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Rumor: Apple prepping 12" MacBook without fan, mechanical trackpad button

post #1 of 171
Thread Starter 
Rumors from the Far East on Friday claim Apple will soon refresh its MacBook Air lineup and may introduce a slimmed-down 12-inch fan-less version with a new trackpad design that does away with the current mechanical click button component.

rMBP


In a post to Chinese forum WeiPhone, a member of who has in the past revealed legitimate photos and information regarding unreleased Apple hardware said the company is planning a MacBook refresh sometime soon. The thread was first spotted by MacRumors.

Specifically, the post mentions a radically designed 12-inch notebook that lacks a fan assembly, a configuration currently seen in Apple's iOS device lineup. The model also sports a multitouch trackpad that eschews the usual mechanical button in favor of an as yet unknown user input solution. While mere speculation, Apple could implement a recently granted patent that replaces the click button assembly with force and optical sensors.

Based on the description, the rumored laptop sounds a bit like a design mentioned by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in an AppleInsider report from October 2013. At the time, Kuo said the device would boast a Retina display and sport an "ultra-slim clamshell form factor." He added that the new format device would "redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air."

The post goes on to say that the MacBook Air lineup will be refreshed "soon," while an update to the MacBook Pro series is to arrive later in the year.

Finally, the forum post notes that Apple is indeed working on a so-called "iWatch," though development is still in the prototyping stage. An announcement for the wearable is not expected anytime soon.
post #2 of 171
How can it not have a fan, it's not ARM based is it? Or maybe if you take the most efficient Intel chip there is, and cover it with copper heat pipes, you just simply don't need a fan.

OS X is 64-bit, and they have just release a 64-bit ARM chip in the 5S...
post #3 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The model also sports a multitouch trackpad that eschews the usual mechanical button in favor of an as yet unknown user input solution..

Unknown?

Umm...tap to click? Seriously who uses the press-down-anywhere to click? They should have done away with the button a while ago. Tap + Gestures is all I need.
post #4 of 171
I'd like to see a refresh to the MacBook Air line.

Initially, I was going to refresh my MBA every year like my iPad and iPhone but the changes over the past two years just haven't been worth it.

Bring it on.
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post #5 of 171
I don't think my 5 year old MBP has a fan.
post #6 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

How can it not have a fan, it's not ARM based is it? Or maybe if you take the most efficient Intel chip there is, and cover it with copper heat pipes, you just simply don't need a fan.

OS X is 64-bit, and they have just release a 64-bit ARM chip in the 5S...

An ARM processor MBA means that it is useless for me.
post #7 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajaram View Post

I don't think my 5 year old MBP has a fan.

Surley you are joking?
post #8 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Unknown?

Umm...tap to click? Seriously who uses the press-down-anywhere to click? They should have done away with the button a while ago. Tap + Gestures is all I need.

I use and love the mechanical click. Especially on windows 7. Preferences. Not everybody is you...........
post #9 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

I use and love the mechanical click. Especially on windows 7. Preferences. Not everybody is you...........

I agree. I love the mechanical click. Maybe they've thought of something new. We can't decide until we see it for ourselves, though.
post #10 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajaram View Post

I don't think my 5 year old MBP has a fan.

 

It sure does...Apple hasn't made a fanless Mac since I think the PowerMac G4 Cube. 

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post #11 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Unknown?

Umm...tap to click? Seriously who uses the press-down-anywhere to click? They should have done away with the button a while ago. Tap + Gestures is all I need.

I've tried tap to click and it's not as functional or easy to use. With a mechanical click, you can control drag and click 100% independent.


As for no fan? If the hardware isn't severely limited that sounds like a lot of clueless people with overheated computers…
post #12 of 171

But will it have screen burn in issues?

post #13 of 171

I think this fan-less clamshell with a modern trackpad and flash storage is very possible.

It would be ARM based and would run iOS with a modern laptop UI that borrows heavily from the iPad Air.

It would also be a very efficient and powerful 64 bit computer.

It would run iOS applications but display a context sensitive graphical keyboard instead of the fixed physical keyboard.

 

It would be a revolutionary computer.

post #14 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

As for no fan? If the hardware isn't severely limited that sounds like a lot of clueless people with overheated computers…

Or some clever engineering.

1wink.gif
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post #15 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

How can it not have a fan, it's not ARM based is it?
Maybe it is ARM based. Or maybe all the noise about Broadwell not landing until late in the year is BS. More importantly maybe Broadwell is such a large series of processors that not all of them come immediately. Or maybe just maybe the rumors is baseless.

Intel supposedly has very very high integration Broadwells in the coming line up. Apple and Intel could have cut a deal for early access. It could even go so far as being a custom chip for Apple, with Apple IP.
Quote:

Or maybe if you take the most efficient Intel chip there is, and cover it with copper heat pipes, you just simply don't need a fan.
It would be very hard to accomplish that with the current lineup of Intel parts and realize decent performance. If the release is truly soon it is either an ARM part or an unannounced 14nm part from Intel. The really out there possibility is an AMD part made by TSMC on their sub 20 nm process.
Quote:
OS X is 64-bit, and they have just release a 64-bit ARM chip in the 5S...

