The 'Book Review

Fastest G3 Yet, AA Cells in iBook Battery, First 160 GB Laptop Drive, Intel's Mobile CPUs, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.06.17

This Week's PowerBook, iBook, and Notebook News

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Switching to Intel

Reviews

Products and Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Next Generation G3 Sampling

Dale Elson, Senior Engineer, IBM PowerPC Applications Engineering, reports:

"Check out the new PowerPC in town: The low-power IBM PowerPC 750GL is now available in limited sampling.

"The new IBM PowerPC 750GL microprocessor is now available in limited sampling. The 750GL features lower price and power consumption than the 750GX; versions aimed at consumer applications will be available in 800 MHz and 933 MHz speed grades.

"The 750GL is the newest member of the IBM PowerPC 7xx microprocessor family."

As the latest model in the G3 family, the 750GX is a potential candidate for PowerBook Pismo processor upgrades.

inside the iBook's batteryInside the iBook's Battery - AA Cells

Cult of Mac's Leander Kahney says:

"It's complete surprise to me that the iBook's battery pack is filled with ordinary-looking rechargeable batteries. Apparently this is also the case with the PowerBook....

"It's so un-high-tech. "

Switching to Intel

Intel Yonah Pricing Revealed

Simmtester.com reports:

"Intel dual-core notebook processors, (codenamed Yonah), will be priced similarly to the current prices for the 700-series Pentium M processors, according to sources in the Taiwan notebook industry.

"Details of the dual-core notebook processors were revealed at IDF (Intel Developer Forum) in San Francisco in September 2004 and the processors will be launched in the first quarter of 2006.

"....Yonah-series processors will be adopted by Apple Computer, which agreed to use Intel microprocessors for its Macintosh computers starting in 2006."

Intel Choice Reflects Mobile-Computing Trend

Sci-Tech Today's Jason Lopez says:

"For Apple to remain seriously competitive, it must address the battery issue for its laptops and for mobile wireless devices the firm is currently dreaming up. It is a serious subject at a company that wants to be first in the market.

"...The research firm Current Analysis issued a report that notebooks had outsold desktop computers in May, the first time that has happened on a monthly basis.

"According to the research firm, computers made up 53.3 percent of the personal computer market, outpacing desktop PCs....

"With IBM lacking the organizational focus to keep up with Intel in the power-consumption arena, Apple might have had no choice but to migrate."

Centrino Graphics, Audio Get a Boost

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Laptops Demand Lifts Intel's Outlook

The Globe and Mail's Roma Luciw reports:

"Intel Corp., the world's biggest computer chip maker, boosted its second-quarter sales and gross margin forecast yesterday, citing strong demand for its laptop-related chipsets....

"Shares of Intel, which recently signed a deal to supply microprocessors to Apple Computer Inc., have risen 18.4 per cent this year, making it the second-best performer on the Dow Jones industrial average, behind Boeing Co. The stock was the second-worst performer on the Dow in 2004....

"Chief executive officer Paul Otellini added new versions of the laptop chips and is pushing engineers to enhance features such as wireless Internet access rather than just wrenching up a chip's speed. Laptops outsold desktops for the first time in May, and the laptop market is growing three times faster than desktops, researchers said."

Reviews

15" PowerBook G4 Reviewed

PC Magazine says:

"The PowerBook is better than before, with new features like the scrolling touch pad and the Sudden Motion Sensor that protects your hard drive."

NotebookReview.com says:

"The PowerBook is Apple's desktop replacement notebook, but unlike most PC notebooks in this category, the PowerBook is not bulky, nor is it thick and heavy. In fact, the PowerBook is about as thin as mainstream notebooks get, and as light as I could imagine any laptop with this size screen. As far as configuration goes, I opted for the 15.2 inch widescreen version with a 1.67 GHz G4 processor, 512 megs of ram, a 64 MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 video card, and a super drive.

