“I think Apple’s going to be offering instant-on computers in the very near future. Make that near-instant. Faster than normal, anyway. And some of these may just be the integrated music and video home-media boxes people have been predicting ever since the iPod redefined Apple’s game,” Seth Jayson writes for The Motley Fool. “Robson is the name… that Intel has given its upcoming technology to integrate NAND flash into computers. It will load important chunks of the operating system into flash memory, where it remains even when the machine is powered down. On restart, a computer won’t need to go through so much of the usual laborious process of grabbing data from the hard drive, loading it into RAM, reporting it to the Men In Black, and so on. Intel has so far been showing off this technology in laptops, where it promises to provide longer battery life. But there’s another related benefit.”
Jayson writes, “It might be possible to get these things to start up instantly — or nearly so… So Intel’s got simple, desirable, potentially market-shaking technology that could make computers turn on as quickly as our toasters. It uses flash memory. Apple’s already working with Intel for Macintosh processing chips. And Apple also just happens to have paid Intel’s joint venture a $500 million advance to start making flash chips… It’s my bet that Apple will not only move in this direction but also get there before the rest of the crowd.”
Full article here.
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Now, as any PowerBook, iBook or really any Mac OS X user will tell you, Mac OS X machines are kind of “instant-on” already. Just “Sleep” by closing the lid or by choosing “Sleep” from the Apple Menu instead of shutting down and when you want the Mac “on”, just open up your PowerBook’s or iBook’s lid or jiggle your desktop Mac’s mouse (or hit any key on the keyboard). With insanely great uptimes, Macs are just “on” or “off” (asleep) these days.
That said, what Jayson describes would be true “instant-on” for Macs and it would pave the way for reliable, quick-to-power-up Macs and Apple appliances. Like a stereo receiver or a kitchen appliance, your Mac or any Apple appliance or component (DVR – flash for the instant-on OS, hard drive for the storage – perhaps?) would just be “on” with a press of the power button and “off” with another press. Just think about all of the possibilities beyond the Mac that exist in the living room and elsewhere for Apple to use this technology. And it would be just like Apple to do it first.