On Friday 9to5Mac reported that new Apple notebooks are in development. They will be available in black and silver aluminum and "considerably slimmer than current MacBook and even a bit more than MacBook Pro" according to the post. Where it gets interesting is the site's allusion to a mythical piece of Apple hardware never before seen:
we think they are MacBooks but aren't 100 percent sure they aren't the fabled Pro slim line.
I've been lusting after a thin Apple notebook ever since my first trip to Japan in 1999–preferably a subnotebook, which by definition weighs less than three pounds. In fact, I wanted a thin notebook so bad that I purchased a Japanese Sony Vaio 505.
The original Vaio 505 was the first ultraslim notebook; it featured a 17mm key pitch keyboard set atop a touchpad and a 10.4" screen. It was initially released only in Japan--and it was purple.
Apple has sold borderline subnotebooks before, but they've never offered a true pro slim notebook.
The closest thing to a subnotebook that Apple has ever released was their the PowerBook Duo line which measured 1.9 × 10.5 × 10.5 inches and weighed a svelt 4.4 pounds (Duo 210). That was later replaced by the short-lived, 4.4 pound PowerBook 2400, which was co-designed by IBM and made for Apple by IBM Japan in 1997.
There's no question that a ThinBook would sell. People that carry a notebook computer with them everywhere want it to be as light as possible. The Japanese have been using ultra slim notebooks forever, probably due to the tight quarters and long commutes via train, but they've never really taken off in the United States. Dynamism specializes in importing gadgets from places like Japan and sells a wide variety of ultraportable and ultraslim computers that they customize with English-version operating systems.
Miniaturization doesn't come cheap though. Typically, ultraslim notebooks cost as much as 50 percent more than a standard notebook with the same specifications. Sometimes you actually get less features for more money. For example, displays are typically smaller in subnotebooks due to physical constraints–usually topping out at 12-inches. Optical drives and ports can also become casualties of miniaturization.
I think that people would pay a premium for a thin Apple notebook. Apple could keep the current MacBook and MacBook Pro lines and add a new line (MacBook Thin?) that costs more. Don't want to pay the premium? Buy one of Apple's more affordable, value-priced notebooks instead.
If Apple made the equivalent of the new Sony Vaio TZ90 (complete with 32GB solid-state drive) I'd buy one in a heartbeat! What about you?