Mac sales slump – time for an Apple netbook?

Thanks to countless over analytical articles and mildly terrifying news reports, we know that we're in a financial mess that isn't exactly going away

And while Apple may have touted impressive profits back in January, it seems even the fabled company can't escape the downturn either. According to Apple Insider, Mac sales dropped by a staggering 20 per cent, with analysts Piper Jaffray conducting a survey of 25 Apple stores across the US.  This suggest that these stores were selling 36 Macs a day at the end of last year, compared to 28 now.

While this may seem rather specious, it does fit in with other figures released today showing Apple's share of the market has dropped to 7.4 per cent. Meanwhile Acer has grown by a massive 49.4 per cent, clearly thanks to its Aspire One netbook.

So, the question is, will Apple finally relent and introduce their own netbook? Steve Jobs has said before they have "some interesting ideas in that direction", and there's plenty of talk about the iPod Touch Pro too. But whether it could stomach selling a machine that offers OSX on the cheap is another matter. Perhaps, though, the world's most hyped up gadget purveyor may have no choice.