The 'Book Review

Apple 'Books Now 12% of Market, MacBook Pro's 'Daft Power Supply', Pimp Your MacBook, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.07.28

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report.

News & Opinion

Tech Tips and Info

Products and Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Apple Doubles Laptop Market Share to 12%

Ars Technica reports:

"Apple's share of the U.S. laptop market seems to be taking off with even more steam than the Mac's marketshare increase overall, according to a new report by TMO. While news of Apple's increased marketshare in the United States to a recent high of 4.8 percent just came out last week, it appears as if sales of Apple's new Intel-based laptops, the MacBook and MacBook Pro, are seeing very strong retail sales and growth amongst laptop buyers."

Laptops in Tow, More Americans Work on Vacation

Reuters' Ellen Wulfhorst reports:

"The number of Americans who work during their vacations has nearly doubled in the last decade, with the laptop computer replacing the cellular phone as the most useful tool for working on holiday.

"Some 43 percent of office workers said they work on vacation, compared with 23 percent in a survey taken in 1995, said the poll conducted for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Steelcase Inc., a designer and maker of office furniture."

MacBook Pro's 'Daft Power Source' Doesn't Work with Planes, Cars

The Inquirer's Nick Farrell reports:

"More problems have been spotted with Apple's super soaraway MacBook Pro. Already bedevilled with claims that it stains too fast and its batteries swell up, the poor MacBook Pro apparently can't be charged with some aircraft or car sockets.

"According to MacFixIt, the issue appears to be excessive power draw, as units can be charged from the inverters while powered off, but have issues about charging when turned on.

"A MacBook Pro draws a staggering 85W of power, while most airline power inverters supply 75W or less."

Pimp Your MacBook

Uncrate says:

"Apple's new MacBook is easily the best laptop for the money currently being sold. It packs in spectacular power and some of the most advanced features available. That said, there's always room to accessorize. Being longtime Mac users and new MacBook owners, we've rounded up our top 10 products to help you pimp your MacBook.

  1. Incase Nylon Sleeve
  2. OWC 2 GB RAM Upgrade
  3. STM Small Alley Bag
  4. Colorware Custom Painting Service
  5. Parallels Desktop
  6. Microsoft Windows XP Professional With SP2 (OEM)
  7. Incase Neoprene Sleeve
  8. Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP 24-inch Widescreen LCD
  9. InvisibleShield
  10. Logitech Cordless Desktop S530

MacBook Mooing Gone, but Now It's Squeaking

iLounge's Larry Angell reports:

"A lot has happened since the last update to my ongoing MacBook saga. I'll try to make this as brief as possible, but it's a long story . . . and still isn't over.

"After taking the MacBook to the Apple Store, the Mac Genius confirmed that it had major internal problems and that I would need to send my MacBook to Apple to have repairs done....

"So, I called Apple and set up the return. They received my MacBook on July 7th. On Tuesday, July 18th, my online repair status still said 'Parts on order.' Great. Nearly two weeks and my MacBook is just sitting around waiting on parts. I called Apple Support to see what was up. The woman said she was very sorry and that she was putting me on some sort of priority list where they would locate the parts within 48 hours or they would discuss 'other options' with me if they couldn't find them. She basically said that because of the large amount of MacBook repairs going on right now that parts were scarce.

"On Thursday, July 20th, my repair status jumped to 'Repair completed' and then 'Pending shipment.' Awesome. All of my 'unacceptable' comments finally worked. Then this morning at my door, the FedEx man cheerily handed me my MacBook, which was shipped via FedEx Air . . . I first looked at a piece of paper with the service details on it. I'm not sure what all they replaced, but it sure looks like a lot. I can make out words like fan, heatsink, 2.0 GHz, and (strangely) camera.

"But as I triumphantly opened the lid of the MacBook, I heard something I had never heard before. Not a moo this time, but a loud, high-pitched squeak...."

Notebooks Go Large

BusinessWeek's Arik Hesseldahl reports:

"As people switch from desktops in droves, they're using notebooks to do it all: DVDs, games, and a full range of computing tasks

"In the computer business, notebooks are where the money is. What used to be a secondary sibling to the desktop is now increasingly the only computer anyone wants or needs. That has PC makers adding top-shelf features designed to attract the attention of power users, serious gamers, and others who need a notebook that is anything but secondary. Often they're called 'desktop replacements' because they are large enough to include full-size keyboards and have large 17-inch screens that for the most part look gorgeous."

Charles Moore says: Indeed they do. I work on one every day. I guess I was way ahead of the curve for once, making the switch from desktop Macs to laptops as my main production workhorses back in 1996, since which I've been advocating them as "the logical Mac" for most users to anyone willing to listen.

