Why not an updated eMate?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
With this recent speculation of flash RAM replacing hard drives in future notebooks (see the AI article this past week), why not create an updated version of the eMate running a decent Intel processor like the ultralights? No internal optical drive, no internal hard drive. Just 10GB or so of flash RAM for the OS. My Tiger partition would fit in 10GB easily, except for my bloated Applications and desktop folders. But who needs to run Photoshop on an eMate-like system anyway? They could get this thing down to 3 pounds easily, especially with say a 12" widescreen display with a resolution of 1152x768. Without a spinning hard drive, battery life might be enough for a full workday. A Compactflash or Secure Digital slot for directly reading and displaying digicam photos and also for saving data instead of wearing out system flash RAM with nonessential writes. When you do need more storage, just plug in a USB 2.0 or FireWire 2.5 inch hard drive. Somebody should make one of those with a retractable cord built in, like Kensington's Pocketmouse Pro. Touchscreen with scroll wheel on the side of the keyboard.



As icing on the cake, this could be the ideal system for all those school programs that Apple's always touting, like Henrico. You can't tell me something like this wouldn't be more durable than hard drives in the hands of teenagers. That's why Apple designed the eMate 300 in the first place.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    dhagan4755dhagan4755 Posts: 2,150member
    Not gonna happen
  • Reply 2 of 19
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    The main obstacle for flash memory is cost (10 GB... guess what that would cost!) and longevity issues.



    Harddrives are actually very durable and a mature, proven, stable technology that just works. And dollar per Gigabyte, it has the best price anywhere.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    resres Posts: 711member
    A friend of mine is a nurse that does home healthcare and she was given a micro notebook with pen input that is really nice. I would love to see a keyboard sized Mac that also had pen input. I would not want it based on flash ram, but with the small high capacity drives we have today, here is no need to use flash memory.



    I admit that micro-notebooks are not a large market segment, but with Apple switching over to Intel, they might be able to use off the shelf hardware to fulfill the needs of some of the niche markets.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Quote:

    Without a spinning hard drive, battery life might be enough for a full workday.



    Hard drive consumes very little power compared to, say, the screen.

    My 10.6 Fujitsu P7k at 3 lb lasts solid 6-6.5 hour on its main battery alone.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    I wouldn't mind seeing a modern version of the eMate running a stripped down version of OS X. The iPod mini will have an 8 or 10 GB drive by the end of the year so I don't think cost will be a problem. Maybe an OLED screen at some point. It would be ideal for my parents who just need internet, email and word processing apps. I gave them an eMate but it is too difficult for them to see the screen.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by 1984

    I wouldn't mind seeing a modern version of the eMate running a stripped down version of OS X. The iPod mini will have an 8 or 10 GB drive by the end of the year so I don't think cost will be a problem.



    And speaking of the iPod, I think that's our next eMate. Some people just don't believe it but in a few years it's going to be a full-fledged platform. Look how far it's evolved. Color screen, massive hard drives, battery life getting better, calendars, games, etc. Many people didn't believe it could ever be used to display pictures. I remember all those people complaining "Why would I want to look at the screen!?" It's getting there. We'll start seeing wireless, bluetooth, touch screens, quicktime integration, character recognition and a foldable keyboard to type e-mails with at airports, cameras like in cell phones and who knows what else.



    Quote:



    I gave them an eMate but it is too difficult for them to see the screen.




    Can I have it???
  • Reply 7 of 19
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R

    The main obstacle for flash memory is cost (10 GB... guess what that would cost!) and longevity issues.



    Harddrives are actually very durable and a mature, proven, stable technology that just works. And dollar per Gigabyte, it has the best price anywhere.




    That's why I suggested having an SD slot for data. "Longevity issues" when applied to flash RAM always refers to the limited number of write cycles. Aside from prefs, how often do you think you write to your system folder? The OS is essentially firmware. In fact, I used to have a handheld computer that did have Windows CE purely in firmware. Putting data on an SD or Compactflash card means the card can be easily replaced if it ever goes flakey from repeated writes.



    As for the cost, the writeup on Samsung's flash drive earlier on AI says flash has been dropping fast in cost recently. I don't know how long you've been computing, but I can remember when we paid hundreds of dollars for 16kB. I'm sure people back then would have scoffed at the thought of gigabytes of RAM. Heck, it wasn't that long ago that I was happy paying two dollars per megabyte for dynamic RAM. 4GB pen drives currently go for less than $160. Stripping out the retail markup, packaging costs (both retail packaging and actual product casing) and USB interface electronics, there's no reason to believe that 10GB of flash RAM couldn't cost Apple $200 or even considerably less next year.



