My neighbor in the apartment next door bought a Dell mini 9 netbook for $350. She had it two days before figuring out it came with Linux and not Windows. The Windows version is $50 more, so she cried long and hard on the phone, coughed up the extra dough, and got what she thought she wanted. Is she happy? No. Why not?
Wouldn’t you love to have an aluminum MacBook for $300 or $400? Sure, but the only ones available are four or five years old. And not aluminum.
My next door neighbor expected to get a fully functioning PC notebook at a dirt cheap price. The expectation was warped. The anticipation deflated. Good don’t come cheap.
The Dell mini 9 is decent for reading email, browsing the web, maybe typing something, but not much else. It stuttered trying to play video. It cramped her fingers when typing.
In the end, the Dell mini became what most netbooks become. The living room, pass-around, email and browser for $400. In other words, reality bites.
The benefit of the Dell netbook, or any netbook is painfully obvious. It’s not a high powered, feature packed, notebook substitute for the road warrior. You get what you pay for. It’s a shared notebook for the living room.
Everyone uses it for instant messaging, checking email, chomping out quick replies, browsing for this or that, usually while you’re doing something else. The netbook is perfect for keeping our always connected to the internet addiction.
My neighbor was disappointed. I grinned. She scowled. “I’ll bet Apple doesn’t sell a netbook for $400,” she scoffed. She’s right. Mine cost $229.
Apple’s $229 Netbook
I pulled my iPod touch out of my handbag.“ See,” I said, with a little neighborly rivalry in my you poor slob smile. “The absolute perfect netbook.”
And so it is.
Think about what a netbook really becomes. A shared email and browser that does IM, and frustrates everywhere else. Battery life? Low. Keyboard? Mushy. Multimedia performance? Slow. Disappointment? High.
My iPod touch functions pretty much like a very, very small netbook PC. I check email. I type out a few quick responses. I browse. I google (no caps needed, it’s a verb now). I can also IM, play movies, play music, play games and do what no netbook PC can ever do.
Fit in my pocket.
I suspect that Apple has a new, smaller, multi-touch screen, ultra thin MacBook planned for the masses, probably priced less than $1,000, but nowhere near a typical netbook PC in the $300 to $400 range.
That’s how Apple rolls these days. Quality. Despite an economic downturn that has spread throughout the world, there’s enough people who recognize the value of quality, so Apple thrives.
When it comes to a netbook, Apple has already sold 18-million netbooks in just two years. It’s called iPod touch. They do email and browsing, Google searches, games, music, movies, WiFi, chat, instant messaging, and much more, for less than the price of a Dell mini 9, and often with a better user experience.
Battery life is better, usability is better (one day someone will figure out how to harness it to a decent keyboard) in many ways, and the price is less.
Apple’s netbook experience is already here. Starting at $299.