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
- Speakers
- 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.


Jazz1 said...

Wouldn't this be similar to the device Palm announced and then withdrew?

Brett Jordan said...

point taken william... i guess its main USPs would be the fact it runs proper OSX apps, and my proposed symbiosis with the iPhone

oh, and it would be much, much better looking!

Anonymous said...

Sure, but Apple would do it right.

Anonymous said...

Sounds likely, some of it.

Where do you expect the 128G flashdrive to come from?

My suggestion (pipedream) is an actual apple tablet-PC. Where you have a big multi-touch display where you really can use cover flow. And also make a new presentationmode for keynote there all slides are on the same page you just scroll around and zoom in and out to get to the part you want to talk about. I don't know how usable it would be, but it would look cool.

Unknown said...

That whole iPhone symbiosis bit is wayyyyy too confusing for the average computer user / consumer, and Apple would know that.

rob said...

Earlier this year Apple filed a patent for collapsible ports (for an ultra think laptop maybe???):

... could be related.

Brett Jordan said...

highend apple: re. hard drives, maybe two of these

although it can't be long before capacities rise

Brett Jordan said...

dan: you are almost certainly correct... but one can dream :-)

Unknown said...

.. you may say I'm a dreamer... honestly? I don't think SJ is coming out with anything like this... streaming to the iPhone from the thin thing? No way!!

Anonymous said...

Son of Newton perhaps? (S.O.N.)

Tablet form-factor has my vote.

160GB mini-HDD or 32GB flash memory (64 & 128 in future revisions).


I'm playing the lottery if I get all 3 right on January :)


Anonymous said...

yeah a 128 gb ssd is currently $3,300 so that would be a rather expensive mistake to make

Jonas said...,3296358789

Unknown said...

I'd LOVE to see Apple put out a tablet style laptop. I think they'd be great at developing software to far exceed Microsoft's "One Note" or whatever it's called. I used a tablet throughout college and I have to admit it was some of the best money I ever spent and I never regretted having one. I'm fairly certain Apple could do their usual magic and come up with something even better though.

Jonas said...

ok i figured it out. itll be integrated with the ipod touch. here are two recently filed patents that leads me to believe this.

Anonymous said...

I just found this:


Anonymous said...

Well, I didn't get any predictions right:
X Tablet form-factor
X 160GB mini-HDD or 32GB flash memory
X $1499

> Laptop form-factor
> 80GB mini-HDD with 64GB SSD optional
> $1799


Anonymous said...

it's called pda...