The 'Book Review

Mac Notebook Share up 60% in US, Apple Refurbs a Great Deal, RIP PowerBook G4, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.09.19

The week's top non-notebook story is the release of the Mac OS X 10.5.5 update, which we cover in this week's Mac News Review.

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

Products

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Apple 4th in Notebook Shipments with 10.6% of North American Market

While Hewlett Packard (HP) completed Q2'08 closing a full two-year run as the world's leading supplier of notebook PCs, NPD's DisplaySearch reports in its latest Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report that Apple has soared from a 6.6 percent share in Q2 '07 to a 10.6 percent share in Q2 '08, a roughly 60% increase year-over-year - and by far the greatest increase recorded by any laptop manufacturer. Dell remained #2 with about twice Apple's sales numbers.

DisplaySearch notes that much of the growth in the notebook PC market over the past few years was driven by consumer purchases, a market where Apple is exceptionally strong but that Dell has had trouble penetrating. Recent efforts by Dell indicate that they have placed a renewed emphasis on growing this segment. Indications are that Dell is having some success in these measures as they have grown Q/Q in each of the past three quarters. Acer is holding steady at #3 with a 14.4% share of notebook PC shipments, although its share is down Y/Y in both North America and EMEA despite acquiring Packard Bell and Gateway, and Apple is moving closer to breathing down its neck so to speak.

"The data calls into question Acer's acquisition of both Gateway/eMachines and Packard Bell. While the move immediately prevented competitors from getting more of a foothold in the rapidly growing US and European retail notebook PC sectors, the last few quarters' results clearly show that Acer is struggling to integrate the Gateway and Packard Bell brands into their portfolio. Both Gateway and Packard Bell were losing notebook PC market share prior to their acquisition, but the acquisition has failed to reverse, or even halt that trend," said John Jacobs, Director of Notebook Market Research and author of the report.

Other report highlights include

  • China's accelerating economic modernization also affects the data, as Greater China now accounts for more than 10% of notebook PC shipments.
  • The notebook PC panel market has grown vigorously, with revenues up 39% Y/Y.
  • The market share of panels with the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio dropped to less than 3% in Q2.

Table 1: North American NB PC Market Share

Brand

Q2'07

Q2’08

Dell

21.6%

21.9%

HP

21.2%

21.4%

Acer (incl. Gateway & Packard Bell)

18.6%

14.4%

Apple

6.6%

10.6%

Toshiba

11.4%

9.0%

All Others

20.3%

22.4%

Total

100.0%

100.0

Table 2: EMEA NB PC Market Share

Brand

Q2'07

Q2’08

HP

18.9%

20.5%

Acer (incl. Gateway & Packard Bell)

20.9%

17.9%

Dell

11.1%

12.5%

Toshiba

9.5%

11.7%

Asus

5.6%

5.5%

All Others

13.2%

14.0%

Total

100.0

100.0

Growth of the Portable (from 13.3" to 16.0") category, which represents the meat of Apple's notebook lines with the MacBook and 15" MacBook Pro was the strongest in Q2'08, surging to 88.5% share, while Desktop Replacement Notebook PCs (those with 17.0" and larger displays) fell to just 7.5% market share after having been close to 10% in Q2'07.

By contrast, the Ultraportable (from 10.4" to 12.1") category shrank in the quarter to just 4% share. The decline in share in this category was likely a result of the plethora of Mini-Note PCs (or "netbooks")that were introduced by almost all of the leading PC brands in the quarter - although not Apple thus far. These Mini-Notes are slightly smaller than Ultraportables, but have substantially lower ASPs. While momentum within the industry seems to favor Mini-Note PCs, this holiday season will be the first test in the WW market. Consumer acceptance and questions regarding cannibalization of the mature notebook PC market should be answered, DisplaySearch says. The pros and cons of this new Mini-Note PC category as well as a full industry outlook for the space are covered in DisplaySearch's topical report on the Mini-Note PC market.

