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

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited May 2014
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.

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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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 177
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    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...
  • Reply 2 of 177
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 177
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 177
    rajaramrajaram Posts: 15member
    I don't think my 5 year old MBP has a fan.
  • Reply 5 of 177
    irun262irun262 Posts: 121member
    ascii wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 177
    irun262irun262 Posts: 121member
    rajaram wrote: »
    I don't think my 5 year old MBP has a fan.

    Surley you are joking?
  • Reply 7 of 177
    seankillseankill Posts: 450member
    pmz wrote: »
    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...........
  • Reply 8 of 177
    irun262irun262 Posts: 121member
    seankill wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 177
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,704member
    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. 

  • Reply 10 of 177
    sporlosporlo Posts: 143member
    pmz wrote: »
    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…
  • Reply 11 of 177

    But will it have screen burn in issues?

  • Reply 12 of 177

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 177
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    sporlo wrote: »
    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.

    ;)
  • Reply 14 of 177
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,665member
    ascii wrote: »
    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.

    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.
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 177
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,665member
    irun262 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 177
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,926moderator
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 177
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,198member
    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
  • Reply 18 of 177

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

     

    ;)

  • Reply 19 of 177
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member
    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/
  • Reply 20 of 177
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,926moderator
    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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