Apple eyes MacBook's underside

Apple patents filed today describing an optical drive on the bottom of a laptop.

Diagram of a laptop with an optical drive on the bottom.
Patent diagrams show what might lie beneath the next MacBook.

To all of you who've been craving an ultraportable MacBook: Steve Jobs hears you.

Gizmodo and a few other sources are pointing to two Apple patent applications, published today, as evidence that a smaller MacBook (or MacBook Pro) will be forthcoming. The applications describe an optical disc drive that's accessible via the bottom of a laptop and a novel "access system" for removing discs from the upside-down drive. Why put the drive on the bottom of the laptop? To clear up room for more ports along the edges of an ever-thinner-and-smaller laptop, of course.

We're all for slimmer Apple laptops (our own MacBook seems a bit too heavy for its size), and we're sure that Apple would make the bottom-loading optical drive both elegant and easy to use. But we can't help asking ourselves: would we wait months, maybe a year, for the new, ultraportable MacBook with a built-in optical drive and LED-backlit display? Or would we just buy a Sony VAIO VGN-TXN15P today?

About the author

    Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.


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