What next for MacBook?

MacBook update fever has the Mac community in its grip, and everyone’s talking about or leaking images of possible new MacBook designs.

But what about the growing threat of so-called “netbooks”? Those tiny, cheap machines pioneered by Asus and now on offer from pretty much every PC manufacturer around.

ZDNet wonders if Apple will make something similar, or, more likely, reduce its MacBook prices to compete. (I don’t think that’s very likely, but anyway.)

The Apple Gazette declares a resounding no, saying that the netbooks are not affecting MacBook sales anyway. They are reducing sales of more expensive non-Apple Windows laptops, but not hitting Apple products that hard at all.

I’m inclined to go along with the Gazette’s view that reducing the MacBook prices by a little — getting them down to the $700-$800 range — would be sufficient to make sales soar once more. That said, I suspect it’s more likely that the machine will be much improved and stay at roughly the same price that it is now.

Personally speaking, the biggest hurdle to overcome is battery life. I still yearn for a good sized mobile machine that will last for the best part of a day without a charge, and none of the current netbooks, or the MacBook Air, will do that. And I know which of those I’d rather buy.

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  • Krzysztof

    Hello,
    well would be nice to see a price drop, but even more would be nice to see aluminum case, thinner and lighter design and LED backlit. Battery life is also important, but I think that’s a technology limit and Apple can’t find a better battery on the market.

    So in my opinion the must have would be: LED, Aluminum case and a price drop. I am little bit scared if the price goes down, because also the quality of the machine might be affected, what do you think guys?

    Best regards,
    Krzysztof M.

  • mbarriault

    The EeePC 1000 series are rated out of the box at 4.5-7.5 hour battery life. My 701 series Eee got between 2.5 and 4, while being rated for 3. Just ordered the 1000 myself, foregoing potential Macbook price drops (which still won’t put it into the $550 range I just paid).

  • uhuznaa

    They will toss out the optical drive (as with the MacBook Air), making the thing quite a bit smaller, lighter and cheaper. Buy an external drive if you need one. If they are *really* clever, they will also toss out most of the ports and put these together with the power-adapter and the optical drive into an external docking station connected with a MagSafe cable. You will then be able to buy a quite cheap MacBook with only one USB and audio out (and a simple powerbrick) and buy the docking station later if you need it.

    Or they will just redesign the thing a bit and lower the price. The margins should be fat enough for them anyway.

  • fluxam

    I’ve wondered why Apple doesn’t interfere with ports of OS X to netbooks. My guess has been that Apple hopes to get ideas for whatever it ultimately develops and sells. Doubtless, they’ll send out the lawyers when a product is sold.

  • Jon

    Apple would CLEAN up if they did produce something to compete with the Netbooks.

    The Air is stunning, but costs a fair whack and is still 13″.

    Give me a 10″ Air at £800 please!

    (Or, I am getting very tempting with a Acer Netbook running Linux).

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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