This is the sub-notebook Apple should have made.



  • Reply 41 of 109
    PowerBook is the best portable you can buy...who honestly has a problem with the weight or size? I don't...
  • Reply 42 of 109
    quickquick Posts: 227member
    If a sub-notebook does not apply to you, do not buy one. it's that simple.

    Some have no need for portables but this is no reason not to produce portable computers by Apple at all.

    If there's a market for sub-notebooks, which I strongly believe, let them create one.

    [ 01-01-2003: Message edited by: Quick ]</p>
  • Reply 43 of 109
    rpmrpm Posts: 1member
    Maybe Apple already made it....

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    PB2400 @ 4.5lbs

    Add G3/400/1MB and any PC cards necessary to do the everyday jobs and it pretty much meets most of the middle-ground specs thrown out in this thread. ;-)

    Ahh, but for better batteries and more max RAM. ;-(
  • Reply 44 of 109
    quickquick Posts: 227member
    [quote]Originally posted by Lemon Bon Bon:

    <strong>Well, Apple wouldn't make one that ugly.

    Pe-uky palm-of-violets colour. Ble-e-etch!

    Little R&D to make one with mini-me iBook style minus opti-drive?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    This one looks better:

    But I agree, Apple could do much better. A mini-me TiBook would be really cool.

    [ 01-01-2003: Message edited by: Quick ]</p>
  • Reply 45 of 109
    icruiseicruise Posts: 127member
    The VAIO-U series (pictured above this post) is so small as to be unusable. The screen is 6" but has 1024X768 resolution and the keyboard is meant to be typed on with your two thumbs I've seen it in person and tried using it. While I love portable computers and small devices, this is totally the wrong direction. I do respect Sony for trying it, but it is just not usable in my opinion. But it does show that if you try hard enough you can make a computer very very small and light.
  • Reply 46 of 109
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    [quote]Originally posted by MacGregor:

    <strong>Look, Matsu-people, you are coming at the subnotebook from the point of view of the computer and coming to the reasonable (in your eyes) conclusion that you can't get the functionality of a iBook down to anything significantly smaller than the current iBook.

    Some of us are coming from the other direction. What is the size of device that people will reasonably carry on a bus, in a lab coat, etc., and THEN what kind of iDevice/subnotebook can have significant functionality at that size.

    The ideal size pretty much comes down to that of a paperback book (or VHS tape case). We have about a hundred years of marketing by the publishing industry backing that up. And we could probably lengthen the size abit to make a useful keyboard.

    I would like to store and hear/view mp3's, digital images and Quicktime movies; run pda-type programs that the phones will never be able to do, like Quicken, Planetarium, foreign language dictionaries, etc.; type or write emails and download webpages. That's it. I don't need an optical drive, just a FW port. I don't need a 12" screen; 8-9" wide screen is fine. I don't need function keys or a keypad.

    Just because no one has done it yet, doesn't mean it isn't worth working toward.

    And yes, the mini-Titanium model would be the way to go!</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Well and good, except that you agree with me in spite of yourself. Nothing shown so far in this thread comes down to the size-portability you describe. Can you put any of those Sony machines in your lab coat pocket? Nope. Will you use them on a bus? Not more easily than the iBook. You still have to carry it in a case, extract it, sit somewhere, etc etc...

    You are absolutely right about the ideal size. Check my numerous posts about web-pads and PDA's, no one agrees more than me, and for the same reasoning you gave -- Trade paperback all the way.

    If you can provide a tablet, about the size of a DVD jewel case, with a full size (alpha-section) keyboard, that is par down keys as much as possible without parring down size (kinda like what psion did) then you've almost arrived at the first really useable subnote/tablet/PDA hybrid. For those with no intention of pocketability, a slightly larger optical included device woudl do it. Double hinge the keyboard and make it a converta-tablet. So far these devices are seriously lacking in many ways, and they will always be underpowered, but they're just about powerful enough for the uses you describe.

    The picturebook format, or HP/C shows the most promise, but prices must come down, while portability, durability and useability must go up. These are computer complements and should be priced accordingly, so long as they cost significantly more than fully functional computers they are not mature enough for the market you would like.

