Analyst Talks Apple Netbook, iPhones; Has Actual Source for Once


Normally, industry analysts are a talkative, confident bunch, but generally speaking, they are like old fisherman, spinning yarns and telling tales that have become exaggerated through constant retelling.

Recent comments by leading Apple (s aapl) analyst Toni Sacconaghi, however, actually came out of discussions with a very good source: Tim Cook, Apple COO and acting head honcho at Cupertino during Steve Jobs’ medical leave. Not only that, but CFO Pete Oppenheimer and head of marketing Phil Schiller were there, too.

Which is why this time, when he says Apple is likely still working toward producing a netbook, I didn’t just roll my eyes and go about turning my Eee PC into a hackintosh. Not that Sacconaghi provided any firm details, just the tantalizing info that Cook “hinted” that Apple was still turning over “ideas” surrounding a netbook. Not a lot to build hope on, but better than the usual “predictions” based on “market trends.”

Other developments Sacconaghi foresees coming out of his all-star confab include pricing changes to the iPhone line-up, and new devices in the smartphone category. This, again, is speculation based on Cook’s own words, which are quoted by Sacconaghi as follows:

Tim Cook stated that since Steve Jobs announced his leave of absence, he was spending more time on new products, how Apple could take the iPhone into new markets and examining iPhone’s business model.

Cook has been hinting at new products for quite some time, so we’re bound to see some before Jobs’ scheduled return in June. Sacconaghi predicts those will be new iMacs, which might come as early as next month. It’s true the iMac is overdue for an update, and that predictions of possible new quad-core models have been surfacing lately. That said, this appears to be more Sacconaghi’s analysis and less anything said by Cook, so don’t go throwing your old iMac out the window just yet.

The unusual move on the part of Apple’s top brass to meet with an industry analyst (albeit the top rated analyst, according to Institutional Investor Magazine) is perhaps more newsworthy than the predictions themselves. They suggest a Cupertino that is willing to openly court some media speculation, even if they are still playing their hand very close to the chest. Maybe rumors of a growth slowdown are true, in which case Apple might be looking to fuel the speculative fire that represents so much of their publicity machine.

The good news for us as Apple users is that if Apple is inviting this kind of attention, they’re probably planning to deliver something soon that will benefit from it. In other words, they’re turning down the house lights and getting ready to raise the curtains. Let’s hope the show starts soon.