Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research says that a new notebook, which I've been calling the nanoBook, will finally ditch the spinning hard disk drive mechanism in favor of faster flash memory. A news item on Reuters by Philipp Gollner explains:
Apple Inc. may sell zippy notebook computers later this year that use the same type of fast memory as music players and digital cameras, driving down prices of hard-disk drives, an analyst said on Thursday.
I've been pondering a diskless Mac notebook since at least December of 1995 and frankly the idea's time has come. There are numerous reasons why a diskless MacBook (or nanoBook) is the next logical progression of the notebook computer:
Flash notebooks make a lot of sense because they can boot instantly and run longer on battery power because they don't have to spin up a magnetic hard disk drive (the most power consuming process of an HDD). All this should add up to as much as twice the battery life we get from current MacBooks and MBPs. Apple has some of the strongest buying power of NAND flash memory in the business because of their market dominating iPod. It doesn't hurt that Apple holds supplier arrangements with the world's five-largest NAND suppliers, either.
What's interesting about the Reuters piece is that Wu claims that the nanoBook would run the stripped down, multi-touch version of Mac OS X that will ship with iPhone as opposed to the full-blown version:
Apple would use a miniature version of its Mac OS X operating system in the flash-based subnotebook computers, Wu said, again citing unnamed sources. The computers could be introduced in the second half of this year, he said.
I think that this would be a mistake because it would be the same closed OS that's on the iPhone and users need to be able to install their own software for a notebook computer to be viable.