The current A7 isn't good enough. Of course that says nothing about A8. The problem with A7 isn't just the CPU either, the GPU really isn't up to laptop duty. If they did go ARM it would be a new processor tailored for higher power operation but most likely under ten watts.

Don't forget Apple needs to support TB in the AIRs. ARM would mean that Apple has the potential to build their own TB hardware.
post #16 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by iRun262 View Post

An ARM processor MBA means that it is useless for me.

Possibly for you, me I'd jump on it if it could run Mac OS and support iOS apps. In fact I would enjoy having an ultra light laptop that can run Mac OS decently and do that on a battery charge for days.
post #17 of 171
Apple is pushing to eliminate all moving parts; anything that can break.

I suppose a piezoelectric fan might be in order. Thin as a credit card, half the power of a rotating fan, nearly silent, and more failsafe.
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post #18 of 171
I suspect the 12 inch thing is off but the rest could be the next round of MBA.

I think that they will go for the retina as the only line of pros with the air becoming the 'MacBook'. Since it won't be a Pro machine they can keep to the lower processors etc to focus the line on light users and the fan less thing would be less of an issue than if it was someone who was editing a 4k film etc

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post #19 of 171

I'm very excited for this. While HP has a fanless laptop (Spectre 13), it still blows.

 

;)

post #20 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

How can it not have a fan, it's not ARM based is it?

 



Intel has previous debuted Fanless Tablet chips for tablets based on Haswell

http://www.engadget.com/2013/07/23/intel-fanless-y-series-core-chips/
post #21 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

Apple is pushing to eliminate all moving parts; anything that can break.

I suppose a piezoelectric fan might be in order. Thin as a credit card, half the power of a rotating fan, nearly silent, and more failsafe.

Here's the scoop on these:
http://www.dvice.com/2012-12-13/ges-piezoelectric-cooling-jets-destined-replace-computer-fans
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post #22 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Seriously who uses the press-down-anywhere to click?

I can't imagine not having it.

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post #23 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post


Unknown?

Umm...tap to click? Seriously who uses the press-down-anywhere to click? They should have done away with the button a while ago. Tap + Gestures is all I need.

there are a few uses still for the click.  When you restart or start up the Mac, you have to click to select your user account.  I've tried tapping more times than i can count.  Also, click-drag is still more intuitive and quicker than tap twice to move.  I usually click and hold with left hand and drag with right.  you can also two-finger scroll while click&hold with the other hand.  Sure, OS X has implemented other ways to do this without having to click and/or hold/drag.  but I've found it's quicker and easier for me to do it the conventional way.

post #24 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajaram View Post

I don't think my 5 year old MBP has a fan.

my girlfriend's Mac is a 2009 MBP and it most certainly has a face.  Noisy little bugger when watching video or streaming content.

post #25 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
 
 
Possibly for you, me I'd jump on it if it could run Mac OS and support iOS apps. In fact I would enjoy having an ultra light laptop that can run Mac OS decently and do that on a battery charge for days.

you know what this means right?  Apple will release some super thin and light notebook and people will swoop it up.  However, from what we've read it sounds like it will be pretty under-powered for power users (who will be the first to buy this).  Then, everyone will complain that it's too slow, it over heats (due to the common usage of Power users and lack of fan) and everyone will be demanding Apple *must* improve this 'disappointing entry-level Mac'.  Personally, I just don't think this machine (if it exists) will be designed for the power user.  That's what the MBP is for.  IT's already 1.5 lb lighter than the previous non-SSD models, and it's retina.  What more do you need?  Don't answer that :P

 

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the future "Macbook" since there hasn't been a Mac with that moniker since 2011.

post #26 of 171
Apple isn't going to use an ARM processor in this. Developers would have to recompile their software to use it, and to run something like Rosetta would require something significantly faster than an ARM processor, that is unless ARM has been leading a secret double life.

That said, Intel is set to release it's 5th generation 14nm Core chip this summer which reduces power consumption by 30% and maybe at that point it doesn't need a fan.
Edited by bdkennedy1 - 3/21/14 at 9:08pm
post #27 of 171
1) When the articles say 12" MacBook do they mean a 12" MacBook or just a 12" device within Apple's notebook line? I can see a 12" MBA arriving as 11" is a little small (especially at 16:9) and 13" somewhat convolutes the decision for many buyers with the new MBP designs. I am not sure we'll see the MB line come back as the MBA line seems to fill that space nicely.

2) Fanless is interesting. It's certainly possible with some of Intel chips but as an ARM-based system it's also possible now that they have the MAS providing they update the SDK and give a decent lead time for developers to recompile their apps for AArch_64. My guess is that they would at least consider if the average MBA user isn't needed heavy computing with large apps from slow-to-update 3rd-party vendors. That said, I'd think it's likely a lower-power x86_64 chip.

