Tech news is on the front burner this week: Samsung has a 256 GB
Solid State Drive, the fastest and highest capacity to date. Initially
available in a 2.5" form factor, a 1.8" version (the right size for the
MacBook Air and iPod classic) should be available by the end of the
Intel's new Montevina mobility platform has been delayed. It'd
designed with SSD in mind.
And on the display side of things, it looks like notebooks with 16:9
screen ratios will be the norm by the end of the year. No details yet
on exact resolution, but this could drive Apple to redesign the
MacBook, MacBook Air, and both sizes of MacBook Pro for the new aspect
ratio. (Current screens are 16:10.)
All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
"I had the opportunity last week to work with a new MacBook Pro, one
that's about year newer than mine. Performance on the new model was
much faster. Why? Because of the hard drive's speed. That's one place
where you should choose carefully.
"I've been writing on this topic since last September, but have
become more convince than ever that drive speed is a killer feature.
Think about the areas where modern desktops get their performanceboosts from. The ones that get talked about the most like processor
speed, aren't the most important in the real world."
"One can spend a lot of extra money for a 2.5 GHz MacBook Pro
instead of a 2.4 GHz model and not gain much performance. However, the
choice of hard disk can make a world of difference, according to Alan
in his bMighty.com blog....
MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz processor, 4 MB cache, 3 GB memory) had a 200
GB hard drive that spun at 4500 RPM,' the author noted. 'The new one (2.4 GHz
processor, 3 MB cache, 2 GB memory) also had a 200 GB drive, but
it rotated at 7200 RPM. It blew the old notebook away on every aspect
of working with it.'
"His advice was to skimp a little on processor speed and pour all
that extra money into the fastest hard disk Apple offers...."
"Intel's delaying the release in order to address problems related
to the chipset and the antenna used with the wireless chipset. Centrino
2 is the latest version of Intel's laptop platform and was originally
scheduled to ship in June. The impact of the delay means computer
makers - potentially including Apple, should it make good on
long-standing rumours claiming it has chosen Centrino 2 for its next
scheduled MacBook release - will now have to delay the launch of any
"If you're single and looking for love, here's a tip: Buy an Apple
MacBook Air and start
hanging out at Internet cafés.
"Apple's 3-pound, ultra-thin portable is bound to draw people to
your table. Even in some San Francisco Internet cafés I've
visited, where Mac laptop devotees outnumber Windows users, the Air I
was testing rarely failed to attract longing glances, followed by
questions from other café denizens....
"But I'm not here to provide dating tips, of course. I'm here to
tell you what it's like to use and travel with an Air.
"Recently, I used the Air in San Francisco, where I live, and took
the laptop on a cross-country trip to Atlanta and back. I used it
in-flight, in airport departure lounges and business centers, and in
Internet cafés. My goal: to determine if this much-hyped laptop
is a worthy computer for business travelers. The answer? I love the Air
and I think many other mobile professionals will too, though it's not
"When it comes to the MacBook Air I'm a lover and a hater.
"I waited forever for a real Apple subnotebook, then after getting
one I find myself traveling less and craving more horsepower than the
diminutive MacBook Air can deliver. But I digress.
"One decision I don't regret is passing on the ultra-expensive 64 GB
Solid State Drive (SSD) option when I ordered my MBA....
"I've always maintained that if SSDs had double the capacity for
half the price (~$500) I'd consider it. Well, Samsung's going to do me
one better. According to AI they've just announced a 256
GB SSD that's larger, cheaper and faster....
"While Apple hasn't announced anything, they currently use a Samsung
64 GB SSD (the MCCOE64GEMPP) in the MacBook Air. So draw your own
"If the next MacBook Air has at least a 2 GHz processor,
4 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD option (that costs less than a car),
count me in!"
"No one needs an optical drive in a laptop. I know, you think you
do. We all think we do, but it's an illusion....
"We don't need optical drives in laptops. The sooner we accept that,
the sooner manufacturers will get the message and stop trying to
satisfy our irrational longings. I think that Dell , Fujitsu, Lenovo,
and other companies already know this, but they simply don't know how
to deliver this message to consumers - at least in a way that will
convince them. Think of the possibilities if we let go of the optical
drive. PC makers can use that space for more graphics power, bigger
batteries, and memory card readers, or they can simply build more
portables like the MacBook Air.
