Apple: 'We can't build a great $399 computer'

Apple has posted its earnings for the third quarter of the 2009 fiscal year, which amounted (once again) to the best non-holiday quarter in Apple's history. The company's revenue grew 12% over last year to a total of $8.34 billion, with a net profit of $1.23 billion.

During the quarter, Apple saw record-setting adoption of Macs and iPhones by consumers, thanks in large part to the price cuts on the lower end of both lines. Wall Street anticipated a 3% contraction in Mac sales, but the company actually grew by 4% over last year, with a surge in sales taking place after the WWDC price cut announcements. During the quarter, 2.6 million Macs were sold, nearly meeting the company's all-time quarterly sales record.

While Apple did not speak specifically about which Mac was the best-selling, COO Tim Cook said the new $1,199 13-inch Macbook Pro attracted a lot of customers who would otherwise have bought the $999 13" Macbook. Indeed, Mac's "most affordable line ever" is coming extremely close to becoming its best selling line ever.

Just because cheaper looks to be selling better, that absolutely does not mean they will be joining the netbook "race to the bottom" any time soon, as rumors had suggested. Cook said, "Our goal is not to build the most computers, it's to build the best. Whatever price allows us to build the best computer, we'll build it there...we can't build a great $399 computer."

When asked about the possibility of an Apple netbook, Cook said, "I never want to discount anything in the future....[but] they're not robust, they lack horsepower, they have small displays, and cramped keyboards. Many people won't be happy with that. We're only going to plan things that are very innovative that we can be very proud of."

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