The 'Book Review

MacBook Air Tossed out with Newspapers, Penryn MacBook and MBP Reviews, MacBook Periscope, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.03.14

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Reviews

Apple Updates

Products

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

MacBook Air Gone with Old Newspapers

Newsweek's Steven Levy says:

"When something is thin enough to fit into an envelope, light enough to sit on your lap for a couple of hours without discomfort and so compact that it doesn't even bulge in an airline seat-back pocket, wouldn't it make sense that one could lose track of such a thing? Even if it is a computer?

"Yes, it would make sense. Believe me. Please. Because I can't find my MacBook Air....

"In lieu of the presence of a poltergeist with techno-lust, I have developed a theory that I first viewed as remote, but now believe explains the fate of my Air....

"As humiliating as it sounds . . . the MacBook Air is so thin that it got tossed out with the newspapers."

MacBook Air Baffles Airport Security

TUAW's Dave Caolo reports:

"Programmer Michael Nygard is used to travel. He's got the process down, from airport to hotel. Unfortunately, the TSA isn't as prepared.

"While passing through airport security recently, he was pulled aside and made to sit in the holding area. He watched as a gaggle of TSA workers examined his things, especially his laptop ...

"'There's no drive,' one says. 'And no ports on the back. It has a couple of lines where the drive should be,' she continues....'

"As you've probably guessed, Michael's MacBook Air had them all baffled...."

MacBook Air Travel Tip: Leave Extra Time for Airport Security

MacUser's David Dahlquist says:

"Programmer Michael Nygard travels a lot - for business, you see. He's got his routine down to a science, from airport to hotel, and so he was surprised and dismayed to suddenly find himself in an airport security holding area while TSA agents cautiously inspected his suspicious laptop.

"'There's no drive,' one says. 'And no ports on the back. It has a couple of lines where the drive should be,' she continues...."

Intel to Unveil 160 GB Solid State Notebook Drive

Computerworld's Brian Fonseca reports:

"Intel Tuesday confirmed that it is close to unveiling a new line of solid-state drives for laptop and notebook PCs that will feature a storage capacity up to 160 GB.

"An Intel spokesman said that the chipmaker will introduce 1.5-inch and 2.5-inch solid state drives offering between 80 GB and 160 GB diskless storage during the second quarter of 2008. The spokesman declined to provide further details about the ship date or disclose the storage density of the drives."

Microsoft Losing Ground with Portable Computer Users?

InformationWeek's Dave Methvin says:

"Hey, what is going on here? In Thursday's list of Amazon's best-selling portable computers, only seven out of the top 25 run Windows! As you might expect, Apple takes a lot of the spots, but it's not just MacBooks. The Linux-based Asus Eee PCs and Nokia tablets are grabbing high positions in the list. That's a lot of computers that aren't paying tribute to Microsoft.

"Let's come back to earth for a moment, though. Direct vendors like Dell, and sales through corporate channels, aren't represented in Amazon's ranking. The recent market share data shows that although Apple's share of the market is growing faster than any other manufacturer, Microsoft OEMs rule the roost. Still, it's a thing that makes you go, 'Hmmm.' There are some disturbing signs here."

MacBook Air: Lust and Lingering Doubts

News.com's Ina Fried says:

"I was in the Mix '08 press room Thursday chatting with Directions on Microsoft analyst Greg DeMichillie, and somehow the subject came around to the MacBook Air.

"It turns out we've had the exact same reaction to Apple's waif-like laptop. Every time we see or touch the MacBook Air we decide it's the perfect laptop for us.

"Then, with its seductive thinness more distant, we think about its specifications: its slower processor, small hard drive, and lack of connection ports...."

Apple Releases Fix for Overheating MacBook Air

InformationWeek's Antone Gonsalves reports:

"Apple has released a fix for the MacBook Air, which reportedly overheats due to problems with the internal fan.

"Update 1.0 of the notebook's system management control 'fine-tunes the speed and operation' of the fan, Apple said in releasing the software Monday. The under-performing fan apparently caused the MacBook Air, which was released in January, to overheat and then lockup, leaving the machine unresponsive for 10 to 15 seconds or more."

