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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:12 AM   #1
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Apple Ultra-Portable MacBook Rumor Roundup



As rumors start to build for Macworld San Francisco 2008, the most consistent rumor appears to be one of an ultra-portable Apple notebook computer.

These rumors started back in March 2006 by MacScoop who indicated that "very reliable" sources had indicated that Apple was planning on releasing an "ultra-thin 12 inch Mac Book Pro". More confirmation came from an analyst, Benjamin Reitzes in June, 2006 with expectations that an "ultra-portable" Mac could be delivered as early as Macworld San Francisco 2007. Reitzes also suggested that these new ultra-portables would use NAND flash memory, either in combination with a traditional hard drive or using NAND flash alone.

Indeed, earlier in 2006, Digitimes had first reported that Apple and Intel were researching the use of NAND flash in portables to improve boot time and battery life. MacScoop later detailed the thin-laptop to be a $1700-$1800 12" MacBook Pro with dual core processor and still retain an optical drive.

Macworld San Francisco 2007, of course, came and went with no new ultra-portable, but in February, more claims emerged from Appleinsider confirming that Apple was working on a mini-MacBook "lighter and more compact than any other Mac portable Apple has put forth in recent years". These specs claimed that the new laptop would exclude a built-in optical drive and would indeed use NAND flash memory.

9to5mac added a report in September that an aluminum MacBook prototype had been spotted that was "considerably slimmer" than the current MacBook Pros, with a thinner bezel around the screen and "something strange about the touchpad".

Finally, as we approach 2008's Macworld, some more confident reports have emerged with Appleinsider now believing that the new ultra-portable laptop will be released at Macworld as a 13" aluminum notebook with NAND flash, no optical drive, and LED backlit screens. Even CNBC now has their own sources claiming that a 12" sub-portable MacBook Pro with Flash memory only (no hard drive) would be introduced and retail for around $1500 at Macworld.

Based on the confidence and number of reports, it seem very likely that some sort of ultra-portable laptop will be arriving from Apple in January. To sum up claims:

MacScoop: 12", Ultra-Thin, Optical Drive, Dual Core
Appleinsider: 13", aluminum, 50% lighter, Slim, NAND Flash, LED backlit, No Optical Drive
CNBC: 12", 50% Thinner, NAND Flash only (no HDD).
9to5mac: "something strange about the touchpad"

To be fair, MacScoop's reports were from a year ago, so details may have changed in the interim. It's also conceivable that Apple may have more than one product in the works that could explain some of the discrepancies.

To give some perspective on what might be capable, readers are reminded of a prototype Intel laptop (Metro) that was revealed in May of this year. The concept design was said to go into production near the end of 2007 and offered the following specs:

- 2.25 lbs
- 0.7 inches thick
- 14 hours battery life
- NAND Flash
- WiMax, Cellular, WiFi support

As a concept design with no regard to cost, all of these features may not be included in a theoretical Mac laptop, but it does provide an idea of what might be possible with current technology.


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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:13 AM   #2
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Interesting post. Hopefully we will see that at MWSF...otherwise there will be a lot of complainers on the forums!

Apple will probably release something fantastic...but we all know what has happened in the past with "Rev A" computers...
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queshy View Post
Interesting post. Hopefully we will see that at MWSF...otherwise there will be a lot of complainers on the forums!

Apple will probably release something fantastic...but we all know what has happened in the past with "Rev A" computers...

there will always be complainers on the forums no matter what. but yes this would be amazing for us and apple if they did something like this
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:19 AM   #4
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As someone who needs a large hard drive on my current laptop (Macbook); may someone kindly inform me what sort of people would need this sort of ultra portable laptop (due the space limitation of current flash memory)?
Cheers.
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:22 AM   #5
arn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eduardo1971 View Post
As someone who needs a large hard drive on my current laptop (Macbook); may someone kindly inform me what sort of people would need this sort of ultra portable laptop (due the space limitation of current flash memory)?
Cheers.
Someone with a 3G Cellular connection and Back-to-my-Mac?

