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Flash-based Apple laptops: Coming in '07?

Posted: 14 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Apple? flash-based notebook? flash memory? hard-disk drives? HDD?

An industry analyst tipped that Apple Inc. may sell flash-based notebook computers later this yearthe subnotebook computers, ushering an industry transition that can lead to price cuts in hard-disk drives (HDDs), according to a Reuters report.

Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research, made the forecast and cited unnamed industry sources as the basis for the report. Wu was among the first analysts to forecast the unveiling of Apple's iPhone music player/phone earlier this year.

Currently, flash is a memory of choice for consumer electronics including digital cameras and music players because it is lighter, uses less power and takes up less space than HDDs. Apple, for instance, uses flash for its iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle products. Meanwhile, HDDs have maintained a long-term dominance in providing capacity for computing devices such as desktop PCs and laptops.

Wu's announcement may stir a change on this situation. According to the report, he said that now is the time for "flash makers to make a move" as flash memory prices are on a rapid decline. He added that Apple is ready to take action on this. This transition, he cited, may then put HDD suppliers such as Seagate Technology under pressure.

Citing unnamed sources again, Wu said that Apple will use a miniature version of its Mac OS X in the flash-based subnotebook computers which might be introduced in the second half of 2007. He noted though that early flash-based PCs may be more expensive as prices for flash memory remain higher than HDDs.

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