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Apple likely to use NAND storage in upcoming MacBook Pros, analyst says

post #1 of 29
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A research analyst from Barclays believes that Apple's success in NAND adoption will drive the company to use the technology in a rumored refresh of its MacBook Pro line, a move that will disrupt the business of of both hard drive and PC makers.

In a note to investors released on Wednesday, Ben Reitzes of Barclays Equity Research said that the adoption rate of Apple devices using SSDs, along with a continuing move to cloud computing, will push consumer laptop demand toward flash-based storage.

Perhaps the single greatest setback to flash adoption is that the price of solid state solutions grossly outweigh comparable HDDs, keeping the technology out of reach for everyday consumers. This cost ratio may tilt in the physical hard drive's favor, however consumers have recently started giving up storage space and low cost for design and performance benefits, evidenced by the success of the thin and light MacBook Air.

Reitzes believes that the advent of cloud computing will help ease consumers in the transition from physical drives to flash by offloading storage to servers, thus diminishing the need for pricey high-capacity NAND drives. Apple's iCloud is already well in-place and has the potential of filling offsite storage needs if the company chooses to move to a NAND-heavy laptop lineup.

For these reasons, the analyst expects Apple to reveal a NAND-equipped MacBook Pro as well as MacBook Airs with increased storage options in the near future.

"We believe these products combined can ramp quarterly demand for Macs by up to 1 million incremental units on a run rate basis - taking over a point of share from HDD-based PCs," Reitzes said.

He goes on to say that an estimated 5 to 10 percent of notebook PC sales have been cannibalized by NAND-carrying iPads and iPhones, further impacting HDD demand for PCs. The move to portable products has been dubbed as the "post-PC era," as consumers begin to replace computers with tablets and handset. Interestingly, this trend toward flash in consumer devices is seen as fueling data growth, which helps to augment sales of enterprise-class HDDs.

iPad NAND
NAND (in yellow) storage in the new iPad. | Source: ifixit


Hard drive makers won't be the only ones to be affected by the trend toward cloud computing and flash storage, and Dell acknowledged earlier in May that PC demand was slowing due to the strong performance of tablets and smartphones. If rumors pan out, the PC market could see further pressure with Apple's debut of a smaller 7-inch version of the iPad later this year.

It is expected that Apple will outline its intentions for iCloud and possibly introduce a revamped MacBook Pro lineup at WWDC in June.
post #2 of 29

Most of my hard drive is taken up with my iTunes library because I've downloaded a lot of films and TV shows. If Apple allowed me to store these purchases in iCloud and stream the content rather than always having to download it I would be quite happy to downsize to a lower capacity SSD. I only really need to keep my music files locally which don't take up that much space.
 

post #3 of 29

Well, SSDs are already an option on Mac Book Pros. Are they trying to say that will be the only option? If so, they are wrong.

 

I am guessing nearly all the Mac Book Air buyers have another machine so a small SSD will work in that case. However, many people use a Mac Book Pro as a replacement for their desktop machine. In that type of scenario, the storage requirements are generally too great to be economically covered by an SSD alone.

 

What we will see in the next MBPs are Mac Book Air form factor SSDs with a mechanical HD as an option. The optical drive will be history.

 

-kpluck

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post #4 of 29
Since Apple bought Anobit, everything will use flash someday. I think its a bit early for an Apple branded SSD, even if I would love to see it. Anobit controllers run at 660meg/sec. That is quite good. An educated guess is that the Macbook pro will get a small Macbook Air SSD and an optional 2.5 inch drive. (My old macbook pro hace 2x1 terra. WD have 2 terra 2.5inch. Fun to be able to have 4 terra in a laptop)
post #5 of 29

I just hope its standard SSDs that are also user upgradeable.

 

It would really suck if they were not user upgradeable.

You Can Say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

------- John Lennon
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You Can Say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

------- John Lennon
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post #6 of 29

A super-fast 16GB chip on the logic board for the OS and a backup, freeing up the real drive for your stuff.