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post #28 of 171
I've never met anyone who has refused to buy a new Apple anything because it has changed.
Look at the new Mac. People here are still waiting on backorders.
If your dedicated to Apple or Microsoft you'll but what you know and like.
post #29 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajaram View Post

I don't think my 5 year old MBP has a fan.

 

If you can't hear your fan, it might be dead.  Install the iStat widget or similar and check the fan speed.  

post #30 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by carrot-cake View Post

If you can't hear your fan, it might be dead.  Install the iStat widget or similar and check the fan speed.  

In user space no one can hear you scream.

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post #31 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

2) Fanless is interesting. It's certainly possible with some of Intel chips but as an ARM-based system it's also possible now that they have the MAS providing they update the SDK and give a decent lead time for developers to recompile their apps for AArch_64. My guess is that they would at least consider if the average MBA user isn't needed heavy computing with large apps from slow-to-update 3rd-party vendors. That said, I'd think it's likely a lower-power x86_64 chip.

Interesting point about the MAS. I wonder if they could do static binary translations (Intel->ARM) of the binaries already on the MAS? Do the terms and conditions of the MAS allow them to do that? And, they wrote their own compiler (LLVM). Could they have been thinking so far ahead, that the Intel binaries generated by this compiler have been designed for ease of static translation to ARM all along?

post #32 of 171

There no technical handles or issues to make a Fanless Laptop. Get it low enough Clock speed Broadwell is there already.

 

The problem is.

It will be slow, definitely slower then previous gen Haswell if it were to go fanless.

GPU will suck, Graphics performance suffer quite heavily.

And finally, ALL ULP Intel chip are extra expensive. No way could Macbook Air continue to sell at this current price range, especially with the rumors Retina Display.

 

All in all, the rumors add up together dont make much sense.

post #33 of 171
No fan and non-mechanical touchpad? So now it sounds even more like a clamshell iPad running Mac OSX. 1smile.gif

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post #34 of 171

I think they should keep the basic design, which works VERY well, and just upgrade the screen resolution. It doesn't have to be Retina quality, but it should at least be 1920 x 1080 on the 13" MBA.

 

Apple doesn't need to put ARM into a MacBook. I'd like to see them up the screen resolution, in the current Haswell-based MBA, since Broadwell won't be shipping until at least this Fall...

post #35 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by WS11 View Post
 

The current Haswell U series chip in the Macbook Air:

 

i5-4250U - $315

 

A fanless Haswell Y series chip:

 

i5-4300Y - $281

 

Source: Intel ARK

 

Sorry I stand corrected. and it seems the max difference isn't that much off either. Broadwell with 14nm should be able to come close to the performance of 4250U. I do hope they get CrystalWell in it as well to boost Gfx performance.

post #36 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by WS11 View Post
 

Haswell Y series is fanless.  

 

Broadwell Y series will also be fanless.

The issue is not just the CPU but also GPU.  How well (in terms of performance) can the integrated GPU, in those specfic processors drive a retina-quality screen?  The last thing Apple needs to do is pull an iPad 3 with this 12" rMBA.

post #37 of 171

This is very interesting.  Considering that both iOS and OS X share much of the same codebase and libraries, it is possible that this new MacBook computer runs an ARM processor.  Apple has many years of experience transitioning OSs from one architecture to another (Motorola 68K to PowerPC to Intel), so it would not be unheard of for them to use an ARM processor in this notebook.  I am very interested to see what this new machine will look lit, and it cold even be the "iPad Pro" that was predicted recently, although it is more reminiscent of a MacBook Air than an iPad...

post #38 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

I've tried tap to click and it's not as functional or easy to use. With a mechanical click, you can control drag and click 100% independent.


As for no fan? If the hardware isn't severely limited that sounds like a lot of clueless people with overheated computers…
Shades of Packard Bell. Before that company imploded like the big bag of dog turds that they were, they released some towed that were fan less. It didn't go well.

I bet if Apple is doing this it's a Arm chip. I find this rumor to be very interesting.
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post #39 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

I suppose a piezoelectric fan might be in order. Thin as a credit card, half the power of a rotating fan, nearly silent, and more failsafe.

Could be. The Haswell-Y series performs ok at the maximum TDP, it's around a 2010 dual-core i5:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i5-4202Y-Notebook-Processor.102728.0.html

The fanless designs might be restricting it below the maximum power but a small fan could be enough to keep it higher power:



A few people say they get on just fine with 6 or 7 year old hardware so 4 year old hardware should suffice for them. The biggest problem is getting the heat away from the CPU so a piezo fan can sit right next to it and blow over the top, spreading the heat out further.

Maybe Intel should put tiny low power piezo fans inside the CPU itself and force airflow between individual cores.
post #40 of 171

I called it back in February: "Forget the 12" iPad. There is no usage model that makes any sense…but my thoughts do go either to another device with a 12" screen…"

 

Ever since the rumors of a 12" screen started, I thought instead of a big iPad Apple might reduce the number of laptop models by consolidating the 11" and 13" MBAs, maybe even the 13" MBP. 

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