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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Dear Apple we need a Netbook

Dear Apple we need a Netbook
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Oct 29, 2008, 01:20 AM
 
While I'm a die hard Mac user I've grown so fond of all the newly released Netbooks. While many claim the specs aren't good enough, they are perfect for my daily needs and super portable. I currently own an Acer Aspire One and I love it but I hate the fact that it doesn't run OS X. I already know that it can be hacked to run OS X but there are numerous problems when doing so. So with that being said I'm hoping Apple releases a Netbook at MacWorld. This is my dream Apple Netbook

Dual core Atom processor (I'd take a standard 1.6 atom)
10.2" Display w/ 1280x768 resolution
1gb ram
bluetooth
90% keyboard
Aluminum brick casing 1" thick
Webcam
32gb ssd
Multi-touch touchscreen and trackpad
Gps
Priced under $500

In my opinion Apple would make a killing with a device like this. At&t could charge an extra $25 dollars for an iphone 3g tether plan. I know I'm dreaming a little bit but what could Apple have up its sleeve. Apple Tv is dead, maybe an updated Mac Mini or a new Mac Pro design. Other than that I can't even speculate what they could offer. What do you think? Btw HP new Netbook has me drooling.

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Oct 29, 2008, 01:24 AM
 
Apple may be working on one, especially if the market remains as hot as it appears to be right now.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 01:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Apple may be working on one, especially if the market remains as hot as it appears to be right now.
I'm praying
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Oct 29, 2008, 02:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by jaydon34 View Post
Priced under $500
Wishing for a cheap product from Apple = recipe for fail. Competing on price is Dell's game. Apple is usually reasonably priced in a fair comparison, but is almost never looking for the cheap end of the market.
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Oct 29, 2008, 03:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by jaydon34 View Post
Priced under $500
From the Q4 conference call (which took place a week ago)

Steven P. Jobs
Well, I think what we want to do is deliver a lot, an increasing level of value to these customers. There are some customers which we choose not to serve. We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that. But we can continue to deliver greater and greater value to those customers that we choose to serve and there’s a lot of them. And we’ve seen great success by focusing on certain segments of the market and not trying to be everything to everybody. So I think you can expect us to stick with that winning strategy and continuing to try to add more and more value to those products in those customer bases we choose to serve. Does that make sense to you?


End of story.

Oh and BTW, this has already been discussed to death elsewhere. In this thread for example.
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 04:13 AM
 
Apple already offers a Netbook, it’s called Macbook Air.
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Oct 29, 2008, 04:31 AM
 
Apple already offers a Netbook, it's called the iPhone
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 04:31 AM
 
Apple already offers a Netbook, it's called the iPod Touch
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 06:44 AM
 
The odds of apple shipping a 500 laptop is low. Just look at the apple's foray into the cut rate low end desktop segment - the mini. The rumors are rife with speculation that apple is going to kill the mini.

Also just because its a segment means apple will jump in. Remember a few years ago when PDAs were the rage and everyone was hoping expecting to see apple jump back in, especially given their experience with the newton.

Apple chooses to stay out of the bottom feeding ultra low cost market segment and it has served them pretty well.

finally as other's have stated they already offer a "netbook" the MacBook Air. IF they were to offer a 500 netbook flavor, that would absolutely kill the sales of the MBA. I'm sure they see better margins on the MBA then they would on a 500 netbook.
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Oct 29, 2008, 06:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by moep View Post
Apple already offers a Netbook, it’s called Macbook Air.
Originally Posted by Gee4orce
Apple already offers a Netbook, it's called the iPhone
Originally Posted by Gee4orce
Apple already offers a Netbook, it's called the iPod Touch
C'mon people, that's silly.

The MBA isn't a netbook because it's about three times as expensive compared to what people looking for a netbook are willing to pay. In addition it's thin, but not small. 13" is a big screen next to the 10" you see in many netbooks. And that huge bezel around the screen and KB isn't exactly helping either.

The iPhone and iPod touch aren't netbooks, they're PDAs. Compared to a netbook they're too small (screen), too limited (no mouse/TP, no KB, no USB peripherals, shall I go on?), and they don't run regular OS X applications.

We all know what a "real" netbook roughly looks like. We also know that Apple (at least the Apple of today) doesn't like the idea of Macs with crippled KBs or 800x600 resolutions. And they sure as heck don't want to compete on price. The $500 netbook form Apple simply isn't going to happen anytime soon. If a netbook is what you need, then look for it somewhere else.
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 11:13 AM
 
If you want an underpowered Apple notebook that has low resolution and is only used for Word and Web, wait no longer:



1024 x 768 resolution...check
12" screen...check
portable...check
$500 or less on ebay/craigslist...check
what else do you need?
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 11:31 AM
 
^Boom.


