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Apple is rumored to be packing 19 nm, 400 MBps, ONFI 3.0 compliant flash memory onto the motherboard of the new MacBook Air.  (Source: 9 to 5 Mac)
Integrating chips into the motherboard could allow the MacBook Air to offer high performance affordably

With a refresh of the MacBook Air seemingly impending the rumor mill surrounding Apple Inc. (AAPL) is once again heating up.  

According to, a Japanese Apple fan site, the latest version of the ultraportable will use cutting edge flash memory technology.  The site cites sources at unnamed Asian chipmakers as claiming that the latest Airs will contain 19nm flash memory chips soldered directly onto the motherboard for blazing speeds of up to 400 megabits per second.

Current generation MacBook Airs only have RAM chips soldered on.  The SSD for the laptops are connected using mSATA connectors.

Apple reportedly calls the new technology Toggle DDR2.0.  Aside from the rather curious title (ostensibly it involves NAND flash, not DDR memory), the technology is expected to be Apple's proprietary implementation of the Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) Working Group's ONFI 3.0 standard.

ONFI 3.0 promises faster speeds and reduces the number of pins on flash memory chips.  These factors add up to nearly "instant" boot times and fast file copies.

If the rumor about the new flash is true, it likely comes from Micron Technology, Inc. (MU), Intel Corp. (INTC), or Spansion Inc. (CODE) -- all members of the ONFI 3.0 coalition.  Apple's current NAND supplier, South Korea's Samsung Electronics (SEO:005930), and the world's second biggest producer, Toshiba Corp. (TYO:6502) are not currently members.

A split with Samsung would make sense, given Apple's ongoing legal war with the gadget and component maker.

At times Apple has been on the bleeding edge of introducing new standards.  It was the first major manufacturer to push Intel's proprietary LightPeak interface, which it renamed Thunderbolt.  The refresh of the MacBook Air is expected to come packing Thunderbolt as well, which requires fancy chip-laden $50 USD cables to work.

OS X Lion and the refreshed MacBook Air are expected to launch on July 14.

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way to push better technology DT...
By Conner on 7/5/2011 5:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
which requires fancy chip-laden $50 USD cables to work.

This "fancy chip" tech will allow any future faster optical cables to work with older thunderbolt/light peak computers. It's a strategy called thinking ahead.
Its a shame that sony's pissing on the standard with their own unique interface...

By TakinYourPoints on 7/5/2011 6:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
The prices don't seem out of line either. Here are copper interconnects for servers that are the same 10 Gbps, but unlike Thunderbolt they are not bi-directional, they are only good for transmitting storage data (no displays), and they cost $70-$150 instead of $50:

BOM is a terrible way to judge value in any case. Utility and scarcity drive prices, and in this case you have incredible performance currently aimed at the niche of AV professionals, so of course it will initially cost more than USB or Firewire. Prices will drop as peripherals and TB capable PCs get more widespread, the same thing happened with USB and Firewire. It isn't like SATA, USB, Firewire, and HDMI cables always used to cost $2 at Monoprice.

That you can get this level of performance and utility (transferring data and displaying video over the same cable is pretty cool) without spending the money on fiber cards is not bad.

RE: way to push better technology DT...
By LordConrad on 7/5/2011 6:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sony got it right this time, not Apple. Apple changed the name to Thunderbolt because they dropped the optical and could no longer call it LightPeak

By TakinYourPoints on 7/5/2011 6:36:45 PM , Rating: 3
Except that Sony isn't using optical interconnects either. Also, the only Thunderbolt components it will work with are their own proprietary docks, unless peripheral manufacturers which are already conforming to the Intel/Apple mini-DisplayPort connectors decide to go with USB connectors as well. Problem is this statement from USB Implementers Forum last year:

"USB connectors are not general purpose connectors and are not designed to be used in support of other technology applications or standards or as combo connectors."

This is why Intel and Apple went with the open and royalty free mini-DisplayPort connector instead of the USB connectors that they first demonstrated Light Peak on. Sony must have made a deal, but in any case we'll see if this ends up being forward compatible. It certainly won't be when the cables switch from copper to optical.

Based on Sony's long and illustrious history of proprietary hardware and media formats that fall by the wayside after only a few years, I wouldn't be betting on their implementation just yet.

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