I love the opportunities that the new mini-laptops (also known as netbooks) have provided for learners and users. This idea began with the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) which originated with Nicholas Negroponte at MIT. He was the advocate who went to vendors with a vision of a minicomputer that ultimately weighed only 3.2 pounds. I bought one of the first XO computers and am constantly amazed at its capabilities.
Asus was also a pioneer in this field with their Eee PC (Wikipedia says Eee comes from "Easy to Learn, Easy to work, Easy to play.") They say that they now have an all-day netcomputer with a battery that lasts 6-7.8 hours.
The missing player has been Apple. Why hasn't Apple thrown its hat into the netbook ring so that we can edit our videos using iMovie '08 (ouch) on a 2.2 pound OS gem? Well, I DON'T KNOW. I would guess that Apple is having a problem with the idea of creating a computer that costs less than $500. While I am an Apple evangelist (not at the Guy Kawasaki level but I luv my Mac), Macintosh computers are typically priced higher than their competitors. Personally, I think that these computers are worth paying a few extra sheckles to own a Mac but $500 may be too low for Apple to get its typical profit margin.
Never fear!!! I just found some resources on the web that can help you find eternal satisfaction by having a Mac OS netbook under your arm.
These resources include a rumor about Apple releasing a netbook at the MacWorld 2009 and, for those of you who can't wait until January to see/have a Mac netbook, I have found a site that tells you how to load the Leopard OS onto a netbook.
Mac Netbook at MacWorld 2009
Rumor has it that Apple will be announcing a Mac netbook at MacWorld 2009. While it appears that Steve Jobs is not going to be doing his typical new product introduction at MacWorld, InformationWeek is reporting that pundents are predicting a Mac netbook that will probably run about $599. Technically this doesn't place them in the true netbook (< $500) genre, but it Apple has never been a company that cares about labels. It is also predicted that Apple will justify the additional $100 expense by offering "an array of content, applications, and games through the App Store, which is accessible through the company's iTunes software." Information Week predicts that this will be released mid-year 2009.
Hadley Stern of Apple Matters provides "5 Reasons Why An Apple Netbook will be Released at MacWorld." Hadley says that these reasons include 1) The economy, 2) Chips, 3) The iPhone, 4) Jobs gets to say he invented it, and 5) Extend iTunes reach. It is a lot of logical ideas that are based upon Apple's history. These ideas are fun to read and I think that they can support InformationWeek's predictions.
Running OS X on a Netbook
If you can't wait until July to have a Mac netbook, Wired magazine's site has a video by Brian X. Chen entitled Running OS X on a Netbook. This video shows you how you can make a couple of small chip changes on an MSI Wind Netbook and then load Mac OS X onto the computer (Note: this is a hacked version of Mac OS X which is illegal so I am just sharing this with you as an exercise in exploration.) How well does this run the Mac programs? I don't know, but wouldn't it totally freak our your friends if you opened your MSI netbook to reveal Mac OS X?
Well, I don't know the exact future plans that Apple may have in the world of netbooks but I predict that by this time next year I will be writing this blog on NetMac (or whatever they intend to name them.)