Well played.

THERE ISN'T GOING TO BE A CHEAPY, CRAPPY, 'NETBOOK' FROM APPLE. GET OVER IT.
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 02:41 PM
 
Specs are unreasonably high for the price.
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 04:59 PM
 
The Air is technically a netbook.

It's crippled
No optical drive
It's under 3 pounds.

Why it aint a netbook

13" LCD
Price tag


Expect a netbook from Apple to cost 600-800
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 05:06 PM
 
Just buy your stupid cheap "netbook" and put OS X on it. A little googling and your there.
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 05:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Pao|o View Post
The Air is technically a netbook.

It's crippled
No optical drive
It's under 3 pounds.

Why it aint a netbook

13" LCD
Price tag


Expect a netbook from Apple to cost 600-800
You're totally off base saying the Air is technically a netbook. You're wrong because:

a) Netbooks are designed to play in the lower bowels of the market; i.e., cheaply made. The Macbook Air is far better engineered for rigidity and durability given the power requirements.

b) They are typically underpowered (1GB RAM, ~1.2GHz low-grade Atom processor.) THIS is crippled; the Air is not. Rather than "crippled", I'd posit "appropriate" given the form-factor, heat and weight requirements.

c) You mentioned the screen. The screen on the MBA is far superior than anything on the market in the Netbook space.

Another moniker for the "Netbook"? Crapbook.
     
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Oct 29, 2008, 10:22 PM
 
| actually own an aspire one its in my signature I just hate the fact that I have to run a hacked version of OS X on it. Why can't we get the apple style in a super portable that's all I'm asking for. We asked for an Iphone and apple delivered. Doesn't hurt to wish.
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Oct 30, 2008, 06:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by jaydon34 View Post
Why can't we get the apple style in a super portable that's all I'm asking for. We asked for an Iphone and apple delivered. Doesn't hurt to wish.
And they do.

Its called the MacBook Air
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Oct 30, 2008, 07:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
Its called the MacBook Air
Umm, no. As has been mentioned already several times, the MBA is not a netbook.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 07:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Pao|o View Post
Expect a netbook from Apple to cost 600-800
With specs similar to, or less than, those of the competition.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 10:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Umm, no. As has been mentioned already several times, the MBA is not a netbook.
Agreed the MBA is more along the lines of an ultra-portable pc and not a netbook. What I'd like is a tiny netbook that tethers with my iphone.
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Oct 30, 2008, 10:24 AM
 
Are you the guy who asked Palm for that weird augmented organizer just-useless-enough-not-to-be-called-a-computer-but-tethered-through-mobile-phone brainfart?

Edit: Ah yes, the Foleo - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Foleo
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 10:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Are you the guy who asked Palm for that weird augmented organizer just-useless-enough-not-to-be-called-a-computer-but-tethered-through-mobile-phone brainfart?

Edit: Ah yes, the Foleo - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Foleo
I'm not saying it wouldn't have to be tethered but a plan should be an option. The iphone is great but sometimes I need a little more power and a netbook would be perfect until I get a hold of my Macbook.
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Oct 30, 2008, 10:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Umm, no. As has been mentioned already several times, the MBA is not a netbook.
Call it what you will, it does everything a netbook does, and it has the same form factor
Basically if looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, its a duck

The OP is complaining that apple won't release a netbook, and my point is they have - the MBA.
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Oct 30, 2008, 10:40 AM
 
It sure as hell isn't priced like a duck, even for an Apple product.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 10:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ View Post
If you want an underpowered Apple notebook that has low resolution and is only used for Word and Web, wait no longer:



1024 x 768 resolution...check
12" screen...check
portable...check
$500 or less on ebay/craigslist...check
what else do you need?

That was awesome but I'm afraid going back to a G4 would be a nightmare.
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Oct 30, 2008, 11:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
Call it what you will, it does everything a netbook does, and it has the same form factor
Basically if looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, its a duck

The OP is complaining that apple won't release a netbook, and my point is they have - the MBA.
And my point is that that is simply wrong. I'm not calling it "what I want". I'm calling stuff by what it is. I'll run that down for you (again).

