HAVE you seen those cute little notebooks? All the PC manufacturers sell a few except Apple. The Mac makers has managed to resist making these so-called netbooks, until last week.
At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple finally succumbed to market demand for netbooks. And no, it's not in tablet form as some smart-Aleck pundits had predicted but a normal looking netbook.
The product is called Apple MacBook Poor.
It has all the makings of a typical netbook: 28cm monochrome display, Intel 486 processor, 128KB of RAM and a cramped keyboard. In short, something that conforms to Microsoft's specification of what a netbook is.
However, it is devoid of the various colourful stickers that adorn the palm rests and undersides of other netbooks.
Another difference is that it runs Mac OS X Kitten as opposed to Windows XP or Vista.
"We christened it MacBook Poor to make it clear who it's for: those who can't afford real Apple products," said Apple's senior vice president for worldwide product maketing Phil Schiller.
"It is designed for those who after all these years still think Macs are expensive computers meant for graphic artists.
"And it's just a nice coincidence that the name has a similar ring to our real laptops, MacBook Pro," Schiller said.
Laptop purists may balk at the MacBook Poor's cramped keyboard but a revolutionary voice control feature in the laptop more than makes up for this shortcoming.
Users may simply bark the appropriate commands into the laptop's microphone.
"With voice control you can play music by artiste, album or playlist and activate the Genius feature by saying `play more songs like this.' You can also tell the MacBook to `do my homework' or ask `who's poking me on Facebook right now?'"
Another of its selling point is its built-in camera, which has an autofocus feature that allows users to tap on the screen and choose the good side of their face for Facebook profile.
And finally, a biggie. Because most netbook users are women, the MacBook Poor has a Find My MacBook feature that works together with MobileMe, so users can locate their lost MacBook on Google Maps.
For the more discerning netbookers however, Apple has a surprise for them in the form of Apple MacBook Poor S.
"Duh, that looks exactly like the one you just showed us," said a member of the audience at the product unveiling recently. At which point, the Schiller pointed out the S in the name.
"Aha, the MacBook Poor S may look similar to its more inferior cousin, but it runs the next-generation Mac OS X Snow Kitten," he explained.
The `S', he added, stands for speed.
"This is the fastest MacBook Poor yet - up to two times faster and more responsive than the previous MacBook Poor. Apps launch faster and it takes less time to open a Web page in the Safari browser.
During the demo, icons bounced just 20 times in the Dock before their respective applications finally opened.
"We hope by giving the pro-netbook market segment what they want upfront, we can keep them happy and get down to doing more useful work - like lording over the smartphone market," said Schiller.
While the article above is just a figment of the writer's imagination, it is inspired by real announcements by Apple last week at its Worldwide Developer Conference.