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Ultra-portable Apple notebook to splash down at Macworld Expo

post #1 of 296
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Exclusive -- Unlike last year, the annual Macworld Expo and Conference that rolls around in January will actually serve as a launch pad for some new Macs, including a chic and ultra-compact notebook design long under development by Apple Inc.

The 13-inch portable, which AppleInsider first detailed back in February, will mark the Cupertino-based Mac maker's re-entry into the sub-notebook market -- arriving in a form-factor that's approximately 50 percent lighter and strikingly slimmer than the company's current 15-inch professional MacBook Pro offering.

In achieving this smaller notebook footprint, Apple has reportedly adopted design cues that fall in line with the minimalist nature of its chief executive, including a bold move to omit a traditional optical disc drive from the aluminum-clad systems.

The thickness of today's optical disc drive components are one of the primary factors limiting the ability of PC manufacturers to slim down their next-generation notebook designs. Although Apple had originally made attempts to build in a drive through unconventional means, it's reported that the plan faced both obstacles and opposition, and upon last check appeared to have been scrapped.

At the same time, the new sub-notebook will mark the advent of features not yet available with Apple's existing portable offerings, such as onboard NAND flash. The system will represent the first Mac to utilize the solid-state memory in order to improve power efficiency and facilitate near instantaneous boot times, among other advantages.

Also helping with power efficiency will be the adoption of a new breed of 13-inch LCD display panels, which, like those used in the current iteration of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, feature LED backlights rather than cold cathode fluorescent backlights (CCFLs).

While pricer than CCFLs, LED-backlit panels offer increased color saturation and are more efficient at distributing light evenly across the entire display surface. They also consume less power, run cooler, and last longer than CCFL-backlit displays. When combined with on-board NAND flash drives -- which contain no moving parts and therefore also draw less power -- the technology is expected to translate into significant improvements in battery performance as employed in the new notebook design.



While there has been some uncertainty as to when Apple would be ready to unveil the next-generation portable, people familiar with the matter now tell AppleInsider that the company is gearing up for a grand introduction during January's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, which runs January 15th through the 18th.

Since AppleInsider first reported on development of the new sub-notebook back in February, several prominent Wall Street analysts have taken steps to quantify the effect such a product would have on Apple's bottom line, including Morgan Stanely analyst Katy Huberty.

In a detailed research report last month, she explained that a launch early next year could help the company achieve her current "Bull Case" scenario, which would include per-share earnings of $7.00 for the 2008 calendar year.

"We continue to believe our bull case scenario of $7 earnings-per-share and a $225 stock is increasingly likely given operating leverage and the upcoming launch of an ultramobile Mac," Huberty told clients.

Other analysts who've weighed in with their thoughts on the matter include American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
post #2 of 296
no optical drive, this will create huge debate,but it could be good like what happened with Floppy Drives ...

Nov '09 | iMac 21.5" C2D 3.06 Ghz | Intel 330 240GB SSD | ATI

Sep '12| Toshiba 14" 1366 x 768! | i5 3rd Gen 6GB| Intel x25-m 120GB SSD | Win 7|  Viewsonic VX2255wmb 22" LCD
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Nov '09 | iMac 21.5" C2D 3.06 Ghz | Intel 330 240GB SSD | ATI

Sep '12| Toshiba 14" 1366 x 768! | i5 3rd Gen 6GB| Intel x25-m 120GB SSD | Win 7|  Viewsonic VX2255wmb 22" LCD
iPhone 4S| iPad 2 wifi

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post #3 of 296
Sooo... "a stylus, right"?
post #4 of 296
I wasn't planning on getting a new mac until Nahalem came out but *this* might change my mind.

But only if it comes with an 8800 gtx card.
post #5 of 296
let's fire Time Machine and scroll forward to january...
post #6 of 296
touch screen anybody?
post #7 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanmugam View Post

no optical drive, this will create huge debate,but it could be good like what happened with Floppy Drives ...

I use my optical drive about 1 day a month. I wouldn't miss it, so long as there was an external solution available.
post #8 of 296
I think this would mark the beginning of Mac OS X being distributed on flash thumb drives. Wouldn't that be cool? Booting from a flash drive. Is that even possible right now? I don't think so. It would be another edge on the competition.
post #9 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

I think this would mark the beginning of Mac OS X being distributed on flash thumb drives. Wouldn't that be cool? Booting from a flash drive. Is that even possible right now? I don't think so. It would be another edge on the competition.