• The netbook is a low-end mobile companion. It has a tiny KB, small screen with low to medium resolution, and a low-end chipset. It usually comes with either the older (and less bloated) XP or with Linux. It costs $400-$600.

• The MBA is a high-end mobile companion. It offers a full size KB, a decent screen resolution, and medium-range chipset. It comes with regular OS X. It costs $1799-$2499.

So duck? Nothing here sounds even remotely like duck. If anything the MBA sounds more like eagle.

Apple hasn't released a netbook because firstly, they want to see how his market evolves and secondly, because they don't know how to make a $500 Mac that doesn't suck. They have stated this stuff publicly so I have not the slightest clue what you're trying to argue here.

Apple hasn't released a netbook (yet). End of story.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 11:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by jaydon34 View Post
That was awesome but I'm afraid going back to a G4 would be a nightmare.
Well welcome to the netbook. What do you expect for $400-$600? What do you think going to a single-core Atom with 512kB L2 cache on a 533 MHz bus would feel like? Even more so if you'd ever consider running the current version of Windows on it? Hello?

People, please wake up. Netbooks are cheap. And you get what you pay for. Netbooks are not the magic solution to "a Mac cheaper than the MB". They are cheap low-end disposable computers for a special type of use. If you want to do heavy-duty stuff on a notebook, then by all means don't get a cheap netbook. If you want to do lightweight stuff a cheap netbook might suffice as your mobile companion. In that sense an old 12" PB could be considered very suitable (apart from its weight maybe, and of course some would consider it still too big for a netbook).

If a 12" PB isn't fast enough to suite your needs, pretty much no netbook will be.
If a 12" PB isn't small enough to suite your needs, you should definitely take a look at a real netbook, i.e. not a Mac.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 11:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
Call it what you will, it does everything a netbook does, and it has the same form factor
Basically if looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, its a duck
Except, it *doesn't* have the same form factor. The Air is huge compared to a netbook, both physically and in price.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 01:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ View Post
If you want an underpowered Apple notebook that has low resolution and is only used for Word and Web, wait no longer:



1024 x 768 resolution...check
12" screen...check
portable...check
$500 or less on ebay/craigslist...check
what else do you need?
I bought one actually. I have a G4 iBook. I really like the footprint, and much more so than the 13" MacBook I also have.

I'd prefer an 11.5" MacBook lite though, for say $700. The G4 iBook (and G4 12" PowerBook) are a tad too big and heavy.

P.S. A 1.6 GHz Atom seems to run Flash videos in XP way better than my G4 iBook does. There are probably numerous reasons for this, but nonetheless it seems that even for a netbook, the sub $500 G4 iBooks do leave a little bit to be desired. (We actually have two iBooks. One's a G4 800 and one's a G4 1.07. Both feel slow with Flash video and stuff like that.)

Dual-core Atom is gonna rock, and would do so for a small-and-light machine even in OS X.
( Last edited by Eug; Oct 30, 2008 at 01:46 PM. )
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 03:23 PM
 
Flash performance is an Adobe issue.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 03:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
P.S. A 1.6 GHz Atom seems to run Flash videos in XP way better than my G4 iBook does. There are probably numerous reasons for this, but nonetheless it seems that even for a netbook, the sub $500 G4 iBooks do leave a little bit to be desired. (We actually have two iBooks. One's a G4 800 and one's a G4 1.07. Both feel slow with Flash video and stuff like that.)
That's a Windows vs. Mac issue. Flash performance on Windows is an order of magnitude better than on OS X.
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Oct 30, 2008, 04:00 PM
 
Well, just general surfing also seems faster on a recent Windows netbook than a Leopard G4 iBook 1.07 GHz. But then again, much of it is probably because of Leopard's overhead. However, it's nowhere near as big a difference as with Flash obviously.

I think when those dual-core Atom CPUs make it to netbooks, it will be a whole different kettle of fish. Leopard (or even Snow Leopard) would be more than peppy enough with such a netbook CPU.
     
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Oct 30, 2008, 09:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Well welcome to the netbook. What do you expect for $400-$600? What do you think going to a single-core Atom with 512kB L2 cache on a 533 MHz bus would feel like? Even more so if you'd ever consider running the current version of Windows on it? Hello?

People, please wake up. Netbooks are cheap. And you get what you pay for. Netbooks are not the magic solution to "a Mac cheaper than the MB". They are cheap low-end disposable computers for a special type of use. If you want to do heavy-duty stuff on a notebook, then by all means don't get a cheap netbook. If you want to do lightweight stuff a cheap netbook might suffice as your mobile companion. In that sense an old 12" PB could be considered very suitable (apart from its weight maybe, and of course some would consider it still too big for a netbook).

