iPhone - netbook or notbook?

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The Independent Tech

People still speculate that Apple will release a netbook. I think this is more from hope rather than evidence-supported speculation - currently, anyway, Apple's position is that the iPhone and iPod touch are both functionally netbooks already.

It has been reported with some glee in the US that netbook sales have now overtaken iPhone sales. But if you do consider the iPhone a netbook, it shows you just how powerful a role it plays. Consider how many manufacturers have offerings in the subnotebook category. These typically cost between $400 and $1000, which puts them into the same price range as an iPod touch (currently NZ $389/$498/$659) and even iPhone, depending on the mobile plan. Except you really can put an iPhone or a touch in your pocket. Try that with a netbook.

Ars Technica says that data from Gartner and Display Search show 5.6 million netbooks were shipped during the third quarter of 2008, compared to 4.7 million iPhones. The growth of this tech market sector once again leads people to ask "Will Apple make a netbook?"

Of course, if we take Apple's line that the iPhone as a netbook already, that adds up to 10.3 million netbook sales in the US in that quarter including iPhones, meaning Apple accounted for 45.64 per cent of those 'netbook' sales ... that's a lot better than Apple's share of the computer market and of the smart-phone market. If Apple also released a dedicated netbook-style device in January, even selling a one-and-a-half million would give Apple over half of the netbook market in the US, combined with iPhone (not to mention iPod touch) sales ...

What would it be called, though? MacNetBook? NetMac? Er, AppBook? Well, hey, it could conceivably run the same OS as the iPhone, use flash memory for lightness and battery conservation, have 3G networking built in (as many other-brand netbooks do) and give you access to the App Store. So why not? It would certainly boost app development into new categories.

While we're talking about the iPhone OS, some great tips have been published recently. iPhoneJD has a page of them which I will summarise for those who can't be bothered link-jumping. Have fun with these, they're pretty cool.

• When you are typing and want to quickly add a comma, press and hold the 123 button and then without lifting your finger, slide it over to the comma then release. You can also use this trick to get a full-stop or any other symbol.

• In Safari, you can quickly scroll back up to the top of the screen by tapping on the status bar, where the time is displayed at the top of the screen.

• When typing an address in Safari, you don't need to type 'www' or '.com'. The iPhone adds them for you.

• When using the keyboard, you can hold some keys down for a few seconds to see more options.

• If something's wrong with your iPhone, you can reset it. Hold down both the Home button and the sleep/wake button (the one at the top) for about 10 seconds. (You can also force quit just a specific application that you are using by holding down the Home button for about six seconds.)

• The fastest way to delete a single email when you are looking at a list of emails is to swipe your finger from left to right across the text, like crossing out an item from a list, causing the red Delete button to appear. Tap that.

• Tap the bottom corner just to the left or the right of the row of dots that indicate which screen you are on to get back to the Home screen (in the latest OS, pressing the Home button takes you back to page one, also).

• Type 'cant' and the iPhone will suggest 'can't', but if you type 'well' the iPhone normally won't suggest 'we'll' (because 'well' is also possible word). But if you type the last letter an extra time, the iPhone will then suggest the contraction for you. In other words, type 'welll' and the iPhone will suggest 'we'll'. Type 'weree' and the iPhone will suggest 'we're'.

• A quick way to get your iPhone to lock in on a 3G signal is to turn on aeroplane mode for a second, then turn it off.

• If you forget and need to stop your iPhone from ringing in a hurry, like in the movies or something, press the sleep/hold button at the top once. (Press it twice to both silence the ringer and send the call to voicemail.)

This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald - http://blogs.nzherald.co.nz/