"I was very apprehensive about buying the PowerBook because I had used PC's for my whole life. In fact, I was comfortable enough with PC's that I had become the sort-of neighborhood mechanic. When it came time to choose a computer for college, I had in the back of my mind the aesthetic appeal of the Apple line of computers and hoped that I could find a windows laptop with a similar look and feel. After what seemed like endless searching, I came upon the Asus W3v, which hadn't even begun to ship to the US yet. So, I put most of my eggs into one basket and decided upon the Asus. But, when they started shipping, I heard nasty things about palm rest heat that scared me away enough to go to my local Apple store and test-drive a PowerBook in the flesh. In a matter of minutes, I was sold."

Products and Services

Seagate Introduces World's First 160 GB Notebook Hard Drive

PR: Breaking new ground in the mobile computing market, Seagate Technology has announced the world's first 2.5" disk drive built on perpendicular recording technology - a 160 GB notebook PC giant with 25% more capacity than the largest capacity notebook drive currently available. This expansion of Seagate's family of Momentus notebook drives further closes the capacity and performance gap between desktop and notebook PC hard drives as more users replace aging desktop systems with fast, high-capacity notebook computers.

Seagate today also became the first major hard disk drive maker to announce plans to roll out strong, transparent hardware-based data protection for notebook computers that prevents unauthorized access to data. Robust notebook security is increasingly important as thefts of notebooks with sensitive personal and business information continue to rise, with companies incurring millions of dollars of losses in lost or stolen trade secrets and intellectual property and individuals facing the high cost of identify theft.

"Mobile professionals are turning to notebooks to satisfy both their mobile and office computing needs," said John Buttress, IDC's research manager for hard drives. "They are also demanding stronger, easier to use encryption solutions to protect their sensitive information. Drive manufacturers such as Seagate that can deliver stronger security and higher capacity using technologies such as perpendicular recording will be in the sweet spot of market demand for notebooks."

The new Momentus disc drive will be the first 2.5" notebook product to use perpendicular recording, a technology that stands data bits on end on the disc platter, rather than flat to the surface as with existing longitudinal recording, to achieve new levels of hard drive data density and storage capacity. Standing bits on end also improves the reliability of read-write performance in demanding environments. The Momentus enhancements come without increases in power consumption or heat generation - crucial as remote users look to work longer between battery charges and system builders seek to pack more performance in smaller notebooks.

Seagate has taken the lead in responding to increasing concern about lost or stolen business and personal data with an easy, cost-effective way to deliver strong protection against unauthorized access to data on notebook PCs. Seagate's new Momentus 5400 FDE hard drive will use hardware-based Full Disc Encryption (FDE) to provide strong data protection and requires only a user key to encrypt all data, not just selected files or partitions, on the drive. What's more, Seagate FDE eliminates disc initialization and configuration required by encryption software, and allows hard drive data to be erased instantly so the drive can be redeployed.

Seagate FDE puts all security keys and cryptographic operations within the drive, separating them from the operating system to provide greater protection against hacking and tampering than traditional software alternatives, which can give thieves backdoor access to encryption keys and are more vulnerable to viruses. FDE is a key component of Seagate's DriveTrust Technology, a suite of security features inside the drive that enables robust system-level security such as key management and recovery.

"Seagate's introduction of hardware-based full disc encryption is an important step to providing highly secure and easy to use encryption technology to the broader marketplace," said Martin Wulfert, CEO of Utimaco, a leading provider of security solutions to major OEMs. "Momentus 5400 FDE is a perfect complement to our enterprise key management and recovery solutions, which enable corporations to centrally define and simplify management of IT security policies across all mobile platforms."

"More office and home users want all the capabilities of a desktop PC in a notebook computer - high performance and capacity, stronger security and quiet operation - combined with power efficiency so they can run longer between battery charges," said Brian Dexheimer, Seagate executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing. "Some prefer lower-cost notebooks with lower performance and capacity. All of them need products that can take a pounding during travel and remote use. Seagate is meeting all these needs with a comprehensive suite of hard drives built on the most advanced technology platform in the industry."

