During their quarterly earnings call, Apple COO (and acting head honcho) Tim Cook had this response to the netbook question that recurs on every one of these calls:
"When I'm looking at what's sold in the netbook market, I see cramped keyboards, junky hardware, very small screen, bad software. Not a consumer experience that we would put the Mac brand on. As it exists today, we're not interested in nor would it be something customers would be interested in the long term. We are looking at the space. For those who want a small computer that does browsing/email, they might want an iPhone or iPod Touch. If we find a way we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we'll do that. And we have some interesting ideas in this space."
In some ways, it's the same answer Tim and Steve give every time someone asks.