eMate was the original Apple netbook, says blogger

Maybe Apple already created a newtbook…er, notebook?

That’s what Charles Moore over at the Apple Blog says:

It’s not as if Apple hasn’t charted this territory before. We could argue that Apple pioneered the netbook concept back in 1997 with the Newton eMate 300, which combined PDA engineering and features in a laptop crossover form factor.

Moore goes on to say that the eMate’s networking abilities, cheaper pricetag, and small footprint was a great example of Apple stuffing many features into a small form-factor.

This is something I hadn’t thought of. The 12″ iBook seems more like a capable netbook prototype to me – just make it thinner and you might have a deal.

What do you think? Is Apple gearing up for a netbook Mac? Do you even care?

[Photo courtesy of Applefritter.]


  1. I don’t get what the big deal is about netbooks. An ultralight but extremely limited computer that is only really suited to basic tasks like the internet? Can anyone say MacBook Air? I know it is supposed to be a ‘subnotebook’ but it seems to me to be way too limited. The PowerBook Duo and 2400 were limited only by the lack of an internal floppy/cd drive (the duo had virtually no ports but you could add all of them with a mini dock). And when the duo was plugged into a Duo Dock, you got all of the ports, a floppy drive, larger hard drive, better video card, more ram, etc. Designs for a MacDock supposedly made by Apple were floating around for a while, but they never released it. Personally, I think even ‘subnotebooks’ are overkill nowadays. Most full featured laptops fit into the category, which was defined in the late 1980s. A perfect example is the 12 inch PowerBook G4, still erroneously described by many people as a ‘subnotebook’ when in fact it is nothing of the sort. It was the worlds smallest full featured laptop, but was in no way a ‘subnotebook’ (which would seem to require ‘sub’ something). but what it all comes down to is that if you are someone who really needs your computer to be a few pounds lighter and are willing to sacrifice all but the most basic functionality to meet that requirement, there is something wrong with you. Netbooks make some sense, for someone who just needs a tiny internet machine, but the MacBook Air is a MacBook targeted at the same professionals as the MacBook Pro, and I just can’t understand anyone buying one when the MacBook is cheaper and better in every single way, if not one or two pounds heavier. In a world where the largest Mac laptop (MacBook Pro 17 inch) is one inch thick and weighs 6.6 pounds (less than the 12 inch PowerBook 3400), the ‘subnotebook’ seems to be just an excuse for companies to sell inferior products to trend following morons.

    Sorry to go on a rant that had little to nothing to do with the post, I got carried away…

  2. No, obi, I appreciate your opinion. I wonder what you have to think about the pricing issue: PC users love to flaunt price as a argument for Windows machines, and netbooks tend to be cheaper than full-featured laptops, like you say.

    I agree that a netbook is an unattractive option. When I do my…uh…computing, I like everything at my fingertips. If all I need is the Internet, I have my iPhone.

  3. The trick to finding a good netbook is to get one with a full keyboard for word processing– that way you can work on documents whereever you are without lugging around a 5 or 6 pound machine. A netbook with a tiny keyboard is only good for internet surfing, and is for the most part worthless.

    That said, I would like to add that the Emate is a great laptop for writers. It has a full-size keyboard and a decent screen, plus a good word-processor and decent connectivity to any computer with an ethernet card. I’m going to be getting one in about a week and using it for NaNoWriMo and other projects. The two megabytes of space can hold about two novels, which is more than sufficient. :3

  4. Good choice, Trikky. I use my eMate for writing projects, too, and find it more than capable. Let me know how it goes.

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