Momentus 5400.3, a 5,400-rpm drive, will be Seagate's first to bring the higher capacities and performance of perpendicular recording to mainstream notebook PCs and non-PC applications including external storage, commercial printers and copiers, and non-mission critical blade servers. Next year Seagate will extend the advantages of perpendicular recording to Momentus 7200.1, a 7,200-rpm drive designed for mobile workstations and other high-performance notebook computing applications.

Perpendicular recording is a key addition to the 2.5" Momentus family - a suite ranging from 4,200-rpm drives for mainstream notebooks to 7,200-rpm drives for high-performance computing - as Seagate redefines mobile computing by delivering rugged, power-thrifty hard drives that combine whisper-quiet operation with new levels of performance and capacity.

The Momentus family is built tough to withstand up to 900 Gs of non-operating shock and 350 Gs of operating shock to protect drive data, making the drives ideal for environments where systems are jarred or subject to high levels of vibration. The hard drives are also lean on power consumption, allowing notebook users to work longer between battery charges, and are virtually inaudible thanks to Seagate's innovative SoftSonic fluid-dynamic bearing motors and QuietStep ramp load technology.

The new Momentus hard drives are among 10 new notebook, desktop and consumer electronics products Seagate announced today. The Seagate Momentus 5400 FDE and the Momentus 5400.3 will ship this winter.

Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, and Consumer Electronics applications. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage.

AC Adapter Powers 'Books, FireWire, and USB Devices

PR: "Lucille" (BB King) is MadsonLine's first 65 watt AC adapter for 12", 15", and 17" PowerBooks. Two years in development, they are introducing it at WWDC and at Apple Expo Cologne. Lucille is three adapters in one - 24 VDC for your PowerBook, regulated 12 VDC FireWire and 5 VDC USB. One adapter for your computer, USB hub or cell phone, iPod. Reduce the number of adapters plugged into your power strip.

LucilleFrom the engineering perspective, this adapter is rock solid. It is a modified switching flyback design with a big capacitor. The capacitor stores energy like a reservoir for the momentary high demands like start up and when external devices are plugged into it. What this means for you is longer product life, what it means for us is fewer RMA's.

Lucille meets 'Energy Star Requirements' by being very energy efficient. Consider that all the adapters in your power strip are drawing power whether or not they are in use. Power management is becoming more important every day as the expense to produce and purchase energy continue to grow. Our 65 watt ac adapter draws only 0.4 watts of power in a no load state. In comparison, the Apple adapter draws 0.9 Watts when not in use. Save a little on your electric bill! Lucille also runs cool meaning 59 degrees F or 15 degrees C under full load.

Lucille is a travel adapter. It is three adapters in one with a cord wrap, energy efficient and dependable. Now what would BB King do without his Lucille, What would you?

  • 2 year warranty.
  • Taking Preorders Now.
  • Shipping with luck, last week of June.
  • Preorders are $78.
  • Orders after July 10, $88.

Wireless Antenna Compatible with All iBooks

PR: QuickerTek announces the first antenna for all Apple iBooks with AirPort wireless capability, including AirPort Extreme. This new antenna is an external device that features 5.5dBi of power and improves the wireless range and signal strength in all wireless environments. This new iBook antenna works with all iBook models and is available for $99.95.

This new antenna adds 25 to 40 points to the MacStumbler rating - a popular application used for measuring wireless performance. Perhaps more impressive is that iBooks now have another 200-300 yards of wireless range effectively doubling the stock capability. Another feature that iBook users can get excited about is that there are connections for other QuickerTek external antennas such as directional antennas for war-driving.

Gary Dailey of Daystar Technologies said, "This new antenna is a huge win for all iBook users everywhere. The iBook has fairly good wireless networking capability, but with this antenna you can really stretch out the distance and still have great signal strength. This is another great addition to QuickerTek wireless lineup."

