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What's next for Apple notebooks?

post #1 of 92
Thread Starter 
I was thinking the other day that the Apple notebook lineup (PowerBooks & iBooks) will need to be refreshed soon. The current design is still very nice but it has remained the same for a while now, so I'm sure Apple is preparing something new. What are your ideas on what the new notebooks could look like (what material will they be made out of, what sizes will be available, etc.)? And what may be the next specs? Your thoughts?
post #2 of 92
Yeah, it is the notebooks turn. Everybody here is going to say carbon fibre but I am hoping for gunmetal.
post #3 of 92
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if Apple would use carbon fiber. It would definitely raise the price on the notebooks. I have a feeling Apple is planning to stay with aluminum for a while.
post #4 of 92
I think PowerBooks will remain pretty much the way they are until Apple can shoehorn a G5 into one next year sometime. There might be minor speed and spec bumps in the meantime.

As for the iBook, I'd expect a new enclosure before long. It'll probably be similar to the current iBook except for some kind of new exterior texture or material. Perhaps not though, since the new iMac has the crystal white look. The current iBook design has been around for three plus years. Even though it's popular, it seems ripe for a revamp.
post #5 of 92
I'd love to see a die cast heavy duty aluminum framed model. Something that could compete with Panasonics Toughbook models. Yeah it would be a little bulky and maybe a bit heavier but the goal would be bullet proof construction, sort of an iBook enhanced if you would.

Frankly this would be another model entirely and like the Toughbooks low volmne. It would be nice to see Apple introduce niche variants of the Mac for specific markets, I think it would demonstrate confidence on the part of Apple as a corporation.

Dave


Quote:
Originally posted by s_sarinana
I'm not sure if Apple would use carbon fiber. It would definitely raise the price on the notebooks. I have a feeling Apple is planning to stay with aluminum for a while.
post #6 of 92
Anodized aluminum colored shells, interchangeable or atmospherically
changing enclosures.

Biometric fingerprint scanners as part of the track pad.

OLED displays

Removable keyboards with underlying tablet surface.

Dual HD for RAID configurations using IPOD HD.

Fully user serviceable laptops
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post #7 of 92
i'd take a carbon fiber powerbook in a heartbeat.
post #8 of 92
I hope they dont jam a crippled G5 chip into a 2.5 inch thick laptop that runs hot and gets 2 hours battery life.
post #9 of 92
What's next for Apple notebooks?

Given Apple's public statements about the G5 in a PowerBook, I would venture to say that the next PowerBook will feature a 1.8GHz PowerPC 7448 from Motorola/Freescale. I know, I know. The speeds of the supposed 7448 have yet to be discussed, but I am assuming that because the iMac G5 is at 1.8 GHz, the PowerBooks will attempt to match the clock speed, albeit it will be a G4 processor and not a G5.

I think the next rev of PowerBooks will be the first to sport 100GB hard drives.

I don't know if an enclosure modification or complete make-over is in the works, but the current crop of aluminum clad PowerBooks have been around since January 2003 _closing in on two years. Rumors of carbon fiber have been floated for quite some time mostly from Mac OS Rumors. So who knows how true this is!

Regarding the iBooks even longer still their enclosures have remained relatively the same since they were released on May 1, 2001. I would expect both lines would receive a cosmetic make-over.

Which brings us to the when. I think it's a crap shoot at this point. I would say anywhere from the last week of September (when a promotion with PowerBooks ends) to MacWorld SanFran in January. The later we wait for an update, the more and more the liklihood that they will be getting a major redesign at MacWorld in January.
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post #10 of 92
I think the current Powerbook design is going to stick with us for quite some time. Its a very refined case and i dont think they'll update it withoute a real practical need for it. I don't really see the point of updating the form unless they find a way of making it even thinner or a way to buikd it more cost effectivly. They might strech it to experimenting with colour, it would be nice with some polished aluminum parts (back of Ipod) on on sufaces you keep your hands off (whatever that may be).
Aluminum detailes would also be great for the Ibook (to boost the resemblence to the i pod).

As for performance, they will be the fastest powerbooks Apple has ever made
post #11 of 92
I think there is a reason to improve the exterior of the PowerBook...so they can make the interior more servicable. Look at the new iMac and its serviceability. I think this is more of a trend you will start to see on all Apple products. They have built the current iBooks and PowerBooks with such a compact internal design, it is costly to fix minor issues and components because of it's brutally compact unforgiving internal construction.
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post #12 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by farve
As for performance, they will be the fastest powerbooks Apple has ever made

well, yeah...

i think mosr is actually pretty reasonable with what they think for the next update: freescale 7448, ati 9800, faster hard drive etc.

i don't think there'll be a new case unless they switch to the dual core g4 or g5...
post #13 of 92
While there current case is certianly nice there is always room for improvement. You point out one very good direction to go in. Personally I'd like to see a stronger case for the PowerBooks, it seems that the iBook wins in case strength and durability.

It was mentioned on another thread but I'd love to see a miniBook also. This would be a machine with a small display and no spindles except possibly a micro drive. The idea would be to have OS/X in ROM! Supply a bunch of USB and Firewire ports and a graphics port and that is it for hard ports. Networking would be WiFi. Sort of like half way between a laptop and a PDA.

