I really have to hand it to Apple. More than any other computer company out
there, Apple knows how to create suspense and get people excited about their
products. I about fell out of my chair when I read about the new 12- and 17-inch
Powerbooks. I have no doubt there’s a market for both, but the 12-inch model
is the one that really caught my attention, because small and light, and hopefully
with a long battery life, is exactly what I want my next notebook to be.
I’ve thought about the 12-inch Powerbook a lot since it was announced. Apple
bills it as "full-featured"
notebook. After thinking about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that full-featured
is a state-of-mind. Witness all those who are upset at the lack of a PC-card
slot, or at the lack of a level-3 cache, or at the 640MB memory ceiling, or
at the lack of a DVI video connecter. But I’m not here to complain about what
Apple left out. Quite the opposite, I want Apple to leave out more!
We could quibble about Apple’s design tradeoffs, but the bottom line is that
Apple has put together a very attractive package here. Not only physically attractive,
but attractive featurewise as well with its built-in bluetooth, 802.11g, G4
processor, AGP 4x graphics, DDR memory, and its ability to drive an external
1600×1200 display in addition to its built-in display. It’s a great little machine,
and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t sell very well.
Apple has built out its Powerbook line in both directions from the middle,
but I think there’s one slot they could yet fill: that of an even thinner Powerbook,
one without a CD drive. Now don’t laugh. In the Windows world there’s a market
for such machines. IBM, for example, sells it’s Thinkpad
X30 at a very premium price–customers pay more to get less. Then there’s
Portégé 2010, Compaq’s
EVO 410, and Sony’s VAIO®
R505G SuperSlim™ Pro, just to name a few.
Just as some would willingly trade screen size for a smaller form-factor, preferring
the 12-inch model over the 15- and 17-inch models, there are some who would
trade in the CD drive as well. I know I would. In the 2+ years I’ve had my current
notebook, I’ve never, that I can recall, ever used the CD drive while travelling.
At home I have a desktop for my CD needs. I’d happily trade out the CD drive
in my notebook for a reduction in size & weight. Perhaps better would be
to replace the CD drive with a slot for a second battery. Imagine for a moment
a 12-inch Powerbook with an 8-10 hour battery life. Wouldn’t that be a great
What do you think? Is there a market for an even thinner & lighter Powerbook with no built-in CD drive? Would you buy one?