DisplaySearch's Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment and Forecast Report is a comprehensive and exclusive compilation of market data from DisplaySearch's industry sources, along with insightful analysis of the state of the NB PC industry.

Editor's note: Also see With 10% of the US Notebook Market, Where Will Apple Go Next? dk

Apple's North American Notebook Share Jumps 60%

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

Citing NPD DisplaySearch that Apple's meteoric rise "from 6.6 percent in the second quarter of 2007 to 10.6 percent for the three-month period ending June - the largest jump out of all PC manufacturers doing business in the region . . . came largely at the expense of rivals Toshiba and Acer, both of which saw significant declines in their share of the market during the same 12-month period. In particular, Acer saw its share fall some 22.5 percent from 18.6 percent to 14.4 percent, while Toshiba's share fell 21 percent from 11.4 percent to 9 percent."

Apple Hasn't Yet Cracked Top 5 in Global Notebook Sales

Electronista reports:

"Apple has seen the single largest jump in notebook market share of all top manufacturers in North America, according to the new DisplaySearch report with its spring 2008 market share in North America surging year-over-year from 6.6 percent to 10.6 percent, moving it up to fourth place in the domestic market, Apple has yet to enter the top five in world share where HP, Dell, Toshiba and ASUS complete the top five."

"Apple's performance isn't directly explained in the study, though the majority of its notebooks occupy the 13.3-inch to 16-inch size category that saw the largest worldwide gains over the 12-month period."

The market is likely to shift significantly over the summer and fall periods with expected back-to-school and holiday shopping typically spikes, and Apple in particular believed to be launching major redesigns of its notebooks in the near future and, in the case of one analyst group, is said to be planning an aggressive price point for its entry-level models that could significantly improve its sales performance."

Apple Strengthens Home Share with Notebooks, 2nd and 3rd Home PCs

PR: Apple has increased its Home notebook PC share to now rank #4 in the home installed base. It has strengthened its position among the socioeconomically elite, attracting the younger, more highly-educated, and higher income households, as well as the self-employed, according to the Apple Profile Report 2008 from MetaFacts, Inc.

"Like the camel slipping its nose under the tent, Apple is reaching into American households as the 2nd or 3rd Home PC," said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. "Where Apple shines is as the 3rd PC, ranking fifth with 8% of 3rd Home PCs, and ranking fourth in notebook PCs, also at 8% of the installed base."

Apple home computers are used differently than Windows home PCs, more often for web content creation, graphics, and personal activities. Twenty-one percent of Apple Home PCs are used in public places, nearly double the 12% of Windows Home PCs that are used in public.

"If you look around at a Starbucks or cybercafé, you might think the whole world's gone to Apple," said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. "Apple users are very active and use their notebooks in more locations than Windows notebook users."

The survey also revealed strong repurchase brand loyalty. "Apple continues to command the strongest repurchase intent of any PC brand. More than four in five (81%) of households with Apple as their primary Home PC plan to buy the same brand - Apple - for their next Home PC," said Ness.

Other findings in the Apple Profile Report 2008 include:

  • Workplace Apples are dominated by 5 occupational groups: Teacher, Artist/Designer/Performer, Management, Clerical, Consultants
  • iPod penetration among Apple Households is extremely strong, and also strong in non-Apple households yet with weaker buying plans
  • The installed base of Apple Home computers are newer than the base of Windows Home PCs
  • Apple Households shop differently than non-Apple Households, more likely to be in a Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Target, and less often in a Wal-Mart
  • Apple's retail stores are attracting many non-Apple households, a strong positive sign for Apple
  • The kind of non-Apple households shopping or buying at Apple retail have many more kids, also a strong positive future sign for Apple

The Apple Profile Report 2008 is based on surveys with over 10,000 American adults by telephone and online as part of the Technology User Profile 2008 Annual Edition study. Respondents were carefully selected to be representative of all American adults and households.

The Apple Profile Report 2008 is available for immediate purchase through the online store at MetaFacts.com.

