Sifting through the thin MacBook rumors


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

The Apple (AAPL) rumor sites have been buzzing for months about the new thin MacBook they expect Steve Jobs to unveil Jan. 15 at Macworld Expo 2008. Now, with the company's annual showcase for new products less than six weeks away, the talking heads of cable business news have started to pick up the scent.

Yesterday was CNBC's Jim Goldman's turn. In a breathless report that aired shortly after noon (video, text), he cited a source "with good connections" to Apple's manufacturing partners and rattled off what
9to5Mac
characterized as "the known knowns":

  • That Jobs is introducing a new ultrathin subnotebook at Macworld
  • That the machine replaces the usual hard drive with flash memory
  • That the device is 50% thinner than the thinnest MacBook
  • That it will have a 12-inch screen and cost $1,500

Actually, that last "known" is in dispute.
AppleInsider
, quoting its own manufacturing sources, maintains that the machine will have a 13.3 inch display. And the $1,500 price point, while devoutly to be wished, seems too aggressive by half. As
Ars Technica
points out, solid-state hard drives come very dear; the 64 GB Samsung drive alone costs about $1,000 (link). There are a bunch of flash-based 64 GB subnotebooks on the market, and they start at $2,000.

CNBC's Goldman had other Apple news: that the iPod touch is selling well and Apple is ramping up production (a known known), and that a 3G iPhone is coming out next year, as early as May or June (a known rumor, but don't hold your breath for May/June delivery).

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