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Apple 'revises' sub-notebook Mac release date

Mac Mini not due until 2008?

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Apple's rumoured Flash-fitted sub-notebook Mac will not appear until much later this year and possibly not until 2008, it has been claimed.

According to an AppleIndsider report, the reasons for the alleged revision to the machine's release schedule are unknown. The site's sources, who first dropped hints about the sub-notebook in March, then pointed to a July announcement from Apple.

The MacBook Mini in the Apple Store - artist's impression

It's suggested that the delay may be related to the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard set-back. The operating system upgrade was expected this spring, but Apple recently admitted the product would not now appear until October. The reason: to allow its developers to get the iPhone's Mac OS X-based operating system finished in time.

The sub-notebook is thought to require Leopard because the OS adds support for Flash cache technology. It may well do, but since the 'MacBook Mini' is said to use Flash in place of a hard drive, and that's usually done by connecting the memory through a standard SATA or parallel ATA interface - both supported by current and prior versions of Mac OS X - why does Apple's sub-notebook design team need to wait for Leopard?

One answer is that, so save space, the machine doesn't use a standard form-factor for its Flash, though what that will do for the price is anyone's guess. Another is that the machine does incorporate a hard drive, reserving Flash for caching. That's a feature Intel will roll out in its 'Santa Rosa' Centrino upgrade in May, and something that might very well require Leopard.

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