    I still think an approx 4 lbs, 1" thick, 12" Ti Book should satisfy everyone, while still being a real computer. Won't be cheap though.
  • Reply 47 of 109
    quickquick Posts: 227member
    [quote]Originally posted by icruise:

    <strong>The VAIO-U series (pictured above this post) is so small as to be unusable ... I've seen it in person and tried using it. While I love portable computers and small devices, this is totally the wrong direction ...</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Unfortunately we can't try it out ourselves here in Europe (and I guess in the US too). Sony seems to sell the U-series in Japan only.

    If you make sub-notebooks bigger than that you loose portability (like putting it in your lab coat pocket as MacGregor suggests). Matsu is right in this respect, if they are only slightly smaller than the 12" iBook you might just as well buy an iBook.

    Also, a well designed subBook by Apple needs to be way cheaper than an iBook. You should be able to buy one (I suggest a 6" screen with a 1024X768 resolution and a similar form-factor like the U-series) for less than $600.

    [ 01-02-2003: Message edited by: Quick ]</p>
  • Reply 48 of 109
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Yes, Matsu, this has been an argument that isn't really an argument. After years, I have finally come to the painful conclusion that my small Clio-styled tablet is still not yet practical and you have been right about the lack of utility of the home mobile screen (so far) as described in Pogue's latest review of the MS "smart screen."

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    Years ago when I posed the paperback as the form-factor of mobile computing, I looked for products, and the closest one has been the Sony Picturebook. It is one of the few Windows-based machines that has any kind of Mac-like fan base, even with websites devoted to screenshots! We took a Picturebook on a bike ride through Belize last year and used it to view and edit digital photos and compose emails that we uploaded to a website when we got to big enough cities. And it worked flawlessly. And was it the ONLY time in which my friends and I (all Apple fans) couldn't honestly say that there was a better Apple solution.

    See some of the sites from this Google search, <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>; unfortunately the site of the Picturebook owner who "scandaliciously" upgraded to an iBook seems to be down.

    An aside that I've posted before: One friend works for NASA and when some of their engineers saw the picturebook, they quickly decided that it was the smallest, most useful computing platform that they could get off the shelf and bought dozens to take apart and put into customized, experimental test modules.

    Two more things I would like to add to this discussion though...

    1. One form-factor that is intriquing is the case made for the 4-DVD set of the Fellowship of the Ring. It is remarkable how well it folds out into the size and shape of a subnotebook with, I think, enough room for hardware and touch-screen, etc. It is a surprising flexible design.

    2. At somepoint there will be a large population of people with Visor/Palms (myself included) who will be getting mobile phones and use their pda's less, but who have become used to many of the pda apps that they have downloaded over the years. The pda market may hold steady for years to come, but if the pda begins to fail, these people will want to transition to a new VERY mobile platform. Unless Apple has such a platform, they will have to go Wintel or hold on to their rapidly antiquating pda's and relive the story of the Newton owners before them. I think Apple should have a subnotebook device that can run these apps natively.

    Edited for url's...

    [ 01-05-2003: Message edited by: MacGregor ]</p>
  • Reply 49 of 109
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    I am glad to see a good subnotebook thread for 2003, with some old subnotebook advocates (e.g. rambo47, MacGregor) contributing to the discussion.

    [quote]Originally posted by Hobbes:

    <strong>having used a 3 lb. ThinkPad for a few months, I have to say that the 2-3 lb. subnotebook idea is not something to ignore. It's very, very nice having something that light.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    [quote]Originally posted by rogue27:

    <strong>Apple's best bet would be to work on making the iBook shorter, lighter, and cheaper by consolidating more components and rearranging the internal structure.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    [quote]Originally posted by Quick:

    <strong>A sub-notebook does not have to serve the same purposes of a notebook... A sub-notebook is something completely different.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    I agree with Hobbes, rogue27 and Quick here. Subnotebooks are distinct from small but full-featured notebooks like the current iBook. I definitely care more about weight than about size. If my iBook weighted 3 lbs instead of 5 lbs (even at the cost of loosing the optical drive, which I use very rarely), it would be ideal for me.

    [quote]Originally posted by fryke:

    <strong>Remove the optical drive completely, let it have a good graphics system (32 MB 7500 is okay) and a 600 or 700 MHz G3 processor. Make it the same form factor the iBook uses - but thinner (no optical drive, right?). There IS a market for that, because you can use a Firewire CD-RW to install stuff on it, you can make them netbootable for schools (over the next AirPort generation, this would be fun, 11 Mbit is a tad slow, though). And it would make a good portable machine if you don't need the optical drive too much.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    [quote]Originally posted by MacGregor:

    <strong>No optical drive, but with iDisk, Airport and iSync via Firewire to your other Mac('a la iPod) you shouldn't need no stinking optical drive.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    fryke and MacGregor get the picture right. A good subnotebook would include only basic functionality, but have the capability to increase its functionality, only if needed, by connecting to external devices and networks via Ehternet, FireWire, 802.11g and/or Bluetooth.