Obviously people who need large drive space (video work or whatnot) would not want a NAND flash based Mac. But for those who deal with documents, it would probably be fine. Also, the possibility of everywhere internet and access to your home machine (Back-to-my-Mac) is interesting.

Note: there haven't been any real rumors that Apple would be introducing such a feature into this ultraportable, but would be nice.

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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:24 AM   #6
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very interesting indeed. i agree that we might be looking at several products in the works, because there are discrepancies. on one hand we are looking at an ultraportable mac with essentially full capabilities (optical drive, hdd + NAND, etc.) and on the other hand we are looking at something between an iphone and macbook. we will see, either way though, im excited
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:26 AM   #7
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If it's true I might have my credit card standing by......
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:27 AM   #8
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How would they do this with no optical drive? I dont like that.

What if you wanted to format and reinstall the OS? Are they going to include that on a thumb drive? What if you want to rip CD's with iTunes???

No Optical drive sounds like a dumb idea, in any computer. Even if you use it for ultra portability, and/or buisness, you would want a DVD player for downtime or whatever.
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:29 AM   #9
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MacBook smackbook...I need that damn Mac Pro

My current 12" PowerBook G4 will suffice me until 10.6 or Nehalem or whatever the hell they have down the road
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:29 AM   #10
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nice

I'll probably wait for 2nd Gen, but sounds awesome
WiMax would be pretty sweet...
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:29 AM   #11
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:29 AM   #12
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At this point, I just want Apple to put out quality products.

Sure, innovation is fun.

But the heat, bugs, fit and finish issues, and don't get me started on the displays, and other general quality problems are just getting brutal.

It is stressful to open a new Mac. You just don't know what you are going to get.

I would love to buy something like this to complement my 17", but the quality problems are just too brutal with Apple of late.
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:39 AM   #13
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I think optical media are obsolete anyway. In my current thinkpad I use an additional battery pack instead of the optical drive and it makes by far more sense. I needed to switch to the optical drive like 2 times in the last year.

So yes, I think that baby is really cool. The reason they left out the optical drive might be more political than technical. They just did not want to have any moving parts, and a optical drive would break that.

I hope that means the next leopard will be on a USB stick
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:43 AM   #14
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We need data...

I think what is missing from our recycled debate on the subject of "What good is an ultra-portable" is some data. What do people use their laptops for? How do current laptops not meet that need? How many people use a desktop at home and a portable outside of the home? Etc...

I, for one, use three different Macs: A Mini as a media station and basic filekeeping/communications system for the home, an new iMac 20" as a video and graphics production machine (and it can handle it), and my G4 Al 12" PB as my portable. While I do use my 12" AL PB for some video and graphics editing, it is not its current essential task. It is nice to have for on the fly tasks on the road, but I prefer to us the iMac. It really ends up being used as a portable communications and media device. If any new ultra-portable offered some graphics ability(i.e. ability to draw/sketch, or minor photo editing) than I would buy it. I think people that need to do higher end video or graphics work should really consider a MBP or an older PB like my 12". As for its ability to perform well as a communications/media device, what else could we hope for in an ultra-thin device?
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:50 AM   #15
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I spent 2K on my mbp this august...once the new one comes out I can SO see myself selling it, even though I don't really need a smaller one (I find the size fine for my classes) - that's what you call an apple fanboy
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:53 AM   #16
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Don't speculate on the speculation

Obviously Apple would need some way to load the OS. Thumbdrives are cheap enough to offer hope. Also an external drive is not out of the question.

As to the debate over size limitations of Flash based storage; any new machine Apple produces would probably offer both flash based and HD storage. HD are small enough nowadays. But there I go again speculating on the speculation.

Given Apple's track record lately whatever they introduce is likely to be great.

