Putting the Puzzle Pieces of a 12" Pro Portable in Place
'Wishes Do Come True' Round Two

by Joe Leo, Columnist February 27, 2007

NEWS/FEATURE: (2.27.07)-- You're not a true Apple portable aficionado if you haven't heard all the rumblings and ramblings over the rumors of a return of the 12-inch line of Mac notebook computers in recent months. It's been discussed on and off in these pages, and in fact, was discussed as recently as last week by a fellow columnist on this site.

In hindsight, all this discussion is starting to look pretty good if you put the pieces of the puzzle together with more details emerging from various ends of the spectrum that relate to what will inevitably be the components--predicted and rumored components--of this new ultra-portable, super compact Apple notebook.

No one even knows if it will indeed be a 12" model or whether it will belong to the MacBook or MacBook Pro line. What if it gets a new name altogether, such as the MacBook Light, or the "MacBook Thin," or as we hope, a MacBook mini.

(Current prices for a new or refurbished MacBook or MacBook Pro--sorry, no 12" models in that mix!--are available at Mac Prices, updated daily!)

But we do know this-- seemingly "telltale" signs are all around us, signifying a good chance that wishes do come true yet again.

On December 4th, MacScoop reported that reliable sources have indicated that Apple is creating an ultra-thin form factor MacBook Pro. They debate how Apple can create such a thin laptop and still incorporate an optical drive. Some debate maybe Apple will totally forgo it (like they did with the floppy drive in the original iMac G3) altogether.

The answer to that question came on January 25th when MacNN reported Apple had filed patents for notebook designs, the one of highest interest being that of an optical drive located on the underside of the notebook. This optical drive, as shown through the illustration, is very thin and not like any currently seen on the market.

How do you keep a notebook computer small, compact, and thin and somehow include a hard drive too? Well, as pondered by the pundits, get rid of that too.

And that's the idea behind using NAND flash drives in laptops to replace traditional hard drives, something that began taking the limelight around this same time last year, which is probably what started all of this hot discussion in the first place.

In January of 2006, Michael Kanellos of CNET News.com wrote, "The NAND noise will be particularly strong at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas, with manufacturers showing off the solid-state technology as an increasingly important component in cell phones..."

"...and talking up how it will find its way into notebook hard drives in 2006."

Well, that didn't really happen, but here we are in 2007 and the technology--which was criticized a bit for its shortcomings, namely its storage capacity limitations and extreme price margins--is already growing by leaps and bounds.

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