Why Apple Refurbs Are a Great Deal

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan says:

"We have often recommended refurbished Apple products in articles as well as in private emails. We decided to expand on that recommendation with some reasons why Apple Factory Refurb is a serious alternative to NEW.

"For starters, Apple-certified refurbished products come with the same one year warranty as new products....

"Apple Factory Refurbished products are even more attractive with recent price drops on the Apple Store...."

Editor's note: I completely agree. I purchased the Mac I'm typing this on as an Apple Certified Refurbished unit nearly three years ago, and it hasn't missed a beat in service. Very cool. cm

Other editor's note: Ditto. I've been buying Apple refurbished since 2003, and they've been every bit as reliable as new-in-box Macs. dk

What's Expected of the New MacBook Pro

The Mac Observer's John Martellaro says:

"If rumors are correct, Apple will unveil new MacBooks on or about October 14th. Computerworld's Seth Weintraub noted that a redesign is long overdue and took some educated guesses about what the new MacBook Pros will sport when they're released.

"Among the items Mr. Weintraub anticipates are a one piece aluminum housing with a rounder, skinnier form factor styled like the MacBook Air, a 16:9 LED backlit display as opposed to the 16:10 aspect ratio that has prevailed since the intro of the 17" and 15" aluminum PowerBooks in 2003, HDMI video out, an SSD option, and a Centrino 2 chipset with a 1066 MHz frontside bus."

Next-gen MacBook Shipments Begin Ahead of 'Sharp Ramp'

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"The first shipments of Apple's next-generation 13-inch MacBooks have left mainland China ahead of a large-scale manufacturing ramp scheduled for later this month, according to investment bank Citigroup.

"In a 'Company Flash' bulletin issued to clients on Monday, analyst Rich Gardner said he expects the Cupertino-based Mac maker to introduce its fall line of notebooks 'within weeks.'"

Is Apple Streamlining Its Laptop Range?

Cult of Mac's Craig Grannell says:

"Is Apple going to ditch the 'Pro' from MacBook Pro and streamline its laptop range, leaving just a 'standard' MacBook (with different screen sizes and minor tinkering possibilities under the hood), and the Air for people who happily set fire to $50 dollar bills?....

"Obviously, this is idle speculation, but such streamlining would make sense...."

Apple Preps MacBook Upgrades and a Mysterious 'Brick'

TGDaily's Christian Zibreg says:

"The dust from the new iPods has settled, but it appears that Apple is already gearing up for a next round of introductions. Apparently, the company is planning an October 14 event, during which a refreshed notebook family and a mysterious new product code-named 'Brick' are expected to be introduced....

"If you believe rumor site 9 to 5 Mac, there will be a 'one more thing' moment with a new, mysterious product code-named 'Brick.' There is some chatter that this 'Brick' is actually a Mac tablet, but we here at TG Daily believe that if that is in fact the case, Macworld in January may be a more appropriate event to unveil a tablet. Another rumor has it that Apple may introduce a brand-new sub-notebook to compete with Asustek's Eee PC...."

MacBook Air Silicon Getting Old

CNET's Brooke Crothers says:

"The cutting-edge MacBook Air is not so cutting edge these days. The high-profile, ultra-slim notebook still comes with the same hardware that was offered initially by Apple nine months ago.

"The sleek silver 3-pound notebook was announced with great fanfare back on January 15 with configurations that sported older Merom-class Intel low-voltage processors and a 64 GB Samsung solid state drive....

"Apple observers claim that a notebook refresh is coming in October and it is anticipated that updates to the Air will include larger solid state drives and newer Intel processors.

"Whether Apple will turn away from Intel chipsets is a rumor still in play, though Apple is expected to stick with Intel for the main CPU...."

R.I.P. PowerBook G4 (2001-2008)

Breaking Windows blogger Ken Edwards says:

"My 1 GHz PowerBook G4 is no longer usable. It will no longer take a charge, no matter what battery I use. I got seven good years out of it. And it was a MUCH better system than that lemon 500 MHz PowerBook G4 I had prior. Of course I broke the cardinal rule, I bought the first rev of an Apple product.

