Originally Posted by Wings
Apple almost did this right. Now what they need to add to it is to be able to log into a 2nd (or 3rd, 4th) user account by simply connecting a second monitor and keyboard to the host computer. No additional computer required. .... And to compensate for the loss of the sale of the 2nd computer Apple could charge some premium for the OS's capability to support that. (I've been trumpeting this for a long time now, and just maybe it's coming.)
Apple will have been trying many different combinations of technologies in their R&D, it'll be interesting to see which ones they end up marketing. I do believe Apple would like to sell lots of lower power machines, combined together in some way and probably including a higher power machine.
I think it was quartz 3D (extreme?) that first attempted to more effectively separate the graphics and cpu functions - such that the graphics could be very powerful but required a relatively lower bandwidth between the cpu and graphics (lower still is >1Gbps iirc). While this was touted as a way of taking the pressure of the bus, this scenario could have also been used to allow multiple graphics workstations connected to a single cpu. It wasn't, but it could have been, and the same thoughts may have evolved.
Xgrid was a way of passing off the heavy processing to another Mac. Theoretically then a low powered Mac needing higher processing power could just ask another computer could do it. Imagine a low end terminal (perhaps same processor as MBA?) running standard apps, but passing off processing to an i7 when necessary. But it wasn't used in this way - and the data throughput to pass off the process really needed to be huge to make it viable.
I still think Apple wants to do something like that though. Low cost terminals with high responsiveness, using a central powerful computer to give them lots of power. I'm not sure if it's to make a big push into the PC market at a low price without sacrificing their margins (as most computer companies have), or perhaps they just envision a house with 5-10 touch-screens as standard (some fixed, some wireless)... in the kitchen, or replacing wherever a phone would once have been.
They need better high speed connections - all Macs have the highest speed networking they can and now Thunderbolt might be doing something for this. I am surprised that the remote desktop solution isn't faster though - it should be sending through minimal instructions on what to draw and letting the client do that.
Anyway, I do hope to see something like this happen.