updated 02:40 pm EST, Fri January 11, 2008
Something in the air
We've gotten our first, tantalizing glimpse of what's to come at Macworld Expo 2008. A banner spotted by Ars Technica reveals the tagline "2008. There's something in the air." The banner users an atypical (for Apple), light font that seems to suggest thinness, or least an "airy" quality. The banner could be referring to a widely-anticipated subnotebook, which would mark Apple's first such computer since the PowerBook 2400 released in the late 1990s. It is predicted that a new subnotebook will make use of NAND flash storage, not only increasing access speed but improving weight, reliability and battery life.
Ars thinks the slogan has to do with sending content wirelessly: "Our own Jon Stokes puts money on purchasing songs over the AT&T network when you are not browsing the iTunes Store at Starbucks. Or perhaps it's streaming content to Macs in your home or away from home."
Meanwhile, a recent Apple patent application, disclosed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, may point to a radically new notebook docking station. The submission is entitled Integrated monitor and docking station, and depicts a device that solves two problems of current docks, namely the space and lack of convenient transport posed by having to hook up separate dock, notebook and display components. The Apple invention is essentially a "hollowed-out" iMac, into which users insert a MacBook completely from a side-facing opening.
Another recent patent filing conjured by the banner would allow fully mobile devices such as cellphones and MP3 players to automatically discover each other on a local network, similar to the way the Zune can recognize nearby devices on its Wi-Fi connection; also as with the Microsoft jukebox, owners would be able to "push" media and other files to other devices. But the patent's implementation would also let a device make such requests, Apple says, allowing one handheld to pick files for download in a way the Zune currently forbids. A wireless sync method could automate these requests simply by coming near the right device.