Apple will unveil two netbooks at the upcoming Macworld Expo in response to the gloomy economy, an analyst predicted Tuesday. The devices would likely follow the path of iPhones’ dependence on the App Store and iTunes.
Ezra Gottheil, analyst with Technology Business Research Inc., believe Apple will introduce two low-priced computers at the January tradeshow, according to Computerworld Tuesday. The crumbling economy and growing consumer interest in netbooks is cited as spurring expected decision.
“It looks like netbooks are real, and getting a certain amount of traction,” the analyst told the publication. The netbook category grew 160 percent during the third quarter, DisplayResearch announced last week. Apple was described as the “lone exception” to computer makers entering the segment.
Although announced in January, the netbooks would not be shipped until mid-2009, permitting time for a developer community to be created, suggested the analyst.
Update: “I think it would be a huge financial diaster if Apple came out with a netbook,” independent financial analyst Andy Zaky told Cult of Mac. Apple would be competing with itself and suffer lower margins if it produced a netbook, he said.
Gottheil recently told investors he expected Apple to enter the netbook market within the first six months of 2009. However, the Cupertino, Calif. company cannot simply offer a modified MacBook.
The new devices could follow Apple’s own “closed system” for updates, employing the iPhone’s App Store for software and iTunes for upgrades, Gottheil said.
The analyst said the first Apple netbook would resemble the MacBook Air, echoing similar speculation. The second netbook would cost around $599.
The danger is a netbook could hurt sales of MacBooks, Gottheil warned.