Have we entered the era of the netbook? For those not paying attention, a netbook is an ultraportable notebook. It's also an ultra-affordable notebook most often priced below $500 (See PC World's Top 5 Netbooks). In recent months the form factor has become so popular sales figures are rivaling Apple's iPhone, according to sales data.
According to the latest smartphone sales numbers from Gartner and DisplaySearch's netbook sales numbers, 4.7 million iPhones were shipped in Q3 2008 while a whopping 5.6 million netbooks were sold in the same period.
Actually, debates sparkled a couple of months ago about Apple releasing a small notebook computer, in the form of a netbook. But Steve Jobs seemed to think that iPhones can do the same things as netbooks, even going on saying that "not a lot of them (netbooks) getting sold."
In comparison, netbooks don't totally intersect with iPhone's market. Many people who don't need a fully fledged laptop are going for netbooks to serve their websurfing needs. On the other hand, many buy iPhones for the multimedia capabilities combined with a phone and for mobile e-mail and browsing the web -- things that netbooks do quite well also.
However, with netbooks selling well (Q4 figures are expected to be strong also), we might just see an Apple netbook sometime next year. Apple doesn't usually rush products to the market, and if we will see Apple's netbook, it definitely won't be cheap.