As with many other recent stories, we’re all over UMPC coverage on PhoneNews.com. We believe that what you plug wireless data into, is just important as the data cards themselves.
Many have wondered why Apple hasn’t made a nettop/netbook. These low-cost, ultra-portable machines are battery-friendly, as well as being wallet-friendly. Apple’s first offering in the ultra-mobile arena (since the 12-inch PowerBook G4) has been the MacBook Air. This until has been shooting away from the netbook market, touting high performance and high thinness. And, it has succeded at that goal.
But it appears that there has been one salient thing keeping Apple from a netbook. And, the good news is, that change is about to pass. The first-generation Intel Atom has already hit the marketplace for awhile, coming down to the $349 price point (for an Acer Aspire One at BestBuy.com, which I reviewed elsewhere). However, the first generation of Atom is 32-bit. And, Apple has squarely put their entire product line in 64-bit territory.
The technical reasons, appear to be cemented in Apple’s forthcoming release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard will require a 64-bit Intel CPU, something which was well-examined in a recent article by AppleInsider. The article details that Apple is focusing on refining code to run on 64-bit processors, and that would actually slow older PowerPC G5 systems. As such, consistent with Apple’s policy of neverÂ releasingÂ a software update that negatively impacts performance, it appears that Snow Leopard will only be released for Intel-based Macs.
While some may argue that it is likely for Snow Leopard to support first-generation 32-bit Intel Core Solo Core Duo processors, it’s clear those systems will not get most of the speed bump promised with Leopard. And, with that, Apple doesn’t want to release another 32-bit Mac. Instead, it appears that Apple would be best off waiting for 64-bit, dual-core Atom processors, currently going into fabrication.
Because of the bevy of Mac announcements that Apple appears poised to make before the holiday buying season, it doesn’t seem that Apple is prepared to announce a netbook. However, with a dual-core Atom, it does ensure that 2009 will be ready, sans supply constraints, to launch a netbook that will take full advantage of Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
Probably the best part of all, is the ability to discontinue the Mac mini, and replace it with… the Mac mini. A netbook taking the place of the desktop Mac mini, and its price-point, would allow Apple to further its mobility position, and also embed the long-awaited WiMAX chipsets that Intel will offer at bargain prices.