    [quote]Originally posted by icruise:

    <strong>For those of you who say that you don't see the point of a subnotebook -- fine. But why do you insist that anyone who wants one is a fool?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Finally, I agree that we should abstract from the question of whether each of us individually could use a subnotebook. I have barely used my iMac since I got my iBook in May 2001. This obviously doesn't mean that iMacs are obsolete or useless. Same goes for subnotebooks. Let's discuss subnotebooks themselves, not whether they have a raison d'etre or not!

  • Reply 50 of 109
    banchobancho Posts: 1,517member
    I've weighed in on this topic against subnotebooks based on the title of the thread. However I think it can be argued that the title is poor since Apple hasn't made a subnotebook in recent years and the only product that comes close in their offerings is the iBook.

    I wouldn't mind seeing a new product emerge which satisfies those desiring a subnotebook but I don't want to see my beloved iBook turned into this device. I guess that's my only disagreement here.
  • Reply 51 of 109
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    It's funny how Apple's new <a href=""; target="_blank">PowerBook G4 12"</a> fits right in the discussion here. It's still not a subnotebook. But it's marginally smaller and lighter (and more powerful) than the iBook. Assuming we don't see an Apple subnotebook, I'll replace my iBook/500 with a PowerBook 12" as soon as it sports a 1Ghz processor and supports 1GB of RAM.

  • Reply 52 of 109
    I hope Apple some day get's the courage to make a 10 or een 8 inch Powerbook-like notebook.....
  • Reply 53 of 109
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    The current Little Al book is the perfect subnote, it actually doubles as a real computer! I don't expect it's footprint to shrink much, though it might get a little thinner and a hair lighter when they get cooler more efficient G4's and more advanced battery tech.

    Those of you who so desperately clamour for something still smaller should reconsider where exactly you intend to use this machine and whether it will really be easier to carry, deploy and use most of the time. I think not, and it certainly won't feature the 12's burn/optical facilities of fully sized keyboard.

    Get the Little Al, it's the most rational subnote now on the market.
  • Reply 54 of 109
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    [quote]Originally posted by Matsu:

    <strong>Get the Little Al, it's the most rational subnote now on the market.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Rational, yes. Subnote, no!

    After using my iBook/500 for 18 months, I've come to appreciate the 12" screen and full-size keyboard, even though I still rarely use the optical drive. There's no question that a small but full-featured notebook like the iBook or 12" aluBook makes sense. Nonetheless, the 12" aluBook ain't no subnotebook by any stretch of the imagination.

    I'm curious to see how soon I'll get one (a 12" aluBook), and whether I'll fall for this revision or will manage to wait for that 1GB of RAM.

  • Reply 55 of 109
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    I like the 12" PB.

    I would not want to give up functionality in lieu of saving a pound and a half.
  • Reply 56 of 109
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Our discussion was (for once) well timed with Apple marketing!

    Obviously they realized that the niche is there and significant. "2003 is the year of the notebook." I think that speaks volumes of what we can expect out of Apple this year....some good, some maybe not so good.

    As for the good, it is very encouraging to see the 12" Powerbook. Not only is it a great least on paper, but it also shows that Apple thinks:

    1. That the Ti/Al look still has legs.

    2. That the notebook computers will be spec'ed with desktop quality displays!!!

    3. That Apple will agressively push the graphic card envelop in portables.

    4. That the G4 will work in smaller "boxes" than I think some in these fora would have given it credit.

    5. That Apple CAN build a G4 subnotebook if it wants to by taking out the optical drive and giving the display a smaller widescreen format. The keyboard would not have to be modified that much.

    6. That Apple (or Steve) may soon WANT to build a G4 subnotebook, since obviously the future is in notebooks.

    7. That Apple will keep the iBooks as reasonably priced machines and allow the Powerbooks to take on the bells, whistles and expensive innovations. I think that is important so that the iBooks don't get iMac'ed and priced out of the low-end market.

    8. That Apple may continue to increase the variety of sizes and BTO possiblilities for both iBook and Powerbook product that each can become fully actualized with logical upgrade pathways.