"Now if my three year old Dell laptop would perform half as well as my seven year old PowerBook did, I would be happy to use it as a laptop replacement....

"I will sure miss my PowerBook....

"Computers sure don't last long enough any more."

Editor's note: No they don't, Ken. cm

Refreshing a WallStreet PowerBook

This Old Mac's Holden Scott says:

"Simple, fresh, back to basics and back to work. No overly excessive GUI distractions, just the pureness and quickness of OS 9 on the black shark.

WallStreet PowerBook G3 Series"Ah, back to when things were still somewhat simple, the OS 8 and 9 days. It was 1998, and the PowerBook WallStreet was a radical departure from the previous PowerBooks that preceded it . . . With two hot swappable drive bays, the WallStreet could house two batteries for double the power on the road. With an optional PCMCIA DVD decoder card, along with the DVD-ROM drive, DVD playback became possible under OS 9. However, since OS X's DVD player did not support the DVD decoder card, DVD playback is restricted to OS 9 and earlier. Add a beautiful keyboard, two PC card slots, which can house USB, FireWire, wireless cards, and the like, with legacy ports, the WallStreet bridges the old with the new....

"So, what is under the hood of my upgraded, refreshed WallStreet?"

Flash Drive in a PowerBook 5300ce

This Old Mac's Holden Scott says:

"Well, after some messing around, I finally managed to get a SanDisk Ultra II 4 GB CF card into my PowerBook 5300ce with the requisite CF-IDE adapter. Fast and total silence Read on if you want to do likewise.

PowerBook 5300"After reading Dan Knight's 'Silence is Golden' (LEM), I decided to follow suit and install a Compact Flash card (CF card) in place of the old, 1.1 GB, noisy, spinny hard drive that was in my PowerBook 5300ce.

"As Dan refers to in his article, the Addonics Dual IDE-CF card adapter is a small adapter chip that houses up to 2 CF cards. It actually looks like a RAM chip holder, where there is one slot for a CF card on the top, and another on the bottom. 'Simply' slide the CF Card into the desired slot, and plug the Addonics adapter into the 44 PIN Hard Drive connector on the main board of the computer, and you are off to the races."

Tech Trends

2.5" Hard Drives to hit 1 TB in 2010

The Register's Chris Mellor reports:

"Western Digital (WD) and Fujitsu will likely have 1 TB 2.5-inch disk drives available by early 2010 according to industry sources.

"WD has just announced that it has started volume shipping its 500 GB 2.5-inch Scorpio Blue drive, a notebook drive with 250 GB per platter and a 5,400 rpm spin speed. Seagate expects to ship its half terabyte 2.5-incher before the end of the year."

3G Modems for Laptops Booming

IDG News Service's Stephen Lawson reports:

"Fast cellular modems for laptops are flying out the door as business users hit the road and tire of looking for Wi-Fi hotspots, an ABI Research analyst said Friday.

"Unit sales of the modems grew about 300 percent from 2006 to 2007, and annual revenue should surpass $22 billion by 2013, according to analyst Dan Shey, who wrote a report on the trend released Friday. That's up from $3 billion in 2007.

"'Growth has been phenomenal,' Shey said in an interview. Falling prices for devices and services is one factor, he noted. The hottest type of laptop modem for 3G (third-generation) and 3.5G connectivity is the USB (Universal Serial Bus) dongle, Shey said. Internal Mini-PCI modems as well as cards that slide into PC Card slots are also available."

HP Launches 'Green' Wal-Mart Notebook

PC Magazine reports:

"Along with the release of the HP Pavilion HDX 18, HP has announced its smaller cousin, the HDX 16, as well as a quite respectable (and eco-friendly) 15-inch exclusive Wal-Mart laptop."

