Monday, December 03, 2007
A possible niche for the 'MacBook Nano'
Rumours continue to grow that there will be an ultra-slim MacBook released early next year, with Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster being quoted as saying that the likelihood of one being released at Macworld San Francisco is about 85%.
Without wishing to try and work out how Mr Munster got to that figure, a couple of years ago I would have said that an ultraportable Mac would be a Very Desirable Thing (you'll need to scroll to the bottom of the article to see the 'nano' bit). However, a lot has happened since then, in particular, the iPhone, which for many people serves as a perfectly serviceable UMPC.
However, there are some things the iPhone lacks that a MacBook Nano could provide, including:
- Storage space
- Screen real estate
- Usable keyboard/trackpad
- OSX apps (Pages/Photoshop, etc.)
Now, here's a thought.
Suppose the MacBook Nano came with 128GB of flash-based hard drive space. Big enough to fit most people's entire digital life on. And a 1280 x 800 pixel screen, plenty big enough to browse the web and view the majority of OSX apps. And a full-size keyboard and trackpad. And that's about it. No CD/DVD drive. Not many ports. Not much of anything. It could be as thin as a very thin thing, and weigh less than a kilogram.
This beautiful thing is then carried around with you wherever you go, in your backpack or designer handbag. But there are times when using a laptop computer, no matter how small and sexy it is, really isn't practicable.
Now, here's the 'Brilliant Idea'. When you 'sleep' the MacBook Nano, you get the option of it being 'iPhone Wakeable'. In this mode, the MacBook Nano is intelligently paired with your iPhone, via the most appropriate method, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPRS (and next year, 3G!).
In this mode, the screen isn't illuminated on wake up, and the processor is controlled to use as little power as possible. So, when you want to play music, you're not restricted to your iPhone's storage capacity... you can stream it from your MacBook Nano's iTunes collection, either to Bluetooth stereo headphones, or to your home's Airport Express, using your iPhone to monitor and control the music.
When you want to check a Pages or Keynote document, you can browse your MacBook Nano's archive wirelessly on your iPhone without removing the MacBook Nano from your bag.
Your iPhone effectively becomes a 'thin-client', with your MacBook Nano hosting the majority of your data. The potential for symbiosis extends, because the MacBook Nano could use the iPhone as a wireless modem in those situations where you have the opportunity to browse the web on a larger screen, or even to perform regular iSyncs to your .Mac account.