Poll: Should Apple's Rumored Netbook be All Touch?

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leadresizeofapplecoveranks8The rumors are swirling--again--and this time they seem legit. With Digitimes reporting that Wintek will be supplying Apple with touch panels for a netbook-type product, the third quarter seems ripe for the company's entry into this red-hot space. Assuming the price isn't exorbitant (I'm guessing $799) what student wouldn't want an Apple netbook when heading back to school? Road warriors would also likely salivate over such a product. But the big question on my mind is whether Apple should go all touch or include a physical keyboard like other netbook makers.

It goes without saying that consumers will be willing to pay the so-called Apple tax when it comes to industrial design, a more intuitive OS, and especially the compelling touch experience this product will likely provide relative to other touch-enabled netbooks on the horizon like the Asus T91. I also imagine that Apple will expand the App Store to accommodate the larger capacitive panel on this rumored system, giving the Apple Touchbook (my name, not to be confused with the Touch Book) a huge head start over Windows 7 in the touch department. Even the new Safari is primed for touch goodnesss; just look at the new Top Sites wall of graphical previews for your favorite sites.

But what about everyday text entry? It will come down to product positioning. I previously criticized the iPhone's touch keyboard and have since realized that it's not only usable but miles better than any other touchscreen phone on the market. The copycats are just terrible. But even with a larger display, which would increase accuracy, and the iPhone's smart error correction software, I have doubts about a Touchbook's usability. Holding up a 7 to 10 inch device for more than a few minutes at a time would become uncomfortable, and I think people would prefer to have the screen angled like a regular netbook during notetaking.

For me, a Touchbook would have to have both a touchscreen keyboard (for quick replies, Twittering, and entering URLs) and a close-to-full-size physical keyboard for e-mailing, word processing, and crafting longer e-mails. Think I'm off base? Tell us what you think.

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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2 comments
  • corey black Says:

    I think i would love to have an "ALL TOUCH" Apple netbook ,it would be perrrfict with wireless speakers for pandora ,and a web-cam for chat&skype ,watch joost.com or hulu.com ,facebook you name it all an easy-fit in my backpack or bag (10" would be best for type) oh and e-books & news papers..I LOVE THE IDEA !!!

  • Fanfoot Says:

    For what I want this for, which is a device I would leave lying on the coffee table in the living room next to the TV, I would rather have a CHEAP ultralight touch tablet, no keyboard. It really would be a netbook--meaning I would ONLY use it for web browsing and web-based email and chat. It should be something akin to an Amazon kindle in size, e.g. very thin, and light.

    Now, I won't buy it from Apple unless its relatively cheap. I certainly wouldn't pay $599 for it. So if they want to stay up in the price stratosphere like usual, then a keyboard has to be a given. But then I have no idea why you'd both with a touchscreen...

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