The 'Book Review

5400 rpm 1.8" Drive, Apple Grows Notebook Share by 61%, MacBook Air Attracts, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.06.13

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

Tech Trends

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

HP Dominates Worldwide Notebook Market; Apple Grows 61%

PR: DisplaySearch, the worldwide leader in display market research and consulting, revealed in its recent release of the Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report that the notebook PC market shrank 6% Q/Q but was up 35% Y/Y in Q1'08 to 31 million units. HP remained #1 in the notebook PC market for the seventh consecutive quarter, maintaining a lead of almost 2 million units over #2 Dell.

HP's share of the market was over 20% for the sixth consecutive quarter. As a result of an increased focus on retail sales and a substantial focus on growing their business in China, Dell grew to 15% share, a mark they last held in Q4'06. However, Dell's lead over Acer is small, and with Acer's acquisitions of Gateway and Packard Bell, we can expect to see them put renewed effort on growing those brands.

There has also been a significant shift among the smaller brands. Apple, after four quarters as the #8 notebook brand, surged to #7 in Q1'08, while Asus grew to #8. Most of the other top ten brands have maintained their ranking over the past several quarters, with the exception of Sony. As recently as Q3'07, Sony was #6; however they slid to #7 in Q4'07 and now to #9 in Q1'08.

Although Sony's notebook shipment volumes have increased by more than 40% Y/Y in North America, DisplaySearch analysis indicates that their volumes have declined by 27% in EMEA and more than 40% in APAC and Japan. By contrast, Acer, Dell, and HP have all grown by 50% or more in EMEA and APAC.

Q1'08 Notebook PC Shipments by Brand

Rank Brand             Q1'07   Q1'08 Y/Y Change  Q1'08 Share
1 HP 4.608M 6.460M +40% 20.8%
2 Dell 3.228M 4.683M +45% 15.1%
3 Acer 3.415M 4.527M +33% 14.6%
4 Toshiba 2.399M 2.890M +21% 9.3%
5 Lenovo 1.473M 2.321M +58% 7.5%
6 Fujitsu-Siemens 1.275M 1.612M +26% 5.2%
7 Apple 0.891M 1.433M +61% 4.6%
8 Asus 0.796M 1.330M +67% 4.3%
9 Sony 1.281M 1.321M +3% 4.2%
Others 3.759M 4.529M +21% 14.5%
Total 23.124M 31.108M +35% 100%

Note: Acer's Q1'08 Y/Y growth compares Acer's volume with Q1'07 volumes from Acer, Gateway, and Packard Bell.

The most popular panel size and resolution continues to be 15.4" 1280 x 800, which accounted for almost 50% of all notebook PCs shipped in the quarter. In a distant second position was 14.1" 1280 x 800 with 22% share.

There are significant regional differences in notebook panel size. In Greater China and the Asia Pacific countries, 14.1" notebook PCs have twice as much share (45% or more). By contrast, 15.4" 1280 x 800-equipped notebooks have approximately 60% share in the EMEA and Latin America regions. Many brands have recognized this trend and have regional sales product strategies based on panel size preference.

"Historically, notebook volumes decline Q/Q in the first quarter of the year, and Q1'08 was no exception. However, not all brands followed this trend in 2008. Dell, perhaps as a result of an increased focus on retail and Greater China, as well as Toshiba, avoided this trend. Also of particular note were Apple's 7% and Samsung's 15% Q/Q growth. Apple's entry-level notebook starts at more than $1,000, while Samsung, at present, only sells notebooks in APAC, EMEA and greater China," said John Jacobs, Director of Notebook Market Research at DisplaySearch.

Looking at 2008, DisplaySearch expects notebook PC shipments to continue to grow, with total notebook PC shipments exceeding 135M units for the year.

For more information on the Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report, please contact sales@displaysearch.com, or contact your regional DisplaySearch offices in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China.

5400 rpm 160 GB 1.8" Toshiba Hard Drive

PR: Toshiba, the pioneer in small form factor hard disk drives (HDDs), continues to deliver innovative storage solutions with the industry's highest-capacity series of SATA 1.8" HDDs. The new 5400 rpm HDDs come in single-platter 80 GB and dual-platter 160 GB models, which deliver market-leading capacity, high-performance, and durability in compact packages for space-efficient mobile PC systems.

160 GB 1.8-inch hard driveThe storage capacities offered by the MK**17GSG series mirror those of larger form factor HDDs, while reducing the storage footprint by nearly 40 percent. Combined with the new micro-SATA connector, Serial-ATA 1.5 Gb/s interface and 5400 rpm spin speed, the MK**176GSG series offers small and lightweight solutions at increased data transfer rates for enhanced performance in subnotebook PCs.

