Word is going around that Apple is preparing ultraportable 13" notebooks. According to Apple Insider these new products will be launched at MacWorld in January:
The 13-inch portable, which AppleInsider first detailed back in February, will mark the Cupertino-based Mac maker's re-entry into the sub-notebook market -- arriving in a form-factor that's approximately 50 percent lighter and strikingly slimmer than the company's current 15-inch professional MacBook Pro offering.
In achieving this smaller notebook footprint, Apple has reportedly adopted design cues that fall in line with the minimalist nature of its chief executive, including a bold move to omit a traditional optical disc drive from the aluminum-clad systems.
The thickness of today's optical disc drive components are one of the primary factors limiting the ability of PC manufacturers to slim down their next-generation notebook designs. Although Apple had originally made attempts to build in a drive through unconventional means, it's reported that the plan faced both obstacles and opposition, and upon last check appeared to have been scrapped.
At the same time, the new sub-notebook will mark the advent of features not yet available with Apple's existing portable offerings, such as onboard NAND flash. The system will represent the first Mac to utilize the solid-state memory in order to improve power efficiency and facilitate near instantaneous boot times, among other advantages.
Also helping with power efficiency will be the adoption of a new breed of 13-inch LCD display panels, which, like those used in the current iteration of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, feature LED backlights rather than cold cathode fluorescent backlights (CCFLs).