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Seven Features of an Apple Netbook

The rumors are flying on an Apple netbook, with some reliable sources claiming confirmation of a forthcoming device, but that doesn’t stop us from fantasizing about what an Apple netbook might look like. We are big netbook fans and think an Apple netbook is a great idea. Apple watchers agree that a netbook from Apple is likely, pointing to the acquisition of P.A. Semiconductor and the hiring of Mark Papermaster from IBM as signs that Apple is planning a new mobile device like a netbook. 

What is a Netbook? Netbooks are characterized by their screen size, weight, battery life, price, and ability to connect to the Internet. The most popular screen size appears to be 10 inches like the Asus Eee PC 1000HE or the Samsung NC10. The longer the battery life, the better, with some new netbooks claiming up to 9.5 hours of normal use on a single charge. Although netbooks costing over $500 like the new Sony VAIO P ($899) or the Dell Mini 10 ($599) are common, netbooks under $500 appear to be more popular. Of course, that doesn’t mean a killer Apple netbook couldn’t justify a higher price tag.

What could an Apple Netbook look like? What will it look like or what should it look like? We’d like to hear what you think? Here’s what we at Retrevo think Apple might be considering and what we would like to see in an Apple netbook:

1. Battery
You know it probably won’t have a replaceable battery but it will use their new battery technology that they announced at Macworld Expo. Apple claims their team of scientists has developed a new “smart” battery. They also note that innovative chemistry and an embedded chip that manages individual battery cells and adjusts charging current will increase battery lifespan and expand capacity.
Should include: If Asus can deliver a netbook with nine+ hours of battery life Apple should be able to beat that. Why not twelve hours?

2. Display and Touchpad
An Apple netbook would have to include gesture-based input either in the form of a touchpad (MacBook style) or touchscreen (iPhone style).
Should include: It probably won’t happen in this Apple netbook but one of these days we’ll see a netbook with an OLED display. After all, Samsung just announced a phone with a 3.7 inch OLED display. We wonder how much more consumers would be willing to pay for a netbook with a 10-inch OLED display?

Here’s a wild idea; what if the device had two 10-inch displays in a clamshell carbon fiber case where one screen could function as touchscreen keyboard or part of an ebook reader?

3. Connectivity
We will probably see built-in 3G wireless service, 802.11n WiFi, and maybe stereo Bluetooth (A2DP). Of course USB connections will be included along with a Mini-Display Port so Apple can make some money on a video adaptor.
Should include: One of these days we might see built-in Wimax

4. Operating System
An Apple netbook will have to run a variation of the Mac OS that might combine the best of MacBook and iPhone operating systems. Mobileme will keep an Apple netbook in synch with other Apple devices.
Should include: Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to run big screen versions of iPhone apps on a netbook?

5. Cameras and Video
A built-in iSight, font-facing, camera is a likely feature for iChat sessions.
Should include: How about a rear facing camera for taking pictures and recording videos?

6. Quality Audio
High quality stereo speakers and 3.5mm jack would make for a great media viewing or listening device.

7. GPS and Accelerometer
Should include: Add GPS with turn-by-turn navigation and accelerometer and voila, the ultimate netbook! These could also come in handy for theft recovery.