The latest MacBook Air models a great example of how Apple’s moves sometimes don’t make sense until years later when the other leg of the company’s strategy finally surfaces. When Apple first announced MacOS X Snow Leopard awhile back – not the newly previewed future release called MacOS X Lion, but the current version of MacOS which new Macs have been shipping with for a awhile – it was made clear that Snow Leopard was mostly an under-the-hood release designed primarily to speed up Mac hardware by simplifying the nature of OS code. But while the size of the OS install becoming a bit smaller seemed like an obvious result, many were puzzled when Apple went a little too far out of its way to brag about the mere six gigabytes or so it had shaved off the install. After all, the typical new Mac at the time came with a hard drive whose capacity was measured in hundreds of gigabytes, making the mere six gigs feel like a rounding error and an odd thing for Apple to be bragging about. But fast forward to Apple’s introduction of its second generation MacBook Air models, which have moved from an optional solid state drive option to using solid state as standard fare, and it all suddenly makes sense. Solid state is a big deal as it makes a computer run significantly faster, but the obvious tradeoff is that it’s harder to cram enough solid state storage into a laptop to rival that of a hard drive, at least without breaking the bank on costs.
After all, the smallest, cheapest, entry level MacBook Air now comes with a mere sixty-four gigabytes of solid state internal storage, which quick math reveals to be much more severely impacted by six gigabytes either way. In other words, while Snow Leopard’s modestly shrunken size (by hard drive standards) wasn’t a big deal for end users back when it first debuted, it’s a big deal now that Apple is headed into the solid-state-as-standard era. It makes one wonder just how much harder Apple will work to shrink MacOS X further in the upcoming Lion era, as well as just how grand Apple’s plans are for employing solid state in its non-Air MacBooks as the technology continues to allow for growth.
So someone claims to have found a prototype of the forthcoming fourth generation iPhone, which hasn’t been announced yet by Apple, lying on the floor of a bar in San Jose – and that’s not even the most obviously phony part of the story. Nor is the claim that the iPhone was booting up, but now mysteriously no longer is. And that’s before we even get to the part that the only person in the world who could currently get away with carrying a 4G iPhone outside of Apple’s campus would be Steve Jobs himself, and if the liver transplant recipient went out for a night of drinking in a bar, the complications from the alcohol consumption would likely have killed him. But none of that is the part that gives immediately gives away the fact that this supposed new iPhone is an obvious fake.
No, the devil is always in the thrown-in details, and in this case, it’s the fact that the person who made up this fantastic story couldn’t help but pile on juicy details like the fact that it’s got a front facing camera (we could go along with that)… along with an eighty gigabyte storage capacity.
Oops. If you remember any of your ninth grade math, then you’ve by now spotted the fact that iPhones and iPod touches all come with capacities whose numbers are in powers of two – you know how the current iPhones are eight, sixteen, and thirty-two gigabytes? Yeah, that’s not just because Apple likes numerical progressions – that’s how flash memory works. The next stop on the road would be sixty-four gigabytes (the iPad is already there), and then 128 gigs, which you can currently find in the MacBook Air’s solid state drive. The only place you see a number like eighty gigs (or forty, or 160 or 320) is when you’re dealing with hard drives, not flash memory. So unless Apple has decided to suddenly switch to hard drives for the IPhone, which would make the device significantly bigger, much more prone to dying after being dropped, and oh by the way, much worse on battery life, there’s just no way the “next iPhone” is sporting eighty gigabytes of storage. A hundred and twenty eight might be believable, but not eighty.
It’s entirely possible that the person who claims to have found this device on the floor of a bar may actually believe in good faith that it really is an iPhone 4G prototype. But even if this person really find this device in such a manner, it’s certainly not the next iPhone. Looks like we may just have to be content to wait until Apple shows us the real one, presumably in June.
photo credit: Engadget