Ultra-portable Apple notebook to splash down at Macworld Expo

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  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    I am #1 on the I want an ultra-portable band wagon but a 13" screen does not meet my definition. I want a 10" or 11" screen 16:9 ratio.



    Interestingly, a 13" diagonal makes it about 11.5" wide, which is just enough for a full size keyboard.
  • scharf_10scharf_10 Posts: 10member
    I'm very interested to see if this comes to life or not, but if it's "strikingly slimmer" then I wonder if it will have the same appeal and excitement that the Mac Mini brought compared to the size of regular computers.



    I don't think anybody expected the new Mac to be that small, as did anyone expect the 1G iPod Nano to be that small. Just a thought.
  • divergentdivergent Posts: 1member
    Apple's already shipped half of this - the new bluetooth keyboard. It's tiny, and smaller than it really needs to be just for desktop use - the only reason I can think of that they got rid of the number keypad for the bluetooth version is to make it as portable as possible. However, there's currently little reason to need an extremely portable, wireless keyboard.



    So take a macbook and eliminate the keyboard, trackpad, and optical drive. Stuff the rest of the internals behind an LCD touchscreen. Use it alone as a multitouch tablet, or with the bluetooth keyboard and mouse - either way it'll still be lighter and more portable than the current macbooks as well as more ergonomic because the keyboard and display aren't linked. The ultra-portable and tablet are basically the same device.
  • spacevatorspacevator Posts: 30member
    What are we all talking about here? Ever since last January's MacWorld 07, we are in a new world. Haven't we noticed... the world just fell in love with touch, better yet, muti-touch...pinching and squeezing our little personal displays to do our will.



    The iPhone is Time's invention of the year! Apple is sitting on a virtual licsence-to-print-money for only a short time. So, it's natural to expect a bigger iPhone-type device for a follow up act this January 08! And Jobs can do it! And I think it's only natural to expect an Apple designed UMPC-like gadget to follow. Once you've played with the iPhone, you're seduced by the touch interface. And who are we kidding? We all know the vision for these touch things started for the love of Star Trek touch pads. They are so cool. So futuristic. The signs are there too: Leopard's you-just-want-to-reach-out-and-touch-me CoverFlow Finder add-on...HELLO...and Spacey, Trekky, OS references like Time-machines and Sci-Fi OSX graphics all point to a new touch device with way more stuff for touch to do.



    An ultraportable 13-incher may be nice and all but it is so old-school! All I can say is that something multi-touch had better happen at this MacWorld 08 or APPL will feel the sorrow.
  • aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,553member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post


    Thickness, weight, and battery life are three other factors that affect portability. 13 inches would be the mininum screen size that's I'd want. That's for sure.



    I agree that there are other things to consider but ultra portable means it can move. I can move a MacBook, but I want ultra portability. There needs to be a physical footprint reduction. I am not asking for a 13.3" diagonal, but a 10" so I can carry it like a paper back book. I want 10 hours of battery, will accept core duo 1 GHz as minimum speed, and have 60 GB (preferably 80gb since the iDisk takes up 30 GB right off the bat). Give me a usb, express and firewire port and I am happy. Just offer a nice external optical drive for those times when you have to have one at home for installations. I don't need an optical drive on the go.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Interestingly, a 13" diagonal makes it about 11.5" wide, which is just enough for a full size keyboard.



    The MacBook is to big foot print and screen print (if you will). I want one the size of the nice Sony I see around in airports so much.
  • bsenkabsenka Posts: 783member
    The is the stupidest product I've ever heard of.



    Leave out the optical drive just to make it thinner? WhoGAS if a notebook is any thinner than they already are? Macbooks are already very thin and light. When people talk about "ultra-portable" they mean overall smaller dimensions, a smaller footprint, and a smaller screen. That might justify the lack of an optical drive, but "thinner"? Come on.
  • gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    I agree that there are other things to consider but ultra portable means it can move. I can move a MacBook, but I want ultra portability. There needs to be a physical footprint reduction. I am not asking for a 13.3" diagonal, but a 10" so I can carry it like a paper back book. I want 10 hours of battery, will accept core duo 1 GHz as minimum speed, and have 60 GB (preferably 80gb since the iDisk takes up 30 GB right off the bat). Give me a usb, express and firewire port and I am happy. Just offer a nice external optical drive for those times when you have to have one at home for installations. I don't need an optical drive on the go.



    Yep, that's an actual ultraportable. I find those specs very agreeable otherwise, but I think a good keyboard is a requirement and you can't fit a good conventional keyboard in a 10" laptop frame.



