In his Monday Note, Jean-Louis Gassée (the guy who lost to SJobs to become the future of the Mac with his BeOS) writes about the current state of the Mac. While he takes us on a long windy road, there are some interesting bits.
Specifically, the move to the forefront of the MacBook Air (which I am typing this on as of last month for the first time in my life).
To confirm this, let’s transport ourselves to a typical Apple Store. We’ll start in September 2010. The older MacBook Air is relegated to a low-traffic area of the store. It’s not “moving.”
Now look at the same store today. The Science of Shopping says the ‘‘high-value” area must be the first table on the left, because, statistically, that’s how we navigate stores. There we see six MacBook Airs: four 11” models and two 13” configurations.
This is an interesting if not obvious observation. The reason? The price has gone down while the performance of the MacBook Air has gone up. My MacBook Air, likely because of the SSD, is faster than my previous MacBook Pro 15-inch base model, has the same pixels in the display and costs less. My Superdrive was still a virgin even after 2 years of use.
Perhaps most interesting however is his postulation that the next version of the Air, running MacOS will run on Apple’s ARM processors….
This takes us to a more speculative train of thought: Moving to the ARM architecture.
When you experience the 11” MacBook Air on a relatively slow 1.4 GHz Intel processor, you can’t help but wonder how it would feel on multi-core ARM hardware. Porting an OS to a new processor is no longer rocket science, but moving third-party applications is much harder — unless they’ve been distributed and regularized in such a way that makes the transition smooth and transparent.
Then we have the next OS X version, dubbed Lion. Last October, Steve Jobs emphasized the point that Lion’s simplified UI borrows the “magic” of the iPad. We’ll have to wait for the product, slated for a Summer ’11 launch, but that didn’t stop my friend Peter Yared, a serial entrepreneur and sharp blogger, to offer a suggestion: “Take that iPad-ified MacBook Air one step further. Look at the Toshiba Tablet PC; there’s a pivot inside the display’s hinge:
If nothing else, moving to ARM would be a huge cost cutter for Apple. The hardware cost would come down near the iPad which means Apple could sell the device at near iPad prices.