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What Would You Pay for an OSX Netbook?



modbook_sm1Netbooks and other affordable devices are booming, but Apple’s stayed out of the game thus far. Some are speculating that Apple will announce a netbook or a device that resembles a jumbo iPod Touch will be announced at WWDC. There’s no shortage of people clamoring for such a device, but I wonder how much people would be willing to pay for an Apple netbook or touchscreen slate.

I’m sure Apple would sell a ridiculous number of miniature MacBooks or jumbo iPod Touches if they were priced competitively, but I’m not so sure they’d be a hit if they were priced much more than the current crop of netbooks. If Apple releases a netbook it would have to be priced under $800 to create enough of a price gap between it and the entry-level MacBook, which sells for $999. Apple would really stir things up of it sold a netbook in the $500 to $600 range.

I use both Windows and OSX machines on a daily basis and would certainly be willing to pay $600 for an Apple netbook. I’m not sure I would buy an Apple slate unless there was some really compelling software tools since I already have an iPhone and MacBook Pro.

Some people argue that an Apple netbook would be a success at any price, but money’s always a factor in a product’s success. For years Mac fans begged and pleaded for an OSX tablet, but how many of them have picked up a ModBook since they were introduced at MacWorld 2007? The ModBook is a really interesting device, but I’m sure the $1,999 starting price is why I haven’t seen a single one of them outside of MacWorld, WWDC and IDF conferences.

What would you be willing to pay for the following devices?

1. A mini MacBook with (10″ or 11″ display) that runs OSX, iLife 09 and other Mac apps.

2. An Apple slate (8″ to 11″ touchscreen display) that’s powerful enough to run full-blown OSX iLife 09 and other Mac apps.

3. A jumbo iPod Touch (8″ to 11″ touchscreen display) that runs the same software and apps as the iPhone and iPod Touch.



  1. Adam Helweh

    04/14/2009 at 1:39 pm

    As you mentioned, it will really come down to the price. My wife would like her own laptop and I am not sure if she would be happy with a 10 inch screen. She certainly would be fine with the processing power, but after using my 15 inch Macbook Pro fairly often I think it would feel awkward for her.

    I look at a tablet or a giant touch in a different way. So far I have not seen a unique need for tablet/slate computers with the exception of the art/design industry. I saw the Modbook and Modbook Pro up close and they are very cool, but not practical for anyone other than an artist who gains a lot out of the boost in productivity a tablet provides.
    I would chalk these devices up as Apple luxury items with a coolness factor that far outweighs the practicality of the device.

    There is one significant factor that could make a giant iPod touch-like device a big hit…. the gamers! I have a 1st generation iPhone and I have to tell you, I play a lot of games on that thing. Based on what I heard from this year’s Game Developer’s Conference the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms are on fire and developers are coming in droves to create games for the devices. They would salivate at the thought to develop these games for a larger device with more horsepower. Toss in an attractive price tag and a dash of real world usefulness (not awkward to use the usual iLife or iWork apps) and Apple might have something big.

    I am looking forward to purchasing a unibody Macbook Pro to replace my late 2006 revision. I would be very happy with that.

  2. Maruda

    04/14/2009 at 1:56 pm

    i would pay 500$ for a device triple area at same thickness of ipod touch. a little much of horse power would be needed for rendering desktop ajaxy web-pages.

  3. Michael Anderson

    04/14/2009 at 2:10 pm

    I paid ~$750 for my original HP Mini-Note 2133 (yeah, the Via C7 one) and after selling it and getting a Lenovo s10 swore I’d never top $500 again. But for a Mac OS X system … $500 – 600, and the only one of interest is a netbook style.

  4. Karl jones

    04/14/2009 at 3:12 pm

    My interests would definitely center on the mini Macbook you described (10″ or 11″ display that runs OSX, iLife 09 and other Mac apps)… if they could provide it for $600, I’d be on it in a flash.

  5. Sara Fauzia

    04/14/2009 at 3:42 pm

    It has to be a bona fide Apple tablet, not even a netbook, though I know that would be a serious hit (especially if they kept the touchpad with multitouch gestures). A slate, maybe, a convertible tablet, definitely. Of course, I’m very happy with my Linux X61 tablet so I would have to see a capacitative touch screen and some seriously innovative improvements to tablet technology before I’d be interested.

  6. Sara Fauzia

    04/14/2009 at 3:43 pm

    I’d like to add that all the things I mentioned are things I expect are well within the ability of Apple. I trust them to make innovative and well-designed products; the product being innovative and well-featured almost goes without saying.

  7. Niels

    04/14/2009 at 3:52 pm

    I’d only be interested in the mini-macbook and would probably be willing to pay between 600-800 dollars for it depending on how well it was spec’ed. One thing I sorely miss in Apple’s current line-up is a more portable computer than the macbook air which I see primarily as an engineering proof of concept.

    An 11.6 inch hd resolution, slim netbook with good battery life and a full install of OSX would make me swing my Visa card in no time pretty much no matter what kind of cpu or graphics it would sport. Even in this economy :)

  8. Bob

    04/14/2009 at 4:36 pm

    $1000 for an Apple slate that runs OSX
    $600 for a 8 to 11 inch iPod touch
    They already have the MacBook Air, don’t need another mini laptop, I can see them coming out with a strippo version of the Air for about a grand.

