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Chinese newspaper says Apple building a netbook

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
The Chinese-language Commercial Times is reporting Monday that a well-known touch-panel supplier will begin delivering displays for an Apple 'netbook' sometime later this year.

According to the report, which was relayed by DigiTimes, Taiwan-based Wintek will start shipping the panels to the Cupertino-based Mac maker sometime during the third quarter of the year for an official launch at an unknown date.

"Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for," the DigiTimes report said. "Wintek added that no shipment schedule has been worked out yet, but shipments are likely to begin in the second half of the year."

In its original report, which isn't accessible on the web, the Commercial Times reportedly went on to say that Quanta Computer will be the company responsible for assembling the new computers.

The move would appear contrary to comments on the netbook segment from members of Apple's top brass, who in recent discussions with Wall Street analysts have downplayed the market for the stripped down, sub-$600 notebooks.

"As we look at the netbook category, that's a nascent category," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said last fall. "As best as we can tell, there's not a lot of them being sold."

More recent criticisms of the segment came this past January from Apple chief operating office Tim Cook, who noted that netbooks are "principally based on hardware that's much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays."

"We don't think people will be pleased with those products," he added. "It's a category we watch, we've got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they're happy with."

Unlike DigiTimes, which has proven to be been hit or miss with its forward-looking Apple reports, the Commercial Times has generally been more reliable with its calls on the company. That said, a cursory review reveals that its report Monday on netbooks would represent the newspaper's boldest prediction in some time.

Assuming the report carries some truth, there's also the possibility the displays could be headed for Apple's much rumored Newton/Web tablet of similar proportions, and not a traditional netbook.
post #2 of 142
about frikkin' time.

oh did I mention I was first?
post #3 of 142
Agreed, it's about time, it's what the market is asking for.

I never bought into the whole excuse that apple would never make a cheap underpowered machine...particularly when they were saying that at the same time they were selling the mini with specs worse than some netbooks (and for a considerably higher price).
post #4 of 142
Good news if true for me, my iBook which is used for reading is getting pretty old.
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post #5 of 142
Okay, I'll be the first to call BS on this. I simply don't buy into hype that Apple is going to get into the netbook arena. While they may be selling briskly, they provide little in margin to their manufacturers, and they also provide a poor performance experience. With all the netbook fanbois claims of "browsing, email, yada yada" as being essential ingredients for a netbook -- well, I can do that with an iPhone already. And, there simply isn't enough space on a netbook keyboard for a trackpad large enough for complex gestures, which is a key Apple differentiator and signature capability.

I do think that Apple will come out with what is essentially a larger version of the iTouch, primarily gesture driven (external keyboard optional) as that would (a) differentiated from the rest of the market, (b) portable like a netbook, (c) heavily leverage MultiTouch, and (d) would allow Jon a chance to stretch his legs with some really radical designs.
post #6 of 142
Smells Fishy. I just dont see much room between the $600 effective price of the iPhone and the $999 of the pretty full featured Mac Book. Would also complicate their product line and marketing greatly.
post #7 of 142
Its gonna be the most expensive netbook available if they do in fact build one. So I hope nobody expects this to be cheap. I also bet there will be some kind of catch to it which will steer some hopefuls away from it.

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post #8 of 142
Considering Apple mentioned that they do not know how to make a cheap notebook that is not a piece of junk I guess this netbook will start at $1000+

But I don't think they will go in cause Apple want to push the iPhone and iPod Touch as the future of mobile computing. Look at how capable the iPhone already and over the years, if the community grows towards the better, expect better apps
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post #9 of 142
Apple, as always, is advancing to the beat of it's own drummer.

Products don't get developed overnight nor do they arrive without years of development in many cases. Just because pea brain, loud mouth, know it alls (NOT) speculate guess and think they dictate or influence Apple's evolution, or know what Apple's got planned, doesn't necessarily mean squat.

It should be obvious by now "that loose lips sink ships" and that discreetness is exclusive of pundits. Apple would be mad to discuss openly it's intentions and plans...Did anyone really think that they could predict , guess or second guess Apple?

A Netbook/Tablet type device was only a matter of when, not if....
post #10 of 142
I wouldn't be surprised if this thing is, or can be, a cell phone, and with video-conferencing built in. That would certainly put some distance between it and the rest of the pack.
post #11 of 142
I'd be one of the first to buy a netbook from Apple to 'compliment' my iMac, NOT replace it.

