The Next MacBook

I now know what the specs for the next, ultra-portable MacBook are going to be. Look for:

  • 32GB solid state drive
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage chip running at 1.2GHz
  • 1-2 GB RAM
  • 802.11a, b and g wireless; built-in Ethernet
  • Carbon fiber case
  • 276 x 199 x 29mm
  • 1.15 kg
  • 11.1 inch screen 1,366 x 768 pixels
  • Integrated webcam
  • Integrated Dual-layer DVD writer
  • USB 2 and Firewire
  • 6 hour battery life
  • Price (the number I’m least certain of) $2995

No, I don’t have any inside information. These are actually the specs for the new Sony Vaio VGN-TZ12VN (except for the price). Sony’s the only manufacturer that really competes with Apple in the “cool laptop” space; and Apple is not going to let them win.

I was most impressed with the internal DVD drive. I had expected a form factor this small and light would require an external drive, but apparently it is now possible to squeeze in an optical drive, and a writer at that!

The limited 32GB “hard drive” is disappointing. My MP3 collection alone is over 60GB. If only there were some decent sync software for the Mac, maybe I could put together a subset of my files that I actually need to take with me. However, until someone invents that, I was hoping to be able to just blast my 250GB desktop onto my laptop before I leave for the airport. This size means I’ll have to be even more parsimonious than I am now with my old 55GB TiBook. I suppose just possibly Apple might go up to 64GB of solid state memory, perhaps as a configurable (read extra-cost) option, but there’s no way they’re going to the 250GB I want.

The price is the real kicker, and the number that could change a lot between Sony and Apple. Apple is extremely competitive these days when you compare apples to, well, apples. They could easily come in a $1000 or more under Sony’s price (not that this will keep the PC-hordes from complaining that it still costs a $1000 more than a nine-pound plastic monster from Dell).

Nonetheless, I’m expecting a very interesting machine, and I look forward to owning one. (And if I’m wrong and Apple doesn’t come out with a Vaio-killer by MacWorld? Then there’s always Sony.)

9 Responses to “The Next MacBook”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    What’s the matter with Unison? Install it from Fink Commander. Not a “Mac app’, but it does the job in a very cross-platform way, is bidirectional, and is smart about copying only the changes to large files rather than the whole files.

  2. bob Says:

    A 32 GB flash drive won’t cut it. Any Intel-based version of Mac OS X has to include all the PPC versions of all the libraries, because it has to run Rosetta, the PPC emulator. That requirement almost doubles the size of an x86 OS install.

    I’m not saying that 32 GB is unusable: it’s quite usable. I have multiple partitions on my rotating HD, and the OS + Developer tools easily fits on a 25 GB partition. But I also have all my work files on *another* partition, and the OS one is filled to ~12 GB. Not so good. Not really.

    If I had to carry my music collection and lots of other infrequently used files, I’d probably just use an iPod as a combination music and mass-storage device. This would work better with the way I play music anyway. I don’t want to cart my laptop around just to hear tunes.

    And I’ll go out on a limb and say “multi-touch trackpad”, but it’ll only work with some applications, or maybe only to zoom the whole scalable GUI of Leopard.

    And a pony. A shiny palomino pony.

  3. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    I tested and ruled out Unison a year ago.

    Synchronization software is like backup software: it has to be bulletproof to be useful. Misbehaving sync/backup software can do way too much damage through sins of both omission and commission.

    That means it has to be bug free and have a totally obvious interface with no room for confusion. I need to know what I’m syncing and what I’m not.

    To date, most of the third party products fail the user interface test. The notable exception was Decimus Sync. That was the product with a few crippling bugs on large files they haven’t yet fixed. (I should probably check that again. Seems they just released version 6.1, though they haven’t updated their web site. However, there are a lot of problem reports for this version in the forum that make me nervous.) Then there are all the iSync based products, which sync only some files but not others.

    I suspect a professional mac sys-admin could eventually make something like Unison or rsync work, but I don’t have time for that. I need something that just works.

  4. Kevin Shaum Says:

    What about a version control system? A few months ago I put all my docs under Subversion, and it’s made it a *lot* easier to keep my various machines in sync. I’m planning on going back soon and partitioning my docs into ‘projects’, for heavily-used material and archival material (which should also speed up syncing). I’m also considering switching to Mercurial or Bazaar, so I can eliminate the server as a single point of failure.

  5. Matt Says:

    I heartily recommend ChronoSync:
    http://www.econtechnologies.com/site/Pages/ChronoSync/chrono_overview.htm

  6. Pierre Says:

    Ideal MacBook? You meant 802.11n I guess? And Firewire 800.
    Steve, please, have a look at this blog! If Sony can make the hardware, can’t you just compile Leopard on it and adjust a few drivers?

  7. Bas Says:

    Apple will make the hardware 10 times better and 10 times fancier looking ;)

    Just give them some time to work their miracle. It *will* happen. Solid state disk, 802.11n and firewire 800 to boot.

    Now if only the display card won’t set on fire during the economical lifespan of my macbook pro, life would be truely enlightning :)

  8. Mokka mit Schlag » My Next Mac Says:

    […] was tempted to wait for the hypothetical, solid state, ultraportable MacBook, but I don’t really know if any such project exists, or when it will come out if it […]

  9. vitachoconutriment Says:

    I guess sony is trying to make up for the crap it caused in its gaming department lol :-:

    ~King Reekun

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