Dave


Quote:
Originally posted by DHagan4755
I think there is a reason to improve the exterior of the PowerBook...so they can make the interior more servicable. Look at the new iMac and its serviceability. I think this is more of a trend you will start to see on all Apple products. They have built the current iBooks and PowerBooks with such a compact internal design, it is costly to fix minor issues and components because of it's brutally compact unforgiving internal construction.
post #14 of 92
I got to thinking (uh oh!) and if there is no update before Christmas, it's a safe bet that PowerBooks will have a major revision come MWSF. In terms of what "major" improvements may be made, I think the following are all possible, second to the obvious faster G4 processor:

New Enclosure
Taking a cue from the new iMac G5, a PowerBook design mindful of internal arrangement of components, therefore making it easy to upgrade and service. Carbon Fiber? Thinner? Possibly.

Displays
A new PowerBook line that heralds a brighter, wider angle of view display with improved resolution.

Battery Life
An increase in battery life would be a step in the right direction. Look for PowerBooks with new battery technology. This will have to be the case since the processors have gotten faster, and the displays brighter.
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post #15 of 92
i think the aluminum might stick around for awhile... seems that the brushed alum is the look they are going for for high end things (powermac and powerbook)
post #16 of 92
What's all this talk of carbon fiber? Yuck. They will keep the same "metal" look for professional lines (PowerBook) and the white for consumer (iBook).

Other interesting parallels with the iMac G5 were made. With Apple playing up the G5 will they have a problem pitching a three grand laptop with an "old, slow, non-64-bit" G4 processor? Without a magically cooling process, or special "mobile line" for G5 chips how can we see them fitting in the current design?
[list=1][*]Apple continues using G4-variants, as they are "low power, embedded" processors, and meant specifically for platforms such as laptops[*]Introduce a heavier, thicker, hotter, power-hungrier PowerBook to the masses early next year[*]IBM creates a special "mobile" version of the G5[/list=1]

Don't think for a second Apple will simply underclock the current G5 to 1.2GHz and attempt at passing it off as "Professional" and faster than a 1.5 or 1.8GHz G4.

As far as colors go. They should offer their consumer line in colors. iMac and iBook should be a rainbow.
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post #17 of 92
well as i said somewhere else i thought IBM was developing a g5 that would, with a little tweaking, work in laptops. They are working on G5's thats will work well in rack mounted servers. Same principles of heat and all. Just should make it a mobile variant. thats what they are working on i believe
post #18 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by earthtoandy
They are working on G5's thats will work well in rack mounted servers. Same principles of heat and all.

Not necessarily no. While racks may be thin (1U = 1.75") they are commonly powered by very fast fans. A Power Mac G5 can't hold a candle to a 1U server. Its a step in the right direction but mobile requires smaller areas, much less power and a sliver of the cooling.
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post #19 of 92
COOL IT DOWN. Here's the connection: Rack-mounted blade servers share some of the same problems as laptops, namely, heat output and power consumption. Often measuring less than an inch thick, they must work in close quarters where ventilation is scant. For that reason, keeping them cool is difficult, with possible heat-extraction mechanisms limited due to the surroundings and the small physical enclosure of the server itself.

The simplest way to reduce heat is to trim the amount of power going into a chip. That's what IBM has probably done with its PPC blade servers, which are slated to hit the shelves in March, 2004. This implies that a low-power G5 laptop chip is only a small step away from the existing product. "The only thing lacking in the current 970 to make it a laptop is a low-voltage mode. The technology of the PPC 970 is very rapidly approaching the point where such things become slam dunks," says Glaskowsky.
post #20 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by IonYz
What's all this talk of carbon fiber? Yuck.


Yeah, it seems so Honda Civicy modish
post #21 of 92
I am beginning to wonder what else Apple could do with their laptops and (now) the iMac. At some point, it seems to me, you have exhausted all design options and you begin refining what you've got. With laptops, the limitations are more severe. How many different ways can you really build a laptop. Especially when the goals are, generally, smaller, lighter, thinner...and cheaper.

I expect Apple may stay with these basic designs for some time. I actually hope they do. Now, that doesn't mean the internals will not change (of course). And I can imagine Apple working hard to (as they do with iPod) to squeeze millimeters, ounces and dollars out of these product, while still trying to deliver better products.

The iMac is the same. The iMac G5 is basically a portable computer. Yes, a bug one. But look at it. It is simple a ginormous laptop. It's the best they can do with the G% right now. But the same question applies...how many different ways can you really design a computer before you are really stretching the boundaries of taste, reality, and what people want?
post #22 of 92
You're right Chris. Without doing something that's going to look silly, there's only so much that can be done with a laptop. I think a lot could be done to make them scratch and dent resistant. A full-size extended keyboard could be put in the PowerBook 17". Except for that, improved displays and better specs is about all that we'll see.

