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3 lbs sub-PowerBook - Page 2

post #41 of 63
That's even worse, ergnomically speaking -- One-handed keyboards are too slow/awkward. One of the problems with the laptop/notepad dichotomy is that typing is clearly better, but it isn't always possible --ie when standing & holding your computer in which case a notepad is much better. But if the notepad gets too big, then it's nearly as much of a pain as trying to juggle a notebook. I don't see a useful tablet any bigger than a letter-size sheet folded in half. It wouldn't be pocketable (except in a lab coat where it might be most useful), but it'd be small enough to hold with one hand and write with the other. If it were made light, thin (a half inch) and durable, you'd get a useful information-gathering notepad device. Still big enough to view useful pages, but small enough to work like an old fashioned notebook.

You'd still need a PDA for go everywhere functionality. However, your mobile phone may soon absorb most of that functionality. Sony may be the closest to the perfect lightweight notebook/notepad hybrid with it's picturebook. The formfactor is pretty damn close, but the technology is wrong. It's too fragile, and battery life is too short for it to fulfill our proposed function.

What to do? Take the picturebook format. Juggle the keyboard layout a tad -- so that the letters remain full-size but the numbers, tabs, F-keys, etc... are slightly reduced in size. Let the keyboard swing right around (the same as the open pages of a paperback held in one hand) when you want to use it as a notepad. Some circuitry would recognize this mode and auto-disable the keyboard. Use a smaller 1.8" HDD (the 5GB is OK), with a bigger cache (so it spins less). Find a lower power chip (perhaps a new Sahara down-clocked a tad). Same firewire charging scheme as iPod. A USB port. A decent amount of RAM, and one of those new litium polymer batteries. No optical drive. Lightweight polycarbonate plastic, completely sealed against dust and moisture. All no bigger (or thicker) than a 5.5"x8.5" spiral-bound notebook.

It's lighter than 3 pounds, has to be under two. Uses iBook level procs/vid/IO, but with a smaller (less power hungry) HDD and display. The rest is all battery, the li-Poly can be molded so as to fill out all the empty space with energy cells. It's not fast, but it should run OSX, office and internet well. It's rugged b/c of a minimum of moving/openable parts. It has very long battery life (from 12-16 hours) And it's cheaper than a full-fledged notebook at about 999. I think it's doable. If an iBook costs 1299, the use of a smaller screen and HDD, the loss of an optical drive, and the resultant simpler internal design would make it possible.

But would you or anyone buy it? If it were no bigger than the pre-described spiral bound notebook, ran OSX, were nearly instant on, were rugged, and no more than 999? I think I'd still just get an iBook. I don't know what kinda midgets you guys are, but the iBook is small enough. Unless they can make it extremely light, small, portable, rugged, long running, and dual functioning (notepad & keyboard) I see no reason to get a sub-powerbook instead of an ibook.

Frankly I don't notice any difference between 3 and 5 pounds. Nor do I, spacewise, have trouble carrying an iBook size device in any bag that would be needed to carry a sub-notebook.
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post #42 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by DigitalMonkeyBoy:
<strong>...
3lbs? You would have to eliminate an awful lot unless Apple comes up with a hard disk and battery that are made of aluminum or cheese...
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Actually, if you look at some of the laptops available in Asia there are some about three pounds. I think I saw one from Acer that had a 13 inch screen and was about three pounds.

These days it is really a mechanical engineering problem. The parts (LCD, keyboard, etc.) are available. The problem is how to mount them in place in a package that is strong without being too heavy.
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post #43 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Escher:
<strong>I sure hope you will for for the new 600Mhz with 100Mhz bus. It's cheaper too.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, I had planned to pick up the cheaper iBook 600 DVD but I have been given an offer that I absolutely cannot pass up on the iBook 500 combo. And believe me, the difference between the 600 (increased bus speed and all) and the 500 will be barely noticeable when you consider the jump I am making from the 603 chip to the G3! The possibility of being able to play DVDs and burn CDs alone are enough for me to run skipping ecstatically down the road like a raving lunatic, let alone the ability to watch quicktime clips without continual stuttering and buffering! I think I might feel a little high with all that speed! <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />

