Tim Cook was pretty harsh on the Netbook world yesterday with his comments:
“When I look at what is being sold in the notebook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens — just not a consumer experience, not something we would put the Mac brand on, it’s a segment we don’t play in….I think it’s a stretch to call it a personal computer.”
But we know Apple likes to harsh on a market it is about to dive into (See Steve Jobs’ comments on video iPods) and destroy. Perhaps Cook, and Jobs before him, are laying the groundwork for the differentiating factors in their entry into the Netbook world?
So, what do Cook’s statements mean for a prospective Tablet/Netbook?
Cramped keyboard – This means one of two things: Apple will have either a full sized keyboard or no physical keyboard. A full sized keyboard would be a great addition but unless it is an IBM Butterfly model (remember those?) it will stretch out the size of the device to near MacBook Air proportions. Technically, you need 11.5 inches diagonally to include a full sized keyboard. That would put it very close to the MacBook Air’s 13-inch display.
Apple also has a fantastic full-sized, yet portable Bluetooth keyboard already. Incorporating that Bluetooth keyboard into a tablet would be the best of both worlds. See more on an Apple Netbook keyboard here.
Terrible software = Windows XP. XP is now on 90% of Netbooks after Linux had originally been the default OS (Microsoft lowered its prices to $15) It is a 7 year old OS and has been plagued for years with security holes and virus issues. It also wasn’t designed for a netbook – though ironically, most of the displays back in 2002 were about the same resolution as Netbook screens – they were just 17 inch CRTs. – or like the 17 inch display that Lauren picked.
Intrestingly, Microsoft is toying with the idea of putting a three application limit on Windows 7 as well.
Junky hardware – not much to be said here. What can be expected for $300? Apple will come in with some indestructible design that could double as a piece of art…but at what cost? Apple could even the playing field a bit by using a cheaper, in-house ARM/PA Semi processor/mobo and allowing the extra money to be spent on design/materials/build.
All of that being said, we are perfectly happy with the hardware on the ASUS Eee 1000HE. Some Netbooks aren’t really that bad.
Small screen – This is interesting because the top end of the netbook world is sitting on some solid 10.2 inch LCD screens. Apple is either implying that it will go with a bigger screen or it is pointing the finger at the smaller Netbook screens which are in the 8-9 inch range. Apple has, on many reports, been ordering up some 10 inch touch displays. We are thinking that resolution independence will allow you to do more with less. Frankly, we’d love to see a 720P screen like the new Dell Mini 10 sports. That would really be a good tie in with iTunes/differentiator to the rest of the market. Then there is OLED.
All of that being said, Apple could just introduce something like we showed you last month and many of us would be very happy.