    I can't wait to hold a 12" PowerBook, unfortunately they can be a little slow getting here since we don't have an Apple Store in the state.
  • Reply 57 of 109
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,503member
    [quote]Originally posted by Escher:


    Rational, yes. Subnote, no!

    After using my iBook/500 for 18 months, I've come to appreciate the 12" screen and full-size keyboard, even though I still rarely use the optical drive. There's no question that a small but full-featured notebook like the iBook or 12" aluBook makes sense. Nonetheless, the 12" aluBook ain't no subnotebook by any stretch of the imagination.

    I'm curious to see how soon I'll get one (a 12" aluBook), and whether I'll fall for this revision or will manage to wait for that 1GB of RAM.


    It is smaller than the DUO was, did you consider that a subnote?
  • Reply 58 of 109
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    OK, there are two things keeping Apple from a true subnote, as far as I can tell:

    1) Ergonomics. Cramped or thumb keyboards, squinty screens, and peripheral juggling will not get past Steve.

    2) Profitability. I don't think that, to this day, anyone has actually made a dime on a subnote line. They're money-losing status items.

    Performance in such a compact form is an issue on the Windows side, but less so on the Mac side. Mot's and IBM's interest in embedded chips does have its advantages. So I won't count that as a point against.

    So how could we make a subnotebook that gets around these constraints?

    The screen and keyboard are solved: The 12" TiBook is a perfect place to start. An anodized aluminum skin will provide some ruggedness, and excellent heat dissipation (it also makes a terrific antenna). The basic feature set can be moved over easily. One gotcha: Batteries are heavy, so it would take work to avoid the (all too common) irony of an ultraportable that requires you to be tethered to a wall socket to get any significant amount of work done. Apple might be able to get around this by stocking the thing up with RAM and using a slow hard drive that's put to sleep as often as possible (as the iPod's is). The optical drive, a major power drain when it's running, will be gone, so that's one less thing to worry about.

    The big problem is the optical drive. It's going to be large and heavy (relative to the rest of the machine) out of necessity, which means that there's no obvious way to externalize it which isn't cumbersome. Unfortunately, although you might not use it often, you sometimes need it, and you can't always predict when.

    I have two ideas - and they're just ideas - which might address this problem.

    The first idea was inspired by the new AirPort Base Station. If a little UFO can share a USB printer wirelessly, why can't a little box share an optical drive wirelessly? Granted, there would be a price premium over your basic external drive, but you wouldn't have to do any wire juggling. The biggest problem (and it's a big one) is that the box would either have to have a battery (more size, more cost) or it would have to be plugged in to a wall. Perhaps it could plug into a FireWire port if all else fails, but then you're back to peripheral juggling.

    The second way would have a big slot in the side that could either accomodate a battery or an optical drive. Obvious downside: You'd have to be plugged in to use the drive.

    I'm not convinced that either of these is better than the system that subnote users currently put up with. I'm posting them in the hope that they will inspire the armchair designers here ( ) to tackle the one remaining problem I can see with a Steve-approved subnote.

    I have to agree that in theory an ultralight notebook is wonderful. The trick is getting there without paring it down so far that it's not a general-purpose computer.
  • Reply 59 of 109
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    As to whether the subnotebook is a viable product for Apple, doesn't Sony make money on subnotebook? I really doubt Apple would lose money on one, since they already have the technology to build it. Solving the G4 heat dissipation may have reached its limit at the 12" size.

    Personally I don't know if I would rather have the 12" Powerbook or a Al/Ti subnotebook. It mostly depends upon what desktop I have. When I get a current new iMac or a PowerMac, I have no need for everythingthat is in the 12"PowerBook. I won't need a portable desktop. I will want something that has the functionality of an iPod and pda, that can also view mpegs and let me write emails or run basic productivity apps....eventually using a mobile phone to occasionally access the web. I would like it to have a 9" widescreen display and a simple keyboard.

    This can be made for less money than the 12"PowerBook and at under 3 pounds. Apple just has to build it.

    However as Escher eloquently sig's, until that happens, the AlPowerbook would be a great substitute.

    The problem is that Apple has to wait alot longer for me to give them money for the more expensive device.
  • Reply 60 of 109
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Well, I went to the Sony site and I couldn't find any subnotebooks at all, even in the their search window, so maybe they did lose lots of money and maybe they have decided that the slim notebooks and the Clie bracket the subnotebook product line enough. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
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