  9. John

    04/14/2009 at 5:57 pm

    Give me an Apple device that can access the same range of the internet that my five-year old, XP desktop can… As it is now, the iPhone and Touch are crippled when it comes to surfing the net…or simply listening to the majority of terrestrial radio stations that stream on the internet.

    Fix the internet capabilities…then we can talk about size and price.

  10. HG

    04/14/2009 at 6:56 pm

    As long as it has full OS X and capeable of running Win 7 in Parrellels, and have 8.9 – 10″ LCD and a price of no more than 799.99, should do well. Look at what Sony did with the P series. It has a 8″ LCD 1.33Ghz, 2GB, 60 HD, and they start at 899.99 – 1499.99. Also it has to have a good battery life, and be slim and lite. The P comes with a 2-cell battery and for having such a small battery it gets 3 hrs with Wi-Fi on and close to 4 without radios on. Another thing that Apple can add to the future Netbook is GPS, and Built in WWAN. Sony was able to include all this in the small P and its very portable. I sure would buy one and sell my Kohjinsha SC3.

  11. Pierre

    04/14/2009 at 10:42 pm

    Only interested in a Mini Macbook, I’d be willing to pay 700 usd. That of course don’t have to be the most expensive model, since my wish right now is to get a small (Intel-based) Mac to run OS X hassle free.

    Completely hassle free.

  12. Ben

    04/15/2009 at 12:21 am

    i’d only go for an 8 inch screen with capacitive touch in a slate form. then i’d install windows on it.

  13. everbrave

    04/15/2009 at 3:11 am

    If you want to get an idea about the price range, look at the Sony Vaio laptops (they do not make tablets), especially the T- and P-series. Sony is comparable in quality to Apple.
    Smaller is not necessarily cheaper when it comes to packing performance in a small size.

    For a 7″-8″ iPod-touch I would gladly pay 1000$, for a Tablet (probably slate), with decent performance, 2000$.

    For a number of reasons, I do not think Apple wants to compete in the cheaper Netbook segment.

  14. Corrupted Mind

    04/15/2009 at 6:37 am

    I like the idea of a jumbo touch, but you have the specs all wrong.

    It should be more of a 7″ – 9″ device (10″ upwards changes the usage scenarios completely). Sub 700g weight, more like 500g if possible (archos have achieved 200/300g weights). Battery life has to hit the 6hr vid playback sweetspot (i.e. London – NY flight). Wifi comes already with the touch, some unrestricted bluetooth would be v.handy (headphones/keyboard/tethering where permitted – I know HSDPA would be a non-starter). Even without the unresricted BT this would still be interesting.

    In terms of whether full osx or a stripped down – I’m happy either way. Basically the quicker the better.

    Depending on what features this had, I would look at this as an Archos 5 or Crunchpad killer/origami done properly – if I could get Google apps/Evernote running via safari with a keyboard (BT or wired) – this would probably kill a fair few netbooks too!. As the author above noted the games on the touch platform would make this a v.compelling bit of kit.

    Finally, price – jumbo touch/7″/sub 500g/unrestricted BT (for keyboard, mouse, headphones)/OSX platform, full browser capable of youtube, G-apps and Evernote/6hrs battery juice for vid playback = £600 in my book $1,000-odd for my US friends. Easily, like breathing.

    If above 9″ it loses its mobility for me so that alone could count me out. On screen keyboard kills any real typing productivity (beyond websurfing) so the price will have to start to dip. Lack of BT makes more dips for me. For a device of this type: £350 ($500) maybe – I hate more than one device.

  15. ericthebikeman

    04/15/2009 at 7:24 am

    Nope, Apple in general doesn’t offer anything I want anyway. The singluar product line is the iPod. I haven’t come across a computing oriented product that was worth the extra money or that a PC couldn’t do faster. Sure they are prettier but that only justifies it if you are self absorbed fashionista. The security argument is a non-starter with me since 99.9% of problems only affect the particularly stupid/lazy.

    I’d also have trouble justifying the purchase of all of my applications only in OSX compatible versions. Even with educational discount it adds up to a hefty sum. That of course assumes they exist in the first place.

  16. Eric

    04/15/2009 at 7:49 am

    I’d pay easily $1,000 for an Apple slate. More if it was powerful enough to compete with my x200 tablet as the primary day-to-day computer in my life.

    As for a mini-macbook, I’d only jump if it was less than $550.

    A jumbo i-pod touch just doesn’t fit into my lifestyle.

  17. Jake

    04/15/2009 at 12:32 pm

    No more than £150. What would an Apple netbook do that I can’t do on any other netbook?

  18. frblckstr

    04/16/2009 at 4:40 am

    @Jake: Have the Apple logo on the back? (RD&H)

    I hope Apply can finally remake the Newton, e.g. a 7″ iPod touch with Wifi and 3G (and maybe phone via a bluetooth headset).
    (and lets hope they license the pen input technology from Microsoft :-) )

  19. TateJ

    04/16/2009 at 11:09 am

    Not really interested in a macbook mini.

    I’d be willing to pay 600 for an 7 to 8 inch ipod touch. 12 to 1500 for a for an OSX slate. And yes, I would dual boot the slate with Windows 7.

  20. MrJamela

    04/16/2009 at 11:27 am

    I’d pay pretty much any amount of money for a 10-12″ Mac Slate with Touch and Wacom capabilities. This is the machine I’ve been waiting for for the last decade.

    Less for a giant iPod Touch.

    Nothing for a mini mac laptop.

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