Jobs on netbooks: “As we look at the netbook category, that’s a nascent category. As best as we can tell, there’s not a lot of them being sold. You know, one of our entrants into that category if you will is the iPhone, for browsing the Internet, and doing email and all the other things that a netbook lets you do. And being connected via the cellular network wherever you are, an iPhone is a pretty good solution for that, and it fits in your pocket.
I love that attitude. He’s effectively saying that MIDs are where it’s at isn’t he. Isn’t he? The ‘Not a lot being sold’ part is probably a nod towards their 7 million iPhone sales.
I agree with Jobs and believe the Netbooks segment is a dangerous segment to be playing in right now. I believe that the action will start to take place in other segments soon. It will only take one well-executed MID/PMP product to make heads turn and for people to realise that most of what they do on their netbooks (surfing, reading emails, IM, videos) can be done by a device that fits in the pocket. Yes I know some of you use netbooks as laptops for inputting text but to be honest, I don’t think that inputting reams of text is what most people are doing with their netbooks. When that special product comes out and when those heads turn, people like Samsung, Toshiba, ASUS could get caught out with big zero-margin netbook stocks. In fact the whole Intel Atom ecosystem could get caught out if that device turns out to be based on an ARM core and gets followed up by a raft of cool ARM-based devices from established players.
Jobs will need a product to replace the iPod in the next 18 months and a combined video and Internet device is perfect for that. There’s almost no question that Apple will do a 4-6" device and that the technology and software is there to be able to do it but the question is, when will the market and carriers be ready? End of 2009? Beginning of 2010? Apple must have tens of prototypes in the lab ready to choose from and they’re probably doing the sensible business thing by waiting.