Sure is possible.
post #10 of 296
one quick question, is it replacement for Current MacBooks 13.3" or new ultraportable with existing 13.3"???

sure alu making its way into all the products, and white color is going away indeed ....

Nov '09 | iMac 21.5" C2D 3.06 Ghz | Intel 330 240GB SSD | ATI

Sep '12| Toshiba 14" 1366 x 768! | i5 3rd Gen 6GB| Intel x25-m 120GB SSD | Win 7|  Viewsonic VX2255wmb 22" LCD
iPhone 4S| iPad 2 wifi

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Nov '09 | iMac 21.5" C2D 3.06 Ghz | Intel 330 240GB SSD | ATI

Sep '12| Toshiba 14" 1366 x 768! | i5 3rd Gen 6GB| Intel x25-m 120GB SSD | Win 7|  Viewsonic VX2255wmb 22" LCD
iPhone 4S| iPad 2 wifi

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post #11 of 296
This may not be for everyone, but for people who want everything with all the weight, go out and get yourself the regular MacBook/MacBookPros.

I will buy the new ultraportable the moment it hits shelves, and I'm certain that this ultraportable will help Apple in a market where it's done poorly the past few years: Japan. Most Japanese think that a 4-5 lbs notebook is absurd.

I owned a PowerBook 2400c, the last Apple subnotebook to be released (in 1997 and, interestingly, designed in Japan -- it was a hit in Japan but not in America). It's been too long since Apple had a model to compete with the Vaios and Toshibas in this segment of the market. Offering something in the subnotebook category is better than nothing at all, and with Apple's recent designhits I'm confident their next subnotebook will be compelling. Many of us have desktop Macs and just need something light and easy to carry around. I have a 24" Aluminum iMac for real work, and use my PowerBook G4 for bed and carrying around, but it's too big/heavy to be brought along as an afterthought. Kudos to Apple for developing a portable for those of us who want a secondary computer. I have several friends who are frothing at the mouth to buy this ...
post #12 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck View Post

Sooo... "a stylus, right"?

I don' know. I gathered from the article that it was simply a 13" MacBook Pro slimmed down w/o an optical drive WITH a keyboard.

I didn't think this was the rumoured Tablet...but who knows.

BTW, since when is 13" considered ultra-portable.
post #13 of 296
FINALLY! a replacement for my 12" PB
post #14 of 296
Just around the corner till Macworld!
:o)
post #15 of 296
Ok, so this isn't the "touch mac", this is a lightweight regular notebook according to your info? Is the bigger touch still in the making? Perhaps the bigger touch will be running the mobile OSX.

Anyway.. I won't be missing an optical drive, I use it very rarely. Though it's crucial to me that i does have FireWire and USB2 since all my music gear connects that way. If it slims down to crazy slim Apple has to make some kind of slim multi-cable or something in order to connect it to external devices..

Nevertheless, cool news! I was expecting it to take another half year or something after reading today's intel announcement.
post #16 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by barney View Post

FINALLY! a replacement for my 12" PB

Indeed! It's about time!
post #17 of 296
YES!! Finally!
I can't even remember when i last used my optical drive. I'll buy one the moment it hits the stores (if i can afford it )
post #18 of 296
I can't wait to get my hands on one of these things ! I've been wanting to ditch the optical drive from my Macbook pretty ever since I've had it. It's a large component that I've probably used twice in 18 months....

I wonder how Apple will distribute backup disks and new OS releases though ? They could sell an external drive, or perhaps if they 'think different' they could put the restore 'disks' onto a flash memory stick included with the machine ?
post #19 of 296
I've been wanting to replace my MBP that I sold a few months back. This would most do the trick.
post #20 of 296
HOWEVER, if it's a widescreen so the diagonal is 13" but not nearly as tall then that would put the ultra in ultraportable. Think of it as having dimensions like a checkbook. I'd replace my MBP w/ a desktop and this if so.
post #21 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

I didn't think this was the rumoured Tablet...but who knows.

BTW, since when is 13" considered ultra-portable.

Yeah, I'm with you. The tablet/New Newton talk was interesting and some people seem to want it, but this sounds like something I might actually buy...

So, maybe there is still an ultra portable out there with a touch screen, but this certainly isn't it!

By the way, I have seen very little speculation on the processor. Will they have trouble putting something as hot as a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo in the small form factor? Or are they going to have to sacrifice processor to maximize portability?
Just wait for the outcry when it doesn't have harpertown!!
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post #22 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by eridium View Post

I'm certain that this ultraportable will help Apple in a market where it's done poorly the past few years: Japan. Most Japanese think that a 4-5 lbs notebook is absurd.

