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Intel says competitors to Apple can use the CPU found in the MacBook Air; 45nm CPU refresh coming this Fall

When Apple unveiled the MacBook Air most every technophile stifled a lustful moan.  However, the paltry specifications included in the Air leave something to be desired -- even to the most ardent of Steve Jobs protégés.

PC manufacturers expect to fill the gap. InformationWeek reports that two PC makers will release similarly size Windows systems using the miniaturized Core 2 Duo processor found in the svelte MacBook Air. 

The low-voltage Core 2 Duo processor found in the MacBook Air is not present in any other computer to date.  Some would claim Intel designed the processor specifically for Apple, though Intel roadmaps designate the ultra-low voltage processor as "publicly available" to any system integrator. 

The low-voltage Core 2 Duo played a big part in the ability for Apple to make the Air so thin. The processor is built on the older Intel Merom processor family, though the "mini" version is 60% smaller that other Merom processors.

The 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo certainly won't set any speed records.   In fact, the 65nm processor first got its debut at 1.8 GHz in 2006.  Similar performing 65nm Yonah processors at 1.8 GHz debuted almost a year before that. 

Intel announced its 45nm processor line last month, just a week before the MacBook Air announcement.  However, those interested in sacrificing performance for slim footprints won't have to wait long: Intel's corporate roadmap claims 45nm versions of Penryn, the current processor generation, will be available this fall.

Even if PC manufacturers incorporate the mini Merom processor in upcoming notebooks before this Fall,  Apple will certainly opt for the 45nm processor in the next-generation MacBook Air. 

Intel has not released the names of the PC manufacturers anticipating to release slim PCs based on the "mini" Merom processors.

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I don't know where you work...
By aliasfox on 2/3/2008 3:31:02 AM , Rating: 2
... but I can definitely see this working as a "niche" laptop. In my office/among my friends (most of whom know nothing about the computer business, though they bumble around a lot):

- lack of ethernet doesn't matter in the real world. my office is wireless, and it's really difficult to actually find an ethernet cable, and the ports in the rooms are all in the corners away from conference tables. for normal email/powerpoint transfers/web access, wireless is very sufficient. and on campus (i'm a recent grad), the only places that generally don't have wireless routers also don't have ethernet jacks.

- battery life. much as we all love having true 5+ hours of battery life, the fact of the matter is that most of the schmucks in the real world carry their adapter around with them all the time anyway. On a college campus, regardless of how long someone's going to the library, or at work, no matter how long the meeting's going to be, people carry around their power adapters. to these people, "battery life" gets them the 5 minutes walking between rooms/buildings. that, along with really bad charging/discharging habits, means that most laptop batteries are completely dead within a year anyway.

- external optical drive. most really thin laptops don't have one, not just the MBAir.

trust me, even as a longtime user of apple products, i wouldn't buy this - i like having my firewire, built in optical drive, and easily replaceable batteries, but i can definitely see the appeal. this might be apple's attempt to get into the corporate market - installing windows in a separate partition would make this the perfect compliment to a VP's padfolio (at least if he can live without carrying the power adapter around). if they like the machine, macbooks could eventually filter down the ranks.

lastly, have any of you actually *seen* the MBAir? i swung by the apple store before catching my flight today and i took a look at it - it's a damn slick looking laptop. despite the lack of firewire, lack of optical drive, lack of pop-out battery, lack of even a lock slot, i felt myself wanting one just by trying it for 5 minutes. and that alone will convince people to buy - besides, most normal people don't need geeks to validate them, they need the rest of the world to do so.

By Digimonkey on 2/3/2008 3:37:37 AM , Rating: 1
I'd never doubt Mac fiends buying into this. I'm just sure there will be tons of bitching after they buy it. ie. Iphone.

RE: I don't know where you work...
By AlphaVirus on 2/4/2008 11:24:45 AM , Rating: 2
I dont doubt anything you say or have commented on about your office but I must say the several office buildings I have worked on/visited, you are not about to worry about wireless connection.

Every conference room I have connected through had several ethernet cables to grab. Nobody has time to ask "What is your key" just to get on the network, especially when you have several meetings in a single day.

I can agree with the battery statement, most people plug in to the adapter no matter where they are. If there is an available plug then hook it up for sure.

The business world will never adapt to the MBAir simply because of that, they will not center their business model around a single laptop. If it can not be spread to multiple divisions then its a waste of time.

The fact is this, it does not have an optical drive, it does not have ethernet nor does it have enough usb ports. Whether it is an ultrathin or an...ultrafat laptop, its still a laptop and you will need to connect things to it.

The "niche" market you refer to is a VERY niche market, probably at most 50,000 people. Once you take into account the price, functionality, form(people scared they will break it), you will shoot down alot of possible buyers.

RE: I don't know where you work...
By aliasfox on 2/4/2008 12:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
You're also likely forgetting the market of spoiled girls between the ages of 14 and 25 who will have Daddy buy one for them. But yes, this is a niche market, just as all superthin/super small laptops are. Very few people want to type on a tiny Sony TX keyboard, for example.

As for the rest of your comment, it wouldn't be ideal for an operation with lots of client visits (in or out), but for a self contained office, there's no reason wifi wouldn't work for most people most of the time. And I'd assume that if a VP wanted a MBAir, there's nothing stopping IT from integrating it into the network - if OSX doesn't work (need Outlook support, for example), then they can install Windows (yes, using an external optical drive).

Actually, isn't this in some ways what some businesses/schools want? The lack of an optical drive is one more layer of security (prevention of external software getting on the network, just a little harder to take sensitive data out). Just expensive.

And as for all of you who are saying that people may be afraid to break this - actually go take a look at it - the metal case makes it feel no less sturdy than a MacBook Pro, and actually more durable than most plastic laptops I've used (typing on a Compaq nc6400 right now). Integrated latch, curved metal case (curves add stiffness), retractable ports (or maybe just port...), and thick screen border all lend themselves to a fair level of structural strength.

A docking port would be nice though...

By AlphaVirus on 2/4/2008 5:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
I know my fiance wants laptop and I was showing her some of the ultraportable laptops. She did not like most of them because they had such small keys/keyboards, that is one thing I have to give the MBAir credit for.

Actually, isn't this in some ways what some businesses/schools want? The lack of an optical drive is one more layer of security (prevention of external software getting on the network, just a little harder to take sensitive data out). Just expensive.

I think this is a yes and no. I can think of a system admin trying to install new software to the computers and it could work in both sides favor.
If there is an optical drive, he could just pop the cd in no problem and install everything.
If there is not an optical drive but rather a wireless connection, then he could download the software from the network then install.
So this point is pretty valid.

And as for all of you who are saying that people may be afraid to break this - actually go take a look at it - the metal case makes it feel no less sturdy than a MacBook Pro

To me its still a laptop no matter what the case is. Especially if you have kids, the #1 terror to electronics. The last laptop I had (HP) was dropped at least 20 times within a year. It hit concrete, rug, tile, and even tar grounds. It still worked but 1 of the usb ports stopped working for some reason.

I look at it like this, I spend thousands of dollars on this and never have any type of insurance on it. Anything that makes it seem more fragile is not good from my viewpoint.

You know what else I just thought about, how easy it would be for someone to steal this thing. If you are at Starbucks and you go up to the counter for another drink, someone could easily slip it under their shirt and walk off.
Now of course this situation is not typical but I am sure it would be easy to steal since its so small and 'folio' stuctured.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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