6 “Apple Will Never Release a NetBook” Myths Debunked

by Hadley Stern Apr 30, 2009

Debunking the NetBook Naysayers point-by-point.

The current naysayers about an Apple Netbook have it all wrong. They cite Tim Cook's recent comments about the overall crappiness of NetBooks as evidence that Apple would never release a NetBook. I see it as evidence they will.

Apple will release a NetBook this year, let us debunk the naysayers excuses one by one.

1. Apple says NetBooks suck.

Steve Jobs dismissed video on the iPod, stating acerbically that no one would ever view video on an small screen. We all know how that worked out.

Tim Cook wasn't dismissing the category, he was setting up the familiar Apple story of how Apple has taken a category and redefined it.

To put it another way, saying that Apple will never release a NetBook because NetBooks are crappy is like saying Apple never would have released the iPhone because mobile phones are crappy.

Crappy products are ripe fodder for Apple dominance. Apple did it with the portable mp3 player segment, they have done it will mobile phones, and they will do it with NetBooks.

2. Kia vs. BMW

The car metaphor is a favorite of naysayers. They point out that Apple products have to be more expensive because they are intrinsically worth more. This is bullshit. The difference in engineering between a BMW and Kia is immense. The difference in engineering between a MacBook and a Dell is minimal. I've stated this before, but for the sake of the naysayers it bears repeating. A MacBook and a Dell have:

- the same processor
- the same hard drive technology
- the same ram technology
- the same video card technology
- the same screen technology
- the same ports (more or less)

So what is left? The quality of materials, build quality, design, and the operating system. These things are expensive, but there is no reason a Mac should be double the price. Apple has proven this already with the Mac mini, a computer that sells at the "low-end". The precedent is there --there is no reason Apple cannot, or will not deliver a NetBook that is affordable.

3. Apple will lose money

Naysayers will state that Apple has to have a premium on its products in order to preserve profits. Bullshit there too. Apple will lose money if it doesn't create a NetBook. It already is, I'm typing this on an Acer Aspire One with OS X installed (yes I bought Leopard for it). I've been at conferences recently and noticed others with Hackintosh NetBooks. Apple won't lose money by dominating this category, it will make tons more.

4. NetBooks suck

Naysayers point out that NetBooks have crappy small keyboards. Are tacky, flimsy, tiny, ugly, and so on. I could state that I am typing as fast on this keyboard as I do on my Mac (and I type fast). But I would have to agree that this Acer has a horrifically small trackpad and click area. And it does not have the build quality of a Mac.

But this isn't a reason for Apple to avoid the category of NetBooks, it is a reason for Apple to come in and crush the competition and dominate. Looking at the current crop of NetBooks as a design inspiration is a mistake naysayers make. Apple's NetBook will look nothing like the current crop. It will be beautifully designed, it will be sturdy, it may not even have a physical keyboard. Apple will take the essence of NetBook computing (affordable, highly portable computing) and define their own product interpretation. And it won't suck. In fact the same naysayers who hate the idea will love and adore the Apple NetBook.

5. NetBooks are slow

Another favorite target of naysayers is the Atom processor that powers most NetBooks. Apple would never release such a slow computer! Never mind the fact that this Acer clocks in at G5 speeds (remember how fast those were compared to the Intel processor that the naysayer fanboys loved to diss), or that the iPhone doesn't come close in terms of processor speed. Naysayers look at the Atom processor in disgust. They miss the point. NetBooks aren't for rendering video or working on 100 MB PhotoShop files (although you could). They have a very specific use-case, ultra portable computing.

6. Apple would never release a "horror of all horrors!" a NetBook

Apple won't release a NetBook, but they will release a product that will attempt to own the lower-end ultra portable market. They won't call it a NetBook, they will call it the MacBook Light or something like that. Naysayers are way too hung up on what is out there now to release that Apple won't put out something like what is already out there.

What do you think? Am I wrong, are their more points to debunk?


  • Beeblebrox said “I’m a little baffled that the Apple fanboys keep insisting that the iPhone is not only a substitute, but is actually better than a netbook when the ONLY thing it has going for it is size.”

    The only thing the iPhone proves is that Apple already have their < $400 product and therefore won’t produce a Netbook for less than $500. Not that the two products in any way substitute one another practically.

    evilcat had this to say on May 03, 2009 Posts: 66
  • To Apple and any naysayers… If Apple were to release a netbook for no greater than $500 I would buy one. Netbooks meet my portable computing needs precisely, much more so than any PDA (although I will contemplate an Iphone when/if it ever becomes available on Verizon.  If by the end of the year Apple fails to release a netbook I will simply build a hackintosh.

    It has been said that Apple won’t release a standard netbook.  That may (and probably is) true.  However, unless the device functions as well as a standard netbook (not merely differently) I won’t buy it.  I know what I want and that is a netbook with OS-X, give it to me Apple.

    Screwtape had this to say on Jun 23, 2009 Posts: 1
  • By definition netbooks accommodate processors with little processing power. For comparison a common dual-core Core 2 Duo T5600 at 1.83 GHz with 2 MB L2 cache used in low-end laptops has a PassMark score of about 1000 points. The following table shows benchmarks for most common netbook CPUs:-Jonathan Berkowitz

    Ana had this to say on Aug 24, 2011 Posts: 76
  • When you are on top, there are lots of people (and I mean a lot of ‘em) wants to pull you down and live miserably just like them. This is a classic example of unfriendly competition. - Mario Romano

    Alan Shortall had this to say on Sep 10, 2011 Posts: 35
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