Apple Byte: Is the timing right for an Apple Netbook?
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Apple Byte: Is the timing right for an Apple Netbook?

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Apple has its own thoughts on Netbooks, we discuss the "Holy Grail" of mobile computing, and how is Verizon involved? Plus, we'll show you how to "bump," iPhone style.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >> What's up? I'm Brian Tong. And welcome to the Apple Bite. We're talking all the good and bad inside the world of Apple. So let's get to it. Apple and Verizon rumors are heating up with Business Week, claiming that Apple could be working with Verizon to release an iPhone lite and media pad as early as 2010. The sources who claim to have seen the device describe the media pad as being smaller than Amazon's Kindle, but its touch screen is larger than the Kindle's. And yes, I know those are all juicy tidbits, but the only real thing to pull from this is that Apple and Verizon have met. Verizon's CEO even confirmed it. Now, there are still plenty of barriers here, like having the two companies agree on financial terms, which they couldn't do before, letting Apple keep control over its music and [inaudible] when Verizon has its own. And will Apple really build two different versions of their iPhone? At the very least, it's a negotiating tactic that could potentially give Apple more leverage with its AT&T talks. Now, last week, Apple released their quarterly earnings and reported their best non-holiday quarter ever with over $8 billion in revenue. During the earnings call, Tim Cook was asked about his thoughts about netbooks and where Apple is at. >> When I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cranked keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens. If we find a way where we can deliver an innovative product that really makes the contribution, then we'll do that. And we have some interesting ideas in this phase. >> It sure sounds like SJ has rubbed off a little on Mr. Cook. Now, whatever this device is, it's a safe bet that the maxi-pad is still in the works. Now, there's been a whole lot of development surrounding a product like this, so we wanted to bring in one of our own to talk about it. Take it away, fellows. >> All right, guys, I'm here in the studio with CNET staff writing, Tom Krazit. You've been covering Apple Bite for quite some time. >> Three years now. >> All right, thanks for coming in. >> Sure. >> Now, we wanted to talk about, you know, everyone's been trying to find this Holy Grail of mobile computers. And Apple, typically, with all of their products, they've kind of sat back, waited for markets to mature. They did it with the iPod, the iPhone. They've come out with something that people haven't seen before. Is this really the right time, in your mind, you know, for Apple to jump on this and to put something out there? >> Well, it depends on how they do it, but yeah, I really do. I mean, I don't think that previous attempts at getting into this market were all that well done, you know? You look at like at UMPC and the MID and things like that, I mean, those were computers that were running Windows XP, which was not designed for that-- >> Portable type. >> Yeah, you know? Whereas Apple's got all of that with iPhone OS. And if they decided they wanted to scale that up a little bit to a bigger tablet, you know, add a few like gaming-friendly things in there as well, yeah, I think people could be finally ready for that. >> Now, you mentioned the iPhone OS. And people, a lot of people are comfortable with that. It's something they're familiar with. What are some of the kind of things that Apple has going for them right now that would really help them jump in in this market? >> Well, the biggest thing with the iPhone OS is that the whole gesture base user interface idea. I mean, you know, it was kind of ground-breaking when it was released a couple years ago. But like now, you know, people are pretty used to the idea and you see a lot of other phones trying to go down that road as well. So they've got people used to that. And then the other beauty to that is that the no-button approach, you know? You can have the software programmable button anywhere you want to do whatever you want. And you know what? The bigger screen you have, obviously the more you can do with those kinds of buttons. You can make them bigger, you can make them different sizes, you can put a real big keyboard on there, which would probably be one of people's, you know, primary complaints about the iPhone keyboard. >> Now, what are some things that you foresee that might make this or challenges that they might face entering this market? >> Well, price is the biggest one. >> Yeah. >> I mean, they've got to figure out what kind of price they want to put on this. And, you know, you've got to figure if they're looking at this category, they're looking at something in between the highest end iPod Touch, which is about 399, and the lowest MacBook, which is 999. So you look at maybe like a 699, you know, maybe that's what they're thinking. But the other interesting idea that they could think about is trying to hook up with AT&T or another carrier and subsidize the price of it. So get it down even lower. I mean, I don't know about that exactly, because that might interfere with iPhone and iPod Touch. They might not want to mess with what they've got going there. >> And support like how much it, you know, taxes the data networks and what not? >> Exactly. You know, if you make it unrestricted, then maybe it will be more appealing. So, you know, I think that's sort of a key thing that they have to worry about. >> Okay, excellent. Well, thanks for coming in. >> Sure. >> Chopping it up with us. All right, back to you in the studio. >> All right, guys, thanks for some of that insight. Now, are you looking to exchange info the iPhone way? Let's check out our iPhone app of the week brought to you by our friends from Download.com. You want to check out Bump. It's free. And this is a special one because it was the one billionth application downloaded from the app's store. It lets you exchange contact info. So open up the app on two iPhones. All it takes is a bump of the hand, and your info is sent to the other phone. So how can this help you? Say you're out to lunch with a lady friend and you guys are hitting it off. >> That's not guacamole. And said oh my gosh, she like ate it and everything. Oh, dude. >> You have an iPhone and you notice she has an iPhone too. So what are you going to do? Hey, do you want to bump? >> What? >> You know, bump. Here, let me get in my pocket here. >> Excuse me? >> I can't--no, I'm trying to get it out. No, don't, no, I want to bump. [ Music ] Wow, that guy really needs to work on his social skills. But you can check out Bump. And again, it is free. Here's some quick bites. WWDC 2009 is completely sold out. And it did so in record time. It sold out last year. And there's no doubt the iPhone platform is a big reason. So if one of you guys could build me an app to organize my wardrobe so I can plan it out, then I'll be stoked. That was a joke. All right, guys, a prerelease of iTunes 8.2 is out in developers' hands. And some new tidbits have been found. IPhone notes syncing is coming in the next release of OS 10.5.7. And it's something people have wanted to actually make that app useful on your phone. Also in the about iTunes panel, evidence shows Gracenote, which is a service that automatically fills in your CD track, album and artist info. But this time, it will support DVD and Blu-ray info as well. Now, you guys, don't get excited about iTunes all of a sudden being able to rip DVDs and Blu-ray discs, but it might hint up Blu-ray support coming from Mac soon. All right, guys, that's going to do it for this week. Remember to write us at the Apple Bite at CNET.com. I'm Brian Tong. Thanks for watching. And we'll see you guys next time for another bite of the Apple. [ Music ]

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