I can't justify a MacBook Pro or Macbook but a simple surfer/emailer , etc. that sits on my coffee table and goes with me on trips is Totally justifyable.

But... with a MacMini priced starting at $729 (Canadian) sans screen or keyboard probably means that we're looking at least Macbook pricing?

I'm not sure Apple will pull this off. It's kind of like the Cube. Perfect in so many ways, but priced wrong in so many ways. Kinda like the Mini in my opinion.

Hopefully they're right and hopefully it's positioned correctly. We already have a MacBook Air, I think we need a MacBook Air Mini Mini (Mini form factor, mini(ier) price).

Can't wait.
post #12 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post


oh did I mention I was first?

What an ironic screen name you have.

post #13 of 142
What about the Google-Apple relationship? There have been rumors that Google may be coming out with a "free" web device powered by Linux (and paid-for by advertising).

But what if Apple provided a stripped-down OS X for it that just happens to interface with Macs better than a Linux-powered device could?

Could this be a Google-Apple mobile appliance?
post #14 of 142
I am already sensing that many are expecting too much for too little, resulting in inevitable disappointment.

If you want OS X on a netbook I think a Hackintosh is the way to go. Just stay away from Acer Apsire Ones as their are no drivers from the built0in WiFi cards so you'll have to go external or replace the internal card.
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post #15 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by breeze View Post

...know it alls (NOT)

I saw what you did there!

You made everyone think that you thought these people were "know it alls," but then at the last moment, you added "NOT" -- throwing all of us for a loop!

Well done!
post #16 of 142
"As we look at the netbook category, that's a nascent category," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said last fall. "As best as we can tell, there's not a lot of them being sold." ...from Tim Cook, who noted that netbooks are "principally based on hardware that's much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays." "We don't think people will be pleased with those products," he added. "It's a category we watch, we've got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they're happy with."

Which translates to prime meat for Apple. This is where the laptop market was before the PowerBooks, where the MP3 Player market was before the iPod, and where the smartphone market was before the iPhone.

Everyone is reading this as "...not for us" - I read this as "just watch..."
post #17 of 142
Tablet- iPod Touch Super-sized.
We would have had an 11" laptop/netbook by now.
post #18 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S View Post

What about the Google-Apple relationship? There have been rumors that Google may be coming out with a "free" web device powered by Linux (and paid-for by advertising).

But what if Apple provided a stripped-down OS X for it that just happens to interface with Macs better than a Linux-powered device could?

Could this be a Google-Apple mobile appliance?

If such a device is free, then it doesn't benefit Apple, unless Google is paying them handsomely, but since such a device needs to be as cheap as possible to keep costs down I would wager that they are not working on such a project. That is one part of their relationship where they are at ends.

Stripping down OS X for a netbook is pretty easy. It is mainly apps and drivers that need to removed. The core OS is already efficient enough to run on Atom-based machines nicely. I think Apple is working on something, but think people are expecting the wrong thing.
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post #19 of 142
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post #20 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

"As we look at the netbook category, that's a nascent category," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said last fall. "As best as we can tell, there's not a lot of them being sold." ...from Tim Cook, who noted that netbooks are "principally based on hardware that's much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays." "We don't think people will be pleased with those products," he added. "It's a category we watch, we've got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they're happy with."

Which translates to prime meat for Apple. This is where the laptop market was before the PowerBooks, where the MP3 Player market was before the iPod, and where the smartphone market was before the iPhone.

Everyone is reading this as "...not for us" - I read this as "just watch..."

I fully agree with the analysis you just made.Apple is just paving the road for "their interpretation" of the netbook concept. In my opinion it is going to be something along the lines of the iPhone combining:
Tablet (touch screen and interface) which they also said they would never do (btw this whole neetbok frenzy reminds me of the tablet one which didn't last and didn't bring any relevant changes to the market)
iPhone (internet navigation with cell phone carrier and compact form factor)
New device (taking clues from the new battery technologies)
post #21 of 142
Seems likely to me that Apple is building a tablet. I would think this is where the netbook market is heading. Apple will probably put a custom processor in this thing. Probably made by that company they acquired. Won't be as fast as a core2duo but also not as slow as an iphone chip. Probably a 10" touchscreen with a version of mac os X on it. Designed to compete with netbooks and the kindle. Whether it will support stylus input is something I'm curious about. I hope it would. They do have that inkwell technology.
post #22 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelhot View Post

Considering Apple mentioned that they do not know how to make a cheap notebook that is not a piece of junk I guess this netbook will start at $1000+

IF they were going to make a netbook, my guess is that it would start at around 799, that way it doesn't steal from the MacBook too much. (or maybe 899... all depends.) But "I'm smelling a lot of IF off this plan"

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I am already sensing that many are expecting too much for too little, resulting in inevitable disappointment.

