Intel’s newest chips offer intriguing hints about what Apple’s Steve Jobs will announce on Jan. 15th

“The rumors about what Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs might unveil in his keynote speech run the gamut from a new movie-rental service for iTunes and Apple TV to a new tablet PC,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek.

“But when guessing what Apple will do in the coming year, it’s particularly helpful to look at the roadmap of Intel, which has been Apple’s only chip supplier since 2006. And from the looks of things, the chipmaker may help lead Apple into uncharted, possibly lucrative, territory starting in late 2008,” Hesseldahl reports.

“Right now, the smallest MacBook sports a 13.3-inch screen and weighs a hefty 5 pound,” Hesseldahl reports. “That’s why it’s time for Apple to launch a new product some are calling the MacBook Mini, with a screen of less than 10 inches and weighing no more than 2 pounds. A new family of Intel chips named Silverthorne may go a long way toward helping Apple get there.”

“I’d expect the new little notebook to ship without a traditional hard drive, relying instead on at least 32 gigabytes of flash memory for storage,” Hesseldahl reports. “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.”

Much more in the full article, in which Hesseldahl also notes that the “possibility of squeezing an x86 chip like Silverthorne inside a future iPhone would make adapting software from a future Mac computer for Apple’s handheld substantially easier,” here.

29 Comments

  1. Jobs has already established the concept of “phone home.” With the AAA (anything, anywhere, anytime) leaking out of the AppleTV and the iPhone, the web becomes the hard drive; your content, and everyone elses’ stuffed safely away on servers.

    Apple is developing an ever greater client/server product line. Travel light, travel connected.

  2. MegaMe … that depends on what you mean by “need“. Chances are good there will be a “dock” option that will include additional storage, among other things, but that should not limit the use of the FireWire option.

    Dave

  3. Personally I think that something with a screen of less than 10″ won’t be a Mac. I think that Mac will become synonymous more with the traditional desktop type interface (at least until Multitouch is widespread), whilst something of that size would probably be more of a scaled up iPhone than a scaled down Mac

  4. Re: size of screen… Think resolution independance in the OS. Even a small window on a small screen can look good.

    Rather than looking at any single element, look at what Apple has been talking to developers about in the core of Mac OS X.

    Apple has never simply implemented a single concept in a ANY new product (except under the leadership responsible for the plethora and confusion of the Performa models way back when.)

    Apple always approaches the design of a new product from a holistic, integrated, view. It is that vision that leads to the development of elegant solutions.

  5. Just give me a new friggin’ Mac Pro! Blah blah laptop, blah laptop blah blah laptop blah…

    There have been three revisions of the Macbook Pro and four of the Macbook (if my count is correct) since the August ’86 introduction of the Mac Pro. I know Apple is dependent on Intel for the necessary chips but, still, it’s frustrating.

  6. “Why do these authors constantly talk about a touch screen for a computer when that is ergonomically a bad idea?”

    maybe because if it is a smaller (ten inches? maybe) form factor and it is removable from a screen style dock, it suddenly becomes a useful third input method.

    i am not sure they can do it now, for cost reasons, but if a touch screen is an inexpensive future option, a 10 inch tablet that docks into a stand or larger screen for desktop style use and has touch for more casual sit on the couch type stuff is a good idea.

    if it also controls larger screens for keynote style display for movies and presentations, and controls the AppleTV too……

  7. i would buy a much lighter ‘MacBook mini,’ even with a 10″ screen. apple makes very good use of the screen real estate with expose, and especially with spaces. 32 gb of hard drive space seems too little, though. i think it would need at least 64 gb.

  8. What are you going to do with this MacBook Mini? Show it to your friends and say ‘look at what I have’? ‘Doesn’t it just look great with Steve’s phone?’ ‘Can’t do much with it but couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.’ ‘Stayed up for three nights in a row waiting for the FedEx truck.’ ‘Wow. Just Wow.’

    Maybe it’s a beginning of something useful. But, it belongs in the toy shop until it can hold tons of data (not just ounces) on it’s interior non-drive.

    Why isn’t this energy being put into serious improvements in MacPro and MacBook Pro?

    Damn, this is frustrating.

  9. “Could the scroll pad be ‘touch’, which would translate the motion to the larger screen? Call it Touche’.”

    Or split it up the middle for left and right functions and call it Tush.

  10. Is there really a sizeable market for ultra portable macs?

    I for one wouldn’t buy one unless it was able to crunch the docs that my current MacBook Pro can. Graphics heavy computations. I’m portable so I don’t have to be slaving away in the cubicle 24-7. An ultra portable with no horsepower and mega attachments (drives, storage, etc) does nada for me.

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