This antenna comes complete with all hardware required as well as a CD-ROM with wireless software (not required to use the antenna). Like most QuickerTek products, it's backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

QuickerTek is a recognized leading innovator of antennas and RF products for Apple desktop and portable computers. QuickerTek products can be purchased at Mac dealers such as Small Dog Electronics, TechnoWarehouse, PowerBook Medic, DayStar Technologies and many others.

Brenthaven Updates Notebook Cases with CORE Protection System

PR: For years Brenthaven has been producing fine shoulder cases and backpacks for Apple's PowerBook and iBook range of notebooks. Now the line of cases has been redesigned.

Brenthaven caseThe Brenthaven Pro 12/15-inch Shoulder Case incorporates the exclusive CORE protection system that cleverly adjusts its grip to accommodate a 12 or 15-inch Apple notebook with a custom-fit. So, if you ever decide to switch from a smaller to a larger notebook, a Pro 12/15 case will still be there for you: still offering the ultimate notebook protection for PowerBooks and iBooks.

SMALLER NOTEBOOK: The CORE Protection System remains flexed, cradling the portable securely into place and providing maximum protection.

LARGER NOTEBOOK: The CORE Protection System expands, cradling the portable securely into place and providing maximum protection. NOTE: The CORE expands up to 3" from the fully flexed position, to allow a custom fit for various portable sizes.

The Pro 12/15 is a twin compartment case with a combination accordion file folder and multimedia pockets designed for those essential notebook accessories, cables and files. There's also an all-new organizer panel with a special iPod protective pocket and plenty of space for a cell phone and those other must-have items. Apple users will also be pleased to note that the Pro 12/15 includes a quick-access pocket and a dedicated cable pocket. To the rear of the case is another handy zippered compartment for newspapers or magazines, as well as a wheelie strap for sliding the Pro 12/15 over the handle of a wheeled suitcase for easy transport.

Naturally, the new Pro 12/15 looks ready for business with Brenthaven's smart new sleek look, coated oversized zipper pulls for quiet travel and easy-grip handle. A very wide and comfortable deluxe shoulder strap spreads the load nicely and features a non-slip pad for extra security and comfort while on the move.

Like Brenthaven's other notebook cases, the Pro 12/15 is made from military-grade ballistic nylon for a smart finish that will stay looking new. This virtually indestructible material shrugs off the rigors of the road with great style and panache. And with Brenthaven's legendary lifetime warranty you'll have ultimate peace of mind. The craftsmanship and heritage that goes into each case means you'll probably never have to make a claim on that warranty, but it's nice to know that's it there for you.

The Brenthaven Pro 12/15 Shoulder Case is available for $149. There is also a Pro 17 Shoulder Case available for $179.

RadTech NeoCase Sleeves Tailored for Apple Notebooks

PR: Sleek and durable water repellent Neoprene sleeve features retractable handles and unique use-in capability.

Engage your missions with precise, minimalist style - confident and ready for any assault.

RadTech NeoCaseUpgrade your notebook's durability, functionality and style without bulking it up. Constructed from water-repellent, 3mm Type-W Siliconized Neoprene, RadTech's NeoCase sleeve offers sleek and stylish protection. Features convenient use-in capability, with retractable ballistic Nylon handles and top-grade YKK zippers throughout - flange protected, so they'll never strike your payload.

Conquer whatever life throws at you with 3 millimeters of high-density, edge-reinforced, water-repellent Neoprene jacketing your 'book.

NeoCase ensures that you remain fully functional, and ready to work anywhere, and in record time thanks to it's unique stay-on capability.

Disengage the over-strap, unzip and roll. Use it alone with it's tough and comfortable handles, or feed it into the breach of your larger bag or pack - either way, your notebook is confidently protected.

Work anywhere with lightweight, stealthy and timesaving confidence - RadTech's NeoCase delivers.

Features:

  • Adapts to you - use as a protective sleeve, or as a stay-on 'jacket'
  • Notebook protected by shock absorbing 3mm high-density Neoprene.
  • Confidently handles the extremes - tough and water-repellent.
  • Deployable ballistic Nylon handles and Velcro-secured over-strap.
  • Elastic corner retention straps keep notebook locked and loaded when using in stay-on mode.
  • Stealth black color compliments any uniform or urban disguise.
  • Top-grade, internally flanged YKK zippers throughout.

