updated 03:40 pm EDT, Fri October 15, 2010
11.6-inch MacBook Air allegedly locked for Oct. 20
Apple's October 20 event should focus on the rumored 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a particular twist in storage, a leak this afternoon claimed. Multiple sources, at least one known to be accurate, said the ultraportable would use barebones SSDs for storage instead of the 1.8-inch fully enclosed drives used now. These wouldn't be as easily replaceable by users, AppleInsider said, but take up much less space in the tight confines of an even smaller system.
Such drives are already established in the notebook industry and include those like SanDisk's pSSD or some Samsung models. Many are often reserved for netbooks or embedded devices, but they can also be used for ultraportables.
An SSD-only platform would help Apple design for a smaller frame but also fuel Apple CEO Steve Jobs's goals for an iPad-like responsiveness where the system boots and wakes faster than a typical notebook. Booting is unlikely to be instant but should still be faster.
The design itself would cosmetically resemble the current, 13.3-inch Air but would be more "wedge-shaped," with sharper edges. Most other details aren't known, such as whether or not expansion would increase. Pricing is also still an unknown, but as yet uncorroborated claims of large production volumes have implied that Apple would drop the price significantly below its current $1,499.
Past rumors have placed an ultra-low voltage Core i3, i5 or i7 in the design, which could either require Intel's integrated graphics to avoid the ongoing Intel-NVIDIA dispute or else a low-end dedicated graphics core.