Conflicted over the lack of an Apple netbook while Sony announces one?

As we watch with a certain degree of envy the announcement at CES 2009 that Sony is introducing a new 8-inch display based “netbook” Vaio ‘lifestyle PC,’ many in the community are experiencing a duality of appreciation and frustration at Apple’s apparent disinterest in this space. But it may be with good reason.

Already, the iPhone and the Macbook Air nicely bracket the netbook product space.

Between the two, one really doesn’t have much need for such a device…..but nonetheless, when one looks over the specs of the new Vaio Lifestyle PC and its elegant little industrial design, it’s hard not to feel a little bit envious that Apple didn’t do it first.

Specs like these: 1.33GHz x86 processor, 1600×768 (!!!) pixel 8-inch 16:9 widescreen display, built-in micro webcam, two USB 2.0 ports, combined display/network breakout port, audio I/O ports, SD and Memory Stick slots, and a built-in 60GB hard drive or 128GB SSD drive.

It’s far more flexible, as a “true” PC, than the iPhone…..but that gap is closing every day, and the sheer innovation of the App Store actually turns that ‘advantage’ into a downright negative when you think about it.

Why would one want both an iPhone and a Netbook-Macbook?

And more importantly, why would one want a netbook when the Macbook Air is already at least three-quarters if not four-fifths of the way there depending on how you figure it?! In fact, the 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo in the average MBA is something close to 50% faster than the chip in that little Vaio….”underpowered” as the Air is in the eyes of some.

In the final analysis, we’re glad that Apple is playing the waiting game with netbooks. Don’t get us wrong — we’ve confirmed before that they do have an active project in this market segment — but there’s a reason that the iPhone didn’t ship back in the dawn of the modern smart phone.

It took time to perfect…..not only the technology itself, but the price point that the technology could be profitably sold at. The same is true of the set of requirements Apple’s Executive Suite have set for its ultracompact laptops project which produced the Macbook Air and has no less than four separate types of even smaller portable Macs in its Lilliputian arsenal…..and though all of that is under firm embargo for a while yet, you’ll be hearing some very exciting news about the Macbook Air in just a few days’ time.

Stay tuned and keep those shovels dirty! 😉


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  • http://www.justinmitchell.net Justin Mitchell

    “Why would one want both an iPhone and a Netbook-Macbook?”

    The obvious answer is so that you can run real applications! You can’t actually do many important tasks on an iPhone, other than make phone calls.

    “And more importantly, why would one want a netbook when the Macbook Air is already at least three-quarters if not four-fifths of the way there depending on how you figure it?!”

    The Macbook Air is $1400 more than your typical netbook. ‘Nuff said.

  • Maccess

    Apple should just package a netbook based on MSI’s netbook, which it sells as the MSI Wind and produces as an OEM for others. It’s already been proven to run Mac OS X efficiently on so many websites. Then, Apple can do one better over Windows XP for Netbooks licensing, which limits processors to a single core running at a maximum of 1.6Ghz, by collaborating with MSI to release a Dual Core Atom (already available from Intel, but unused because any laptop made with it would have to run Vista, not XP) netbook. Then it should sell it for $399.

  • Bela Bartok

    Apple has never really understood that when they’re ahead, they need to start pumping product into the marketplace, slimming their margins. Otherwise, eventually, Asian partners, companies, products will together all stab Apple in the back. It’s happened again and again as Apple lagged in technology (hardware) over the decades. Dummies.