Hands-on Report - MacBook Air SMC Update 1.0

Macs Only!'s Bill Fox says:

"Apple released MacBook Air SMC Update 1.0. It did not show up in Software Update on my MacBook Air, probably because it is new enough and does not need the update. It is also available for download as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page...."

An Ideal Hybrid Bag for the MacBook Air

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady says:

"MacBook Air fans: what kind of bag are you using these days? Some big, honkin' full-size bag with lots of padding? Backpack? Messenger bag? Just a sleeve?

"Previously I reported that my favorite sleeve was the Waterfield 13-2 SleeveCase, and it still is my preferred choice for protecting the MBA while inside another bag. Waterfield has stepped up their game with a new case for minimalists that like to carry just a sleeve or thin case but need a little more protection.

"Their new HardCase for the MBA (US$229) is my new everyday bag for the MBA. It's the perfect combination of sleeve case and full shoulder bag that fits the MBA snugly while providing almost an inch of padding on all sides."

LG Says Laptop Batteries Safe Despite 'Billion to One' Blast

Register Hardware's James Sherwood reports:

"LG Electronics will not recall a laptop battery of the model involved in the incineration of one of its notebooks last month. It said that independent testing laid the blame for the blaze elsewhere.

"On 9 January, a Korean journalist's LG laptop burst into flames at the Bestian Medical Center in southern Seoul. The owner claimed the notebook was in sleep mode at the time."

Reviews

Penryn MacBook Pros 'a Fairly Significant Upgrade'

Macworld's Jackie Dove reports:

"The new MacBook Pro models Apple released last week might be classified as speed bumps, implying that the pro laptops' new enhancements constitute a minor, albeit noteworthy update.

"However, these new MacBook Pros, a pair of 15-inch models and a 17-inch model, represent a fairly significant upgrade - both in terms of technology and performance - over their predecessors, which were released 8 months ago. Debuting Intel's 45 nanometer Penryn processor (a new generation of speedier chips that top the 65-nanometer Merom chips powering the earlier models), the new 2.5 GHz MacBook Pros achieved the best scores of any laptop in Macworld's Speedmark 5 benchmark tests."

First Benchmarks of 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"A report from François.

"I just received my MacBook Pro 2.6 GHz sporting a 200 GB HD spinning at 7200 rpm, and I quickly performed some benchmarks(QuickBench, Xbench and CINEBENCH R10) :)"

2.6 GHz Penryn' MacBook Pro vs. 2.4 GHz 'Santa Rosa'

Bare Feats' Rob-ART Morgan reports:

"We are running our new 'early 2008' 15' MacBook Pro 2.6 GHz 'Penryn' through our complete test suite. We hope to compare it to a variety of MacBook Pro models but for now here is a taste of how it compares to at least one other MacBook Pro.

"We are planning a fuller shootout using more apps and more models, but wanted to present this 'appetizer' showing some significant gains to be had with the newest model of MacBook Pro."

New MacBook Pro Offers Style, Substance

Bloomberg's Grace Aquino reports:

"Apple Inc.'s latest MacBook Pro laptop offers some compelling reasons for a Windows PC user to switch to a Mac. It's fast, elegantly designed, simple and a pleasure to use.

"Apple, based in Cupertino, California, updated its MacBook and MacBook Pro series of laptops with faster and more capable components last week. The $2,799 top-of-the-line MacBook Pro I tested uses some of the most powerful pieces of notebook hardware available. I don't even have to give up using Windows, since I can run both Windows and Mac operating systems on the same Apple notebook."

Penryn MacBook Gains 'Extra Oomph'

Macworld's Jonathan Seff reports:

"Since it first replaced the iBook in 2006, the MacBook narrows the performance gap between Apple's consumer and professional laptop lines with each new update. Apple last updated the MacBooks in November 2007, bringing with it an improved hardware architecture, faster system bus, and more robust graphics. The changes in the MacBooks released last week aren't as significant as the November 2007 updates, but the changes still add extra oomph to Apple's consumer laptop."

MacBook Lookin' Good, There for You When You Need It

The Bangkok Post's Tony Waltham says:

"Full marks go to the MacBook for a smart and functional design with no distractions.

