Originally Posted by SDW2001
Well, it's not new, but OK. I guess I can see the market for business travelers. To me though, there isn't a lot of difference between a 3lb 11" computer and one that is more fully featured and weighs 5 lbs. The only exception in my mind would be for those who take the train everyday or who fly frequently. But then again, if you're going to take a 1 week business trip, why not have a more fully featured machine to use at the hotel, at your meetings, etc?
Having read through all the posts on this thread, it is quite clear that there are a number of misconceptions about the existing ensemble of 3lb or less, ULV single and duo core ultra-light computers in the current marketplace and what they are capable of doing. I think this is because most who have posted here have never used one. There seems to be a "feeling" that they have only marginal low end capabilities, i.e., email, text editing, web browsing, etc. (Someone said they would not be usable for college students! Total BS!) Nothing could be farther from the truth. I'll explain shortly.
I'm a "mobile" professional/ consultant in the Pharmaceutical/Botech industry who travels quite a bit.
I have 3 computers:
1)\tA powerhouse souped up Mac Pro which I use for all my design, programming and creative at-home work
2)\tA 5.2 lb 13" Macbook,
3) \tA Sony Vaio TX 160, a 3 lb, 1.2 Ghz ULV, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HD and "Superdrive-like ODD (i.e.the predecessor of the current Sony TX series)
I have used the Sony T160 in my work for 3 years. In addition to the aforementioned "low level" capabilities (MS Office, Firefox et al) , I currently have installed on my unit:
1)\t2 high power relational database programs: MS Access and 4th Dimension. My DBs are quite large approaching 50,000 records. Each has complex number-crunching scripts associated with them for DB queries, sorting and complex calculations (i.e. they require some computing horsepower in order to work within a reasonable timeframe). I use these DBs on all my business trips. While most of the hard core programming and design work is done at home, I can still do similiar stuff when called for when I'm at a client's place. Not as quickly but still doable. I usually go to the client with completed analyses and mostly use the display/output features of these programs.
2) \tSAS JMP--A Powerful statistical analysis program which includes Design of Experiments (DOE), ANOVA , sophisticated statistical analytic tools and complex graphing capabilities.
3)\tAdobe Acobat v 8-- I have a full copy of v5 and a trial version v8 to see if I want to upgrade.
4)\tAdobe Creative Suite 2--I am an amateur photographer and just recently downloaded a trial version of the program. I'm still a novice with CS2 but so far there's \tnothing I can't do with my T160.
I have other stuff but this will do for now. I have engineering colleagues who have ultra-lights with AutoCad installed. These notebooks are not toys with only low level capabilities! You can actually do productive high end business and "creative" work on them if you have to in the field.
In the windows world, there are many elegant, well designed, full featured 3lb or less notebooks in the $1500-$3000+ price range from Sony, Panasonic, LG, Asus, Fujitsu and others, even HP. Just take a trip to Dynamism.com to have a look see. Panasonic, Asus and LG have duo core units. Some of these come with ODD while others like the Asus U1F offers an external Blu-Ray burner. What they all lack and this is huge IMO, none can run OSX
So with this as a backdrop, viz. ultralights are not just email/web/text editing toys and that there are many well designed, full featured units by well established companies available in the marketplace, what does Apple have to offer?
We know from Q4 data provided by IDC and Gartner that worldwide notebook sales are increasing rapidly and overtaking the desktop in unit sales.http://www.linuxelectrons.com/articl...IDC&mode=print
Here are my views:
1) Apple could enter a very crowded ultra-light marketplace with a "conventional" 3lb notebook with standard technologies (ULV, keyboard, 1.8" HD, ODD, etc.) against strong competitors who have been entrenched in that shark-invested market for some time. And, though I'm sure Apple will bring a lot of "cool" to such a unit, others have serious clout in this regard. Sony, Fujitsu and LG make very stylish machines with a high "wow" factor. HP is on a mega-momemtum ride in the computer arena. So Apple would match their "cool" design plus OSX
against some serious competition. How have they done so far in other categories in such competitions , i.e., conventional 5lb+ Pro laptops and the whole range of their desktop models? Good and improving slowly but still in the ~ 2-5% of worldwide market share. The Ipod halo effect has helped a little but has not provided an exponential leap forward.
2) If point one is reasonable, what else can Apple do to become successful as it enters this new market? Again, we have an example with the iPhone. Apple entered a very crowded, highly complex and competitive new market (mobile communications) with something brand new, not a conventional device with their stylish cool added on. We don't know if they'll succeed but we do know that they chose to introduce a whole new design--3 functions in one with no buttons-- and a smidgen of a great new technology.called Multi-Touch. (BTW, in contrast, when Apple entered the audio market with the Ipod, there was no dominant company and no entrenched dominant technology. It was essentially an open market waiting to be had for the taking with a breakthrough device and ingenious (& monopolistic) coordinate content provider mechanism--iTunes).
I think this argues for the case that Apple will enter the ultralight notebook market with something new to separate itself from the others and that something new is Multi-Touch. That is the one technology that Apple has that the Sonys, the Fujitsus, the Panasonics, the HPs, don't have now. I don't know what the first incarnation will be in notebooks. I have my own wish list for MT (posted in other threads on AI) but there are practicalities that I'm not informed enough about to know whether they are just naive speculations. Kolchak and others have made very persuasive arguments that such notebooks must have a conventional keyboard.
3) Finally, since I always like to come at a problem from a different direction (Think Different?), what if Apple doesn't produce a new ultra-light at all (now) BUT writes a software program that allows OSX to run natively and as fast on a wintel machine. I could then run OSX on that Sony TX or LG X1 that I have been lusting for! A reverse Parallels if you will. I have not thought through this enough yet regarding profitability, affect on global market share, a Vista/MS lockout etc,. But to me at least, it's an intriguing idea. In the mean time, Apple can further mature MT before it enters the market with its own ultra-light.