Blu-ray rumoured to feature on new Apple notebooks

13 Oct 2008

New chipsets, new housing, but the same MacBook family? These are just some of the rumours flitting around the internet today ahead of tomorrow’s unveiling of new products from Apple.

Last week, pictures were doing the rounds on the internet purporting to be the recyclable aluminium housing of new, low-cost Apple MacBooks, which would retail for under US$800.

If Apple moves in this direction, it will be for two main reasons. Firstly, the netbook market is on the rise and players such as Asus, Acer, Lenovo and Dell already have products in the marketplace. Secondly, as the world’s economy continues to struggle, consumers will be tightening their belts and will have no truck with nice but expensive notebooks.

According to the rumour mill, Apple may be switching to NVIDIA’s graphics chipset, while continuing to include Intel microprocessors.

Apple is also understood to be planning to move to light emitting diode (LED) backlighting.

Some reports have suggested that Apple’s AirPort technology may be provided on a standalone basis to help the company achieve more stripped-down, cheaper computers.

The new MacBook family will also boast increased touch-controls via the trackpad.

The stripped-down laptops are rumoured to come without the optical drive and have a smaller hard drive and less RAM.

There is also speculation that higher-end notebook products will boast the addition of Blu-ray.

Over the weekend, a mysterious document appeared on Apple’s website purporting to be a user guide for the MacBook/MacBook Pro, which refered to installing a replacement display by installing the “AirPort card on the display assembly. The display assembly does not come with the AirPort card installed.” The document has since disappeared from Apple’s website.

Whether these rumours have any basis or not, all eyes will be on San Francisco tomorrow where Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs will put speculators out of their misery.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years