"Our letting go could lead to the true golden age of laptop
"If you have just moved over to the Macintosh platform you have
probably realized there is no apparent right-click button located on
Apple notebook computers. Rest assured there is a right-click feature,
it justs takes a few simple steps and then you can start right-clicking
MacBook Air Keyboard Illumination Not Working
"Some users have reported an issue in which the MacBook Air's
ambient light sensor process that automatically illuminates the
keyboard seems to not be functioning, or functioning in reverse. For
instance, when the computer is put in light conditions the keyboard
brightens, and in the dark the keyboard will darken and/or turn off.
Sometimes the light sensor will not work at all, or will only work for
either the keyboard or display brightness, but not both together."
"If you're headed toward a specific career - or even a slightly
vague career (we know how it goes) - you may need a laptop with
particular capabilities. A tough laptop would be more useful for a
chemistry major dealing with toxic substances in a lab than for a
graphic arts major, who might prefer a tablet. And the large hard drive
and multiple video outputs that would be great for a film graduate
probably wouldn't help a journalism graduate, who needs a lot of
battery life and an Internet connection.
"We looked at the whole gamut of laptops, from ultraportables to
desktop replacements, to find those most suited to a range of careers.
We took into account processor speed, screen size, portability, and all
sorts of features and capabilities and came up with suggestions for 12
major-specific laptops that every recent grad (and current student)
should know about. Whether you majored in economics or leisure studies,
we've got the laptop for you."
German Users Claim MacBook Air Can Cut
Through Bread, Flesh
Engadget's Joshua Topolsky reports:
"Now, we know that the MacBook Air is one thin laptop, but some
Apple forum members in Germany are claiming that the edge of the laptop
is not only sharp - but downright dangerous. According to 'Apple Talk'
reader Bajuware, his . . . Air's bottom edge made nasty work
of the human flesh like someone had insulted its mother. Another MBA
owner claims his computer is sharp enough to slice bread, though we
assume it's not used for buttering...."
Samsung Develops 256 GB 2.5" SSD:
World's Fastest, Largest Capacity SATA II SSD
PR: Samsung Electronics has announced today that it has
developed the world's fastest, 2.5", 256 Gigabyte (GB) multilevel cell
(MLC) based solid state drive (SSD) using a SATA II interface, at the
fifth annual Samsung Mobile Solution Forum held here today. Samsung's
new 256 GB SSD is also the thinnest drive with the largest capacity to
be offered with a SATA II interface.
With a sequential read speed of 200 megabytes per second (MB/s) and
sequential write speed of 160 MB/s, Samsung's MLC-based 2.5" 256 GB SSD
is about 2.4 times faster than a typical HDD. Furthermore, the new 256
GB SSD is only 9.5 millimeters (mm) thick, and measures 100.3 x 69.85
Once introduced, the Samsung's 256 GB SSD will mark the largest
capacity SSD from the global market leader in SSD sales, effectively
eliminating density as a barrier to SSD adoption in the consumer
"With development of the 256 GB SSD, the notebook PC is on the brink
of a second stage of evolution. This change is comparable to the
evolution from the Sony Walkman to NAND memory-based MP3 players,
representing an initial step in the shift to thinner, smaller SSD-based
notebooks with significantly improved performance and more than ample
storage," said Jim Elliott, vice president, memory marketing, Samsung
Through major advancements in proprietary controller technology,
Samsung's new MLC 256 GB SSD, besides being comparable in speed to an
SLC-based SSD, also boasts reliability equal to that of SLC SSDs, with
a mean time between failures (MTBF) of one million hours, while costing
considerably less. Power consumption is also exceptionally low at 0.9
watts in active mode.
In addition, the drive offers a sophisticated data encryption
process that prevents data stored on the SSD from being accessed in an
unauthorized manner, even after the SSD is removed from the PC.
