Jobs: netbooks are a massive pile of ‘meh’

Never one to let an opportunity go to waste Steve Jobs used this morning’s launch of the iPad tablet to position Apple as the world’s leader in mobile computing and take a swipe at netbooks.

Citing last week’s reported 50% increase in profit and a quarterly revenue of US$15.68bn Jobs pointed out that most of that revenue comes from “iPods iPhones and Macs. What’s interesting is that iPods are mobile devices the iPhone is and most of our computers. We’re a mobile company.”

Based on the quarterly figures Jobs said that Apple was now a US$50bn company which in turn made it “the largest mobile device company in the world. Larger than Sony bigger than Samsung… and by revenue we’re even bigger than Nokia.”

The head of the world’s newly self-appointed Big Cheese in mobility then took a shot at the most successful mobile computing category of the past year dismissing netbooks as being slow having “low quality displays” and running “PC software”.

Describing netbooks as “just cheap laptops” Jobs said they were a lacklustre attempt to create a “third category” between smartphones and notebooks.

The Gospel According to Steve: why netbooks suck and why you’re a dufus for buying one.

“Is there room for something in the middle? We’ve wondered for years as well” Jobs said. “In order to create that category they have to be far better at doing some key tasks better than the laptop and better than the smartphone.”

“What kind of tasks? Browsing the web. Doing email. Enjoying and sharing pics. Watching videos. Enjoying music. Playing games. Reading ebooks.”

“If there’s going to be a third category it has to be better at these tasks – otherwise it has no reason for being.”

“Now some people thought that was a netbook — the problem is that netbooks aren’t better than anything.”

Of course Jobs believes that the iPad is better than the iPhone and the MacBook at quite a few things – not the same things for each device to be sure but enough things across both categories to simultaneously create and fill a niche as the third mobile device.

So Jobs has had his say – what do you think? Is the iPad a better netbook than a netbook?