As for a subnotebook I am feeling more convinced then ever that Apple will one day (heaven knows when though ) release such a beast, in fact it is my secret desire that one day Apple will dissolve it's desktop line in favour of an all portable/semi-portable lineup. After using a desktop for sometime I find them to be an incredible waste of space and an annoying obstruction to my work routine. One of the reasons I have been a Powerbook fan is because I hate having to regularly fight with clunky keyboards and mice, large monitors and towers which hog my desk leaving me barely enough room to fit a cup of coffee, let alone notepads and books from which I work. I really like the ability of sitting down to a small compact machine that leaves me plenty of room for my non-digital work tools! As they say, "size matters"!!
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post #44 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by DigitalMonkeyBoy:
...
3lbs? You would have to eliminate an awful lot unless Apple comes up with a hard disk and battery that are made of aluminum or cheese...<hr></blockquote>

Wow! The Apple CheeseDrive? Ultra-high density Ultra-Fast-Wide-SCSI goodness AND a nutritious snack and source of Calkium? Bring it on! MWSF maybe?
post #45 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Amorph:
<strong>I think the 12.1" screen is as small as it will get. The iBook's keyboard stretches across the whole machine, and Steve has inveighed against shrunken keyboards before.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, yes and no, or should I say, no and yes. Please bear with a momentary flight of fancy

I agree that people will not want to give up the keyboard in its current size and so I agree that the width of the machine cannot really change. But what if the depth of the subnotebook was to radically alter? Here is what I am thinking: Say the subnotebook is basically the size of the keyboard? certainly the screen size will change. For argument's sake, it could still be 1024 across but now just 480 high or perhaps better at 512, a 2:1 aspect ratio.

Now, there is a problem with doing this, all of a sudden we have no space for the palm rest and, more importantly, the trackpad. One could go the "nipple" route, but, hey, I like my nipples kept in their natural environment Another solution would be to force people to travel with a mouse but this would defeat some of the attractiveness and ease of the subnotebook's portability.

What i have been imagining in my--admittedly unpractical--head is a sort of "virtual trackpad". By this I mean that the trackpad is built-in to the keyboard's keys itself. Notebook keyboards are getting thinner and flatter all the time and so the keyboard surface is fairly flat (although admittedly not as flat as a trackpad itself). So if Apple were to designate the area of say a number of keys (let's say the T-Y-U, F-G-H-J, and V-B-N) as keys with tracking sensor's that were mapped up as a grid to work seamlessly as a single area (as opposed to individual key areas), then by pressing a button on the fly when typing we could move back and forth between typing mode and trackpad mode. The "button" would obviously be the space bar and would be activated as one whenever we select the tracking mode and would return to being a space bar when we re-select typing mode.

This may sound a little awkward but I can imagine Apple implementing it quite nicely and I can also imagine becoming relatively used to moving between typing and tracking mode as I work away. Crucially, by doing this we would have a notebook that in width and depth dimensions would be radically smaller then the current iBook and so would lend itself quite possibly to becoming 3 pounds... or perhaps even less. Does this have any plausibility? or have I been smoking a little too much of the green stuff? <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
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post #46 of 63
ahem... little rubber nubin track-pointy thing. Simple. In some cases better than a track pad.
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post #47 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>ahem... little rubber nubin track-pointy thing. Simple. In some cases better than a track pad.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yes, I'm aware of the "little rubber nubin track-pointy thing" which I called the "nipple" above. I guess I have never found it to be very effective in pointing my cursor where I want it to go. Rather I find it a nuisance and uncomfortable to use, and often hit it by mistake when typing which I also find a bother. But it has certainly been the most widely adopted answer to the problem, just one I am not very happy with. But maybe that's just me.
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post #48 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Amorph:
<strong>I...That's total pie-in-the-sky handwaving, I know, but who's up in the clouds with me? Anyone? [ 11-15-2001: Message edited by: Amorph ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

pie-in-the-sky? i don't know maybe not....we might be flying naked before too long ...
see ya on the rooftop
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post #49 of 63
why not just release the modern day equivelant to the Duo? and Dock? Im all for that....

3.9 pounds
6GB Hard drive
1 USB Port
56K modem
PDS Port

999.00
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post #50 of 63
how'bout a touch screen??? very expensive no?