Overall, the number of computing units in which SSDs are being
offered is expected to increase dramatically once Samsung's previously
announced 128 GB SSD and the new 256 GB SSD are launched. At present,
Samsung is actively involved in high-capacity SSD design-in activities
for all of the top PC and server manufacturers from the US, Asia, and
Samsung is expected to begin mass producing the 2.5", 256 GB SSD by
year end, with customer samples available in September. A 1.8" version
of the 256 GB SSD is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of
According to a Q1 2008 report by the semiconductor market research
firm iSuppli, the SSD market will grow at an annualized average of 124
percent during the four-year period from 2008 until 2012. iSuppli now
projects SSD sales to increase by an additional 35 percent in 2009 over
what it projected last year, 51 percent more in 2010, and 89 percent
more in 2011, and continue to show dramatic increases in subsequent
Intel to Use Centrino 2 'Montevina' to
Promote Solid-state Drives
Tony Smith reports:
"Intel will offer to bundle its promised solid-state drives with its
upcoming Centrino 2 platform, it has been claimed. The plan is being
portrayed as a bid to push SSDs into the mainstream.
"Today, SSDs generally command a significant premium over the price
of equivalent notebooks fitted with a hard drive. Quite how far Intel
will use the bundle approach to drive down the cost of implementing
SSDs remains to be seen.
"Centrino 2 - codenamed 'Montevina' - is due to debut late June,
according to industry moles. Back in March, Intel executive Troy
Winslow said the chip giant would ship 80 GB and 160 GB 2.5in- and
1.8in-format SSDs in Q2, so the timing of both product types could
easily coincide.... That makes the 1.8in model a logical update for
Apple's MacBook Air...."
"Sources close to Intel have confirmed to TG Daily earlier reports
that Intel's Montevina notebook platform, referred to as Centrino 2,
will see a substantial delay. Montevina will not make it to Computex
next week and will miss its originally planned debut date later in
June. Intel has decided to delay Centrino 2, providing AMD with an
opportunity to pitch its Puma platform and Turion Ultra processor.
"Our sources confirmed that information provided by American
Technology Research analyst Doug Freedman is accurate, claiming that
the company had a 'mis-step in the completion of FCC certification' for
the next-generation Centrino processor with support for the 802.11n
"Freedman also noted that Intel faces problems with its integrated
graphics chipset, which is causing failures in OEM notebooks....
"Our sources at Intel told us that Centrino 2 is now scheduled for a
July 14 launch with 'some chipsets'. A 'couple of weeks later' the
company will be shipping the full line of chipsets...."
Centrino 2 [Montevina] Starts Looking Like a
Joe Fay reports:
"Intel will leave its OEMs facing a summer drought of new mobile
chips after admitting its Centrino update, Montevina, would not appear
till August at the earliest.
"The update to the vendor's mobile laptop chip range, also know as
Centrino 2, was originally due this month, but was pushed back to late
June a week or two ago. This would still have brought it in the H2 time
frame it had originally been scheduled for.
"However, it has emerged that a brace of problems means that the
complete Centrino 2 package will now not appear till August. The vendor
is having problems both with the chipset for the platform, and with the
wireless platform's antennae. The platform is supposed to support both
WiFi and WiMax."
16:9 Ratio Notebook Panels to Become
Mainstream by Year End
Ting Chen and Joseph Tsai report:
"With panel makers pushing 16:9 ratio panels in 2008, Acer has
decided to open up all its notebook product lines to be based on the
ratio, while other notebook vendors are readying to push at least 14-
and 15.6-inch lines in the third quarter this year. Notebook makers
predict the proportion of 16:9 models will increase 10% per quarter
during in the second half of 2008.
"In addition to 14- and 15.6-inch panels, 17.3-inch, mainly supplied
by AUO and LG, and 18.4-inch, supplied by Samsung Electronics, Chi Mei
Optoelectronics (CMO) and Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) are also sizes
Acer plans to introduce. Meanwhile, most other notebook vendors are
still evaluating which of the two larger sizes they will bid on."
