The Newer, Smaller MacBook Air: The Storage Is the Secret?

Illustration for article titled The Newer, Smaller MacBook Air: The Storage Is the Secret?

An intriguing detail from AppleInsider about the new, 11.6-inch MacBook Air that's expected to be revealed next week: It's not going to use a hard drive or an SSD for storage. It's going to use something else.

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Instead, says AppleInsider's sources, it'll use "something described as an 'SSD Card'" for storage that's more like a stick of RAM than a traditional hard drive, a proprietary SSD alternative designed by Apple. It's almost like an SSD that's shed the bulk of a hard drive enclosure (since SSDs are basically just bundles of memory chips inside of a hard drive casing), but integrated, so it'll take up less room in the notebook.

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It makes a lot sense, actually, to dump a hard drive enclosure's weight and bulk, particularly in a machine that's supposedly only 11.6 inches (and presumably even lighter than the original Air). It's a lot like when Apple ditched replaceable batteries in the MacBook Pros. Using only flash storage would also mean that the Air would be instant on, and more like an iPad in that regard. AI also thinks we could see this in other Macs in the future. (Though it wouldn't be user replaceable.)

The new MacBook Air may well be an interesting little machine, even if it's not the vanguard for new multitouch tech in OS 10.7. [AppleInsider]

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DISCUSSION

Not to be a pessimist, but I seriously have never seen the appeal of the Air, even moreso now that the "iPad Market" exists.

Notebooks ate away at the desktop market for obvious reasons: people have become ever-more reliant on computers in their day-to-day lives and it made sense to have that dependency with you wherever you go.

I feel that the iPad and other possible competitors target the "casual" computer audience, giving those people quality but basic tools that cover most of what people do these days anyways (internet, email, messenger apps, yada) If there's people out there that only need a computer for internet and email, then the iPad seems like a pretty snazzy investment (I still hold to the belief they're too expensive and not worth it, personally).

In terms of the Macbook Air, I simply don't see the market for it. As it stands right now, it's really expensive for what it's giving the customer. How much is "thin and light" really worth when you have to make so many trade-offs? I have no doubts that using one seems like some kind of crazy trick, and must be really neat to see and use, but with the normal Macbook Pros appealing to the people who want more control and the iPad appealing to people who want basic functions and an expandable app library, the Air is just... a thin, expensive, less functional laptop that could only appeal to the devote Mac enthusiast.

I'd like to be proved wrong though when and if the new Air comes out though.