Don’t expect a cheap netbook from Apple. EVER.

Wed, Jul 22, 2009

Analysis, News

Despite publicly stating numerous times that it has no interest in entering the recently popular netbook market, analysts at Apple’s earnings conference call yesterday couldn’t help themselves and asked COO Tim Cook if Apple had plans to come out with a cheap sub $500 notebook.

Netbook pricing is by nature very low, and given that it’s an extremely competitive market, the margins on netbooks are razor thin.  It’s therefore perplexing why analysts continually pester Apple about entering a market that would do little to nothing to help their bottom line.  As explained by Tim Cook, Apple’s goal “isn’t to build the most computers, but to build the best.”

If you needed any more proof about Apple’s future netbook plans, or lack thereof, then there you have it.  Apple is a company that produces premium products and prices them accordingly.  Cook pointed out that the netbook experience, with their small screens and cramped keyboards, often provide a sub-par computing experience for users.  In contrast, Apple’s entire existence has been predicated upon providing the best computing experience possible.

Why, then, enter the netbook market?

Analysts like to make bold, yet empty, statements such as, “If Apple came out with a netbook, it could easily innovate in the product space and make a killing.

The thing is, it’s easy to blindly and loudly exclaim that Apple can “innovate” but it’s an entirely different matter to actually theorize as to what it could do.  The fact of the matter is that a small 10 inch screen with a keyboard doesn’t leave much room for innovation at all.  The inherent physical dimensions of a netbook almost ensure a substandard notebook experience from the get-go.  As noted by Cook, netbook owners are often disappointed with the performance and usability of their machines – portability will only get you so far.

You don’t really get far in the Tech business by listening to industry analysts who would rather look at Excel spreadsheets than actually take the time to understand the nature of the business’s they’re paid to cover.  Luckily Apple understands this and hasn’t bought into the netbook craze that seems to have taken financial analysts by storm.

Given Tim Cook’s statements yesterday, we can only hope that the notion of an Apple branded netbook has finally been put to rest – it’s just not something Apple is going to do. Ever. We assumed that the idea of an Apple netbook was a thing of the past, but after yesterday’s earnings conference call, we were apparently mistaken.

An Apple tablet on the other hand?  Now that’s something we can get behind.



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