Friday, January 4, 2008

Apple and Intel Menlow Chips

All indications that Apple is developing a new category of subnotebooks point to the work Apple is doing with Intel on low power consumption chips. According to Business week:

"The first chip of the Silverthorne family, code-named Menlow, is expected to arrive in the first half of this year, probably before June. A second, known as Moorestown, due in late 2008 or early 2009, will be built on Intel's 32-nanometer manufacturing process, which means it will be even smaller and more powerful and it will consume even less power than the Menlow. This will make it a contender for use not only in subnotebooks, but in a new generation of iPhone devices."

If Apple is going to be announcing a new Mac subnotebook on January 15th, the question is whether the Apple faithful will have to wait for its arrival in stores just like when Apple announced the iPhone last year at MacWorld but consumers had to wait until June 2007 for it to become available for purchase. If Menlow is scheduled to arrive in June 2008, maybe the Mac subnotebook will have to wait unitl after that date to ship.

The other question still up in the air about an Apple subnotebook are the counter rumors that it will have a flash drive with 32 GB of storage or, as ThinkSecret rumored, it will use the new Samsung 1.8 drives. Currently Apple is using the ultra-thin Samsung drives in their iPods. Getting solid state in and a mechanical moving hard drive out could be a huge advantage to Apple in their ultra-portable line of computers from the standpoint of low power consumption and low cost.

Business Week poses the question and then the answer to the verbless touch screen interface:

"But will this new mini-MacBook also get a touch screen like the iPhone's? Perhaps, but probably not. The bigger the screen, the more it will cost. I think that means Apple will skip the multitouch screen to keep the retail price manageable."

My thinking is that it would be a big swing and a miss if Apple doesn't not use the revolutionary touch screen interface of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Without the touch screen, who needs just another addition to the aluminum MacBook family. Not sexy enough for prime time.

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