Wait, I've a better idea for all you nubin haters. A wireless stylus. Bigger than the palm stylii, it slides into a port on your book when not in use (where it charges) -- using some tech (bluetooth or whatever works) it communicates with your book within a 2-3feet tops. You don't use it on the screen like a stylus, though. You use it on a an adjacent surface (your desk, even in the air, whatever) and the cursor on the screen aoutmatically coresponds.

Whaddaya think?
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post #51 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>how'bout a touch screen??? very expensive no?

Wait, I've a better idea for all you nubin haters. A wireless stylus. Bigger than the palm stylii, it slides into a port on your book when not in use (where it charges) -- using some tech (bluetooth or whatever works) it communicates with your book within a 2-3feet tops. You don't use it on the screen like a stylus, though. You use it on a an adjacent surface (your desk, even in the air, whatever) and the cursor on the screen aoutmatically coresponds.

Whaddaya think?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Heh, I can imagine the taunts of the PC community when Mac users give up their mice, pads, and balls (of the tracking sort) for their "magic fairy wands". <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />

But seriously, I think something like that would be the perfect solution. And it would go great with Retrograde's idea (as well as with the similar idea I put forth in the Newton replacement thread).

Now if we just got rid of the screen all-together and moved the display onto one of those LCD glasses thingies we'd really have something ...namely a bunch of mac users in funny glassing waving wands!
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post #52 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Retrograde:
<strong>

Well, yes and no, or should I say, no and yes. Please bear with a momentary flight of fancy

I agree that people will not want to give up the keyboard in its current size and so I agree that the width of the machine cannot really change. But what if the depth of the subnotebook was to radically alter? Here is what I am thinking: Say the subnotebook is basically the size of the keyboard? certainly the screen size will change. For argument's sake, it could still be 1024 across but now just 480 high or perhaps better at 512, a 2:1 aspect ratio.
...
</strong><hr></blockquote>

The Toshiba Libretto is like this. From memory, the display is about 1280 by 600 or something close to that. They have a smallish but normal size keyboard (19mm pitch?) and there is room for small track pad. Actually, they went for the nipple instead of the trackpad and filled up the trackpad space with several buttons.

Given that the vertical space would be small a rectangular trackpad could work.

By the way, the Libretto uses a Transmetta chip and has FW, USB, audio in and out, VGA out and a little more. No optical drive, no floppy. It looks good but I noticed that after a couple of months the hinges on the demo systems get loose and the LCD tends to flop over backward.
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post #53 of 63
I think the mouse pen would be a great option even for controlling your desktop, and especially for editing text hi-lighting and moving or erasing areas. Make it smart enough to go null when you lay it down, auto erase when you flip it over, etc... Some intelligent comands could be built in that work not through numerous button presses, but with the articulation of the pen itself.

I think tablets provide a lot of this function, but the point would bee that it works on any surface in close proximity to your keyboard, and without the need for a tablet at all.
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post #54 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by ColorClassicG4:
<strong>What would you want them to leave out in order to have a sub-3 lb. portable?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Example of a laptop under three pounds:

Sharp Mebius
600MHz P-III
ATA-33 20GB HD
192MB RAM (max?)
ATI Rage Mobility, 4MB vram
12.1 inch 1024x768 display
1600 x 1200 using external CRT via VGA port
stereo out jack, mono input, built in microphone as well
1 PC card slot
1 compact flash card slot
speaker
no optical drive
USB x 2
no firewire
56K modem
2.9 pounds
10/100 Base T Ethernet
no FD
trackpad
3 hours battery life
19.9 mm thick at the thickest point though they advertise it as being 16.6mm thick.
282 x 232 mm

I'm not holding this up as an example of a perfect small laptop. Just an example of how another manufacturer met the challenge.

I'm curious about what HD they used. There can't be more than 6 or 8 mm of space for the HD.

In their laptop family they have five or so models with displays of 10.4, 12.1, 14.1 and 15 inches and using the Crusoe chip, P-III 500, P-III 600, AMD-Duron 800, AMD Duron 850, AMD Athlon 1.0GHZ. The 1.0GHz lapton with the 15 inch display weighs 3.8kg, about 8.4 lbs.
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post #55 of 63
But really now. HOW WEAK ARE YOU PEOPLE. 3 pounds doesn't go anywhere 5 can't. You still need to put it in a bag: it's not as though you could put youe 3 pound book in your back pocket. You still need to set a 3 pound notebook on a stable surface to type on it, same as a 5. All you do is sacrifice a useful optical drive, and often, HDD performance, keyboard size and screen quality to boot.

