I’m sure you’ve already heard about it a million times over by now, but Apple launched its wildly speculated ultraportable laptop, the MacBook Air at the 2008 MacWorld. While it’s thin and quite light, the 13.3″ footprint doesn’t quite place it into the ‘ultraportable’ arena in my opinion. Still, the design is very impressive, although the thickness diagram at MacWorld, comparing it with the Sony TZ, was quite misleading. You’d think the laptop was wedge shaped, growing from 0.16″ to 0.76″. Instead, the 0.16″ was measured at literally its thinnest point, which is just the front edge, with both the bottom of the chassis rising up and the lid tapering off. As far as I know, all other laptop manufacturers list thickness based on measurement from the surface the notebook is resting on. Clever marketing by Apple, but I’d expect nothing less. I have a dedicated piece with some more detailed thoughts on the MacBook Air in the works, which I’ll post soon.
And onto a couple things that are far less official. Leaks of both Dell and Lenovo designs have found their way onto the internet. Dell has clearly realized the importance of not only cost but also design and aesthetics, especially in the mobile space, in the past year or so. We’ve seen laptops such as the XPS M1330 and M1530, the slimming of the Inspiron from the 1520 to 1525 and the launch of the Dell XPS One desktop. If the leaked image is any indication of something else brewing in Dell’s hardware labs, another laptop design will be added to a growing stable of aesthetically pleasing designs. Initially it was thought this was a 12.1″ or similarly small laptop, but based on the keyboard size and the space around it, this must be in the range of 15.4″. Based on the image, the screen proportions don’t seem to match up to the 16:10 ratio of most widescreen laptops. Could this be one of the new 15.6″ or 16″ 16:9 displays? Do keep in mind this could be a complete fake, but here’s to hoping it’s not.
Lenovo also may have had a leak of its own, the so-called ThinkPad ‘x300’. The design seems to follow the traditional ThinkPad format, although thankfully, unlike the T61, doesn’t share the off-center display that I complained about previously. The most surprising part of the leak is the weight – 2.5lbs, albeit with a small 3 cell battery is still extremely impressive. From the leaked specifications, it looks like the design may be using Intel’s SFF chipset and CPU product, based on the Merom core, which, coincidentally, is what the MacBook Air also seems to be using. If this comes to pass, Apple may not be the only ones able to tout a 3lbs or less 13.3″ laptop. To be honest, I’ll be very surprised if Lenovo is able to get the weight down that much. After all, it doesn’t even eschew the built-in optical drive like Apple does with its MacBook Air.