refresh of the MacBook Air seemingly impending the rumor mill
surrounding Apple Inc. (AAPL)
is once again heating up.
According to Macotakara.jp, 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
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
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.