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Innovation

What's next for the MacBook Air?

Brook Crothers at CNet's nanotech blog has posted an interesting piece about what upgrade options might be coming for the MacBook Air.DrivesApple dropped the price of the 64GB Solid State Disk (SSD) option by US$400 on Thursday but Crothers points to higher capacity, 128GB SSDs coming from STEC.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor on
WhatÂ’s next for the MacBook Air?
Brook Crothers at CNet's nanotech blog has posted an interesting piece about what upgrade options might be coming for the MacBook Air.

Drives Apple dropped the price of the 64GB Solid State Disk (SSD) option by US$400 on Thursday but Crothers points to higher capacity, 128GB SSDs coming from STEC.

These SSDs will also likely use multiple-level cell (MLC) technology, in contrast with current drives that use single-level-cell (SLC). MLC allows higher-capacities but presents power and data reliability challenges, which suppliers claim to have overcome.

CPU/GPU A processor update is also likely to Intel's 45 nanometer "Montevino" some time in the fall, when the Small Form Factor (SFF) version of the chip gets released.

SFF Montevina processors will range from 25-watt (2.4GHz) to 17-watt (1.86GHz) to 10-watt (1.2GHz). The current Intel processor used in the Air is rated at 20 watts at 1.8GHz.

Intel's Montevino comes with upgraded GMA X4500 graphics which Intel claims "will be three times faster than current X3100 integrated graphics."

Battery One of the biggest knocks on the MacBook Air is its sealed battery, but switching to a more traditional user-replaceable battery bay might compromise the MBA's record thinness. Still, it could be an area that Apple might consider enhancing to make the MBA more appealing to frequent travelers.

Competition When the MBA was announced at Macworld Expo 2008 on 15 January 2008 it was one of the best ultraslim subnotebooks around, but now it's being challenged by the likes of the Lenovo X300, MSI Wind, Dell E Slim, Voodoo's carbon fiber Envy 133 and even the 14-inch Hewlett-Packard 6910P.

Update: Don't forget Intel's Mobile Metro concept notebook.

Apple can't afford to rest on its laurels.

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