If you want OS X on a netbook I think a Hackintosh is the way to go. Just stay away from Acer Apsire Ones as their are no drivers from the built0in WiFi cards so you'll have to go external or replace the internal card.

Agreed. And having an Aspire One... yes the WiFi is the deal breaker. Wish I knew that one earlier! Oops. Get a Wind or Dell Mini. Those work great from what I have read as Hackintoshes. And for around 300 bucks, they really aren't that bad of machines. My guess is Apple will not come out with a netbook and therefore those who want the Apple netbook will have to make their own. I hope you saved your iPhone Apple stickers to cover up the logos!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S View Post

What about the Google-Apple relationship? There have been rumors that Google may be coming out with a "free" web device powered by Linux (and paid-for by advertising).

But what if Apple provided a stripped-down OS X for it that just happens to interface with Macs better than a Linux-powered device could?

Could this be a Google-Apple mobile appliance?

I doubt it. With Google's mantra of "Don't be evil" would mean that they couldn't work closely with Apple Hee hee!
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post #23 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by breeze View Post

Apple, as always, is advancing to the beat of it's own drummer.

Products don't get developed overnight nor do they arrive without years of development in many cases. Just because pea brain, loud mouth, know it alls (NOT) speculate guess and think they dictate or influence Apple's evolution, or know what Apple's got planned, doesn't necessarily mean squat.

It should be obvious by now "that loose lips sink ships" and that discreetness is exclusive of pundits. Apple would be mad to discuss openly it's intentions and plans...Did anyone really think that they could predict , guess or second guess Apple?

A Netbook/Tablet type device was only a matter of when, not if....

"Avoid cliché's like the plague!"

Agreed, Apple will eventually enter this market segment. Their netbook will be better but also a lot more expensive!

Regards
post #24 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevc View Post

but a simple surfer/emailer , etc. that sits on my coffee table and goes with me on trips is Totally justifyable.

Oh, you must mean an iPod Touch.
post #25 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePi View Post

Seems likely to me that Apple is building a tablet. I would think this is where the netbook market is heading. Apple will probably put a custom processor in this thing. Probably made by that company they acquired. Won't be as fast as a core2duo but also not as slow as an iphone chip. Probably a 10" touchscreen with a version of mac os X on it. Designed to compete with netbooks and the kindle. Whether it will support stylus input is something I'm curious about. I hope it would. They do have that inkwell technology.

One thing I've had a hard time with on the endless tablet rumors... how do you propose to hold a 10 inch touch screen and still be able to use it? It's not even really an issue of weight... Try holding a spiral notebook with one hand for a hour.

I think people's obsession with a "full sized" touch pad is so overblown, and they haven't ever thought about what a pain in the ass it would be to use it.

My opinion is that if Apple even comes out with a larger sized touchpad it will be around 6 inches. To me, that just seems like the largest you coul really make something without it being cumbersome.
post #26 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

One thing I've had a hard time with on the endless tablet rumors... how do you propose to hold a 10 inch touch screen and still be able to use it? It's not even really an issue of weight... Try holding a spiral notebook with one hand for a hour.

I think people's obsession with a "full sized" touch pad is so overblown, and they haven't ever thought about what a pain in the ass it would be to use it.

