Apple event puts ‘spotlight’ on notebooks

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Apple event puts ‘spotlight’ on notebooks

Cupertino (CA) – Apple will be refreshing its notebook family just in time for the Christmas shopping season. During a special event on October 14, the company will turn the “spotlight” on notebooks.

With a piece of information that Apple will be refreshing its notebook family, the company officially lays the foundation for a new round of rumors speculating what may be announced and what not.  But there are a few things we know – and a couple credible rumors.

The currently shipping MacBook, the MacBook pro as well as the MacBook Air are at least nine months old and overdue for a serious refresh. While Apple’s rivals from the PC camp, especially Dell and Lenovo, have been taking shots at the company and continuously improved their notebooks over the past year, there has been nothing new from Apple (with the exception of price drops).

So expect new notebooks based on Intel’s Montevina platform, upgraded processors and greater availability of solid state disk drives, which are currently limited to the MacBook Air, where a 64 GB drive is offered as a $599 option in the entry level model and as standard feature in the $2600 flagship model. The SSD market has made some progress since the beginning of the year: 80 GB/128 GB SSDs have replaced 64 GB models on the high-end and 64 GB drives are moving towards the mainstream with prices of less than $200 even in the retail market.

WiMax has also been introduced, but given Apple’s history that the company misses one or the other trend and plays catch up later, we would not count on the addition of this feature, especially since WiMax isn’t really a global or even national topic yet. However, it would be time for Apple to add a 3G option (HSDPA and/or EV-DO) throughout its product line. Since Apple heavily promotes its MobileMe cloud service, a permanent Internet connection option certainly could be a smart move.

And, of course, there is the “brick” rumor, which suggests that future Apple notebook casings could be made from one piece of metal. Recent images indicate that this could in fact be the case and the results of such a move may not only result in an attractive design, but also lower production and assembly cost. It isn’t a secret that Apple is not particularly well positioned in the current market that apparently is moving toward cheaper systems with a price tag of well below $1000.

Also, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer recently indicated that there will be a product transition for the notebook space.