"There were some 'defining moments' during this evaluation of the Apple MacBook, a highly portable notebook computer that comes with the Mac OS X operating system known as Leopard, version 10.5.2.

"A PC user since the days of the Intel 80286 processor, this was my first close encounter with an Apple Macintosh, although it was not the first Apple product I had played with, I should add."

Apple Updates

Apple Releases MacBook Air SMC Update 1.0

The SMC Update fine tunes the speed and operation of the MacBook Air's internal cooling fan.

This update is recommended for all MacBook Air systems. The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Follow the instructions in the updater application to complete the process.

This update is intended to resolve an issue where the system fan runs constantly, even at low processor loads or when the MacBook Air is sleeping. However, it may only be needed for very early production MacBook Airs.

File Size: 551 KB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.1 or later, MacBook Air

DVD or CD Sharing Setup

This update installs software that enables remote disc sharing, system software restoration, and wireless migration with MacBook Air.

For additional information, please download the MacBook Air User Guide at http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/MacBook_Air_Users_Guide.pdf

Products

Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger

Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB ChargerPR: Hotel rooms and airport terminals never seem to have enough power outlets to charge all the devices today's traveler brings along. Now you can add outlets and peace of mind on business trips and vacations with the Belkin Mini Surge Protector.

This new design features three AC outlets and two powered USB outlets* - perfect for MP3 players and mobile phones.

* Important: This product's USB outlets cannot be used as a USB hub and does not transmit data. The powered USB outlets on this unit are intended solely for charging devices that can be charged via a USB interface

Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB ChargerFeatures

  • 360-degree rotating plug with 4 locking positions
  • Provides complete surge protection through all outlets
  • Offers compact, lightweight, efficient design
  • Features mini-USB cable to charge virtually any USB device - including BlackBerry and Motorola RAZR phones
  • Comes with Lifetime Product and $75,000 Connected Equipment Warranties

$24.99

Buffalo MiniStation TurboUSB Portable Hard Drives

PR: Buffalo's MiniStation TurboUSB Portable Hard Drive offers a compact, lightweight, shock resistant storage solution that fits in your pocket. Store, backup and transport digital images, music and other files without taking up room on your computer's main drive. With TurboUSB technology, MiniStation's transfer rates are up to 64% greater than those of standard 4200 RPM portable hard drives.

MiniStation TurboUSB Portable Hard DriveUp to 64% Faster* than standard 4200 RPM hard drives!

Available in:

  • 120 GB HD, PS120U2
  • 160 GB HD, PS160U2
  • 250 GB HD, PS250U2
  • 320 GB HD, PS320U2
  • 500 GB HD, PS500U2

* Depending on PC performance, file size and other settings. Testing by Buffalo Technology compared to a 4200 RPM USB Hard Drive

MiniStation TurboUSB Portable Hard DriveShock Resistant Chassis - Inside the MiniStation, the hard drive is surrounded by shock absorbent materials. The "Floating" design absorbs shocks and minimizes vibration.

Convenient Wrap Around USB Cable - Wrap USB cable around the case and never misplace your cable again.

Drives are available from Buy.com and other retailers.

MagStay Pro for the Relaxing MagSafe Life Style

MagStay ProPR: With MagStay Pro you will no longer have an unintentionally disconnecting MagSafe power connector while using your laptop on your lap or other casual positions, including your laptop bag while charging. Works with MagSafe Airline Power Adapter too.

MagStay Pro - for all 15"/17" MacBook Pro models

Keep MagSafe power connections while using your laptop on your lap or other casual positions, including your laptop bag while charging

MagStay ProFeatures:

  • MagSafe protective cap* storage area.
  • Small form-factor - store in USB port or attach to power cord
  • Viewport - charge light.
  • Works with MagSafe Airline Power Adapter too.
  • Prevents known electrical mishaps.
  • Made in the USA

For those 90% who really don't understand this product, this is why we do it: MagStay PRO Widget Finding a Niche Crowd.

$11.99

Huckleberry Turns MacBook Into a Video Camera

PR: Is your built-in iSight tired of the view? Turn your MacBook or MacBook Pro's camera around with the iSight mirror called Huckleberry.