"Notebooks with a 16:9 movie aspect ratio will be introduced by
several major PC makers this year and should become increasingly common
by the end of the year in smaller systems, says a report detailing
their reported expansion. Although Acer is currently the only PC maker
selling notebooks in the ultra-wide format with its large Gemstone Blue
16- and 18.4-inch notebooks . . . several other PC makers are
all said to be introducing extra-wide notebooks....
"Apple is rumored to be launching a major redesign of the MacBook
Pro for its next revision of the high-end portable and has often been
regarded as a pioneer of widescreen notebooks, having popularized the
format with the original PowerBook G4 in 2001...."
"LCD panel makers are pushing for a slight adjustment to the 15-inch
class LCD used in notebook computers. Instead of 15.4 inches and 16 x
10, the new panels scheduled for late Q2 or early Q3 will be 15.6
inches and 16 x 9, according to
DigiTimes on Wednesday.
"The primary advantage is the geometry and costs of the LCD displays
which are cut from larger fabricated panels. The 16 x 9 aspect ratio is
also the same aspect ratio as HDTV. The disadvantage for customers will
be slightly fewer pixels."
17" MacBook Pro 'One Incredibly Impressive
Computerworld's Ryan Faas says the 17" MacBook Pro is "a
desktop replacement 'in virtually every sense of the word":
"There's something I have to say at the outset of this review: From
the time Apple Inc. announced the first 17-in. PowerBook G4
models five years ago, I've always been a little prejudiced against
them. I'd never have tried to talk someone out of buying one, but I
always shared my opinion that a laptop with a 17-in. display barely
qualifies as a laptop at all. It seemed to me that the 17-in. PowerBook
and its successor, the Intel-based MacBook Pro, was simply too big, too
bulky and too heavy - though I confess I'd never carried one
"With that out of the way, let me say this: I have spent a week
getting to know Apple's newest 17-in. MacBook Pro - the 2.6-GHz model
with LED backlighting, to be specific - and I'm still not sure it's the
perfect machine for me. Much like the ultraslim MacBook Air isn't for
everyone, neither is the biggest of the MacBook Pros. But it is one
incredibly impressive laptop, and it doesn't seem as bulky as I'd
"Axiotron's Modbook is a really
cool portable computer that I would likely never buy.
"I say that having spent two weeks with the Modbook, which is
basically an Apple MacBook that's been converted into a tablet PC for
designers or those who need a slate-style tablet in the field. Real
estate agents, insurance adjusters, college students, health care
professionals and even mariners could conceivably cart one of these
Modbooks out and about with them. (It also has optional GPS
capabilities.) But I'm not sure Mac users accustomed to Apple's
hardware will be ready for the compromises inherent in the
Western Digital My Passport Studio
Portable Hard Drives
PR: Mac-ready storage to go - 320 GB, FireWire
400, USB 2.0. This sleek little portable drive, with dual interfaces,
is formatted for Macintosh, features a clever capacity gauge and comes
with a soft drawstring bag
Equipped with both FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interfaces, and
formatted for Macintosh, this portable hard drive is perfect for Mac
users on the go. Use it to pack up your office files and take them
home, carry thousands of songs or pictures and back up your Macintosh
laptop using Apple Time Machine.
Flexible Dual-interface - Comes with a FireWire 400 interface
that's perfect for Macintosh computers and a USB 2.0 connection for
convenience and compatibility among multiple computers.
Formatted for Macintosh - Formatted HFS+ Journaled for Macintosh
compatibility. Requires Mac OS X 10.4.11+ or 10.5.2+. Can easily be
reformatted for Windows Vista/XP/2000.
Works with Apple Time Machine - Fully compatible with Apple's Time
Machine backup software.
Capacity Gauge - Connect My Passport to your computer and see at a
glance how much space is available on your drive.
FireWire or USB powered - No separate power supply is needed. (An
optional cable is available for the few computers that limit USB
5-year limited warranty
Compatible - Use with Macintosh computers and PCs.
Carrying important files between work and home or on the road.
Backing up photos, music, video or any files. Use Time Machine, or
your favorite back up software.
Available FireWire or USB port
Mac OS X 10.4.11+, 10.5.2+
Compatibility may vary depending on user's hardware configuration
and operating system. FireWire interface requires use of the USB port
on the drive for power.
