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Report: Ultralight MacBook at Macworld

Rumors that Apple (AAPL) was set to release an ultralight notebook computer real soon now have been circulating as far back as Dec. 2006.

By July 2007,
was quoting “trusted sources” that before the end of the year the company would release “a notebook that is so small and light that it could redefine the standards of ultra-portable computing.”

Now it’s pretty clear that 2007 will come and go without delivering on the rumors.

But in his latest report to clients, Piper Jaffrey’s Gene Munster says he’s 75% certain that an ultralight MacBook “or possibly an entirely new product” will be coming in January at Macworld Expo.

What makes him so sure? The new 64 gigabyte solid-state drive with NAND flash memory that Samsung released last week. “We believe,” he writes, “NAND Flash drive sizes have now reached capacities that Apple would consider large enough to include in a new MacBook model.”

Ryan Block at
couldn’t wait. He dropped one of the new Samsung drives in a MacBook Pro. His report:

This is really how everyone’s laptop experience should be: free from worries about platter scratches or head crashes from bumps or drops; silent, cool drive operation; super fast access to your data. It’s just an early taste of what portable computing will be like in a few years, and it’s amazing. (link)

, which has been tracking development of the ultralight Mac since February, treats the Macworld unveiling as a done deal — and goes on to add some detail to the machine’s putative specs. “The 13-inch portable,” writes Kaper Jade, “will mark the Cupertino-based Mac maker’s re-entry into the sub-notebook market — arriving in a form-factor that’s approximately 50 percent lighter and strikingly slimmer than the company’s current 15-inch professional MacBook Pro offering.” (link)