Change is the one constant in the universe. So it is with Apple, the Mac, iPods, iPhones, and your hard drive.
Hard disk drives are dead. Or, at least, they’re dying slowly. 32 gigabyte notebooks are already available, and 64 gigabyte flash drives will show up in lightweight notebooks and PCs, possibly this year.
SanDisk, a major maker of flash drives, the memory used in Apple’s popular iPod nano and shuffle, has announced a 64 gigabyte flash memory drive for notebooks.
Does than mean Apple will introduce a MacBook Pro with a flash hard drive, instead of a standard hard drive? At some point, yes. I’m counting on a flash-based MacBook Pro mini to debut with a steep price tag.
SanDisk introduced a 32 gigabyte 1.8-inch parallel ATA version of the flash drive earlier in 2007. The 63 gigabyte flash drive is 2.5 inches and functions as a serial ATA device.
Though the larger device is considered a drop in replacement for standard hard disk drives in notebooks, the SanDisk SSD SATA flash drive will enable computers to boot faster, read files faster, and use substantially less power, while waking from sleep faster than ever.
MacNN reports that Sony and Dell already have 32 gigabyte flash drives in select notebooks.
Sony’s is the cleverly named Vaio VGN-UX390N ultra small 4.5-inch notebook with an Intel Core Solo processor.
It has a gigabyte of RAM, Windows Vista Business, WiFi, and a bunch of other features, including dual cameras.
Where’s Apple’s flash drive MacBook and how much would it cost? The Sony model carries an ultra hefty $2,300 price tag. There’s no doubt Apple will get to the flash drive market. The questions are when and how much?
Are flash drives the next great thing? Yes. Just last week BusinessWeek Online pointed out the advantages, cost disadvantages and the trends toward smaller, lighter, less power hungry devices which will use flash drives.
64 gigabyte flash drives are pricey. Prices will come down and capacity will increase. Notebook hard disk drives at Apple top out at 200 gigabytes, though larger capacity drives are on the market.
We may also see Apple tip toe into the flash drive notebook arena with hybrid models; notebooks that have both a hard drive and a flash drive.
The question of the day: are you ready for an ultra portable MacBook or MacBook Pro (we’ve dubbed them the MacBook mini, and the MacBook Pro mini) with a flash drive? Do you prefer a hybrid version?