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  • Apple Begins Killing the Hard Drive


    Apple calls the new MacBook Air "the next generation of MacBooks," in an indication that they are planning on incorporating the innovative features of the refreshed model in all Apple laptops. Chief among these is the solid-state drive (SSD) flash storage that replaces the hard drive, cutting weight and extending battery life. Apple has telegraphed in a number of ways that the 'instant-on' capability of the MacBook Air and iPad will become standard on MacBooks - if not on all Macs - in the future.

    "All notebooks will be like this someday," Jobs said on the stage yesterday, calling the MacBook Air "the future of the MacBook." In the press release accompanying the Air launch, Apple strongly asserted that "the first of a next generation of notebooks which will replace mechanical hard disks and optical drives with Internet services and solid state flash storage." So it's clear that they intend to standardize on flash storage as opposed to mechanical hard disks. Apple is already the largest buyer of NAND flash memory in the world, snapping up so many of the silicon wafers that it's single handedly caused worldwide shortages time and time again. However, their purchasing power has also enabled them to get flash at a good price, and further driving the price down by forcing manufacturers to increase production.

    So is this a good development for the future of the MacBook, as well as the notebook industry in general? For one thing, the lack of moving parts eliminates the number one killer of hard drives: head crashes. Also, start-up time and access time is faster in solid state memory than in mechanical hard drives, again because of no moving parts. Heat buildup is limited and power usage is much lower. On the downside, the high price makes storage larger than the 256GB in the 13-inch Air impractical, though as production ramps up we should see prices come down. One major drawback is that there are a limited number of write cycles with flash memory; mechanical hard drives can be rewritten as many as ten times more than flash chips.

    Technical and price shortcomings will doubtlessly diminish over time, and for a user who needs a light, medium-duty laptop - and has money to spare - the current crop of MacBook Airs are a fine choice. For those who are looking for a more affordable, durable option and are not rabid early adopters, waiting a year or so might be appropriate.

    image via Apple
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Begins Killing the Hard Drive started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 92 Comments
    1. Dayvidpriddy's Avatar
      Dayvidpriddy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tyronal View Post
      Must be Troll season. You're all coming out today. If you don't own a Mac and don't want a Mac then your posts are a pitiful excuse to Troll and bash. Why do all you haters feel the need to pop your pin heads up just to take a swing at Apple? Nobody cares what you think. This IS and always will be an "Everything Apple" forum, not a meeting of the MS Klu Klux Klan.
      Nobody is trolling dude, I've been a member on here for over a year. Just because someone posts something you don't like or agree with doesn't make them a troll. Grow a pair, would ya?
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dayvidpriddy View Post
      Nobody is trolling dude, I've been a member on here for over a year. Just because someone posts something you don't like or agree with doesn't make them a troll. Grow a pair, would ya?
      Hey troll, grow a brain would ya? The next meeting of the MS Klan starts in 5 minutes, don't miss it. Suck it up, your opinions on things you obviously know NOTHING about mean jack here dude. Don't let the door hit your ***** on the way out troll. Take your hate elsewhere.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      So. Everyone is moving to digital downloads? The CD/DVD manufacturers are going to take a huge hit on this one.
    1. Dayvidpriddy's Avatar
      Dayvidpriddy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tyronal View Post
      Hey troll, grow a brain would ya? The next meeting of the MS Klan starts in 5 minutes, don't miss it. Suck it up, your opinions on things you obviously know NOTHING about mean jack here dude. Don't let the door hit your ***** on the way out troll. Take your hate elsewhere.
      Dude if anyone on here is a troll it is you! I have searched you on here and you seem to have issues with people who don't agree with you, get some therapy! What is it that I don't "know anything about?" Macs are overpriced, there is nothing to know...apples for apples, they charge double what anyone else charges for the same damn thing! My opinion matters, just not to closed minded people such as yourself. Do you sleep with your 3,500 brick under your pillow at night? LOL Don't hate because I was smarter then you are lol...