Key Features

  • 1.8" Footprint with up to 160 Gigabytes* of Capacity
  • 5400 rpm Spin Speed
  • Host Transfer Rate up to 1.5 Gb/s
  • Serial ATA 2.6 / ATA-8 Interface
  • Micro-SATA Connector
  • 8 MB Cache Buffer For User Data
  • 571 Megabit per Second Media Transfer Rate
  • Ultra-Lightweight One and Two Platter Design

* One Gigabyte (1 GB) means 109 = 1,000,000,000 bytes using powers of 10. A computer operating system, however, reports storage capacity using powers of 2 for the definition of 1 GB = 230 = 1,073,741,824 bytes, and therefore shows less storage capacity. Available storage capacity will also be less if the computer includes one or more preinstalled operating systems, preinstalled software applications, or media content. Actual formatted capacity may vary.

Editor's note: It will be interesting to see if the single-platter 80 GB unit will fit in the MacBook Air. The twin-platter drive will almost certainly not, alas. cm

Editor's note: Even if this won't fit inside the MacBook Air, it could be the heart of a very small bus-powered USB 2.0 drive to complement the MBA. dk

Poor AirPort Throughput on MacBook Pros Linked to Real Player 11

MacFixIt reports:

"For some MacBook Pro users, even though the number of bars in the airport indicator shows the signal is at full strength, the internet connection is very slow and choppy. Since other computers on the same network appear to connect and run just fine, the problem appears to be with the software configuration of the affected computer...."

High Pitched Noise Coming from Some MacBook Pros

MacFixIt reports:

"Some MacBook Pro users are noticing a high pitched ring-like noise coming from their computers, and has been described as sounding like a constant tone or like someone has turned on a TV....

"For some users the computer locks up and hangs for a while when the noise occurs, and for others it will come and go in a random manner....

"Unfortunately for now there are no known fixes, and while it's uncertain whether or not this occurrence is hardware or software based...."

Dim the Penryn MacBook Pro's Sleep Light

Mac OS X Hints contributor macfan001 says:

"I'm not sure on how many laptops this works on, but on my early 2008 MacBook Pro, when the computer is asleep with the screen down, the pulsating sleep light is quite bright...."

Update That Wish List: 3 Pound MacBook Air Very Portable

Teacher and ZD Net blogger Christopher Dawson says:

"I took a group of students to Cambridge yesterday for a field trip. I turned them loose in Harvard Square for a while, we wandered around MIT, and took in the Museum of Science. The most interesting part of the trip for me, however, was a stop at the Cambridge Mac Store (it was on the way from the MIT T station to the Museum of Science . . . no, really...). The Mac store is a nice place to be no matter what and all of the students have added Macs and iPhones to their own graduation wishlist.

"However, this was the first time I'd had a chance to play with the MacBook Air. Media reports, I'm afraid, don't do it much justice...."

Tech Trends

Small, Cheap Notebook Sales to Soar as Intel Boosts Atom Supply

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"Computex Asus' President, Jerry Shen, has forecast sales of Small, Cheap Computers™ will top 10m units this year, presumably having been encouraged by Intel bigwig Sean Maloney's promise of 'very, very high volumes' of Atom CPUs by September.

"What a week for this emerging market segment it's been. On Monday, Shen was reported to have indicated a shortage of Intel's Atom N270 and 230 processor, aimed at small laptops and desktops, respectively."

AMD Set to Take on Intel and Apple Laptops

PC Advisor's Tom Yager reports:

"At the logic level, MacBook, the benchmark for success in mainstream notebooks, is unremarkable - indistinguishable from every PC notebook built on Intel Core 2 and its chipset-integrated graphics.

"Why, then, can't anyone with the same parts list emulate Apple's growth in an otherwise stagnant notebook market?

"Because Apple painstakingly hand-optimised its OS for a tiny variety of hardware architectures, presently Intel Core 2, while Microsoft wrote Vista to run on absolutely everything. No PC notebook maker can take the proprietary route that Apple plays to such advantage....

"That radical objective drove AMD's design for the total notebook platform nicknamed Puma, and now dubbed, temporarily I hope, AMD's Next Generation Notebook Platform."

Software

2-Finger Scrolling for pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks

PR: iScroll2 is a modified trackpad driver that adds two-finger scrolling capabilities to supported pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks on OS X 10.3 and up.

Supported models include most aluminum PowerBooks introduced from 2003 to 2004 as well as most G4 iBooks.

