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Apple mulling price cuts, developing netbook competitor?

Nilay Patel

Sure, Apple just posted a record quarter of earnings, but it's been taking a beating lately on the price issue -- not only have cheap netbooks become the hottest category in the market, Microsoft's Laptop Hunters commercials have reignited the Apple tax debate. That appears to have the wheels in motion in Cupertino: AppleInsider says the MacBook and iMac lines are soon to be bolstered with lower-cost options that should take some of the bite out of Redmond's marketing. That's certainly interesting, but here's the real noise: according to AI, the low-cost machines are just an interim solution while Apple preps a new tablet line to take on netbooks directly without making any of the design sacrifices Steve Jobs has repeatedly pooh-poohed. Wild -- but it jibes with those recent whispers about a Verizon / Apple meetup and those reports that Quanta's busy building something with a 10-inch display. So -- cheaper Macs in the short term, crazy-insane iPhone tablet / MID thing riding a unicorn sometime later. You believe any of that?

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