Dell: Dozens of Burned Laptop Incidents on File

Reg Hardware reports:

"Dell's December 2005 battery recall followed the recording of dozens of incidents over a two-year period of overheating notebooks, many resulting in melted or burned computers, it has been alleged this week as the company continues to investigate the case of a laptop that burst into flames in Japan.

"The incidents are detailed in a series of documents leaked to US trade paper CRN by a source said to be close to the computer vendor. According to the paper, the records list examples of machines with melted or charred casings. Signs of overheating were not always visible near the battery. However, many appear in places associated with high temperatures during the operation of any laptop.

"CRN's latest report comes shortly after another which highlighted a second case of computer combustion, this time concerning a Dell notebook which caught fire inside a building in Novell's Provo, Utah facility. The building was evacuated. Novell later said the offending laptop had been fitted with a battery supplied not by Dell but purchased from a third party."

Nvidia Working on Switchable GPU Tech for Laptops?

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Nvidia is working on technology that would allow notebooks equipped with an integrated GPU and a dedicated graphics chip to flip between the two engines at will. Even though the system doesn't appear to allow the two GPUs to render co-operatively, it's claimed Nvidia will dub the technology 'SLI Power'.

"According to a Laptop Logic report, the technology is designed to provide graphics horsepower when its needed, and more basic, battery-friendly rendering at other times."

Tech Tips and Info

White MacBook Palm Rest Discoloration

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"If your MacBook is exhibiting discoloration on the top case after some use, please contact AppleCare for service."

Short and sweet, what? cm

15" MacBook Pro: Noise Under the Keyboard

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says, cryptically:

"If your 15-inch MacBook Pro emits a high-pitched buzzing sound, please contact AppleCare for service."

Products and Services

Softpads Palm Rest Protectors for iBook, PowerBook, MacBook, MacBook Pro

PR: The AVA Softpads are specifically designed to protect iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros from scratching.

Softpad palm restMade of the highest quality microfiber, they add a thin layer of protection to the wrist rest area of your notebook, saving it from daily wear & tear & scratches from your wristwatch, etc.

The soft, smooth pads are designed to be removable & washable. The revolutionary adhesive allows you to reuse your Softpads again & again to extend the good looks of your notebook with no residue.

As an added bonus, included is a light & supple microfiber cleaning cloth. This effective & economical cloth will help keep your notebook looking fresh & clean for years to come (also works on phones, PDAs, MP3 players etc.)

Features

  • Scratch & stain protection
  • Improves comfort
  • Removable & washable
  • Will not affect lid closure
  • Includes microfiber cleaning cloth

Removes with no Residue

Compatible with all iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros

Price: $14.99

Mercury On-the-Go FireWire 800/400 + USB 2.0 2.5" Portable Case for 2.5" SATA Hard Drives

PR: Install any 2.5" SATA hard drive, or upgrade the drive in your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or Mac mini Intel and use your old drive in this case!

Mercury On-The-GoThe OWC Mercury On-The-Go FireWire 800/USB 2.0 Portable Kit packs an incredible punch into a 3" W x 5.5" L x 1" H 11 ounce package!

If you're looking for one of the most compatible mass storage solutions made, look no further! The OWC Mercury On-The-Go drive is all you'll need! Packing a one-two punch of super fast FireWire 800 and USB 2.0, the OWC Mercury On-The-Go has what it takes to truly work cross platform.

The OWC Mercury On-The-Go features the latest in performance with an Oxford 924 combination FireWire and USB chipset creating one perfectly integrated storage solution.

The OWC Mercury On-The-Go keeps everything running silent while still keeping your drive cool with a built in aluminum heatsink underneath the hard drive, and passthrough cooling vents on the top of the case.

The On-The-Go External FireWire Case kit is ready to accept your own 2.5" SATA Hard Drive! Why not upgrade your PowerBook's internal drive and put your old drive in an external case? This solution will give you an excellent transportable storage device, or a backup option that you may have not had!

Bus Interface:

  • FireWire 1394B (IEEE 1394A/B/iLink Compliant), 2 9 Pin (powered) ports. Connects via FireWire 400 1394A via included 9 Pin to 6 Pin FireWire 400 Cable
  • USB 2.0 / 1.1 Backwards compatible 5 pin mini "A" port.

Chipset:

  • Oxford 924 FireWire 800 & USB 2.0 chipset

Max Data Transfer Rate:

  • 800 Mbps (or 80 MB/sec) - FireWire 800/1394B
  • 480 Mbps (or 60 MB/sec) - USB 2.0

System Requirements:

FireWire:

  • Macintosh: Macintosh with FireWire Interface and OS 8.6 and above.
  • PC: PC with FireWire interface and Windows 98 or other OS with FireWire Support.