HuckleberryEcamm Network's Huckleberry mirror is the perfect addition to any MacBook or MacBook Pro. Consisting of two acrylic mirrors and two durable mounting brackets, Huckleberry is placed above the screen to reflect the built-in camera's field of view. Instead of filming yourself, it will now film what's in front of you.

The Huckleberry 3 uses two mirrors to provide a full 180° change in camera direction.

Huckleberry

The video image will be flipped upside-down and backwards by the Huckleberry's two mirror system. Luckily, we include our iGlasses video enhancement software, which will allow you to flip the video image back to normal orientation. Bundled software will be made available via electronic download. No software CD is shipped with the Huckleberry.

Fun Uses for Huckleberry

  • Create stop-motion video in iStopMotion.
  • Scan your media with Delicious Library.
  • Take pictures in Photo Booth.

Compatible Apps

Huckleberry

There are so many great applications to use with Huckleberry. We've put together a list of our favorite Mac video apps to get you started:

  • iChat
  • Skype 2.0 or higher
  • iMovie
  • QuickTime Pro Player
  • Apple Photo Booth
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • SightSpeed
  • BTV and BTV Pro
  • SecuritySpy
  • iSpQ 6.3.1
  • QuickTime Broadcaster
  • EvoCam 3.5
  • GCam 1.2
  • iVisit
  • Delicious Library
  • vChat
  • iCamShare
  • ohphoneX
  • ineen
  • WuffCam
  • Blog.Mac
  • Boinx iVeZeen
  • Boinx iStopMotion
  • MulleSight
  • aMSN
  • Mercury Messenger
  • Journler
  • Gawker
  • KeyCamX

Compatible with: MacBook and MacBook Pro

Includes:

  • Huckleberry 3
  • Cloth Carrying Bag
  • iGlasses Serial Number

price: $28.95 + S/H

Included Software:

  • Every Huckleberry includes the award-winning iGlasses software for image enhancement and video mirroring - a $10 Value!

ViDock Gfx Supports Multiple Monitors with MacBook Pro

ViDock GfxPR: ViDock Gfx is a graphics expansion for notebook computers taking advantage of the powerful ExpressCard expansion slot of modern systems like the MacBook Pro, enabling additional displays to connect to your laptop portable computer. ViDock Gfx brings uncompromised desktop class speed and quality video to notebook computers.

Technical and compatibility information are available following the tech link. The below links bring you to see how different applications will benefit from a multidisplay setup.

  • Productivity
  • Finance, Banking & Trading
  • Development, IT & Net Management
  • Project & Operation Management
  • Collaborative & Remote Teamworking
  • Creativity
  • Text Editing, Web & Publishing
  • Graphics & Photo Editing
  • Audio & Video Editing, 3D Modeling
  • Pleasure
  • HDTV Movie & Fun
  • 3D & Immersive Gaming
  • Multi User & Strategy Entertainment

ViDock GfxIt's about your time. Ultimately, it's about your productivity. Portable computing and mobile Internet helps to boost productivity, allowing flexibility and freedom, being productive anytime, anywhere. It's about time to give the final productivity boost to portable computers users, to people like you -people addicted to portable computers. Imagine turning your notebook into a multidisplay workstation when working at your desk, with the freedom of choosing one or two or even three dream displays. Dream about having simultaneous control over everything, spreading your applications and documents on an extended desktop over several screens, nothing interesting being hidden. You may have not realized that yet, but you are dreaming of connecting ViDock Gfx to your notebook.

ViDock GfxEditing video or complex audio tracks always requires to work with timelines. A wide video screens is already a good help for this, but imagine how much helpful could be to have TWO wide displays one set beside the other, representing a continuous desktop space. On top of the timeline spanning both screens then you can enjoy plenty of space to place all your video clips, previews and control panels including real time visualizers of video signal parameters. ViDock Gfx, packed with full video playback capability including HDTV and HDMI, is perfect for everybody getting serious in video editing on a notebook computer. Similarly, 3D graphics artists not only require the timeline when creating animated clips, but also require an efficient 3D engine to support solid modeling of the artificial reality and ViDock Gfx can surpass in terms of features and speed most notebook computers in the market in term of 3D realtime performance and quality. Why insist on wide monitors when almost all publications and web sites are organized in portrait? With ViDock Gfx not only can you enjoy portrait resolution support, but most importantly you can connect more portrait screens! Connecting three 20" displays in portrait mode gives you a higher total resolution than a 30" screen at a fraction of the price, plus it's conveniently organized in three portrait screens to help arranging, comparing and integrating documents. This is true if you work with word processors or if you are into desk top publishing or web design. Specifically for web design, besides designing the page, it is important to check the final results in one or two browsers!