      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      So. Everyone is moving to digital downloads? The CD/DVD manufacturers are going to take a huge hit on this one.
      Dude dvd/blu-ray drives are not just for watching media, they are also used for burning media...how are manufacturers going to take a hit on this? Why would anyone want to buy downloaded media that has DRM all over it? Just like why do you guys buy songs from iTunes and pay a buck or more for ONE song? I use "alltunes" and have for years now, songs are PENNIES at 320kbps (no DRM)...I can buy a whole album for what you pay for one song on iTunes for. It still amazes me all of the business that iTunes gets, people are really stupid and are just throwing their money away!
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dayvidpriddy View Post
      I would NEVER buy a Mac, the only one I would want would be the 17" pro and the cost of them are like 3500 bucks! Total rip off to say the least. I have a 17" windows notebook fully loaded with top of the line specs for half that price with a 1080p screen and a Blu-ray drive. I still don't understand why people throw away good money on Apple products...especially a product that has very low software choices. I think they should replace the Apple logo with Steves face on it lol.

      F'n ridiculous!
      ummm, ok. I'm sorry that you wished you could have a mac, but don't have the money.

      Guess what?! Your iPhone, it's an Apple product! It has less software choices than macs!

      Oh and also, applications for mac kick the butt of windows apps any day. You want to know why? because apple has a SDK with tons of tools and API's that help dev make awesome apps, with much less work.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dayvidpriddy View Post
      Nobody is trolling dude, I've been a member on here for over a year. Just because someone posts something you don't like or agree with doesn't make them a troll. Grow a pair, would ya?
      you're the one being a troll.
    1. Dayvidpriddy's Avatar
      Dayvidpriddy -
      Quote Originally Posted by moon#pie View Post
      ummm, ok. I'm sorry that you wished you could have a mac, but don't have the money.

      Guess what?! Your iPhone, it's an Apple product! It has less software choices than macs!

      Oh and also, applications for mac kick the butt of windows apps any day. You want to know why? because apple has a SDK with tons of tools and API's that help dev make awesome apps, with much less work.


      you're the one being a troll.
      Saying I don't have the money to buy a mac is a cheap shot dude lol, come back with something better than that! An iPhone isn't a damn computer, it's a phone, who cares what software is on it or isn't? Apps for mac DO NOT kick any butts on Windows dude, 95 percent of software I use on windows is not available on macs. Sure I could run bootcamp but what is the purpose of buying a mac? It's surely not to run windows on it.

      No my friend, you are the troll, you can't take constructive criticism on your fanboy products. Yea I own an iPhone...but only because it has overtaken the mobile industry and that is what everyone is building around, other then than that you would never see an Apple product in my house. I can take that over 50 percent that I would spend on a Mac Book Pro and go to the Bahamas...why spend it over overpriced hardware...especially MISSING hardware (AKA blu-ray drive)...get real! I'm not going to keep going back and fourth with you trolls, you want to waste your money by all means...
    1. cranie's Avatar
      cranie -
      Quote Originally Posted by nbsmatambo View Post
      maybe im wrong but i dont think you could ever upgrade a MacBooks memory in the firstplace
      Yes you are incorrect. It's under the Battery and easily upgradable.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dayvidpriddy View Post
      Saying I don't have the money to buy a mac is a cheap shot dude lol, come back with something better than that! An iPhone isn't a damn computer, it's a phone, who cares what software is on it or isn't? Apps for mac DO NOT kick any butts on Windows dude, 95 percent of software I use on windows is not available on macs. Sure I could run bootcamp but what is the purpose of buying a mac? It's surely not to run windows on it.

