Ultra-portable Apple notebook to splash down at Macworld Expo

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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 Although Apple had originally made attempts to build in a drive through unconventional means, it's reported that the plan faced both obstacles and opposition, and upon last check appeared to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.


  • Reply 1 of 295
    no optical drive, this will create huge debate,but it could be good like what happened with Floppy Drives ...
  • Reply 2 of 295
    buckbuck Posts: 293member
    Sooo... "a stylus, right"?
  • Reply 3 of 295
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 295
    let's fire Time Machine and scroll forward to january...
  • Reply 5 of 295
    touch screen anybody?
  • Reply 6 of 295
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 295
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 295
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 295
    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 ....
  • Reply 10 of 295
    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 ...
  • Reply 11 of 295
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 295
    FINALLY! a replacement for my 12" PB
  • Reply 13 of 295
    Just around the corner till Macworld!

  • Reply 14 of 295
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 295
    Originally Posted by barney View Post

    FINALLY! a replacement for my 12" PB

    Indeed! It's about time!
  • Reply 16 of 295
    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 )
  • Reply 17 of 295
    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 ?
  • Reply 18 of 295
    I've been wanting to replace my MBP that I sold a few months back. This would most do the trick.
  • Reply 19 of 295
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 295
    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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