 

That's all I want in this regard. Eventually hard drives AND RAM won't be user-upgradable… 

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #7 of 29
The entry level Air should start at 128GB. 3rd party manufacturers are bringing out upgrade solutions for old models:

http://www.product-reviews.net/2012/05/30/macbook-air-gets-new-ssd-option-for-2012/

I expect the 13" Pro and Air line will merge, which means the 13" will start at 256GB. Same goes for the 15" Pro. Having an extra internal HDD is a good feature but it goes against the durability and instant-on. With them getting USB 3, they might just decide people can buy an inexpensive bus-powered drive for bulk storage.
post #8 of 29

deleted


Edited by kellya74u - 7/24/13 at 10:01am
post #9 of 29

If Apple would incorporate USB 3 ports into their computers (don't know if they ever will) then people could put their regular files on the smaller SSD on board drive and connect to an external drive via USB 3 for all of their other huge files like music and video collections. This would benefit the hard drive industry not harm it. More people would be buying external drives for their storage.

 

Not everybody stores lots of stuff on their computers. I'm one of them. My 2008 Mac Book with the 160 GB HDD has 77 GB free space, and 25 of that came from my previous Windows XP computer I bought in 2002. I have an external drive for Time Machine and a few other files. If cloud storage gets easier and ISPs stop data caps (Comcast) then the cloud will be a good alternative to large internal hard drives.

post #10 of 29

I think Apple will go with MBAir modules because they're already in production and take up very little internal space. A standard 2.5" drive bay could then be filled with a second drive (either SSD or HD).  We'll be able to have quick booting and app launching while still carrying as much data as we need to.

post #11 of 29

Maybe they'll move to hybrid drives as standard equipment.  64GB of flash, another half TB of physical drive space. 

 

Or, given their relationship with flash manufacturers, maybe Apple will incorporate 64 or even 128GB of flash on the motherboard as standard equipment on all their machines, and give users the option of augmenting that with either a physical drive or a larger SSD.
 

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

If Apple would incorporate USB 3 ports into their computers (don't know if they ever will) then people could put their regular files on the smaller SSD on board drive and connect to an external drive via USB 3 for all of their other huge files like music and video collections. This would benefit the hard drive industry not harm it. More people would be buying external drives for their storage.

 

Not everybody stores lots of stuff on their computers. I'm one of them. My 2008 Mac Book with the 160 GB HDD has 77 GB free space, and 25 of that came from my previous Windows XP computer I bought in 2002. I have an external drive for Time Machine and a few other files. If cloud storage gets easier and ISPs stop data caps (Comcast) then the cloud will be a good alternative to large internal hard drives.

My iPhoto library occupies 60GB all by itself and I hardly ever use my camera.

 

Do you seriously think people want to have to carry an external hard drive when they go somewhere with their MacBooks?

ISPs will never stop capping data transfers.

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by O and A View Post

I just hope its standard SSDs that are also user upgradeable.

It would really suck if they were not user upgradeable.

They are upgradable in the Air's, so I would expect them to e upgradable in the Pro's as well.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

A super-fast 16GB chip on the logic board for the OS and a backup, freeing up the real drive for your stuff.

That's all I want in this regard. Eventually hard drives AND RAM won't be user-upgradable… 

You mean as a caching drive?
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunspot42 View Post

Maybe they'll move to hybrid drives as standard equipment.  64GB of flash, another half TB of physical drive space. 

 

Or, given their relationship with flash manufacturers, maybe Apple will incorporate 64 or even 128GB of flash on the motherboard as standard equipment on all their machines, and give users the option of augmenting that with either a physical drive or a larger SSD.
 

 

going hybrid is probably the best solution. incorporating it right onto the motherboard can introduce headaches in repairs. Its easier to swap out a module should it fail than swapping out an entire motherboard. 

 

Hopefully thought will retain the ability for end users to upgrade ram on their own on an update pro and not go the macbook air route and solder it right on. 

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post
You mean as a caching drive?

 

I mean for storing and booting the OS from.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #17 of 29

I would rather loose the disk drive and have more battery space and the option for a second hard drive. Hopefully they would make the SSDs cheaper to buy in the future.

post #18 of 29
I am guessing the next gen SSD apple uses will be a new controller from Marvell. Which at least guaranteed with decent firmware it will be the fastest on the market.
And if Apple manage to secure enough NAND production for all their Mobile Line, then other player would have a hard time to complete due to the nature of capacity constraint. And I do hope SSD will be defalt option, its speed increase should be priority over space requirement which you could use external HDD to compensate.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

My iPhoto library occupies 60GB all by itself and I hardly ever use my camera.

