I am a hardcore Apple devotee. However, I haven’t really owned a Mac laptop in years. The last laptop I’ve used on a regular basis is an aging Fujitsu beater I picked up on eBay for $250, under three pounds with a touchscreen.
The problem is that Apple hasn’t made a really portable laptop in a long time. After lugging a Powerbook 1400 and, more recently, a tangerine iBook, I’ve sworn off laptops over 3 pounds. A truly light portable computer is a life altering experience – when you can carry something anywhere, you can use it anywhere. The PC world is full of lovely ultralight laptops that are perfect, except for the operating system: check out the Sony VAIO TX (2.76 pounds) or the Fujitsu Lifebook 1500D (2.21 pounds)
What amazes me is that Apple hasn’t jumped into the ultralight market with a vengeance. They were the first into that arena with the Duo, which had a dock design that seemed years ahead of its time (4.5 pounds… but that was light at the time!)
It would be a fairly simple thing to do. Here’s my recipe for my perfect Mac portable:
What we’re talking about here isn’t really a standalone laptop or desktop replacement, but more of a satellite computer – which is how a great many people use their laptops anyway. There should be some sort of syncing software, so that large files can be left on the desktop computer or external hard drive. Specifically, iTunes should have the ability to sync a subset of its library, just like an iPod. My iTunes library is already bigger than any laptop hard drive Apple sells, so this is already long overdue.
This would be a perfect adjunct to a Mac Mini. Take it home, drop it in the dock, and it recharges and synchronizes to the Mini. Pick it up and carry it around the house, using WiFi to keep in touch with the base. It makes a sensible remote control for an Apple “digital living room” solution – spiffy 3D menus on the tablet, music and video on your home entertainment equipment.
It’s interesting to note that what you wind up with looks a heck of a lot like the mockups and speculation about a video iPod, only bigger. You wouldn’t want to write a novel on it, but editing one or reading one would be fine. Video editing would work perfectly well, and might even be very fluid with the touchscreen interface. Imagine the next Timothy Treadwell shooting and editing his footage on one of these right in the field, then uploading to his vodcast on trips to civilization. Empowerment writ large…
Apple, please make this product. Have Jonathan Ive sprinkle his pixie dust on it, and I’ll put my order in the minute Steve stops talking!