Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple this week unveiled a new MacBook Air, a slim, ultra-portable laptop which comes without a traditional hard drive. Jobs says that the hard-drive-less laptop “reflects the future of notebooks” and many industry insiders agree with him.
It all began with MP3 players, which were the first devices to employ the NAND flash technology which utilizes the solid state drives (SSD) which are hinted to be the future of notebook data storage.
While hard drives will still be used by servers and as storage systems in large corporate centers for many years to come, there will be fewer and fewer in portable systems, as SSD technology ‘cannibalizes’ the data storage market.
Analysts are predicting that NAND flash technology will eventually end up right on the motherboard of electronic products, which will significantly reduce the bottleneck between mass storage devices and the processor.
For Apple, the new MacBook air is a turning point, with the slender 2.9 pound device offering lower power consumption with a memory capacity from 64-to-256 GB depending on which model is purchased. This is in comparison to the 4.7 pound Apple MacBook, which has a 250GB hard drive: both are retailing for the same price of $999.
NAND flash has reached the point of price competitiveness, and many are expecting it is only a matter of time until it takes over traditional hard drives, now that the technology is cost-effective and people can see the faster results for themselves.