CNBC jumps on Mac ultraportable bandwagon

Business channel is adding its name to the list of those expecting Apple to unveil an ultraportable notebook at Macworld in January.

We're a little more than a month away from the Macworld Expo, and the expectations are starting to get a little clearer for arguably Apple's biggest show of the year.

CNBC reported Thursday that Apple plans at Macworld to introduce a 12-inch Mac laptop with flash memory in place of a hard drive. Apple followers have long anticipated such a product, and several other reports have come out this year predicting a similar type of announcement was nigh.

Apple could add 12-inch notebook alongside these 13.3-inch MacBooks in January. Apple

The ultraportable Mac is said to be 50 percent thinner and lighter than a current MacBook Pro, the largest notebook in Apple's lineup. And CNBC is also saying it expects the price to be about $1,500, the same price as the 13.3-inch black MacBook that's currently available on Apple's site.

I'm a little skeptical of the price, especially since the notebook would reportedly use flash memory instead of a hard drive. My colleague Michael Kanellos noted last month that Dell charges a $950 premium for a 64GB flash memory drive in place of a 160GB hard drive on one of its XPS notebooks. Perhaps Apple is using a smaller drive, or the notebook will use a less expensive processor and smaller amounts of memory to offset the cost, but flash memory drives aren't expected to be practical for a few years.

Still, it's not hard to imagine Apple coming out with that style of notebook, especially since Intel is expected to have new notebook chips out around the same time, perhaps unveiling them during CEO Paul Otellini's keynote address at CES on January 7. Ultraportable notebooks--which generally weigh in around 3 pounds or less--aren't a very big segment of the notebook market but tend to be showcases for design flair, and Apple's been known to show an interest in that sort of thing here and there.

CNBC also reported that Apple could have more to say about a 3G version of the iPhone early next year, and that demand for the iPod Touch has caused Apple to up its production estimates.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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