From just £749 the MacBook is top value, especially when you consider its dual-core processor, built-in wireless technologies, integrated webcam, and raft of top-quality software applications (iLife, Front Row, etc). But its 60GB hard disk isn’t as capacious as it sounds. 60GB is the capacity of an iPod, for heaven’s sake. If you have a decent-sized music collection, that 60GB is going to be dominated by your iTunes library. And soon you won’t have space for your digital snaps, email database or games installations.

You can up the hard-disk space to 120GB, for an extra £180, but even that isn’t enough for gigabyte spendthrifts. It’s not all our fault: just look at the size of some common applications. iLife requires at least 10GB of available disk space; OS X and iWork, 3GB each; Final Cut Studio, up to 46GB; Adobe Creative Suite, 4GB; Office, 630MB…

We want the flexibility of a wireless laptop, and the storage capacity of a monster desktop tower. This could be the case in a few years if Seagate’s latest patent ever becomes a real, shipping product. HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) technology includes nanotube-based lubrication that allows the read/write head of a disk to get closer to the surface, and so store more information.

Seagate anticipates that the technology could increase disk capacity by a factor of ten, making possible a 600GB 1.8inch drive for iPod (150,000 songs, two months continuous video!), a 1.46TB 2.5-inch MacBook drive, and 7.5TB 3.5-inch desktop drive (two of which would offer 1,000 hours of DV or 250 hours of HD).
Of course, as ever, we’ll find ways of filling even this capacity within about three months of the disks’ arrival.