Apple’s MacBook Air, iPad helped kill the netbook

“Netbooks were supposed to be the future of portable computing… After testing the first- and second-generation netbooks, consumers learned that while the battery life was great (many of them could run for at least four hours), the processing power was not,” Benzinga Insights writes for Forbes. “This made it difficult to do anything more than surf the Web, check e-mail and write documents. The latter task was hindered by the smaller frame and awkward keyboard shape that most netbooks provided. Consumers with large hands were particularly bothered by this element.”

“Regardless, tech companies continued to push the netbook format for quite some time,” Benzinga Insights writes. “That began to change after Apple unveiled the remodeled MacBook Air in 2010. The computer may not have been revolutionary, but it was thinner and lighter than most on the market. It also came with a solid state hard drive, enabling it to load programs faster and move in and out of standby in seconds.”

Benzinga Insights writes, “The Air was not the only game-changing product released two years ago. In 2010, Apple also introduced the first iPad. With a starting price of $500, the iPad was only slightly more expensive than a high-end netbook. Fast-forward to 2012, the year in which Apple announced that the iPad had sold more than 100 million units worldwide. At the same time, worldwide netbook sales continue to decline. Dell and Hewlett-Packard are among the major manufacturers that no longer produce netbooks. According to DigiTimes, Acer and Asus will soon follow suit and cease production of new netbooks.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Behold, a triple whammy of morbid stupidity:
• The iPad has fewer capabilities than a netbook, in a similar size. Not a good start.Lee Gomes, Forbes, March 05, 2010
• The iPad will remain an expensive, niche device compared to all-purpose netbooks.Preston Gralla, PCWorld, March 30, 2010
Detroit Public Schools buy 40,000 foreign-made Asus netbooks using U.S. Federal ‘stimulus’ funds – January 4, 2011

Related articles:
Dell quits netbooks – December 19, 2011
Acer to phase out netbooks in favor of tablets – January 18, 2011
iPad Effect: Apple’s revolutionary iPad leads tablet charge as netbook shipments plummet – September 30, 2010
Cool new iPad case with integrated Bluetooth keyboard further threatens netbooks – August 25, 2010
ASUS lowers netbook expectations in face of Apple’s iPad revolution – August 16, 2010
Goldman: Apple iPad will cannibalize the market for, and makers of, netbooks and laptops – July 14, 2010
Survey says Apple’s revolutionary iPad is killing netbooks – May 27, 2010
Netbook Killer: Apple’s revolutionary iPad destroying the netbook business – May 06, 2010
IDC: Netbooks sales fall sharply as iPad launches – April 02, 2010
PCWorld: Apple’s iPad will remain an expensive, niche device compared to all-purpose netbooks – March 30, 2010
Bajarin: Apple’s iPad will kill netbooks – March 22, 2010
Forbes hack: Apple iPad has fewer capabilities than a netbook, in a similar size; not a good start – March 05, 2010
Why Apple’s iPad will kill not only the netbook, but also Google’s Chrome OS – January 29, 2010


  1. Having owned a netbook, and now having a Macbook Air from Christmas from the best brother ever, they missed a couple things. Netbooks run Windows, mine XP, which contributes to having less uptime than the MBA. My netbook had an 8MB integrated graphics card. While I was able to watch movies and TV shows online, the graphics card + it being Windows led to multiple BSODs. Also, about 1/3 of the time I closed the lid to put it to sleep, it wouldn’t sleep, forcing me to open it again and manually put it to bed. Another 1/3 of the time, when I’d close the lid and reopen later, it was still trying to go to sleep and I had no option but to hard-reboot. Let’s not forget that netbook manufacturers charged for the netbooks what you could buy a more functional PC for, just because they could get people to pay for thinner and lighter and there were a number who got turned off by this. I, for one, will never recommend to anyone who asks to buy a netbook and I don’t know enough about the “Ultrabooks” to recommend one to someone I can’t convince to get a Mac. Now what to do with my old netbook….

  2. Netbooks were a mashup of hardware (at near minimum cost), Intel and Microsoft Windows and they showed up 4+ years after the MacBook Air and expected to gain traction?

    The only way to lead is by getting out front with the most reliable equipment possible. Netbooks were way late.

    1. Netbooks predated the MacBook Air. Apple was seen as being “late to the game” with regards to the netbook era, but they (ie. Steve) publicly stated that they weren’t going to play that game. They were going to do it right, hence the release of the MacBook Air. Netbooks were just a scaled down laptop, with less power and functionality. The MacBook Air made fewer compromises and delivered a better user experience.

  3. I remember the hundreds of articles of “experts” saying that apple needs to make a netbook to stay competitive. Just like the ones that say that it needs to make a cheap phone.

    1. You’re don’t see that the MacBook Air is Apple’s netbook, not putting too narrow a definition of a netbook, i.e. an ultra, ultra portable. When people asked Apple for a netbook, that was the vocabulary they used but it certainly didn’t mean they were asking Apple for identical specs. Those people, including myself, were asking for a mega-portable Mac. Apple sat there for years denying that such a thing could be done – smokescreen to its competitors — all the while designing the ultimate ultra-portable.

      1. Apple wasn’t lying. They had to evolve their unibody construction to the point where it could work for a smaller form-factor laptop. They eventually did that. It just took time. No smokescreen, it couldn’t be done at that time.

  4. Experts are a figment of their own imagination. Their “expertise” is limited to being able to glom 1000 words together on demand, and finding someone willing to publish the garbage that results from that effort. Such is our educational system.

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