2 Duo chips. A Core 2 Duo uses about 5% CPU while browsing and maybe 25% if Flash is on. Cut the processing power in half and browsing is still only using half the power available.

Computational requirements do keep increasing, generally most apps will support hardware that is a few years old, but eventually their is a cut off point. Microsoft Office 2008 isn't a particularly intense app but it doesn't officially support the G3 processor.

Quote:
My friends who use Macs at work have now bought second hand PC laptops for under £100 for use at home. Their needs don't exceed those of the old 1-1.5GHz Pentium-M chips. They like the Macs and the OS but Windows is good enough and Apple's £700 entry point just isn't worth even considering. For an extra £150, they would have a warranty and batteries that last longer with a netbook.

I don't see this as a common trend. Most Mac users I know, use Windows at work and use a Mac at home. People who use Mac's at work generally use Mac's at home.

Quote:
Collectively, the entire industry has to move forward in this way to keep it profitable. They have to keep increasing spec and maintain price points. The netbooks are going to damage that strategy because when one manufacturer jumps, the rest have to follow suit in what people call the race to the bottom. But they can't avoid this forever and the netbooks are showing this up very well.

Most of what you describe has been the situation for 10 years. PC makers are battling in the sub-$1000 market driving down prices, while Apple has maintained above the $1000 market. Netbooks don't change this dynamic, netbooks only continue to drive down the costs and profits of PC makers.

Quote:
Question: if a 9" 1.6GHz single core netbook costs $250 today, what spec will a $250 netbook have in 2-3 years? As I say, add another core or two, SSD and a bigger screen and why would the majority of end users buy something more than that?

The same reason why for the past 10 years Dell and HP have offered $500 notebooks, while there is still a healthy and thriving $1000 - $2000 notebook market. For many people and many situations performance is more important than price.

Software development is not stagnant. Software developers are going to design their products to take advantage of the newest OS API's, the newest processor and graphic features. End users will clearly be able to tell when hardware is not able to handle these tasks.

Outside of using demanding software on premium hardware. In everyday practice people are often using multiple numbers of application at one time. The ability to efficiently and productively multitask is dependent on the quality of the hardware.

Notebooks with better performance will be usable for a longer number of years than notebooks that had minimal capability when the were brand new.
post #80 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Computational requirements do keep increasing, generally most apps will support hardware that is a few years old, but eventually their is a cut off point. Microsoft Office 2008 isn't a particularly intense app but it doesn't officially support the G3 processor.

The G3 is old hardware not new low-end hardware though. Plus the G3 is a very old processor now. Cutting off 10 year old hardware is not really a sign that manufacturers will be able to keep people buying at the same rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The same reason why for the past 10 years Dell and HP have offered $500 notebooks, while there is still a healthy and thriving $1000 - $2000 notebook market. For many people and many situations performance is more important than price.

But in the last 10 years, those laptops weren't good enough vs the higher priced machines. There is a threshold beyond which no matter how much better manufacturers make the high end, a significant majority will deem it too much and opt for the cheaper models. The Mac Pro is a good example - a Mac Pro may be a very powerful machine but a Core 2 Quad is good enough that people who don't want to pay £1400 can pay just £500 and get 90% of the performance and satisfy their performance needs adequately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Software development is not stagnant. Software developers are going to design their products to take advantage of the newest OS API's, the newest processor and graphic features. End users will clearly be able to tell when hardware is not able to handle these tasks.

There is the possibility that developers can move more and more towards interpreted code similar to how the Palm Pre will use Javascript to improve development time but they need to protect intellectual property so I don't see a big shift. They may find ways to tax the hardware further but Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are evidence they are trying to do the opposite. Small footprint, fast code, fast hardware. I'm sure people can imagine all sorts of high end software that could require the highest end machines in a similar way to how consoles develop but consoles highlight this point very well.

The PS3 is arguably the fastest console hardware and yet sells the least. Coming from the back of one of the best selling console in the world - the PS2 - this seems surprising. But contrary to what you have said, developers just can't push the software to a point where the hardware is worth it because the development time takes way too long. Because computers have to have every single behavior accounted for, this level of complexity has to be recreated by solid man hours and that's what will hold back computer growth.

On the subject of the MID, this might indeed be a better direction for Apple to go with than a netbook. This demo of the Nvidia Tegra looks absolutely amazing:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/17/n...d-pumping-out/

I looked at the device and wondered if that could be the next iphone. Full 1080p output, playing Quake 3 at 720p, 10 hour battery life. The gaming angle could really take off with that setup. With it docked in the laptop shell, it could quite possibly take on netbooks, reach the same price point but even lower power usage. Netbooks still have the advantage of being able to run a full desktop OS but the iphone would cover email, browsing and document editing. Apple just needs to put Textedit on the iphone with better Word support and there's little else that the device would need.

This way at least their product doesn't start to affect sales of the laptops etc and encourages people to use the device for the tasks they were meant for. I don't think it's the ideal answer given that people are quite happily running Leopard on current netbooks but it's a step in the right direction. I could see a fragmentation happen in the Mac developer community though. A lot of devs may shift to targeting the lower power, high volume, low cost platforms and innovative desktop Mac software starts to diminish. We're already seeing this happen with Apple's Pro software and Adobe's software. The monolithic apps stagnate and it's the quirky new small apps like Aperture, Lightroom etc that get the attention.
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