    I played around with a calculator considering a 12" PB as a starting point, and I'm thinking 11.5" 4:3 and 10.9" 16:10 are reasonable minimum sizes for a screen. Below that you are compromising the keyboard.
  • kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    An 11" widescreen sounds good to me. If they could bring that in under $1500, I'd be so in. But even at $2k, I'd probably buy, although I'd grumble.
  • appleeinsteinappleeinstein Posts: 94member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by divergent View Post


    So take a macbook and eliminate the keyboard, trackpad, and optical drive. Stuff the rest of the internals behind an LCD touchscreen. Use it alone as a multitouch tablet, or with the bluetooth keyboard and mouse - either way it'll still be lighter and more portable than the current macbooks as well as more ergonomic because the keyboard and display aren't linked. The ultra-portable and tablet are basically the same device.



    The problem with that is how do you expect this ultraporta-tablet to stand up? Seriously, you can't use a Bluetooth keyboard with a 13-inch tablet unless you have a stand - which really takes the "port" out of portable. Besides, they call'em "notebooks" for a reason; they're supposed to fold.



    I'm sure that the Bluetooth keyboard can still work if you want a nice keyboard. But somehow I think that Steve is coming out with something a little more revolutionary. Their iPod and AppleTV lines are at their height right now, so the natural direction for them to go is to the MB area.



    Steve REALLY acts like multi-touch is the most amazing thing ever - and I can't deny that it's really nice (I'm typing this from my iPhone at about 30 wpm) - so if he doesn't put it in this new ultraportable I would be VERY surprised. Multi-touch goes farther than the touchpad, though. Apple has taken out a few key patents lately: independent contact and pressure sensitivity, pixel-embedded cameras, and tactileable screens (Braille-like dots that push up through the screen, articulating keyboard-shaped frames under the screen that are felt and not seen, etc).



    All this together is the capability of shipping an ultrathin dual screen notebook with complete multitouch and the ability to tell the difference between touching the virtual keys and pushing on them. If I stretched out my iPhone keyboard, I still wouldn't be able to type like I can on a real keyboard because I wouldn't be able to touch the screen without registering a keystroke. But with a screen that is pressure-sensitive as well as contact-sensitive, I could type just as fast as usual as long as the screen would click so I feel the vibrations through my fingers and I know that the keystroke registered. An articulating frame that allowed me to feel where one key starts and another stops (or anything like that) would be nice too.



    Naturally, people would be suspicious of the whole concept, but after you got used to it you would never want to use a traditional keyboard again. This would never work on a pure tablet (imagine trying to touch-type on the same screen that you are working on) but it would be perfect for DS. The nice thing is that it would be 100% configurable via software ... the joys of having a personalized keyboard for each application that needs it. Being able to drag and drop and rearrange keys. Using a stylus and drawing directly on the screen in Photoshop CS3 with custom modifier keys on the bottom.



    There is one other really revolutionary thing that this would allow, though. Since there will be a lot of space without the optical drive and HDD, we won't need the giant borders around the screen like the current Macbooks. If the central borders were eliminated altogether, then with a little engineering the whole notebook could fold out flat and snap together, forming a 17-inch tablet. Perfect for watching movies, Photoshopping, taking notes in class, or visiting patients. Tired of carrying around the 17" form factor? Snap it open, fold it back up to 13" (remember, it will be likely less than 20mm thick at this point) and slide it into your briefcase ... or even into the back sleeve of your three ring binder.



    The tablet market hasn't taken yet for a simple reason. Either they are underpowered and too small to have any decent keyboard or text entry systems (making them essentially overpriced bulky PDAs), or they are desktop replacement notebooks with convertible screens that are thus too thick and heavy to be at all "portable". With multitouch and pressure-sensitive screens, Apple finally has the opportunity to break through this market and provide a truly excellent portable computing solution.



    Now you may drool until January.
  • irelandireland Posts: 15,707member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by appleeinstein


    Detachable keyboard not an option - but what about multi-touch?



    It's a notebook, get over it.
  • camimaccamimac Posts: 54member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by desarc View Post


    think different. Apple NEVER releases anything that justs meets the status quo of the market. i'm sure they've waited until it could be done the way they want to do it.



    Yeah, just like a that crap multi-button mouse they call mighty!
  • melgrossmelgross Posts: 28,737member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Hurray for Japan who can't seem to want a laptop unless it's a sub-laptop.



    This should help that area.



    For myself? BFD.



