Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Apple Chromestellation Netbook: OS X mobile + Safari + MobileMe. What role AT&T?

Peter Burrows almost has it right. He forgets that the iTouch is running OS X (albeit a strange spinoff of 10.x at this time) but he's close ...

The Big Question About The Rumored Apple NetBook: Will It Run MacOS? - Peter Burrows BusinessWeek

Dow Jones Newswires is confirming reports yesterday that Apple plans to introduce a Netbook. The story says that Taiwanese display maker Wintek Corp. is providing 9.7 to 10 inch screens to huge PC contract manufacturer Quanta Computer, and that the device will be on the market in the second half of the year.

.. One good guess is that it’s the world’s biggest iPod Touch, rather than the world’s smallest Mac. Such a device would not run the MacOS ... better for browsing the Net and watching your movies and such via iTunes, not to mention less demanding games and other graphically-oriented programs found on the App Store. And if the device had a real keyboard...

Everyone's responding, as they should, to the collapse of the laptop pricepoint and to the coming Google branded Chromestellation netbook. Microsoft will give away a Netbook version of Windows 7 tied to Windows Live, so what will Apple do?

A zillion people have noted that the Apple iTouch is basically a keyboard-free $230 small display netbook, now with about 25,000 App Store applications including the Amazon Kindle.

Add a keyboard and a bigger display and Apple has a $300 Netbook with a browser that uses the same AppKit engine that powers Chromestellation. This can compete with a $200 generic Linux netbook.

Apple also has a currently feeble (albeit slowly improving) online companion - MobileMe. They also have something called AppleTV with video distribution via another product called, I think, "iTunes".

So it seems Apple can't help but sell an iTouch/Netbook with media distribution and, probably, a tie to MobileMe.

The interesting question is what role AT&T or other mobile carriers might play. What does Apple's AT&T contract let them do? Will Apple and AT&T sell a carrier-subsidized MobileMe bound Netbook with embedded GSM 3G wireless? Will there be special prices for bulk school purchases? Will school books start being sold electronically via Amazon for display on the MacNetbook Kindle.app?

We should know by the 2009 back to school buying season.

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