updated 04:15 pm EDT, Thu October 21, 2010
iFixit finds Toshiba SSD in smaller MacBook Air
An ongoing teardown of the new 11-inch MacBook Air by iFixit has discovered extra details beyond just what Apple showed during its own keynote. The ultraportable's SSD was already known to be custom since none take up its very narrow shape, but the 64GB example here is now known to be entirely Toshiba-derived and uses the Japanese firm's memory controller and four 16GB chips from the same firm. It won't be user-replaceable but, at half the thickness and less overall area, is key to the system's thin design.
Samsung and possibly Toshiba's frequent flash memory partner SanDisk are rumored to provide higher capacity and alternate SSDs for the system to guarantee a healthy supply of storage.
The system is relatively serviceable on the inside, but Apple has unusually decided to use Security Torx screws that most won't have a screwdriver for. The battery is actually an assembly of six lithium-polymer cells. Pre-release shots of the 13-inch model showed four larger cells that were afforded by the equally thin but longer design. It's hinted that this is still replaceable on-the-spot by technicians.
Many other components will still seem familiar to those who have examined the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Apart from an overall miniaturization that uses one small fan and a heat spreader to cool everything in the system, it uses the same Broadcom Bluetooth/Wi-Fi combo chip, a Broadcom controller for the trackpad, and Elpida RAM.
The design reveals an intense level of consolidation that hasn't been seen before in a Mac. Electronista has heard from Apple staff that the design was an extraordinary achievement for the designers, who had to consolidate virtually every feature of the 13-inch system with only slight reductions to accommodate the ULV Core 2 Duo chip.