Analysts Believe Apple Could Sell a $700 Netbook

The netbook market is huge right now and the only major computer maker in the U.S. to not currently offer a netbook is Apple. Rumours are swirling that Apple will be jumping into the netbook market and with Apple’s WWDC coming next month many think an Apple netbook is coming sooner rather than later.

Analysts agree that Apple will be getting into the netbook market. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told InformationWeek that he believes Apple is working on a device with a touch screen ranging from 7 to 10-inches and selling in a price range of $500 to $700. That would put the machine in the high-end netbook segment, but analysts believe if the device is more functional than other netbooks on the market consumers will buy it.

The rumored Apple netbook would fill the gap between the iPod touch and iPhone and the MacBook that starts at $1000. Support for the Apple netbook rumour came from Piper Jaffray components contacts in Asia. InformationWeek also cites recent patents filed by Apple for multitouch technology.

One key to making an Apple netbook a success in the market is a keyboard according to some analysts. A real keyboard is a necessity, it would be hard to see consumers trying to work form a virtual keyboard similar to that of the iPhone. However, as analysts point out the keyboard would not have to be attached and could connect via Bluetooth.

Analyst Ezra Gottheil from Technology Business Research said, “People who aren’t having money problems may want to pay more for something that they perceive as better constructed. This is particularly true for people buying netbooks for a second or third computer.”

Analysts cited by InformationWeek believe that Apple will announce its netbook before the end of Q2 2009.