Blown up again
Here we have the whole unit, blown up once again, for your enjoyment.
MacBook Air: In the inset picture, we see the MacBook Air, also blown up, though with significantly fewer pieces.
My question at the start was - could we have made a notebook as thin as the Air 8 years ago when the Pismo was hot? Based on what we saw here, I think yes. If the demand for smaller and smaller devices had been there in 2000, Apple could have/would have come up with a way to make it happen.
The removal of bulky devices, a thinner battery (that was really key), and RAM built onto the board were three of the key changes that allowed the Air to happen.
Apple, of course is usually the first to blaze a trail when it comes to device aesthetics and functionality, so it makes sense that they would take the first step with the Air.