Wal-Mart! Netbooks! Sorting through the insane Apple rumors

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The latest craziness to fly through the Apple rumorsphere this past weekend was that Wal-Mart would soon start selling a 4GB iPhone for $99, which price point would be achieved by the gargantuan retailer waving its Magic Wand of Cheapness over the things. Your humble blogger, laid up with a cold and delirious from the Sudafed, nevertheless treated these rumors with contempt (in his head, from his sickbed). They smacked of analyst-logic -- "if Apple sells X phones $200, surely they'll sell 2X for $100" -- and ignored the fact that, as Jon Gruber points out, removing 4GB of Flash memory does not in fact lop $100 off the manufacturing cost. No doubt iPhones will be on sale at Wal-Mart eventually (isn't everything) but with a token price reduction of $2 or so.

And yet ... there's this other rumor that I keep promoting, in my mind, wherein Apple will enter the netbook market with some kind of crazy iPhone OS-based thingy. A big problem here is that people would probably expect some kind of basic word processing and spreadsheet ability out of the thing, but that could be met with stripped down iWork apps (though we'd really need cut-and-paste if those came to be). The biggest problem, of course, is that this is a variation on the Apple Tablet that we've been promised for a million years that will never ever get here. And yet ... MacRumors has an interesting piece today about the future of the ARM chips that drive the iPhone and iPod Touch and their dramatically lower power requirements, which may well appeal to Apple looking to differentiate its iNetBookThing.

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