Do you seriously think people want to have to carry an external hard drive when they go somewhere with their MacBooks?
ISPs will never stop capping data transfers.

That's not what is being suggested.

The most common suggestion is to lose the optical drive and have a small (perhaps 64 GB) SSD which has the OS and maybe apps and a larger (500 - 1000 GB) drive for data. That might be an option - as it is for the iMac.

Alternatively, of course, one could have a moderate sized SSD and store files in the cloud or on a home computer that you can access via "back to my Mac".

Another option is to keep the physical hard disk and use a small (perhaps 16-32 GB) SSD to cache it - so you have a hybrid drive.

I don't think there's any one solution that works for everyone. For me, I'd prefer a 64 GB SSD and 500-750 GB magnetic hard disk for my own use, but I think the best solution is to continue to offer a range of options.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


They are upgradable in the Air's, so I would expect them to e upgradable in the Pro's as well.
 

 

Upgrading the macbook air drive voids your warranty.

 

Upgrading the drive in a macboo pro does not void your warranty.

 

That is the problem.

You Can Say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

------- John Lennon
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You Can Say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

------- John Lennon
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post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

If Apple would incorporate USB 3 ports into their computers (don't know if they ever will) then people could put their regular files on the smaller SSD on board drive and connect to an external drive via USB 3 for all of their other huge files like music and video collections.

Why would Apple have to add USB3 to do this? I can do this quite happily with USB2.

 

Apple worked with Intel on Lightpeak/Thunderbolt to be better and faster than USB3 so I can't see their impetus for bothering with it. The price of the technology will very quickly come down. If Jobs was still alive I would have guaranteed you wouldn't have got USB3 but this post-Jobs-Apple is a little bit more flexible and not as focused.

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Why would Apple have to add USB3 to do this? I can do this quite happily with USB2.

Apple worked with Intel on Lightpeak/Thunderbolt to be better and faster than USB3 so I can't see their impetus for bothering with it. The price of the technology will very quickly come down. If Jobs was still alive I would have guaranteed you wouldn't have got USB3 but this post-Jobs-Apple is a little bit more flexible and not as focused.

The reality is that lots of people are looking for USB 3, even though Thunderbolt is better. With the new Ivy Bridge chips, implementing USB 3 is essentially free, so there's really no reason not to.
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post #23 of 29

Cloud storage is nice but not always convinient, if they do move to flash I'd hope the Pros have more than the Macbook Airs for the same price. Better still, flash along with a traditional hard drive. If they remove the optical drive they have some room to work with if they use the same form factor flash drive as in the Airs, plenty left over for a mechanical hard drive too. 

post #24 of 29

Clouds are fun and all, until there is a power outage, internet outage, or if someone approaches Apple with a warrant or anti-terrorism writ to get access to your files.

 

The only secure storage is local. 

 

If you happen to have a large amount of local storage needs, a NAND storage solution might not be "pro" enough for Macbook Pro users.

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post
The only secure storage is local. 

 

Until you're presented with a warrant or anti-terrorism writ.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by O and A View Post

Upgrading the macbook air drive voids your warranty.

Upgrading the drive in a macboo pro does not void your warranty.

That is the problem.

The point I was trying to make, not very well apparently, is that the "drives" are removable, and replaceable, not soldered to the mobo. Therefor, any SSD in a Maxbook Pro would be also replaceable.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Until you're presented with a warrant or anti-terrorism writ.

 

Sure, but that's a warrant being presented to you, personally.  Not to a company behind your back.  You have the option to cooperate with the warrant, or even to encrypt your local data in some fashion.

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post
You have the option to cooperate with the warrant, or even to encrypt your local data in some fashion.

 

No, you have the option of giving them your stuff, and it doesn't matter if it's encrypted because they'll just crack it.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

Sure, but that's a warrant being presented to you, personally.  Not to a company behind your back.  You have the option to cooperate with the warrant, or even to encrypt your local data in some fashion.

There is no option to cooperate when presented with a warrant. That's what a warrant is, a presentation of a court order that requires cooperation. Or, if you're not available, for the authorities to enter on their own.

But home storage can be more secure in that you have the option of several backup strategies, and far less likelihood of having your computer broken into as opposed to a company's services hacked, which we see happening all the time.
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