This morning, Apple introduced the new iMac, with a build-to-order storage configuration called “Fusion Drive”. But what is Fusion Drive? Although it could be an off-the-shelf hybrid drive, I believe it is a software driver in Mac OS X.
NAB Show remains one of my favorites, and one of the only trade shows I’d unreservedly recommend attending on one’s own dime. From Thunderbolt to post-HD video to solid state storage, NAB has it all.
Thunderbolt is important not because it is fast but because it extends the PCI bus outside the computer chassis. The next iteration of the Mac Pro could be as tiny as the Mac Mini, as long as it has two or more Thunderbolt ports and an expansion chassis for video and I/O cards.
It is nice to see Apple out in front with a technology like 802.11n, considering their reluctance to support Blu-Ray and USB 3.0. Although expensive, the AirPort Extreme and 2011 MacBook Pro and iMac sport top-of-the-line specs and high performance Wi-Fi. But the lack of 5 GHz support across the board means many users will stick to the crowded 2.4 GHz spectrum, limiting performance.
Although the SANLink appears to be something of an oddball, it indicates the shape of things to come. Thunderbolt will transform the use cases for portable and all-in-one computers, likely spelling the end of the empty boxes for desktop use. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if Apple soon canceled the Mac Pro line entirely in favor of a beefed up Mac Mini and iMac stable. And the dozen or so MacBook Pro users wanting to connect to a Fibre Channel SAN will finally have the opportunity to do so sometime later this year.