If they can design a harness to dangle a baby around your neck for hours, they can do the same thing for a 10" screened tablet.
Besides, you know it's gonna be Macarexic anyway. Holding it for long periods won't be that big a deal.
post #27 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelhot View Post

Considering Apple mentioned that they do not know how to make a cheap notebook that is not a piece of junk I guess this netbook will start at $1000+

But I don't think they will go in cause Apple want to push the iPhone and iPod Touch as the future of mobile computing. Look at how capable the iPhone already and over the years, if the community grows towards the better, expect better apps

I am sure this will not be a cheap net book, if there is one at all. I imagine it will be in the 1000 + area. I imagine it would be a large iPodTouch looking device with an Ipod / iPhone style GUI . The difference will be that it will be geared towards business in the sense of MS Office / iWork / NeoOffice. If Apple is serious about developing iWork and iWork.com, then a 8 - 10" touch tablet makes a nice partner. I can't see it as a device aimed at or appealing to gamers or casual laptop users at all, and I have my doubt that it will even have phone capabilities, though it may as wifi for internet access may just be too limiting (It will look very funny seeing some guy talking on a 10" iPhone! ;-)) . It could potentially become a versatile tool, however, and be used in business and industry beyond the the needs of the road warrior. As an example it could become a very nifty (and portable) POS unit.
post #28 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by markb View Post

Smells Fishy. I just dont see much room between the $600 effective price of the iPhone and the $999 of the pretty full featured Mac Book. Would also complicate their product line and marketing greatly.

That argument makes no sense at all, use the iPod touch as a price comparison instead of the iPhone, unless this netbook is going to have a built in cell phone.
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post #29 of 142
I think this is a good thing, but still don't see Apple offering a sub $600 notebook/netbook... but I'd be happy to buy one.

Regarding tablets... I simply don't get them. For the most part, the handwriting recognition seems to be a novelty. I had a palm for a while, and was rather fast at entering text, nothing came anywhere close to a keyboard.

I'd love to hear someone talk about the positive experiences they have had with a tablet computer.
post #30 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I have my doubt that it will even have phone capabilities, though it may as wifi for internet access may just be too limiting (It will look very funny seeing some guy talking on a 10" iPhone!

I would hope such a device would have a 3G card in it. In the US, I think AT&T subsidizes by $200-300 if you sign up for a $60/month data package.
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post #31 of 142
I can't see this being true. People keep talking about Apple needs a netbook, Apple needs a tablet. They don't realize that Apple already has one. It's called the iPhone. It fits into your pocket and does virtually everything a Netbook does.

One day the lines between laptop/netbook will blur as the only reason people like netbooks is because they are portable and cheap. They are really made to do e-mail, surf the web, throw a couple pictures and music on it and maybe some basic word processing. iphone does that all really well, except for maybe the word processing.

If you have a computer at home weather it be a laptop or desktop, and you own an iPhone, what need is there for a "Netbook"
post #32 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I am sure this will not be a cheap net book, if there is one at all. I imagine it will be in the 1000 + area.

If that is true, it's already dead... The Apple Netbook would need to be in the $650 to $799 range... max, or you might as well kill it now. The entire idea surrounding the netbook craze is INEXPENSIVE + ULTRA-PORTABLE.

My suggestion to Apple... take the Dell Mini 9, update the cpu with whatever is next... add the beautiful design you are known for (black/white plastic), tack on the 20%-40% Apple Tax and there you go.

Seriously, it's not that tricky.

Apple Netbook - $550
- Intel® Atom Processor® N270 (1.6GHz/533Mhz FSB/512K cache)
- Glossy 8.9 inch LED display (1024X600)
- 1GB2 DDR2 at 533MHz
- 16GB Solid State Drive
- Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
- Wireless 802.11g Mini Card
- 32WHr Battery (4 cell)
- Have it sync with iTunes like an iPod/iPhone

I'd buy one...
post #33 of 142
If Apple releases a netbook, it will be much more than today's traditional netbooks. Apple's approach to product design and features is differentiation. Rest assured that if Apple enters this market segment, they'll offer features that set it apart from the competition.
post #34 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canada_Chas View Post

I can't see this being true. People keep talking about Apple needs a netbook, Apple needs a tablet. They don't realize that Apple already has one. It's called the iPhone. It fits into your pocket and does virtually everything a Netbook does.

One day the lines between laptop/netbook will blur as the only reason people like netbooks is because they are portable and cheap. They are really made to do e-mail, surf the web, throw a couple pictures and music on it and maybe some basic word processing. iphone does that all really well, except for maybe the word processing.

If you have a computer at home weather it be a laptop or desktop, and you own an iPhone, what need is there for a "Netbook"

I have an iPhone... and a HP netbook. Both are great, but there is little overlap in many situations.

What the iPhone just can't do:
- Take notes (I simply can't input text fast enough)
- Work with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, (look at, yes, edit... no)
- Be bigger. I'm in my 30s, and while I love the iPhone, I can't read a long document on it without having issues.