Material: 3mm Type-W Siliconized Neoprene

Cross-sectional thickness: 3.0mm

Dimensions - When fitted (Height x Width x Depth):

  • 12" iBook: 1.6 x 11.6 x 9.5in (4.0 x 29.5 x 24cm)
  • 14" iBook: 1.6 x 13.1 x 10.6in (4.0 x 33.3 x 26.9cm)
  • 12" PwrBk: 1.4 x 11.3 x 9.0in (3.6 x 28.7 x 22.9cm)
  • 15" PwrBk: 1.3 x 14.1 x 9.9in (3.4 x 35.8 x 25.1cm)
  • 17" PwrBk: 1.2 x 15.8 x 10.6in (3.2 x 40.2 x 26.9cm)

Weight:

  • 12" iBook - 0.2 kg / 0.4 lbs
  • 14" iBook - 0.2 kg / 0.5 lbs
  • 12" PwrBk - 0.2 kg / 0.4 lbs
  • 15" PwrBk - 0.2 kg / 0.5 lbs
  • 17" PwrBk - 0.3 kg / 0.6 lbs

Product of UK.

Price: $29.95

  • Think Different Store

    ThermographX CPU Temperature Monitoring Utility

    PR: ThermographX monitors the internal temperature of your PowerBook or modern Macintosh, utilizing the thermal sensors built into the computer. It provides real-time measurementas as well as historical graphs for plotting long-term temperature trends. ThermographX also can display a customizable dock icon for easy monitoring of your system performance. ThermographX also incorporates user-submitted measurements, so you can compare your system's measurements against those of other users.

    ThermographX:

    • Records maximum and minimum temperatures.
    • Shows temperature records over time, using a zoomable display so you can analyze short-term or long-term.
    • Shows individual sensor temperatures on models that have them.
    • Graphs customer-submitted temperature results for comparison with your own system.

    ThermographX is compatible with many recent Macintosh models.  It is known to provide accurate sensor readings on these models:

    • 12" & 17" PowerBook G4.
    • "Aluminum" 15" PowerBook G4.
    • "Mirror Door" G4 (see note #2 below).
    • Power Macintosh G5.
    • iBook G4.
    • G4 Cube (see note #2 below).
    • iMac G4 & G5.

    Note #1 : Motorola's MPC7450CE/D Rev 5 errata indicates "The thermal assist unit (TAU) is no longer supported on the MPC7450, MPC7451, or MPC7441.". Because of this, you will not be able to measure the junction temperature on any system with these processors. At current, this includes the "Gigabit" PowerBook G4 and the "2001 Quicksilver" G4's.

    Note #2 : Mac OS X 10.3.5 eliminates compatibility with some older Mac's, like the G4 Cube.

    New in this version:

    • Added measurements for 2GHz iMac G5.
    • Updated with latest user-submitted temperature measurements.

    System requirements:

    Mac OS X 10.2.4 or higher (Panther compatible); requires a Macintosh with compatible thermal sensors (so far, these have been found on the iBook G4, Aluminum 12", 15" and 17" PowerBooks, the "mirror-door" G4 and the G5, and some G3 PowerBooks and G4 Cube models).

    ThermographX is $7 shareware.

  • Bargain 'Books

    Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

    There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

    Baucom Computers

    PowerBook Guy

    Apple Store

    Small Dog Electronics

    TechRestore

    Wegener Media

    • used 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $829.99
    • upgrade to SuperDrive, add $129.99
    • add 512 MB RAM, $59.99
    • 1 year extended service warranty, $99.99
    • add AirPort Express, $39.99
    • upgrade hard drive to 80 GB, add $119.99

    For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Best iBook G4 Deals, Best PowerBook G3 Deals, and Best iBook G3 Deals.

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