      No my friend, you are the troll, you can't take constructive criticism on your fanboy products. Yea I own an iPhone...but only because it has overtaken the mobile industry and that is what everyone is building around, other then than that you would never see an Apple product in my house. I can take that over 50 percent that I would spend on a Mac Book Pro and go to the Bahamas...why spend it over overpriced hardware...especially MISSING hardware (AKA blu-ray drive)...get real! I'm not going to keep going back and fourth with you trolls, you want to waste your money by all means...
      I really don't think trolls like you get the point. You are obviously jealous that you can't afford to buy a macbook pro. Only people that are jealous keep bring up the fact that they built a whoop-*** windows machine for half the price!

      You are the fanboi here. You and your ******* windows ****! go piss off because last time I checked, this was a forum for apple products.

      Oh, and BTW, I've got a laptop that runs window. It's sucks compared to macs OS. And yes I've used W7, it's a blatant ripoff of Mac OS, but you are too blinded by your windows fanboi-ism to see and remember who stole apple's patents back in the 80's and 90's and got away with it.
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dayvidpriddy View Post
      Saying I don't have the money to buy a mac is a cheap shot dude lol, come back with something better than that! An iPhone isn't a damn computer, it's a phone, who cares what software is on it or isn't? Apps for mac DO NOT kick any butts on Windows dude, 95 percent of software I use on windows is not available on macs. Sure I could run bootcamp but what is the purpose of buying a mac? It's surely not to run windows on it.

      No my friend, you are the troll, you can't take constructive criticism on your fanboy products. Yea I own an iPhone...but only because it has overtaken the mobile industry and that is what everyone is building around, other then than that you would never see an Apple product in my house. I can take that over 50 percent that I would spend on a Mac Book Pro and go to the Bahamas...why spend it over overpriced hardware...especially MISSING hardware (AKA blu-ray drive)...get real! I'm not going to keep going back and fourth with you trolls, you want to waste your money by all means...
      Go away little troll, nobody cares for your stupid windowz crap here. It's an APPLE forum. You've been exposed now run off and play with your blueray.
    1. terranova88's Avatar
      terranova88 -
      I feel both Windows and OSX suck. I do feel mac is a little over priced for the hardware specs but it's no different than say Dell or Alienware computers. "Top of the line" Alienware laptop with lots of options is in the range of $3000(granted the specs are much better). It's not a flame or a bash I feel OSX is a solid OS, then again I feel Windows 7 is a solid OS as well. I use both. But I have to admit I like my Win7 laptop better than the Mac just for the usability and compatibility with everything. I feel embedding SSD into the motherboard is a good approach but a dangerous one. There is always room for failure and being unable to replace a hard drive but rather the whole motherboard doesn't make much logical sense to me. I myself prefer the freedom of upgrading components. I think apple's doing great. I'm really curious and excited to see what the future of technology has in store for all of us.

      Have a good day and happy friday everyone!
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      most of apple's stuff is upgradable. the air is an exception due to the super small and thin nature of it.
    1. terranova88's Avatar
      terranova88 -
      Quote Originally Posted by moon#pie View Post
      most of apple's stuff is upgradable. the air is an exception due to the super small and thin nature of it.
      Thank you for pointing that out.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Quote Originally Posted by terranova88 View Post
      Thank you for pointing that out.
      thank you for not calling me a fanboi.
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -
      Quote Originally Posted by moon#pie View Post
      ummm, ok. I'm sorry that you wished you could have a mac, but don't have the money.

      Guess what?! Your iPhone, it's an Apple product! It has less software choices than macs!

      Oh and also, applications for mac kick the butt of windows apps any day. You want to know why? because apple has a SDK with tons of tools and API's that help dev make awesome apps, with much less work.


      you're the one being a troll.
      I can't stand listening to you close-minded fools.

      I've seen some pretty kickass pc-based laptops that are right there with the top MBPs in terms of performance. Hell, you can make a hackintosh that will run OSX right alongside the best MBPs for a fraction of their price. Also, your argument about not being able to afford one does nothing to support your opinion whatsoever.