The My Passport drives ship in capacities of 320 GB, 250 GB, and 160
GB at prices of $219.99, $159.99, and $129.99 respectively
PR: Newton Peripherals, the developer of the MoGo family of
Bluetooth-enabled computer mice, announced today a special Father's Day
edition of its popular MoGo Mouse - the business-card size mouse that
stores and charges in the PC card or ExpressCard/54 slot of notebook
PCs (unfortunately, Apple went with ExpressCard 34 in the MacBook Pro,
and the other MacBooks have no expansion slots). MoGo Mouse is now
offering a custom skin for the MoGo Mouse that proudly displays "#1
The MoGo "#1
Dad" Mouse is available online at the MoGo Store. To ensure delivery by
June 15, gift givers should place orders by June 9 at the MoGo Store.
"MoGo is the perfect mouse for any Dad who needs maximum productivity
from his laptop without the extra bulk," said Matt Westover, President
and Chief Executive Officer of Newton Peripherals. "MoGo is built tough
for laptop use but without the clumsy 'clamshell' casing and it fully
integrates into the notebook so there's nothing for Dad to fumble
with," he added.
The MoGo Mouse has the same functionality as conventional laser mice
- scroll, right click, left click - plus it can also double as a
wireless media remote or presenter with laser pointer. Embedded with
Bluetooth technology, MoGo Mouse offers 30 feet of wireless freedom
with no batteries or line-of site required. MoGo's Award-winning design
features a kickstand that flips out to comfortably position the mouse
in your hand.
Dads will love MoGo's space saving design and the fact that MoGo
models can double as either a Media Remote or a Presenter. MoGo Media
Mouse X54 allows users to wirelessly play, pause, switch tracks and
adjust volume on iTunes, Real Player and You Tube. MoGo Presenter Mouse
X54 Pro, a cordless presenter, enables full control of presentations
with 1-touch switching between mouse and presenter modes with laser
pointer, slide changer and start/escape button functionality.
PR: MacCase, the pioneers of the first Apple laptop
case, has reissued the original 1999 clamshell case design with the
launch of the 2008 Classic Case.
Bringing back a piece of history, the relaunch of the Classic Case
was in direct response to requests by MacBook and iBook owners looking
for a unique and resilient case solution. The Classic Case is a near
match to the original, sporting the rounded shape of the clamshell
iBook, a choice of all five lively colors and a 1999 price tag of under
created the market for Apple laptop cases in 1999 with the launch of
the first briefcase for the clamshell iBook. Despite the unorthodox
design, the case was extremely popular. It actually became the de facto
solution for the iBook," explains Michael Santoro, President and Chief
Creative Officer of MacCase.
"Demand for the case was high but Apple kept developing new
products, and so did we. We had no plans to continue the case after it
sold out, but requests continued and then escalated with the launch of
the 13" MacBook. The unique design really taps into the 'anti-status
quo' element within the Apple community. We are happy to continue being
a part of that."
Designer Michael Santoro retained the overall rounded shape of
the original 1999 iBook case which still stands in stark contrast to
the boxy, black briefcase alternatives available in today's market. The
Classic Case also includes the MacCase signature window that allows the
Apple logo of the laptop to be seen through the case, becoming a part
of its design. The two-tone front face and abundance of storage space
emulates that of the original design. Several improvements were also
made including the addition of molded rubber corner protectors, an air
mesh interior floor that allows the processor to cool after use and
interior straps to secure the 13" MacBook for transport. The case comes
in five colors (Tangerine, Blueberry, Keylime, Indigo and Graphite) and
is available online.
MacCase created the Apple-specific case market in 1999 with the
introduction of a nylon briefcase for the original clamshell iBook. The
line has since grown to seven models including sleeves, binders,
messenger bags, backpacks, slings and briefcases. In 2007, the Premium
Leather Collection was introduced and in 2008, the original iBook
clamshell briefcase was reissued to meet the needs of a unique Apple
generation. MacCase products are available at mac-case.com, MacMall, Small Dog
Connection, and Amazon.com.
For further information, please visit our website or contact Customer
Service at 866-526-2247.
Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and
refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for
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.