PowerBook nano to the rescue

PowerBook nano to the rescue

Summary: I'm a little afraid that Apple may be putting all their eggs in the iPod basket. It seems that new iPods come out every six to nine months while the venerable PowerBook lineup hasn't been refreshed since January and its form factor hasn't changed since 2003. It almost seems like Apple re-org'd all their engineers into the iPod group.

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TOPICS: Apple
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I'm a little afraid that Apple may be putting all their eggs in the iPod basket. It seems that new iPods come out every six to nine months while the venerable PowerBook lineup hasn't been refreshed since January and its form factor hasn't changed since 2003. It almost seems like Apple re-org'd all their engineers into the iPod group.

Apple has prided itself on having a lot of firsts with their PowerBooks. When it was announced in 2003, the aluminum PowerBook G4 17-inch was the largest screen laptop in the world, the 12-inch aluminum was Apple's smallest full-feature notebook computer ever. Since then the company hasn't done much with the PowerBook other than a couple very incremental speed bumps. In April 2004, the SuperDrive was bumped to 4x, the processor to 1.5GHz and 128MB of VRAM was optional. In January 2005 the line was bumped again to 1.67GHz, 512MB RAM and larger capacity 5400 RPM drives. Apple also added Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, enhanced trackpads, 30-inch Cinema Display support and a sudden motion sensor.

Apple's not exactly at the back of the class either, they do what you'd expect from any for-profit business - they make a killer notebook enclosure and expect to amortize the R&D expenses over a few models. My issue is that the current Aluminum PowerBook that I'm typing this on feels a little dated and frankly, slow. Even though I have a 120GB hard drive the 2GB of RAM (the max) it takes an eternity to launch applications (Creative Suite 2, for example) and bogs down if I have a lot of stuff running.

Software speed rant aside, Apple really needs to innovate the industrial design like they did with the aluminum PowerBook and the Titanium before it. New cutting-edge design has always been what Apple is about, and it’s what makes people come into the store. Additionally, I think that a super-tiny notebook would be a great addition to the lineup to compete with the Windows offerings in the less than three pound space. Imagine for a minute - the PowerBook nano.

"Honey, I shrunk the PowerBook" the ads would read (with all the appropriate clearances from Disney, of course). The PowerBook nano would be a three pound wunderkind for the executive on the go, students and the fashion conscious. It would be nice if it included a built-in optical drive, but if they had to remove it for space I’d be fine with them offering a reasonably priced matching Firewire model.

Take a look at the success of the iPod nano and imagine it happening to the PowerBook. For a real show-stopper, Jobs could pull an old rabbit out of his hat and offer the PowerBook nano in five colors (cool 2006 colors, please) and offer any color for a $100 upcharge.

Topic: Apple

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3 comments
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  • Small, but no smaller.

    Personally, I'm getting kind of tired of the Apple everything-must-
    be-thin-to-be-sexy design philosophy. Here's an idea: Apple, do
    everything you need to do to create the next "impossibly small"
    version of one of your products. Then don't do it. Keep it the same
    size, and fill the available space with a BATTERY so we actually use
    and enjoy all of those cool features. A video iPod that can barely
    display two hours of video? Please.
    zhmlco
  • RE: PowerBook nano to the rescue

    Seems that this isn't mere pontification from apple.
    There are other rumors asking this very same
    question from other Apple Rumor sites. The Dev Con
    just around teh corner and Apple on a post-holiday
    high... let's see if Mr. Ives comes to the rescue on this
    one again... He is an artful master in such things that
    makes Apple cool. Since other companies that are four
    letter words like Dell, are trying to move in on the all-
    in-one and chick style computing, My Powerbook
    876Mhz G4 12" needs a replacement and I'm waiting
    for one that isn't a huge clunker. Bring it on and keep
    this loyal customer happy.
    hsalter@...
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