Rumors are swirling that Steve Jobs is leading the development of an Apple netbook, despite taking a leave of absence from the company due to health issues
Although Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has taken a step-back due to medical reasons, a Wall Street Journal report suggests he is still very much in charge, and possibly heading development of an Apple netbook.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “people familiar with the matter” say while chief operating officer Tim Cook is handling the daily tasks of running the company, Jobs is actively involved with Apple’s product plans, including work on a device “smaller than its current laptop computers but bigger than the iPhone or iPod Touch”.
Jobs is scheduled to return full time in June. The furor set off by the WSJ article also concerns Jobs’ apparent about-face on the topic of netbooks, portable computers that are smaller and less expensive than traditional notebooks. Jobs has been quoted as saying the company will take a “wait-and-see” approach with the “nascent” netbook market.
In early March, reports of possible netbook development at Apple came pouring through the Web after a Taiwan-based newspaper reported that two Taiwanese companies have been selected to contribute to the device. At the time, Apple executives played down the likelihood of such a device during a January call about its first fiscal quarter.
“We don’t think people will be pleased with those products. It’s a category we watch, we’ve got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they’re happy with,” Apple Insider quoted Cook as saying during the call.
While the allure of an Apple netbook is real—netbooks in general are gaining popularity in economically tight times—Apple Watch’s Joe Wilcox writes that netbooks aren’t a good fit for Apple, despite the fact that competitors such as Dell, Acer and Sony continue to produce them.
One reason may be Apple’s unwillingness to detract from the MacBook Air, described by the company as “the world’s thinnest notebook.” Some critics would also likely suggest that Apple, famous for aesthetically pleasing but pricy products, would offer the netbook at a less alluring price point; most netbooks retail for around $500 (£340).