Note: Models that have two-finger scrolling already built-in are not supported! These use a completely different, USB-based trackpad, the driver or which is not available as open source.

iScroll2 is based on Apple's AppleADBMouse-209.0.10 driver for the ADB-based trackpads found on older models, which is available as part of the publicly released Darwin source code (and covered by the APSL). The code added for supporting two-finger scrolling was written from scratch.

The installer will tell you whether your machine is supported or not. Alternatively, you can use this little script. Just unpack and double-click in Finder.

Note: Both the driver and this check may not work if you have another alternative trackpad driver (such as SideTrack or FingaMIDI) installed.

Models that are known not to be supported include all G3 and Titanium PowerBooks, the very first 12" PowerBook model, all G3 iBooks, and all newer machines that come with two-finger-scrolling built-in: The trackpads of the older machines simply lack two-finger detection capabilities completely, whereas the models that have scrolling built-in use a completely different, USB-based trackpad, the driver for which is not available as open source.

Note: As should be obvious from the version numbers, iScroll2 is still in its early stages of development, and thus likely contains bugs. If you encounter any issues, please don't hesitate to let me know. Please include a detailed description of the problem you're encountering, how to reproduce it, the relevant version numbers (iScroll2, OS X), the PowerBook or iBook model you're using and anything else that might be related to the issue you're reporting.

With that said, please get the current release from the download page.

The binary package includes a GUI installer. Just unzip the archive, double-click on the installer package and follow the onscreen instructions.

iScroll2 includes a preference pane that allows you to fine-tune the driver to your specific needs. Settings should be remembered across reboots and sleep, and on a per user basis (i.e. each user on a machine can configure iScroll2 individually).

Unlike the "official" two-finger functionality available on later Apple laptops, all scrolling-related settings for iScroll2 can be found in the iScroll2 preference pane. iScroll2 will not enable the additional controls in the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane.

To scroll, just place two fingers on your trackpad instead of one. Both fingers need to be placed next to each other horizontally (not vertically, the trackpad cannot detect that). Some people get better results with their finger spaced a little bit apart, while others prefer having the fingers right next to each other.

iScroll2 provides two scrolling modes: Linear and circular scrolling.

For linear scrolling, move the two fingers up/down or left/right in a straight line, respectively, to scroll in that direction.

Circular scrolling works in a way similar to the iPod's scroll wheel: Move the two fingers in a circle to scroll up or down, depending on whether you move in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

In addition to scrolling, iScroll2 also supports mapping the trackpad button and the tap gesture to a specific mouse button. The trackpad button can also be remapped dynamically depending on whether two fingers are on the trackpad. This can be configured in the included preference pane.

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

New this week: much bigger selection of MacBook Pros, fewer MacBooks. Each model comes with an Apple one-year warranty, and ground shipping is free.

  • refurb 2.1 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $949
  • refurb 2.2 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $999
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,549
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $2,699
  • refurb 15" 2.2 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,699
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,699
  • refurb 15" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,149
  • refurb 15" 2.6 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,399
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,099
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz hi-res Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,399
  • refurb 17" hi-res 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,499
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,649
  • refurb 17" hi-res 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,749

TechRestore

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $419.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 (VGA), 256/30/Combo, $629.99
  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,699.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,399.99

Wegener Media - Pismo - 12" PowerBook - 15" Titanium PowerBook - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - 17" PowerBook

  • Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 128/6/DVD, $299.99
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 256/40/DVD, $399.99
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 256/60/DVD, $419.99
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/500, 128/6/DVD, $349.99
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/500, 256/40/DVD, $439.99
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/500, 256/60/DVD, $449.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/867 MHz, 256/40/Combo, $469.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $509.99
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/867 MHz, 256/30/Combo, $549.99
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $699.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $629.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $699.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $739.99
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, $799.99

Baucom Computers

  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $689
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $799
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, APX, $1,129

Power Max

  • open box 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, warranty started, $1,699
  • open box 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,749
  • open box 2.1 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,049
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 2 GB/120/SD, warranty started, $1,049
  • open box 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,249
  • open box 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,249
  • open box 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,449
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, warranty started, 2/160/SD, $1,799
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, warranty started, 2/200/SD, $1,949
  • open box 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,288
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2,049
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2,349
  • 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,449
  • open box 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,688
  • 17" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,688

PowerBook Guy

  • Blueberry clamshell iBook G3/300 MHz, 64/3/CD, $149.95
  • Tangerine clamshell iBook G3/300 MHz, 64/3/CD, $159.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/10/DVD, $249.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $229.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 256/30/CD, $289.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 768 MB/30/CD, $479.95
  • Lombard PowerBook G3/400, 128/10/Zip, $199.95
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 192/6/Zip, $269.95
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,599.95

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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