Andio & Video Editing, 3D Modeling Text Editing, Web & Publishing Graphics & Photo Editing

Working on a portrait display allows you to have the exact feeling of how the printed page will look. You can keep it at full screen and even at the 1:1 scale, and still having space available for all the palettes and tools. The notebook screen remains available for typical "wide" applications like email and file browsing.

Display size, resolution support, image quality and color calibration support are all crucial elements when it comes to serious graphics processing. ViDock Gfx is the best answer to all these requirements. It can turn a notebook into a powerful graphics station. Thanks to the DVI connection, the image quality is always the maximum possible and, being DualLink enabled, you can connect the bigger displays on the market, like 30" at 2560x1600 (4 MPixels), and still add extra displays. As opposed to using video splitters, each screen can be independently color calibrated when using ViDock Gfx, ensuring uniform operation among different display models and brands, providing the maximum flexibility of choice. Some specific games and simulators, such as flight simulators, offer the possibility to support multiple views. A flight simulator, for example, can allocate two screens to the virtual cockpit, one to the instrument panel and one to the external view of the airplane. Each screen will be updated in real time, benefiting from the advanced 3D engine of ViDock Gfx. Simultaneously you will be able to see the instrument panel and enjoy the view.

ViDock Gfx3D & Immersive Gaming

The fast graphics engine of ViDock Gfx (up to DirectX 10) will benefit also games that do not support multiple screens. Add to that, by running the games in "windowed mode" the extra monitors can still be used to access audio/video conferencing software to keep in direct contact with the team of a multi-user online game, to search the web for hints or to keep track of your location on a displayed map, making strategic online games enjoyable.

ViDock Gfx comes in three different editions to best suit your needs. MacBook Pro users will find the Mac Edition to be the right choice.

Software

Temperox Free Temperature Monitor for PowerBook and iBook

PR: Temperox monitors easily and simply the Temperature of your PowerBook / iBook.

It monitors the Temperature of CPU Bottomside, CPU Intrepid Bottomside, Power Supply Bottomside and the Battery. Additionally Temperox monitors the Speed of rear left Fan, rear right Fan and the CPU Core Voltage.

Note: There are some PowerBook / iBook models without any Sensor, so it is not possible to monitor the Temperature of those Machines.

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.

Apple Store

Each model comes with an Apple one-year warranty, and ground shipping is free. Changes this week are the addition of a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 15" MacBook Pro for $1,499.00 (my 2 Cents: go for the 2.2 GHz Santa Rosa unit for fifty bucks less and get the LCD backlight), and a 2.6 GHz 17" MacBook Pro for the same price as the 2.4 GHz unit. Only two MacBook models in stock this week. cm

  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $999
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,049
  • refurb 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,649
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,149
  • refurb 17" hi-res 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,349

TechRestore

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $419.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 (VGA), 256/30/Combo, $619.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 (DVI), 256/30/Combo, $629.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $879.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, $949.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.99

Wegener Media

  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,179.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,239.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,399.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,499.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,529.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook, 1 GB/200/SD, $1,619.99

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, $399
  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, APX, $438
  • 12" iBook G4 1.07 GHz, 640/30/Combo, APX, $539
  • 12" iBook G4 1.2 GHz, 512/30/Combo, APX, $600

Power Max

  • open box 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1/80/Combo, $929
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1/120/SD, warranty started, $1,099
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1/120/SD, $1,179
  • open box 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2/120/SD, $1,649
  • open box 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,288
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2,439
  • 17" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,699

PowerBook Guy

  • clamshell iBook G3/366, Key Lime, 192/10/CD, $259.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/Combo, $279.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 256/20/Combo, $319.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $249.95

ExperCom

  • 14" iBook G3/700 MHz, 640/30/CD, Screen Spot, $299
  • 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 384/60/Super, APX, $599

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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