    The Japanese don't want computers.
  • camimaccamimac Posts: 54member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mark Dodel View Post


    IBM is really a shell of its former self. They have jettisoned a lot of their software products and unloaded their pc lines. That leaves them their server and mainframe market. Still sizable, but no one buys an all-IBM solution any more. They are mostly a service/support company now with lots of competition from others including m$ft.



    Mark



    Doh! Get your facts right, IBM supplies Microsoft and Sony with processors for their games consoles. But, you know, that's just peanuts I suppose...
  • aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,553member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gon View Post


    Yep, that's an actual ultraportable. I find those specs very agreeable otherwise, but I think a good keyboard is a requirement and you can't fit a good conventional keyboard in a 10" laptop frame.



    I played around with a calculator considering a 12" PB as a starting point, and I'm thinking 11.5" 4:3 and 10.9" 16:10 are reasonable minimum sizes for a screen. Below that you are compromising the keyboard.



    I could compromise on screen size a tad to get keyboard size correct.
  • fishyesquefishyesque Posts: 725member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    The Japanese don't want computers.



    +1



    Thanks for that article you showed me, by the way.
  • bentonbenton Posts: 161member
    Can anyone knowledgeably address the eReader possibility I raised in comment 66?
  • irelandireland Posts: 15,707member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benton View Post


    Can anyone knowledgeably address the eReader possibility I raised in comment 66?



    Yes, but an eBook reader would likely need to be a Mac tablet rather than a notebook. And as far as this story goes, this wont be an ultra-portable (in the common sense of the term), and it wont be a tablet. I am convinced that a Mac touch is coming later next year, you may well get your eBook reader then.
  • melgrossmelgross Posts: 28,737member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benton View Post


    Can anyone knowledgeably address the eReader possibility I raised in comment 66?



    I thought I already did.
  • melgrossmelgross Posts: 28,737member, moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fishyesque View Post


    +1



    Thanks for that article you showed me, by the way.



    Welcome.
  • bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,290member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pomo View Post


    I totally agree, one thing that I think would put this sub-notebook over the competition would be multitouch technology. Apple jas the technology and it would be silly if they didn't implement it, specially for the japanese market.



    This (if such a machine is for real) is a computer, not an iDevice, and re-engineering Leopard enough to include all those features this soon ain't gonna happen IMHO, though it's possible to see a token move in that direction. In fact both the iPhone/iTouch and Leopard systems are brand new. Overlapping them will take a bit of coding (and serious thinking about how they will do so -- since this is a device with a keyboard, existing trackpad, etc. and won't be held in your hands -- so there's also a lot of human factors and UI engineering involved before Apple decides on the ultimate future of its interface designs.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by umijin View Post


    I welcome an ultraportable - I need it badly and so does the Japanese market. But, dammit, you don't need any new technology to produce an ultraportable. Windoze laptop makers have been doing this for years and coming in well under 2kg, often under 1.5 kg even with an optical drive.



    So, it's really odd that Apple had to wait so long, when it could have used existing technology. The flash drives and all that other stuff to lighten the portable is nice - but after years of waiting to replace a 12" Powerbook - it just makes no sense.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by desarc View Post


    think different. Apple NEVER releases anything that justs meets the status quo of the market. i'm sure they've waited until it could be done the way they want to do it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post


    At 13", this just sounds like a MacBook with a few less features/weight. Though I'm sure more than a few would buy one, there's not much to get excited about.



    There WILL some whiz-bang aspects, if mostly in design, at least enough for the press and public to buy into the RDF as if Apple had just invented the ultra-portable. And it will be the ONLY two (or slightly heavier) pound portable Mac you can buy....



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pomo View Post


    What if apple waited until now to release an ultra-portable, because they wanted to implement multitouch technology to reduce the size. think about it, the trackpad and the keyboard take space up...so why not just get rid of them. And making it 13 inches would be great if the multitouch technology is added because the screen could then emulate a full size qwerty multitouch keypad.



    Just some fruit for thought.



    See above. 99% likely premature, except for maybe a feature or two.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camimac View Post


    I for one am not at all excited that this might actually be true, because if it is then it means that we won't have any reasonably-priced tower any time soon.



    I can't believe Apple is ready to address a niche market instead of concentrating on filling the gap between the iMac and the Mac Pro. I currently have an iMac Core 2 Duo (white), and I'm not at all happy with the general reliability of the machine, nor the quality of its monitor. If Apple continues to insist in not providing us one of the most popular computer form factors, I will look elsewhere next time I need to renew my hardware and then I'll go and install Mac OS X on it.