I totally agree, one thing that I think would put this sub-notebook over the competition would be multitouch technology. Apple jas the technology and it would be silly if they didn't implement it, specially for the japanese market.
post #23 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

I think this would mark the beginning of Mac OS X being distributed on flash thumb drives. Wouldn't that be cool? Booting from a flash drive. Is that even possible right now? I don't think so. It would be another edge on the competition.

That's a very good idea. Installations should be much quicker too. I'm not sure about reliability but a read-only drive shouldn't be quite so bad. 8GB thumb drives are as cheap as £20 these days so surely Apple could get them even cheaper and then add maybe £10 onto the price of the system.

I would generally be against the idea of leaving out an optical drive but in reality, I only burn about one disc a fortnight and I've opted to keep all my DVD collection on an external hard drive for quick access. My only concern is when it comes to disc copying as two drives are much better to have but for an ultra portable, I don't see this as a problem.

What I am disappointed at however is the fact that Sony have a 10" portable that is absolutely tiny and yet still has an optical drive so unless Apple's model has some significant advantage such as using similar components to the Macbook Pro then Apple's offering will look very bad in comparison. The Sony only has a 1.5GHz Core Solo and integrated graphics I think so if it's just a very small MBP, it would be a great machine.
post #24 of 296
Just a silly speculation, but what if
1) the brains are all contained in the lid, and the keyboard is only that
2) the screen disconnects
3) its a touch screen

All of these are currently possible. There's your tablet.

Just thinking.
Still a little big, I guess.
post #25 of 296
Non-user friendly companies like Aspyr need the CD in the drive for their program to run.

Now they will get payback for this despised method when they can't sell anything to the owners of the new hotness.
post #26 of 296
One thing to remember... the escape clause for iTunes DRM lock-in is the ability to burn any iTunes content to a CD to strip DRM. For that purpose, the drive may be fairly heavily used by some and seen as a loss.
post #27 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

I think this would mark the beginning of Mac OS X being distributed on flash thumb drives. Wouldn't that be cool? Booting from a flash drive. Is that even possible right now? I don't think so. It would be another edge on the competition.

Well, if you have your OS reinstalled at an Apple Store, they simply boot it up through a network connection. This is one option to consider as well. Dowloaded .dmg files might be there, in addition to USB or FireWire flash drives for distro. These techniques would save Apple a lot of money and reduce the environmental footprint of the products, both of which are great.

However, it does reduce the legendary unboxing process, although that remains for physical products.

The last thing, the big one, really, is that you can't watch DVDs on the machine. I guess there won't be Blu-Ray in at least this machine.

It also boosts the value of Apple's iTunes movie service, something that I'm sure did not happen totally accidentally.Me, I'm just gonna buy one and the sue them since I'm locked into the movie service.
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post #28 of 296
what do you guys say about the initial price? somewhere between $1999 and $2499? more or less.


I think it would be very much like apple to not even include an external optical drive, and just supply new software on flash drives. apple always says they are focusing on moving forward. the only reason you would need an optical drive would be for installing 3rd party software, most of which you can download anyhow. besides, external optical drives are becoming quite cheap.
post #29 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by wirc View Post

Me, I'm just gonna buy one and the sue them since I'm locked into the movie service.

Put me down for that one as well. Perhaps if enough people buy one we can make it class-action?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthiede View Post

I think it would be very much like apple to not even include an external optical drive, and just supply new software on flash drives. apple always says they are focusing on moving forward. the only reason you would need an optical drive would be for installing 3rd party software, most of which you can download anyhow. besides, external optical drives are becoming quite cheap.

I'm betting Apple will sell a super-cheap ($45?) external superdrive as an option for the new machine like the modem attachment for the MB/MBP.
post #30 of 296
Apple has reportedly adopted design cues that fall in line with the minimalist nature of its chief executive, including a bold move to omit a traditional optical disc drive from the aluminum-clad systems.


So bold that my year-old work Dell has ommitted it.

I don't know why people think this would be either controversial or innovative. It is neither, though it is a very welcome new product.
post #31 of 296
Wonderful news, but what I really need is a tablet. If I am to ever have any hope of converting my brother to the Mac, I need a tablet before he goes to Medical School - next year!

(And no, the third party converted MacBook fake tablet doesn't count.)
post #32 of 296
Standard letter size paper (8.5" x 11") is 13.9" on the diagonal. So, allowing for margins or some scaling, my work page will fit on 13" . Good deal!
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post #33 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by wirc View Post

I'm just gonna buy one and the sue them since I'm locked into the movie service.