I for one wouldn't miss lugging an optical drive around in my portable. If I needed to load something from DVD or CD I could share one of the drives from the network. But I kinda like the whole "Load the OS from thumbdrive" idea.

Don't worry guys, Steve's on it. And if he's taken this long to bring it out you can bet it's going to be fantastic. After all they took 3 years to bring the iPhone to market and it's a game changer.

Al
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 01:54 AM   #17
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This Roundup is missing that weird low profile optical drive.

Apple got a patent recently on a super low-profile optical drive that would be used by sleeping the laptop, turning it over, and opening up a door on the bottom.

All the rumors say "no optical" but this wouldn't necessarily look like an optical drive. Has there been any further mention of the bottom-loading optical drive?
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:00 AM   #18
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I used my macbook pro's optical drive <5 times...once to install leopard, once office, once to reinstall tiger, etc..very rarely. I wouldn't mind the omission of the optical drive. As long as they can put in a core 2 duo, give it 2 gb ram standard, 64 gb SSD, I'd be happy. 32 is a little smallish...
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:05 AM   #19
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Small 12 inch PC laptops with discreet graphics, optical drives, webcam, dual core etc have been on the market for a significant time.

All Apple are doing here is playing catch up. I"m sure if it comes it'll be great - but realistically, the response should be 'about time'.

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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:24 AM   #20
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I use my optical drive all the time. . . . to play DVD's. . .

My question is how fast are these going to be? Will having flash memory really help that much for boot up time, etc? So far we have that they'll be slimmer than normal laptops, and maybe not optical drive, and probably have a better battery life. Are there going to be other differences?
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:26 AM   #21
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Just speculation but...

What if they were to use NAND flash (16 gb or 32 gb or whatever) and use a 1.8" drive like the 80 GB they use in the iPod Classic?

wouldn't that be a good idea to do until larger flash drives are available?
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:33 AM   #22
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This is one rumor roundup thread I'll be keeping an eye on.

From the general summary, if this laptop does materialize come MacWorld, it's going to be an instant hit for Apple.

What I fear is, because of its size, hopefully they've got the heat under control, and also I'm sure they learned a lot about structural integrity from the iPhone ( that thing is built like a rock )

Come on MacWorld!

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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:37 AM   #23
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Such low expectations...

Quote:
Originally Posted by djellison View Post
Small 12 inch PC laptops with discreet graphics, optical drives, webcam, dual core etc have been on the market for a significant time.

All Apple are doing here is playing catch up. I"m sure if it comes it'll be great - but realistically, the response should be 'about time'.

Doug
...for a mac fan. Well, you did say "...it'll be great." If, and when, Apple delves into this market it will leave the other companies wondering how they missed all of the innovations Apple brings into the category. You should know better than that. Apple doesn't play catch up, they play "do it right or don't play at all." Sometimes, that means waiting until the time (and technology) are right.
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:39 AM   #24
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.the innovations Apple brings into the category.
Such as? Magsafe is nice (but I'm nervous about how long until the cable starts to fall apart - it already bulges a little). Maybe the innovation is not including a dvd writer in a laptop that is equipped with DVD making software.

I love my macbook - but I'm failing to see anything innovative about it. The magnetic latch is kind of good, but the MBP doesn't include that. They keyboard is odd and funky, but not an innovation.

Maybe they'll pull something spectacular out of the bag, but apart from the iPhone ( which has a list of flaws longer than any other leading music phone ) there is nothing they've done that is truely inovative since the Intel switch - it's all been comparatively underwhelming. Good stuff, but not the very best that it could possibly be given the premium price. There are so many things Apple could and should do with their product line to make them better - and they just don't do it - it's frustrating beyond words. Catchup is all they've been doing since the switch imho.

Doug

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Old Dec 10, 2007, 02:43 AM   #25
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I really looking forward to this release.

Looking at the side of my MBP I wonder what ports this thing might have. My network port and dvi are pretty big. Maybe they will go hdmi.
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