I suspect there's no chance of a new enclosure for the PowerBooks until there's a new CPU which might require it. The aluminum design just isn't old enough.
post #23 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by iDave

I suspect there's no chance of a new enclosure for the PowerBooks until there's a new CPU which might require it. The aluminum design just isn't old enough.

Agreed.
And with respect to the iBooks, I can't see a change in colour either. Yes, it has remained relatively the same since the clamshell days. But it's white exterior have become synonomous with what an iBook is. You can spot them a mile away and not mistaken the Apple brand.
post #24 of 92
Don't get me wrong...aluminum may stay. Mac OS Rumors says carbon fiber. Usually if they are right, then hell is freezing over. But a few of the supposed insiders that have posted here and elsewhere have stated carbon fiber is next up for the PowerBooks. Their claim for the switch to carbon fiber Apple needs a stronger material for the PowerBook's enclosure when it comes to all of the grills they need to incorporate to vent heat.
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post #25 of 92
carbon fiber is ugly and 90's tacky though
post #26 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by Peter North
carbon fiber is ugly and 90's tacky though

In most cases, it is extremely tacky.
However, it's already being used in at least one ThinkPad and surely Apple could do even better incorporating the material into a nice Ive-like package.

http://www.biosmagazine.co.uk/rev.php?id=165

The ThinkPad X40 includes lots of hardware technology and software solutions that aren't instantly obvious, but make computing on the move a lot more accessible than with competitor offerings. For instance, the laptop's enclosure is made of titanium composite carbon fibre reinforced plastic that is around three times the strength of ABS plastic. The system's thick metal hinges that connect the core of the base to the top cover might add a little weight, but it keeps the ThinkPad T42 extremely durable. A ThinkLight keyboard light located on the top edge of the display even illuminates the keyboard to let you work in low-light conditions
post #27 of 92
There was a lot of speculation recently about a dual processor PB. I would prefer that to a G5, at least for the time being. It would give you a lot of power when you need it (and are plugged in to an outlet) and give you long battery life at other times.

A little better battery life would be nicer. Why is it that NewerTek can supply batteries with so much more capacity than Apple does?

A little higher screen resolution would be nice.

A better WiFi antenna would be nice. Maybe a provision for an external antenna.
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post #28 of 92
well, carbon fiber can easily be painted. i personally like cf but that's because i'm a cf whore on my motorcycles. there's also aluminum fiber, which is similar to carbon fiber obviously but with aluminum threads instead. it's made stronger and stiffer by the resin. so aluminum fiber would be pretty darned cool actually.
post #29 of 92
I believe Apple has used carbon fiber before in PowerBooks. However, they used it for the cage around the hardware, not for the case. If they use carbon fiber again, I'd expect it to be for that reason.

Then again, carbon fiber is black, and Steve has a jones for black PowerBooks...
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post #30 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by admactanium
well, carbon fiber can easily be painted


and then chip
post #31 of 92
Yeah, like Apple wants to release another PowerBook with paint chipping problems.
post #32 of 92
Like the old titaniums, they fugly when the paint starts to chip
post #33 of 92
iBook- I think iPod mini colored aluminum enclosures for the iBooks along with thinning them out to make the current 12" Powerbook obsolete at 4 lbs. Release limited edition colors to generate revenue, or change the colors with generations.

Powerbook- subnotebook size fast G4? 12" challenging the Panasonic W2, keep the 15 and 17" at about the same size with G5s. The subnotebook is a huge gap Apple has for the Asia market...
post #34 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by Peter North
I hope they dont jam a crippled G5 chip into a 2.5 inch thick laptop that runs hot and gets 2 hours battery life.

Welcome to the world of Wintel notebooks
post #35 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by jaegermann
Welcome to the world of Wintel notebooks


that is hilarious. you should look into getting a standup special on HBO
post #36 of 92
I would love to see an anodized aluminum iBook line lol, i'd get a pink one asap! But I would also want the current design to be an option aswell, as I think it's the best notebook design in the industry.
post #37 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Then again, carbon fiber is black, and Steve has a jones for black PowerBooks...

Pardon? What does that mean? From the context I gather it means something like "a sweat spot for" or something? If so, what makes you say that?
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post #38 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by jaegermann
Welcome to the world of Wintel notebooks

So true.
I had a P4 2.0GHz Fujitsu-Siemens laptop before I made the switch. It basically had a prosessor designed for a desktop computer put in a laptop, with two fans that ran constantly and a 1,5h batterylife. After 4 months one of the fans just quit working, and the laptop started overheating and turning off everytime I did something slightly prosessor-demanding.

I would hate to get a Powerbook G5 that acted like this..
post #39 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by nooon
So true.
I had a P4 2.0GHz Fujitsu-Siemens laptop before I made the switch. It basically had a prosessor designed for a desktop computer put in a laptop, with two fans that ran constantly and a 1,5h batterylife.

Those were the days with the Pentium 4 in notebooks. But not anymore. The Pentium-M based notebooks have much better battery life than any Powerbook. And are way more powerful. Apple has yet to reach this level of performance.
post #40 of 92
yeah i remember taking a class and the professor had a 3ghz laptop (HP i think) and it took a solid 15 minutes for it to start up and be useful. pfff
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