Again, the iPhone is amazing... but it's not going to replace a keyboard/large screen.
post #35 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchell_pgh View Post

If that is true, it's already dead... The Apple Netbook would need to be in the $650 to $799 range... max, or you might as well kill it now. The entire idea surrounding the netbook craze is INEXPENSIVE + ULTRA-PORTABLE.

My suggestion to Apple... take the Dell Mini 9, update the cpu with whatever is next... add the beautiful design you are known for (black/white plastic), tack on the 20%-40% Apple Tax and there you go.

Seriously, it's not that tricky.

Apple Netbook - $550
- Intel® Atom Processor® N270 (1.6GHz/533Mhz FSB/512K cache)
- Glossy 8.9 inch LED display (1024X600)
- 1GB2 DDR2 at 533MHz
- 16GB Solid State Drive
- Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
- Wireless 802.11g Mini Card
- 32WHr Battery (4 cell)
- Have it sync with iTunes like an iPod/iPhone

I'd buy one...

No offense, but I wouldn't pay that much for those components with or without OS X or Apple's branding.

The Atom CPU could be faster or a more powerful ARM using GPU with Snow Leopard
The display, while adequate would have to be better than the really awful displays and backlights currently being used in netbooks.
1GB would be adequate but 2GB will be the norm shortly, even for netbooks.
16GB SSD doesn't allow for much data. It's acceptable for a phone/iPod, but not for a notebook. Intel's 80GB or an HDD would be required, IMO.
Anything but GAM950.
Wireless N should be a de facto at this time.
My current netbook issue is the less than sufficient battery life. With a non-user-removable battery Apple could do better than 4-cell.
iTunes syncing while also having a copy of iTunes on it for normal play and syncing with iDevices would be interesting, but perhaps a logistics hurdle.
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post #36 of 142
Tablet.
post #37 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

What an ironic screen name you have.


Well said.
post #38 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canada_Chas View Post

I can't see this being true. People keep talking about Apple needs a netbook, Apple needs a tablet. They don't realize that Apple already has one. It's called the iPhone. It fits into your pocket and does virtually everything a Netbook does. ...

This is true, but if we are honest with ourselves, the iPhone, (while significantly better at browsing the web than anything that came before it), is still rather lame for the purpose. It's very slow, and the screen is simply too small to read large amounts of material comfortably. A "netbook" can be used to read and more importantly edit documents also, whereas an iPhone can only do the first part and poorly at that.

Even if you forget all about the netbook issue and just look at is as a problem in how to improve the current iPhone, it's easy to see that more raw power, document editing/reading, and video are the three main areas for future improvements. An iPhone with those improvements would destroy the netbook category regardless of whether anyone ever calls it a netbook.

Add in the fact that the minimum, comfortable size for reading documents, which was established many years ago and hasn't appreciably changed since, is the size of a pocketbook or mass market paperback, and the idea that a slightly bigger iPhone-esque tablet running mobile OS-X is around the corner is inescapable. The only question is can Apple do it, and what will it cost.

Given that the only part of "pen and paper tech" that so far has not been replaced by computers is the ability to draw, adding that into the mix would be killer, but I'm not sure if they have the tech to do that yet.
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post #39 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchell_pgh View Post

If that is true, it's already dead... The Apple Netbook would need to be in the $650 to $799 range... max, or you might as well kill it now. The entire idea surrounding the netbook craze is INEXPENSIVE + ULTRA-PORTABLE.

And therein lies the problem. Apple is not likely to produce a low cost low margin unit because the market wants it to. Apple certainly would like to develop a tablet style ultra portable. They have proven that they can and I think the idea really appeals. But if the market isn't there, or the market won't pay what Apple deems requisite then Apple won't hesitate in dropping the concept like a hot potato. If Apple feel they can re-define the netbook / tablet market, they may give it a shot. Personally I can see plenty uses for it to succeed but my imagination tends to wander off into fantasy land when it comes to this kind of thing. Apple tends to stay very grounded
post #40 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

This is true, but if we are honest with ourselves, the iPhone, (while significantly better at browsing the web than anything that came before it), is still rather lame for the purpose.

Yes, it is. I was without my MB having to rely soley on my iPhone. After about 2 weeks I finally bought a $300 netbook at Walmart as a stand in. It's far from perfect either, but better just having an iPhone... and I can't go anywhere without my iPhone.
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