USB 2.0:

  • Macintosh: Macintosh with USB interface, either built in or via 3rd party card. USB 2.0 drivers required for use with Mac OS X, USB 2.0 not supported on any other Macintosh OS. Mac OS 8.6 and above for use with USB 1.1. USB 2.0 is fully backwards compatible with USB 1.1.
  • PC: PC with USB interface and Windows 98 or other OS with USB support. USB 2.0 drivers required for USB 2.0 use. Check with your OS manufacturer for the availability of USB 2.0 drivers for your system, and if your USB card supports USB 2.0. USB 2.0 is fully backwards compatible with USB 1.1.

Power Supply

  • Bus Power via FireWire 800 supported on all models equipped with an available FireWire 800 port either factory stock or via add on FireWire 800 PCI Card
  • Bus Power via FireWire 400 on all models made in 2001 or later via Factory ports or any model with add on FireWire 400 PCI Card.
  • Bus Power via USB on all models with USB 2.0 port factory stock, or any system via add-on USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 PCI Card.
  • Use of included AC Adapter is optional; units are designed for Bus Power and do not require the use of external power source.

External Case Dimensions: 3.5" (W) x 5.5" (D) x 1" (H)

Total Shipping Weight: Less than 2.5lb. including Power Transformer

Operating Environment:

  • Temperature: Dependent on mechanism installed
  • Relative humidity: Dependent on mechanism installed
  • Vibration: Dependent on mechanism installed

MTBF: Dependent on mechanism installed

Warranty: 1 year

This OWC Mercury On-The-Go FireWire Case Kit Includes:

  • OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro FireWire 800 / USB 2.0 storage solution for SATA 2.5" Hard Drives
  • High Quality Double Shielded FireWire 800 connecting cable (9-9 Pin cable)
  • High Quality Double Shielded FireWire 800/400 connecting cable (9-6 Pin cable)
  • High Quality Double Shielded USB 2.0 (5 pin mini A - B) certified connecting cable
  • 110V-240V 50-60 Hz Universal Power Transformer (Not required for all computers)
  • Carrying Case

Hard drive not included.

OWC Mercury On-The-Go Oxford 924 equipped 2.5" Portable FireWire 800 (with FireWire 400 support) + USB 2.0 interface Hard Drive Enclosure Kit for SATA Hard Drives. Carrying Case, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 Connecting Cables Included! (OWCMSTG800U2K) $89.99

SecuriKey Professional Multiuser Edition - Fast and Intuitive Laptop Data Protection

PR: SecuriKey, a leading provider of laptop and computer information security solutions for data protection and user authentication, announced today the launch of its new Multiuser Edition.

SecuriKeySecuriKey Professional Multiuser locks down laptops in groups large and small. Multiuser fits nicely between SecuriKey's popular single user Professional product and the larger, server-based Enterprise Edition. Multi- User is based on SecuriKey's award winning technology, further expanding user- friendly solutions now for smaller work groups.

Speed of deployment, strength of protection, ease of use and excellent cost/benefit ratios are the hallmarks of this addition to the SecuriKey technology family. Supported platforms include Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 Server and both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Windows Vista support is being developed for 2007.

"Protecting mobile data has become the highest priority for aware organizations today," said Bennett Griffin, CEO and founder of SecuriKey. "SecuriKey Professional Multiuser solves the problem with terrific capabilities in a compact, simple to deploy package."

SecuriKey is an encryption-based USB security key system, combining a password and an ignition key for the computer. Intuitive SecuriKey requires almost no user training. SecuriKey Professional Multiuser provides meaningful administrative control without the IT complexities of back end infrastructure.

SecuriKey Professional Multiuser is currently shipping worldwide. To purchase any of the SecuriKey products, call SecuriKey at +1-800-986-6578 or visit the SecuriKey website.

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.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Baucom Computers

  • used 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $335
  • used 15" PowerBook G4/667 VGA, 256/20/Combo, $529
  • used 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $1,049

Apple Store

  • refurb 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 256/30/Combo, APX, $719
  • refurb 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz, 512/60/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $999
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,199
  • refurb 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,349
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/ 80/SuperDrive, APX, $1,699
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/100/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,799

TechRestore

TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • used 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, BT, $999.99
  • used 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, BT, $1,199.99

ExperCom

  • refurb 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, APX, BT, $1,169
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/100/SuperDrive, AppleCare, $1,769
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/100/SuperDrive, APX, $1,499

Wegener Media

  • PowerBook 12.1" G4 Aluminum 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB HDD, 24x Combo Drive - $749.99

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our best 15" MacBook Pro deals, our best 17" MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" aluminum PowerBook G4 deals, 17" PowerBook G4 deals, titanium PowerBook G4 deals, iBook G4 deals, PowerBook G3 deals, and iBook G3 deals.

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