      Yes, there are some awesome ones that are better than their Windows equivalents, but to act as though there aren't just as many Wnidows based apps that are better than there Mac based rivals is just foolish. After all, bootcamp and parallels are big hits for a reason.

      You and Tyronal are certainly two of the more hostile members of this site.
      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      What the **** is going on?! Damn you, PC vs. Mac wars, fanboys, and haters.

      Now, I want a SSD if my mom buys it.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Quote Originally Posted by mortopher View Post
      I can't stand listening to you close-minded fools.

      I've seen some pretty kickass pc-based laptops that are right there with the top MBPs in terms of performance. Hell, you can make a hackintosh that will run OSX right alongside the best MBPs for a fraction of their price. Also, your argument about not being able to afford one does nothing to support your opinion whatsoever.

      Yes, there are some awesome ones that are better than their Windows equivalents, but to act as though there aren't just as many Wnidows based apps that are better than there Mac based rivals is just foolish. After all, bootcamp and parallels are big hits for a reason.

      You and Tyronal are certainly two of the more hostile members of this site.
      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
      I'm hostile toward people who make dumb *** remarks. I don't care if you don't like Macs. Now if you don't like macs and decide to be a **** about it, then I'm gonna be a **** back.
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      I'd say this time next year SSDs will be much closer price per gigabyte. Until I can get X-25M performance with at a minimum of 500gbs I'll stay away. They are fast as hell but way too pricy for me. The MacBook Air isn't going to drive the market, it's more of a niche product.
    1. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      Quote Originally Posted by moon#pie View Post
      I really don't think trolls like you get the point. You are obviously jealous that you can't afford to buy a macbook pro. Only people that are jealous keep bring up the fact that they built a whoop-*** windows machine for half the price!

      You are the fanboi here. You and your ******* windows ****! go piss off because last time I checked, this was a forum for apple products.

      Oh, and BTW, I've got a laptop that runs window. It's sucks compared to macs OS. And yes I've used W7, it's a blatant ripoff of Mac OS, but you are too blinded by your windows fanboi-ism to see and remember who stole apple's patents back in the 80's and 90's and got away with it.
      OS X is a much much better OS than any windows os but apple hardware is over priced that's why I have a hackintosh for my main setup that way my video card, CPU and all that stuff is affordable to upgrade. All my mobile devices and laptops are apple brand because IMO they are better then the rest.
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Apple has no say in the hard drive whatsoever. They don't sell enough mac's to equal an ant hill in the computer market and all the iphones, IPT's and ipads have ran flash from day one so Apple has NEVER affected HD sales of computers, most especially since only one of their computers comes standard with SSD. (MBA)

      So either Jobs, or the person who wrote this article has their head in the sand if they think their 3% of the computer market has anything to do with hard drive sales.

      LAUGHABLE.
    1. piston597's Avatar
      piston597 -
      Quote Originally Posted by one1 View Post
      Apple has no say in the hard drive whatsoever. They don't sell enough mac's to equal an ant hill in the computer market and all the iphones, IPT's and ipads have ran flash from day one so Apple has NEVER affected HD sales of computers, most especially since only one of their computers comes standard with SSD. (MBA)

      So either Jobs, or the person who wrote this article has their head in the sand if they think their 3% of the computer market has anything to do with hard drive sales.

      LAUGHABLE.
      OBVIOUSLY they have no say in any market. Like when they had 0% in the phone market now what are they a good 30% or so? Since the iPhone apps and touchscreen phones have boomed. What about the iPad? They were at 0% and control a great portion of the tablet market. I'm sure they can also control the computer market aswell. Plus memory gets cheaper, if ssd's take up less space and are faster it is bound to get cheaper in 2-4 years. I remember when I bought my 4GB memory stick for $140, now they cost like $30, same with ssd's, Apple is just making that day come sooner...
      PS not trying to start a flame war... just stating my opinion, as you are yours (means I wont respond to any comments on this kthnxby)