If a 12" PB isn't fast enough to suite your needs, pretty much no netbook will be.
If a 12" PB isn't small enough to suite your needs, you should definitely take a look at a real netbook, i.e. not a Mac.
In my opinion browsing the web on a any powerpc is way slower than using an intel processor. So thats my reason of not going back to a g4. Netbooks are used mainly for the internet and I'm pretty sure even with there low specs they browse the web better than an g4 laptop.
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Oct 31, 2008, 03:04 AM
 
Then by all means get one. If you get the right one, putting OS X onto it won't be hard either. Just google for it.
     
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Nov 1, 2008, 01:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ View Post
If you want an underpowered Apple notebook that has low resolution and is only used for Word and Web, wait no longer:



1024 x 768 resolution...check
12" screen...check
portable...check
$500 or less on ebay/craigslist...check
what else do you need?
The major problem here is that you forfeit a warranty if you walk down this road. As someone who has considered this option, I just couldn't take the risk of buying a computer and then POOF 2 months later the logic board dies and you're out $500-$700 bucks. This happened to a friend of mine who purchased an older mac notebook online and it happened to my older PowerMac. It just isn't worth the gamble...
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Nov 1, 2008, 09:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
That's a Windows vs. Mac issue. Flash performance on Windows is an order of magnitude better than on OS X.
I'm sorry Windows XP has no protected memory, OSX does, window app crashes usually mean Windows takes a dive.
     
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Nov 1, 2008, 11:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Remlyor View Post
I'm sorry Windows XP has no protected memory, OSX does, window app crashes usually mean Windows takes a dive.
Windows, including XP, has had protected memory since ~1993 in the NT series. But that doesn't mean an app can't take the whole stack down, just like a kernel panic in OS X.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 03:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by Remlyor View Post
I'm sorry Windows XP has no protected memory, OSX does, window app crashes usually mean Windows takes a dive.
Flash performance has nothing to do with protected memory. Chuckit was right on the money: Adobe has simply not brought Flash performance on the Mac to match performance on Windows. They're not even close actually. Maybe the fact that Apple is keeping them off the iPhone will eventually get them into gear.

Even though I know it won't happen, I still dream about the day when Apple buys up Adobe and straightens them out.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 06:25 AM
 
I love how folks here get all worked up to defend Apple. A Mac netbook would be awesome. It wouldn't have to run a complete version of Mac OS X. It could be a suped-up iPod Touch with a keyboard. Also, to me, the idea of having a netbook is about having a secondary notebook for accessing the 'net, writing, music and photos, while having a much more powerful notebook or desktop at home.

Why? Because you might not necessarily want to bring your MacBook Pro to bed just to browse the web, or lug around just to do some casual writing. You might not want to risk taking it with you to the airport, on a bus, or on a trip. Remember your MacBook or MacBook Pro is a 1K or 2K (or more!) notebook. If you anything happens to your netbook you're out $200-600, not 1-2K. Also "security" at the airports has risen to paranoid no-rights levels.

You've got your whole life on your MacBook/MBP, and it's no one else's business but yours. Our "protectors" might decide to completely violate your rights and search your hard drive, find family pictures of your kids in the bathtub and arrest you for "kiddie porn". I'm serious. Don't tell me times aren't crazy like that. With a netbook, at least your data can be confined to that of your current projects and what you bring back.

Also, I'd be much more at ease letting my kid play with a <$600 netbook than a 2K MacBook Pro. And these are just some good reasons why netbooks are indeed a good thing, and are by no means "crap", although one must admit for diminished capabilities in this category. Frankly, I don't think a "dual-core Atom" is realistic (or even desirable) at this point (though that will change with time, of course).

The MacBook Air is definitely *not* a netbook for the reasons Simon has already stated. However, is it realistic to think Apple will get into the sub-$600 netbook business? Not on our life. Unfortunately, I don't think Apple is interested in this kind of low-margin market, and Steve Jobs has basically said as much.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 07:25 AM
 
Not to worry; if Apple decided to produce a netbook, the same people who defend it now for not having one will be praising Apple's innovativeness in producing one.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 07:34 AM
 
The current OS X would crawl on an Atom-class CPU, and besides, it's not even very power efficient at the moment because it's paired with a bad 945-class chipset.

