October 29, 2008, 6:01 PM — So I can't get out of my mind the idea planted by Jon Gruber of some kind of Macbook/iPhone hybrid with a full-sized keyboard, fitting into the netbook niche and running the iPhone/iPod touch version of OS X. What it would really need to succeed, I suppose, would be stripped down versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It would also need a price point that would fit between the Macbook (currently $999 at rock bottom) and the iPhone (currently topping out at $300 -- the price of some Linux-based netbooks. The question is, how much would people be willing to pay for such an intermediary gadget that would be for almost everyone a second computer?
These thoughts came to mind today as I read this Wall Street Journal article on smartphones slowly replacing laptops for many travelers. They make the point that much of what road warriors really want from their computers on trips -- mail, light Web browsing, reading documents or watching movies on the plane -- is now available on smartphones (the iPhone getting the lion's share of attention in the article, it goes without saying). It's an article that, incidentally, never mentions the word "netbook."
This hit home for me because I'm about to take my first trip since I got my iPhone -- and I'm seriously considering traveling without my Macbook, despite the anxiety that instills in me. The iPhone's mail interface and implementation of NetNewsWire seem a little underpowered for the amount of spam I get and the number of feeds I subscribe to, respectively, but, like one of the people quoted in the WSJ article, there are few things I dislike more than having to take my laptop bag apart in line at airport security. Assuming I can polish off my work before I leave on my trip, I might try cutting the cord and seeing if I can survive!