If the iBook is too big and heavy, you really need to lift some weights, grasshoppers. And please don't say, "but the Japanese market..." They need to lift some weights too, or eat some steak and potatoes. I've taught a lot of Japanese students, and experienced their fascination with miniaturization. Especially the women: they're always complaining that this or that book is too heavy to lug between class and home. They struggle with doors everywhere. Come on! I realize some peoples are smaller than others but this is ridiculous. Eat something fer chrissakes! Anorexic waifs!

My bag routinely weighs between 10-25 pounds, and if I take home some marking or hit the library/study hall during mid-term/finals time, that can nearly double. WTF? If I had a notebook with me, I'd easily chuck it's equivalent in papers out of my bag and be no worse off. Sorry, but a two pound savings in exchange for a drive, extra speed and greater storage just doesn't cut it. A 5 pound (but complete) solution is much better.

Eat Protien. Take Vitamins. Do exercise. Buy iBook.
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post #56 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>But really now. HOW WEAK ARE YOU PEOPLE. 3 pounds doesn't go anywhere 5 can't. You still need to put it in a bag: it's not as though you could put youe 3 pound book in your back pocket. You still need to set a 3 pound notebook on a stable surface to type on it, same as a 5. All you do is sacrifice a useful optical drive, and often, HDD performance, keyboard size and screen quality to boot.

If the iBook is too big and heavy, you really need to lift some weights, grasshoppers. And please don't say, "but the Japanese market..." They need to lift some weights too, or eat some steak and potatoes. I've taught a lot of Japanese students, and experienced their fascination with miniaturization. Especially the women: they're always complaining that this or that book is too heavy to lug between class and home. They struggle with doors everywhere. Come on! I realize some peoples are smaller than others but this is ridiculous. Eat something fer chrissakes! Anorexic waifs!

My bag routinely weighs between 10-25 pounds, and if I take home some marking or hit the library/study hall during mid-term/finals time, that can nearly double. WTF? If I had a notebook with me, I'd easily chuck it's equivalent in papers out of my bag and be no worse off. Sorry, but a two pound savings in exchange for a drive, extra speed and greater storage just doesn't cut it. A 5 pound (but complete) solution is much better.

Eat Protien. Take Vitamins. Do exercise. Buy iBook.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Wow. Take a deep breath.

Actually, beef is now really on the outs in Japan. They found one cow with mad cow disease and now everyone is in a panic they will get the disease with the next hamburger they eat. The yakiniku restaurants are going broke and the department stores are substituting packages of pork and crab for the year end gift packages of beef they used to sell.

Anyway, if you are walking or cycling then every pound counts. If, like in North America, you tend to drive then a few pounds doesn't matter much. I've tried standing in the trains, balancing my Pismo on one hand while I manipulate the cursor with the other. It is hard. Much easier with a little two or three pound wonder. Even if you get a seat it is so tight you can't use a wide laptop. With my Pismo the sides of the laptop are brushing up against my neighbors.

Actually, this morning there was no room for any laptop. When I got in the train I raised my hand to brace myself against the wall for a moment. Then a crush of people surrounded me and I couldn't put my arm down for the next ten minutes. At least I could keep two feet on the floor.
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post #57 of 63
The sub 3lbs PowerBook is just not going to happen.

Have you used a new iBook? They are very light and very portable. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY Apple is going to come out with a smaller laptop.

Get over it.
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post #58 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by SDW2001:
<strong>The sub 3lbs PowerBook is just not going to happen.

Have you used a new iBook? They are very light and very portable. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY Apple is going to come out with a smaller laptop.

Get over it.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I have a PISMO 500 which is 5.9 lbs and I have checked out the iBooks at my local store. They are very good. I am not knocking them (the keyboard could be better). I just want it lighter.

Actually, you have to figure that eventually it will happen. Apple is just taking their sweet time about it.

