Apple's all-flash MacBook Pro, iCloud drive industry changes

The MacBook Pro now comes with a 768GB SSD option, and automatic access to Apple's iCloud services

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Conversely, Reichmann said putting SSDs in the MacBook Pro will increase the volume of SSDs shipped in the world, and that will have a "downward impact on pricing."

"Essentially," Reichmann said, "Apple is a vendor of SSDs with lots of shiny packaging around it. Really what they're selling you is a place to put your music, photos, and emails with dramatically improved performance."

Despite an uptick by competitors this year, Apple will continue to dominate tablet NAND purchasing in 2012, with a 72% share of flash gigabyte shipments. By 2015, Apple will continue to account for a majority of tablet NAND purchasing, according to IHS iSuppli.

Apple's acquisition last year of Israel-based solid-state drive (SSD) manufacturer Anobit Technologies will give the company a significant technological boost in the mobile market, and is likely to yield huge cost savings.

According to Reichmann, Apple's iCloud service is among the top three highest capacity cloud services, along with the Amazon's S3 and Microsoft's Azure cloud services.

Other Windows-based laptop manufacturers will likely be forced to follow suit and begin offering all-SSD machines with access to native cloud services, Reichmann said.

The changes can come in different ways.

Hybrid machines -- systems with both a hard drive and solid state drive -- will help keep product prices down. For example, a lower-capacity SSD can be used for loaded an operating system and applications, while a high-capacity hard drive can still be used as its mass storage device, Reichmann said.

Regardless of price, however, having a hard drive may be seen as a disadvantage in the future.

"If Apple can nail the cloud, then having a huge hard drive on board in any system is much less valuable. Hard drive adds weight, expense and risk," Reichmann said. "Remember, you're walking around with all of your data, as opposed to having it in a cloud that may be more secure."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, send e-mail to lmearian@computerworld.com or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed .

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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