Feeds

Apple loses students to netbooks and Windows

Fails to seize the day

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

When US students return to their classrooms this fall, few of them will be lugging along new Apple notebooks.

That's the conclusion reached by a small survey conducted recently by consumer-electronics ecommerce website Retrevo.

Of the 300-plus students surved by Retrevo, 34 percent of laptop buyers will purchase netbooks, and 49 per cent will buy full-sized Windows-based machines.

"The majority of student laptop shoppers will not consider buying a Mac," says Renevo's press release.

The reason for the defection from Apple is a simple one, Retrevo's chief executive Vipin Jain said: "Fifty-eight per cent of [students] plan on spending less than $750.00. Only 18 per cent have a budget over $1,000.00. Netbooks are affordable - some costing only $170.00. In contrast, Apple laptops start at $949.00. At a time when many people are experiencing economic hardship, having a new Apple laptop isn’t a necessity."

The tiny size of the survey and that fact that Retrevo links to far more netbook-selling sites than it does Apple resellers colors the legitimacy of its figures, but the move to low-price netbooks is inarguable.

In May this year, IDC reported that worldwide netbook sales would top 22 million in 2009. In July it upped that estimate to 26 million. DisplaySearch in July was even more bullish for the netbook market, putting the number of 2009 sales at a cool 33 million, with US year-on-year growth of 137 per cent.

The low-price, good-enough laptop boat has sailed, and Apple's not on it.

Apple spokesfolks have repeatedly dissed the netbook market. In October last year, Steve Jobs said: "There are some customers which we chose not to serve. We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that."

Job's did, however, leave the netbook door open a crack by adding: "It’s a nascent category and we’ll watch while it evolves, and we’ve got some pretty good ideas if it does evolve."

In April, Jobsian stand-in Tim Cook toed the company line. "When I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens... not something that we would put the Mac brand on, quite frankly. It's not a space as it exists today that we're interested in."

But Cook also hinted that Apple might someday play in the netbook space by adding: "If we find a way where we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we'll do that. We have some interesting ideas in the [netbook] space."

This July, however, Cook reiterated his distate for netbooks. "I think some of netbooks that are being delivered, or many of those, are very slow, they have software technology that is old, they don't have a robust computing experience, they lack horsepower, they have small displays and cramped keyboards," he said.

"And so that kind of thing I think many people will not be happy with. We're only going to play in things where we can deliver something that is very innovative and that we're very proud of."

All well and good, but it appears that Apple has little regard for the old adage that "The customer is always right."

And these days, customers - especially the proverbial starving students - are seeking low-cost computing devices that will allow them to take notes in class, check their email, write papers, and surf the web, all without straining their backpack bedecked backs as they tote them around campus.

Namely, netbooks.

It was just over a year ago when Apple edged out Dell as the laptop-of-choice among college students. The rise of the netbook may have made that victory a short-lived one.

And although rumors abound about Apple's impending netbook-substitute, the tablet/netbook/media-pad/ebook/whatever, said rumors describe a device designed more for content consumption than for writing a term paper on corporate hubris. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs
Thus doth tech of future illuminate present, etc
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.