Will we see an iCloud-based Macbook Air?

satchmo

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I know Apple doesn't normally play in the low-end market space. But with the plethora of cheap but improving Chromebooks, will we ever see a cheaper alternative to the Macbook Air.

How about a lower-specced Macbook Air with 16 or 32 gb SSD instead of 128.
It would be able to run iCloud apps such as Pages, Keynote, etc...

No, Apple doesn't have the breadth of cloud-based apps that Google has, but it would still be able to run true MacOS apps, albeit limited given the size of the SSD (which Apple would naturally make proprietary).

Taking a page out of Google's playbook, so to speak. Just throwing this out there. :)
 

Weaselboy

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I would be very surprised if Apple came out with a low end machine like that since there is not much money to be made in that market.
 

satchmo

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Yeah, I'd be surprised too.
But let's say for argument sake, they price it at $500. The better Chromebooks are $250-$300.

It would still give them the margins, and be somewhat competitive in the cloud-based laptop space. Priced higher naturally because of the Apple premium, build quality (aluminum vs plastic), true OS (MacOS Mavericks + iCloud vs. cloud only), and Apple ecosystem.

I kind of see it as the laptop version of the Mac mini. Your entry point to the Apple garden.
 

Weaselboy

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But let's say for argument sake, they price it at $500. The better Chromebooks are $250-$300.
I completely agree with you that would be a popular device, but I suspect Apple is afraid it would eat into sales of their other, $1,000 MacBooks.
 

Mainsail

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I think there is a possible opportunity for Apple with a cloud based operating system. One application could be a hybrid type device. A fully functioning touch based ipad when undocked that converts to a laptop "Cloudbook" when docked to a keyboard/trackpad. This would eliminate one of the productivity drawbacks of a tablet, that touch based OS generally does not work very well with input intensive and precise pointing applications.

Apple could sell a $300 accessory that is keyboard, trackpad, and 16gb ssd with cloud operating system installed. No need to include a battery or display, since the iPad would provide these. I am not sure if an iPad ARM chip could run both IOS and a Cloud Operating system. It would not need to do so simultaneously..... just toogle between OS when docked and undocked.

There is probably something wrong with this scenario, but it would be appealing to me.
 

Mainsail

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Alternatively, Apple could just modify iOS to allow split screen multitasking and trackpad integration.

Third party vendors would probably sell keyboard plus trackpad accessories for about $100.