Even in jest, please - Apple has had enough of this crap.
post #34 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by potterhead4 View Post

PI'm betting Apple will sell a super-cheap ($45?) external superdrive as an option for the new machine like the modem attachment for the MB/MBP.

Nothing is cheap at Apple. Prices end in "9" with $29 or $39 being a skin for an iPod. That drive will be $149
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post #35 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Just a silly speculation, but what if
1) the brains are all contained in the lid, and the keyboard is only that

Not nearly enough weight at the base for counter-balance requiring artificial weight, which defeats the purpose of a UMPC plus the screen takes up more depth that a keyboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

2) the screen disconnects

I doubt it but I see where you got that from. Due to the counter-balance issue, there would be no point in making a screen alone detach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

3) its a touch screen

If it's designed like the MBP definitely no but again this relates to the above 2 conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii

Non-user friendly companies like Aspyr need the CD in the drive for their program to run.

That's a good point. They could just turn round and say to buy a bus powered optical drive of course but it's not all that practical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthiede

what do you guys say about the initial price? somewhere between $1999 and $2499? more or less.

I've been wondering that myself. Now if other discussions are anything to go by, it would be a seriously bad idea for Apple to take a Pro level product, shrink it down and price it close to any of their consumer models so it will have to be at least 3 times the price of the Macbook in which case it will put anyone off buying it. Hmmm, this doesn't seem like such a good idea at all.

Or...

The price is perfectly acceptable and half way between the Macbook and MBP maybe £999. This way it's just slightly more than the most expensive Macbook. Either that or £1099.

This way the laptop pricing goes

£699, £829, £949, <£1099>, £1299, £1599, £1799

You could almost say it fills a very large gap in the product lineup.
post #36 of 296
what if there's a standard laptop keyboard and NO TRACKPAD, but the screen is multi touch - could you manage to be as productive if your trackpad is gone and you have to reach up to the screen to move the "cursor"? this would save room on the base of the unit that's currently taken up by the trackpad. [if the unit is thin enough, your desk [or lap] would be your wrist wrest.
...as long as they don't go to the "pencil eraser" style cursor control. i can't stand that thing. i have no problems w/ getting rid of an optical drive. skip right over HD DVD and Blu Ray to straight up WiFi downloading / streaming.

this can't cost more than $1,999. i'm hoping for options ranging from $1500 - $2000 [depending on SSD size & Processor Speed]
post #37 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

what if there's a standard laptop keyboard and NO TRACKPAD, but the screen is multi touch - could you manage to be as productive if your trackpad is gone and you have to reach up to the screen to move the "cursor"? this would save room on the base of the unit that's currently taken up by the trackpad. [if the unit is thin enough, your desk [or lap] would be your wrist wrest.
...as long as they don't go to the "pencil eraser" style cursor control. i can't stand that thing. i have no problems w/ getting rid of an optical drive. skip right over HD DVD and Blu Ray to straight up WiFi downloading / streaming.

this can't cost more than $1,999. i'm hoping for options ranging from $1500 - $2000 [depending on SSD size & Processor Speed]

How 'bout a trackpad that is actually a touch that pops out?
post #38 of 296
I maintain XP, Vista and Mac devices for a living. Since when is 13 inches (i'll assume 16:9 ratio) considered an ultraportable? I don't care if it is feather light, the size of this would still be somewhere near the current MacBook...and not very "ultra" portable. I seriously hope Apple is still planning to wow us in January with a UMPC-sized multi-touch device!

(Also, Vista already allows for flash booting, called "ReadyBoost". And laptops and UMPCs exist without optical drives and some very small laptops have optical drives, so what is the big deal here?)
post #39 of 296
lets hope they aren't freeze-happy like 30% (personal estimate) of all macs out there now.

i really need this fix to come soon. it's annoying how unpredictable this ordeal is.

anyway. NAND flash should improve performance...sounds interesting to me.
post #40 of 296
I welcome an ultraportable - I need it badly and so does the Japanese market. But, dammit, you don't need any new technology to produce an ultraportable. Windoze laptop makers have been doing this for years and coming in well under 2kg, often under 1.5 kg even with an optical drive.

So, it's really odd that Apple had to wait so long, when it could have used existing technology. The flash drives and all that other stuff to lighten the portable is nice - but after years of waiting to replace a 12" Powerbook - it just makes no sense.

Let's hope this comes out in January, or I'll be buying a Windoze laptop and hacking it to run OSX.
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