Chicago (IL) - If images like these are to be believed, this is the Mac netbook Apple said would never see the light of day. Simply named MacBook mini, it
looks representative and thin enough to attract attention. The
$899 computer is allegedly aimed at competing with the higher-end netbook market, hence 10.4-inch LED-backlit display and integrated
Nvidia 9400M GPU that also powers its bigger MacBook counterpart. Add
in a 1.83GHz Intel Atom CPU, SSD and 2GB of RAM all packed in a unibody
enclosure just 4 millimeters tall on its thinnest part and you probably
get Apple's next big hit. The only problem is, this isn't the Mac netbook
we've been waiting for.
If our Russian comrades are to be believed, specs include 10.4 inch LED-backlit display packing 1280 x 768 pixels driven by the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated GPU that runs unibody MacBooks. The computer is powered by a 1.83GHz Intel Atom Z740 processor with 1 MB L2 cache. The CPU and the GPU are paired together with Nvidia's ION motherboard platform clocked at 533 MHz.
The alleged specs also include 2 GB of DDR3-800 RAM and a 64 GB SDD. Expansions ports are scarce, just like on the MacBook Air, and include just one USB port in addition to Apple's MagSafe power connection and a Mini DisplayPort interconnect. Connectivity features are standard -- as in all MacBook models, meaning Bluetooth 2.1EDR and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Specs don't reveal anything about the battery life or technology used beyond mentioning it's Li-Ion 5100mA. No word of built-in 3G cellular Internet, though.
The paper suggests this MacBook mini will be priced at $899, which would be in-line with analyst's predictions. A previously leaked AT&T memo (whose authenticity hasn't been confirmed) claimed that the carrier might soon offer a $99 Apple Netbook with a 2-year data plan.
Netbook Mini: FAKE OR REAL?
This image (both accurate-looking and highly believable) may or may not be a $899 Mac netbook. It appeared in a Russian magazine and shows the 10-4 inch MacBook mini. It allegedly packs 1280 x 768 pixel display in a unibody enclosure. Under the hood hardware should include a 1.83GHz Intel Atom Z740 processor with 1 meg L2 cache, Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated GPU, 2 GB of DDR3-800 RAM and a 64 GB SDD. What about multi-touch capabilities?
Revival of a tiny MacBook Titanium
Frankly, if Apple has something like this in the works, we wouldn't be surprised one iota. Regular Apple readers may remember the miniature MacBook Titanium model that was later phased out. This MacBook mini could simply represent the revival of such a tiny MacBook Titanium-like model, this time refreshed with the same GPU platform, unibody enclosure and LED-backlit display shared with bigger MacBook models. The prospect of a Mac netbook has been the subject of ongoing debate that just won't die down, exciting all except Apple which maintains it isn't adamant to explore the "nascent" category.
Most big-shot analysts disagree, warning Apple it's high time to address the netbook market, adding that the company's current product matrix does not reflect a freezing economy and leaving little room for would-be fans with shallow wallets to enter the world of Apple.
The Chinese-based paper Commercial Times claims a Mac netbook will arrive in Q3 (just 4-6 months away) with Taiwan-based Wintek supplying panels and Quanta Computer contracted to manufacture. While we'd like to see Apple release a product like the MacBook mini, this definitely isn't the kind of Mac netbook that we've been waiting for.
JUST 4 MILLIMETERS THIN
If you believe our Russian comrades, the MacBook mini enclosure will measure 267 x 195 x 4 millimeters, packing USB and Mini DisplayPort slots. Connectivity features should include Bluetooth 2.1EDR and 802.11n Wi-Fi. But what about 3G cellular Internet? Probably not.
We want a game-changing Mac netbook!
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the self-proclaimed consumer electronics giant won't enter the netbook market just for the sake of it. Instead, most industry watchers expect Apple to do what it does the best: To carefully analyze the product category and competing products within to pinpoint areas for improvement, and then innovate in several key aspects to such an extent that redefines the entire product category. Of course, everyone has their own idea of what Apple would focus on exactly -- including the folks here at TG Daily.
What most commentators are calling for is something like an ultra-thin computer, small and light enough for true portability, with up to 7-inch multi-touch display, iPhone-like UI with just basic elements and third-party applications delivered via the App Store. Is it really asking too much?