    If hard drives are that durable, would you care to explain all the dead iPods flashing the sad Mac icon?
  • Reply 8 of 19
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by monkeyastronaut

    And speaking of the iPod, I think that's our next eMate. Some people just don't believe it but in a few years it's going to be a full-fledged platform.





    Don't forget that people are already running Linux on iPods.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kolchak



    If hard drives are that durable, would you care to explain all the dead iPods flashing the sad Mac icon?




    well it's the old gas vs diesel thing.



    you can also make a case about all these new devices integrating hard drives. Palm LifeDrives, Xboxes, etc. why are they surfacing if indeed hard drives are so fragile?



    as flash memory prices dip lower and lower it's inevitable, we'll see ibooks or subibooks with flash memory as main means of storage. but in a lot of cases a regular hard drive will outlive the lifetime of the device (laptop, desktop, ipod, etc) and with manufacturers always pushing new products down the pipeline chances are it's less likely you'll have a hard drive failure since many will be buying a new ipod (or whatever) before your current one dies.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by monkeyastronaut



    you can also make a case about all these new devices integrating hard drives. Palm LifeDrives, Xboxes, etc. why are they surfacing if indeed hard drives are so fragile?





    Have you seen what people are saying about LifeDrives? They say it's the slowest piece of crap Palm has ever put out and very failure prone. It uses a Microdrive, and a friend of mine who works as the IT guy at a newspaper says they got rid of all of their Microdrives for the photographers' digital cameras because every last one of them failed. Xboxes aren't normally portable and subject to the abuse that a laptop or handheld PC gets.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kolchak

    Have you seen what people are saying about LifeDrives? They say it's the slowest piece of crap Palm has ever put out and very failure prone. It uses a Microdrive, and a friend of mine who works as the IT guy at a newspaper says they got rid of all of their Microdrives for the photographers' digital cameras because every last one of them failed. And according to this article at ZDNet, Microsoft is eliminating the hard drive in favor of a flash drive in the next Xbox, which will cut $20 per unit in production costs in one fell swoop. Where's the great cost advantage for hard drives there?



    You have a good point there, perhaps for small devices (read: smaller than an Xbox including iPods and eMates) flash has a very good shot at becoming the prefered technology.



    But what about when you have to buy terabytes of space? We'll probably have both types of drives for a long time still. And then there's the speed issue. For large applications, writing large blocks of data, how well does flash hold up in comparison to a really fast hard drive? I really don't have a clue to be honest. I'm just wondering here out loud.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by monkeyastronaut

    But what about when you have to buy terabytes of space? We'll probably have both types of drives for a long time still. And then there's the speed issue. For large applications, writing large blocks of data, how well does flash hold up in comparison to a really fast hard drive? I really don't have a clue to be honest. I'm just wondering here out loud.



    Um, you do realize we're talking about an enhanced eMate in this thread, not desktop machines and not even laptops. I doubt anybody wants to carry terabytes around with them. You're not going to have a "really fast hard drive" even on a laptop. Apple doesn't offer 7200rpm drives on PowerBooks and I think some other manufacturers have dropped them because of heat and power issues. In terms of access speed, my gut instinct is that semiconductors beat rotating mechanical systems any day of the week. My old WinCE machine used to open and save documents instantly.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    They already have regular ultra-thin notebooks using the same hard drives as in the iPod on the market in Japan.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    beigeuserbeigeuser Posts: 371member
    Has the Newton OS been living a secret double-life too?
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Why not get a Pepper Pad ?
  • Reply 16 of 19
    blackcatblackcat Posts: 697member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BeigeUser

    Has the Newton OS been living a secret double-life too?



    On XScale? We can only hope.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    resres Posts: 711member
    I would like to see a Mac with a form factor similar to this: http://support.necsam.com/mobilesolu..._Datasheet.pdf



    I would drop the PC card reader and replace it with a normal notebook drive and add a firewire port. I think that Apple could make a killer little micro portable if they were so inclined, and I would love to have one.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    ajpriceajprice Posts: 320member
    Right, so drop the iBook as it is now, update the powerbooks but leave the current base model 12" at a cheaper price to cover the old iBook market. Then the iBook can be the new eMate sub-notebook without stepping on the Powerbook's toes. Sounds fine to me, whaddyathink?
  • Reply 19 of 19
    cubistcubist Posts: 954member
    Or how about this, a subnote case that you slide an iPod into, and the iPod runs the display and keyboard. Use it when you're at the house. A glorified iPod dock with ethernet (or, airport). It has no CPU or storage of its own (or, maybe a CD drive for ripping, but that's it).



    (edit) Are the iPods running Xscales? Those are basically the same as the ARMs in the Newtons!
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