    Minituratization is the future of digital technology and Apple has the scent. A Leopard ultraportable "done right" (many of them suck, e.g., in performance, readability, typability, etc) could be a reasonably big hit -- partly for the coolness factor, e.g., it will be the natural choice for many CEOs and would-be CEO types who want to make an impression and not be burdened down with the weight and bulk nerds are willing to shoulder. Overburdened business travelers and stylish women (some of whom are the same people) and people like me with bad backs (or bad anythings) will give serious consideration. Could reinvigorate Japanese sales (or not), it'll draw company and jealous glances in coffee shops and college libraries (and be easy to carry around campus).



    But on the other hand, this could INCREASE the likelihood of a mid-range Mac. As another poster said, or the article (I forget), this promises to be a Mac World focused on new hardware products, since there won't be a new Mac OS or a new multi-touch operating system (though maybe a 1.5 or 2.0 will be announced) or a new iLife or a new iWorks or much new pro software since they've all be recently re-revved -- and one new line of computers isn't enough for a big MW SF. So this is the most likely product. A revamped MBP and/or MP are also contenders, but those will be likely largely refinements. A simultaneous release of an ultraportable and some kind of iPhone on steroids (and/or iPhone lite) are possible, but maybe not until June or later. A 16 gig iPhone and 32 gig iTouch would be nice, but not huge news. So that leaves the door open a crack to also add a new mid-range product appealing to both long-clamoring MacHeads and the small to medium business (SMB) market. And with an ultraporable, neatly fill all of Apple's missing niches.



    One more thing: as pointed out elsewhere, Apple's Cinema displays are getting positively ancient. New ACD's AND a new mid-range Mac would make a tasty combo. Unless Apple's getting ready to cede the free-standing monitor business, which would be another reason the current models are so long in the tooth. It is kind of a commodity market. But equally, a 36" super display wouldn't surprise me either.



    Ultra portables, mid-rangers and revamped MBP's and MP's would make my (and Apple's) MacWorld from what I think is likely. (Other possibilities: big changes in the iTunes store, Google-related team-ups, an ADVR-TV, etc.)



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mark Dodel View Post


    IBM is really a shell of its former self. They have jettisoned a lot of their software products and unloaded their pc lines. That leaves them their server and mainframe market. Still sizable, but no one buys an all-IBM solution any more. They are mostly a service/support company now with lots of competition from others including m$ft.



    Mark



    I beg to differ. IBM has bigger sales than ever before. They have a history of jettisoning lines, programs, and whole divisions (printers, hard drives, PC's and more) going back decades -- sometimes in response to crisis and failure, but also sometimes proactively -- while emerging eventually bigger and stronger. They're all about the plumbing of giant enterprises (and running part or all of their IT operations) that make for MEGO reading, but big business for the biggest businesses. And I believe they still come up with more patents every year than any other digital company, some in very basic and advanced research, and they're at the forefront of supercomputing. You might also want to Google the Eclipse foundation to get a handle on IBM's big play in Open Source.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsenka View Post


    The is the stupidest product I've ever heard of.



    Leave out the optical drive just to make it thinner? WhoGAS if a notebook is any thinner than they already are? Macbooks are already very thin and light. When people talk about "ultra-portable" they mean overall smaller dimensions, a smaller footprint, and a smaller screen. That might justify the lack of an optical drive, but "thinner"? Come on.



    Some of us continue to see the world only through our own lenses. Halving the weight of my bag of computing rocks would be huge for me, but as above I also try to see it in the light of the total marketplace, not just my own needs and wants.



    But one thing to think about is an update on the dock concept. A one step hook up to optical drive, larger HD (or HD's), extra ports, facility for larger monitor, free standing keyboard and mouse (especially if the device itself is improbably multi-touch and lacks a track pad), with some other Apple touches. Still, I wouldn't hold my breath.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benton View Post


    Can anyone knowledgeably address the eReader possibility I raised in comment 66?



    I don't know how knowledgeable I am, but you're talking about totally different screen technologies. The ebook screen depends on its not consuming power once a page of data has been rendered. It's also supersharp and only (for now at least in general production) black and white. LED displays need constant power, even when nothing on the screen is changing. They also, as you can observe, don't deliver text that's as readable over hours as paper whereas eBooks almost pull this off. Also, the form factor is wrong for the way most books are formatted, unless the iPhone accelerometer tech could be added. And I also think a 2.5 pound "book" would get heavy on the lap compared to the weight of an eBook reader.
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