If they wanted to they could come out with the executive version of iBook. Color is an opalescent, deep Royal Blue that just looks amazing in sunlight. The screen is coated with polycrystalline diamond to be scratch resistant. The device is one half inch thick, weighs about 2.2 lbs., has white LEDs in the top corners of the screen case to optionally light the keyboard for you. (I've seen USB powered devices like this, they look good.) The ports pretty much match those of an iBook. Standard memory is 512MB. Price is about $2,000. Optional external combo drive. Running OS X in sleep mode battery consumption is very low. Six hours run time. Wake from sleep in OS X in one second. I'd gladly trade in my PISMO 500 for one of these.
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post #59 of 63
Thread Starter 
Following the tradition, I'm not allowed to let this thread get washed below the waves of other future hardware discussion.

Some of you might recall that King Chung Huang put up a partial <a href="http://commons.ucalgary.ca/king/appleinsider/" target="_blank">mirror of the old AI boards</a> with pages he managed to recover with the help of the Internet Archive <a href="http://www.archive.org/index.html" target="_blank">WayBack Machine</a>. A little bit of research shows that the old "2400 dreams" thread was located at Forum1/HTML/001780.html. Unfortunately, the Internet Archive seems not to have picked up my favorite thread of all times.

Escher
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Until we get a 3 lbs sub-PowerBook, the 12-inch PowerBook will do.
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Until we get a 3 lbs sub-PowerBook, the 12-inch PowerBook will do.
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post #60 of 63
Originally posted by Escher:
[quote]
I have to admit that I still entertain hopes for a very light sub-PowerBook subnotebook.
<hr></blockquote>
The following problems come to mind:
- not durable. The Ti is very expensive but it is not robust. This is ok for business-types but not for adolescents. So it could not replace the iBook.
- price. The subnotebook would have to be more expensive than the iBook (you'd need higher-grade materials) but offer less than a similarly priced Tibook.
- cannibalisation of sales. It would add development costs but drive buyers away from iBooks and Tibooks. I have a hard time imagining that it would create a lot of sales Apple would miss without it.

Imho, docking stations suck. I do not want to have all the goodies at home while I am away. And the dual-processorsetup is unlikely to say the least. You'd be better off in almost any respect if you buy an iBook and an iMac.
post #61 of 63
[quote]Following the tradition, I'm not allowed to let this thread get washed below the waves of other future hardware discussion. <hr></blockquote>

Sure you can.
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post #62 of 63
I don't think a small screen on a sub note would suite OSX.

The apps we use need decent screens, the dock would take up too much acerage. The fonts would be difficult to read.

Things that would be no good on a sub note:-

Dreamweaver
Quark
Photoshop
iMovie
iDVD
Need I go on.

If you want word an and email get a PDA. BUt you don't like the ones on the market right now...

Well I think you will find that we are going to get some really good PDA-Phones which will sync with outlook/Entourage/Eudora etc. They are going to be so good they are going to kill the sub note market for both platforms. IMO.
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post #63 of 63
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>But really now. HOW WEAK ARE YOU PEOPLE. 3 pounds doesn't go anywhere 5 can't. You still need to put it in a bag: it's not as though you could put youe 3 pound book in your back pocket. You still need to set a 3 pound notebook on a stable surface to type on it, same as a 5. All you do is sacrifice a useful optical drive, and often, HDD performance, keyboard size and screen quality to boot.

If the iBook is too big and heavy, you really need to lift some weights, grasshoppers. And please don't say, "but the Japanese market..." They need to lift some weights too, or eat some steak and potatoes. I've taught a lot of Japanese students, and experienced their fascination with miniaturization. Especially the women: they're always complaining that this or that book is too heavy to lug between class and home. They struggle with doors everywhere. Come on! I realize some peoples are smaller than others but this is ridiculous. Eat something fer chrissakes! Anorexic waifs!

My bag routinely weighs between 10-25 pounds, and if I take home some marking or hit the library/study hall during mid-term/finals time, that can nearly double. WTF? If I had a notebook with me, I'd easily chuck it's equivalent in papers out of my bag and be no worse off. Sorry, but a two pound savings in exchange for a drive, extra speed and greater storage just doesn't cut it. A 5 pound (but complete) solution is much better.

Eat Protien. Take Vitamins. Do exercise. Buy iBook.
</strong><hr></blockquote>


ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!
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