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Thursday, January 05, 2006, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

New Apple laptop to feature Intel Robson cache technology?

Although Intel only demonstrated its Robson cache technology in the fourth quarter of last year, DigiTimes is citing sources who claim that Apple Computer will launch a laptop in the middle of January that utilizes the NAND flash based cache memory technology.

The publication, which has been less than accurate in its predictions of future Apple hardware over the last couple of years, said sources did not say which line of Apple notebooks would implement the technology.

Robson cache technology, which Intel demonstrated during the Intel Developer Forum Taipei this past October, relies on NAND flash instead of a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) for starting up a computer or launching frequently used applications. Some of the benefits of the technology are speedier computer boot time and improve battery life.

Industry observers told DigiTimes that there are three possible ways Apple can deploy Robson technology in its notebook, the most convenient of which would be to equip the device with a NAND flash disk on module (DOM) that would plug into an ATA slot.

"Another method would be a combination memory solution, whereby Robson is deployed on the HDD," according to the publication. "HDD makers would provide an addition density area that would be assigned to NAND flash."

The last solution, which may also the most direct solution, is to embedded the Robson-flash into a chipset or create an additional slot on the motherboard for such memory, DigiTimes said.

Sources have previously told AppleInsider to expect the first Intel-based Macs at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, which may include the first 15-inch Intel PowerBook.