If you want to dream about a netbook, however, look no further than the Snow Leopard feature set. It's all about performance, and using less disk space is another big feature. My immediate thought when I saw that was of a tiny laptop, 10" display and possibly only a small SSD (like the Touch and iPhone have, in effect - 32 gigs is not too bad). It could maybe run on a future Atom derivative, at least if there was some sort of (integrated) GPU to help it limp along.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 07:36 AM
 
I think in those whole discussion there are two things that are entirely evident:

• there is a market for netbooks
• you can understand Apple's business logic behind not offering one w/o agreeing with it

IOW there are still people here who have not lost a sense of reality. And of course understanding something does not mean you are being apologetic about it.

In this debate only few people are being entirely fair and honest.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 11:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gamoe View Post
Frankly, I don't think a "dual-core Atom" is realistic (or even desirable) at this point (though that will change with time, of course).

What?
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 12:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gamoe View Post


The MacBook Air is definitely *not* a netbook for the reasons Simon has already stated. However, is it realistic to think Apple will get into the sub-$600 netbook business? Not on our life. Unfortunately, I don't think Apple is interested in this kind of low-margin market, and Steve Jobs has basically said as much.
(emph. mine)

I think that's about all that needs to be said on this issue.

The early Intel tablet was a failure. 3Com had one. Chumby comes to mind. They may have been before their time, but perhaps their margins weren't capable of supporting their existence. To operate a company, you need big, fat gross margins; OK, kids?
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 07:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I meant in regards to a netbook. I still haven't heard of a netbook using this chip, and even if there were, I'm not sure it would be desirable unless they can be made much more efficient than their one-core family.

Originally Posted by P View Post
The current OS X would crawl on an Atom-class CPU, and besides, it's not even very power efficient at the moment because it's paired with a bad 945-class chipset.
A netbook need not run a fully featured version of Mac OS X. It could operate with an OS like that of the iPod Touch. Of course, a full version would be great. Let's hope Snow Leopard delivers.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 09:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gamoe View Post
I meant in regards to a netbook. I still haven't heard of a netbook using this chip, and even if there were, I'm not sure it would be desirable unless they can be made much more efficient than their one-core family.
What's the problem with a dual core netbook? It's not power/heat.
The single core Atom consumes 4 Watts.
The dual core Atom consumes 8 Watts.
The chipset for either of them consumes 26 Watts

There's already an Atom 330 upgrade option for the Eee 1000 and rumors say Gigabyte is planning a dual core 10" netbook for this year.
     
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Nov 3, 2008, 11:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
What's the problem with a dual core netbook? It's not power/heat.
I suppose if you could turn off a core to preserve battery life, nothing. But, I imagine it could also potentially add cost to the device over that of a single-core CPU. Battery life and low cost trump power and features in the netbook category, as it see it.
     
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Nov 4, 2008, 02:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gamoe View Post
A netbook need not run a fully featured version of Mac OS X. It could operate with an OS like that of the iPod Touch. Of course, a full version would be great. Let's hope Snow Leopard delivers.
IMHO for a netbook (i.e. something between a PDA and a MB) to make sense it would have to run OS X. More importantly, it would have to run OS X apps. I think what you are looking for is more something along the lines of a souped up iPod touch or iPhone with a bigger screen an possibly a stylus input. Basically a larger PDA or an "iPod tablet". Most existing netbooks however are low-end PCs. They run regular Windows or Linux apps. They are essentially shrunk down cheap notebooks.

But what you are saying to me also points out how split up this area of the market is. How big should a PDA be? How small should a netbook be? And what should they allow you to run? Try finding a product that caters to all those different needs. IMHO it's wise of Apple to sit back and wait for another while.
     
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Nov 4, 2008, 02:55 AM
 
Fun thread. I like the mentions the 12" PB gets, definitely a fine point in recent Mac history; I upgraded from the last iteration of it, the 1.5GHz G4 early this year, and if I had waited until now, I could have got one of the new MBs without so much consideration re having to also sell the newish MBP! However, working on a G4 was getting annoying, especially in Leopard.

As I see it, the MBA is as close to a Netbook as we're going to get from Apple, while it focuses on quality for the size instead of barebones - and people (like us) want more from the Air as well! Personally, having run only on Mac laptops the last six years, I wouldn't want a Mac Netbook as that would really mean one would need a desktop as well, unlike any of Apple's recent laptop offerings; I could even see an Air as a 'desktop replacement' with just a few extras.
     
 
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