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July 21, 2010

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During grad school, I was able to convince my girlfriend to buy a Mac when her HP died after just 2 years. Six years later, she's still running her 12" Powerbook. It's still in great condition and does everything she needs but just can't handle online videos anymore. (She can't watch Glee on Hulu) It's time for an upgrade and I thought the Macbook Air would be the perfect machine for her-- an academic who brings it back and forth to the office everyday, who's major work load is reading and writing papers and memos, and someone who hasn't stuck a disc in her laptop in over a year. It's a beautiful elegant machine in every way-- but the price. We were planning on picking up a 13" MBP this weekend until I started hearing the spatterings of a MBA update. If Apple can price this in between the iPad and Macbook Pro lines, that would certainly hit a nice sweet spot between mobility, performance, and price.

Hi Jack,

Interesting ideas.

I am going way out on a limb here, but I think that a slider display or a swivel display are both kludges and non-starters as Apple products-- can you imagine Steve demoing either of those?

What I can envision is this:

1) The traditional clamshell form
2) The 2 halves of the clamshell can open from 0-320º (closed -- to lying flat -- to easel)
3) The top half would contain a Multitouch display
4) The bottom half would contain either:
--- a traditional kb (option)
--- a mondo touchpad* keyboard (option)
--- a second Multitouch display (option)
--- nothing
5) The bottom half would be detachable/interchangeable with a standard connector(s)
6) A case, similar to Apple's iPad case could be used to shield the components and facilitate their use

So, you have something like:

-- an iPad+ and a kb in a clamshell

-- an iPad+ and a mondo touchpad* (kb) in a clamshell

-- 2 iPad+ in a clamshell

-- a naked iPad+ as a tablet.

* The mondo touchpad would be capable of multitouch and high-resolution, pressure-sensitive stylus input.

So, whether you are working at home, the office, or out and about-- you use the components configured to your current needs:

-- maybe a Multitouch display/kb for power WP, SS, etc.

-- maybe a Multitouch display with mondo touchpad for primarily drawing, graphics, drafting-- with light typing

-- maybe dual Multitouch displays for intensive Audio/Video/Image editing, presentation creation, presentation delivery.

.

MacBook Air sans keyboard. The keyboard and track pad will exist in the case and connect via bluetooth when the display is independent of the case. OS X 10.6.5 will incorporate all of cocoa touch framework for its new touch capabilities.

Users will be abel to personalize their cases and integrate keyboards, touch pads, etc.

So on it's own it will function like an iPad, in the case it will function like a notebook if you so choose.

I just see thinner, smaller, lighter and hopefully cheaper (like half price). That would be enough for me. Thowing in a 3G option this year and LTE next year and I'm happy.

I think that Apple could do this. The display would just detach and be an independant iPad variant. All of the he folding, twisting or whatever is unnecessary. It's really an iPad with a matching keyboard that just happens to attach to the iPad. It would act as a cover for the iPad while being a keyboard when you need it.

If you really look closely at the patent concept of the hybrid, the keyboard area is almost a nonexistant body or shell as if the entire brains of the notebook are hidden in the lid or cover like an iPad is today. That way the curvature of the iPad is able to hide above the keyboard snuggly when in tablet mode. The frame presents the illusion that the unit is symetric.

I could see this on a MacBook, but it's hard to think that Ive's could go thinner and pull off a hybrid in the mix. That would blow me away.

The only way that this would work is if the display was a swivel display versus using a tracking system. I'm also hoping to see built-in 3G.

It's worth noting that Digitimes is hit and miss. If they mean new concept to become slimmer and lighter - that could be a manufacturing tooling and design concept. Maybe shifting new ports in there could be part of it - though moving to LightPeak isn't as simple as it's made out to be.

Maybe they would go for induction charging? We'll see soon enough.

I think that you hit a nerve here. I hope that Apple execs are reading this because you're bang on. It's just the timing may be off by a year or more.

I think that it's all about going thinner and thinner starting with the MacBook Air and then to other MacBooks in 2011. Too bad though, because I'm eyeing the PC hybrid notebooks myself for Christmas. I need more space and a real keyboard to work properly.

Whoa would I love to see that happen! But I think that's a little too ahead of Apple's roadmap. Perhaps in a few years. I think the presence detection is a possibility. God knows that the MacBook needs to be given some advantage in the market because it's just too pricy today based on looks alone. HP and Dell have both met the "thin" notebook standard and more are on the way over the next 18 months. Apple needs something with some punch this fall or they may as well kill it off.

If this thing makes it into production as you describe it, yes, that might be a huge paradigm shift. Currently the MacBook Air is an overpriced fancy little notebook, nothing more nothing less.

If they manage to change it to something trend-setting, whatever the price tag, it would open new roadmaps for everything. It doesn't have to be a big seller. Just a trendsetter.

Interesting speculation but I think you're wrong on this one.

A "slider" MacBook Air would have to be thicker than the current MacBook Air and introduction of a convertible tablet/notebook would just confuse the product category and the consumer.

On "Pico projectors," the whole concept of projectors that powerful and that small is also a law-suit waiting to happen.

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