"...HP is strengthening its partnership with Wal-Mart by launching the HP Pavilion dv6929wm-b, which will be sold exclusively at the retail giant. With your purchase, you'll receive a messenger bag made of recycled fibers. The HP Protect Messenger bag is eco-friendly, reducing a standard laptop's packaging waste by 97 percent."

Products

WD Scorpio Blue 500 GB SATA/EIDE Notebook Hard Drives Shipping

WD Scorpio Blue Hard Drive

PR: With available SATA or EIDE interfaces, and available in a variety of capacities up to 500 GB, 3 Gb/s, 8 MB Cache, 5400 RPM, WD Scorpio Blue drives offer high-performance, low power consumption, and cool operation, perfect for notebooks and other portable devices. Pick the drive that suits your needs with the confidence in knowing that all WD Scorpio Blue drives are built to the highest standards of quality and reliability.

Interface:

  • SATA 3 Gb/s
  • SATA 1.5 Gb/s
  • EIDE

Capacities: 80, 120, 160, 250, 320, 400, 500 GB

To make drive selection simple, all our 5400 RPM WD Scorpio drives are now marketed under one umbrella called WD Scorpio Blue. Built to Western Digital's awarding winning quality standards, these drives are available in a full range of performance features.

Key Features

• Massive capacity - Whether they are in an external drive or a notebook computer, WD Scorpio Blue SATA drives are available in capacities up to 500 GB and offer the most available capacity for space-hungry operating systems, with plenty of room left over for photos, music, and video.

  • Quiet - In a notebook drive, silence is golden. WD's exclusive WhisperDrive combines state-of-the-art seeking algorithms to yield one of the quietest 2.5-inch hard drives on the market. These algorithms also optimize the way a drive seeks for data, which significantly improves power consumption. So now silence (and longer battery life) is golden.
  • Reliable and rugged - WD's ShockGuard technology protects the drive mechanics and platter surfaces from shocks. WD's SecurePark™ parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin don, and when the drive is off. This ensures the recording head never touches the disk surface resulting in improved long-term reliability due to less head wear, and improved non-operational shock tolerance.
  • Fast and efficient - With 5400 RPM spin speed and 12 ms access time and up to 3 Gb/s SATA interface speed, even the most demanding customer will appreciate the performance achieved by WD Scorpio Blue drives.
  • Tested for compatibility - WD performs tests on hundreds of systems and a multitude of platforms in our FIT Lab and Mobile Compatibility Lab to give customers confidence that WD drives will work in their systems.

Western Digital (WD) on Friday announced that the Scorpio Blue 500 GB 2.5-inch hard drive is now shipping at a MSRP of $219.99.

Iomega's Ultra-Thin eGo Helium Delivers 320 GB of Storage for the MacBook Air

PR: Iomega has announced the new Iomega eGo Helium portable hard drive USB 2.0 320 GB, a perfect match for the style and incremental storage needs of Apple's revolutionary MacBook Air notebook.

On display this week at the Apple Expo trade show in Paris, the new eGo Helium portable drive brings the MacBook Air notebook's aesthetic to Iomega's wildly popular eGo portable hard drive. In addition to the drive's portable storage, the eGo Helium also harnesses the benefits of cloud computing with Mozy online backup service, giving users incredible value and security for securely storing, protecting and accessing important files.

Iomega eGo Helium portable hard driveCool Hardware

The tapered 320 GB eGo Helium portable hard drive echoes the stylish lines of the streamlined MacBook Air laptop, enclosing a state-of-the-art 2.5-inch portable hard drive in an anodized aluminum shell to create a package that is a mere 0.63 inches thick (16 mm) and weighs only 7 ounces (200 grams). Formatted with Apple's HFS+ file system, the 320 GB hard drive sports Iomega's Drop Guard design feature that protects the drive from drops of up to 51 inches (1.3 meters) onto industrial carpeting-40 percent above the industry average for portable hard drives. The eGo Helium receives power from the USB port so there's no power supply to carry around. And with space for up to 1,280,000 photos, over 5,920 hours of music or 480 hours of video**, the 320 GB eGo Helium drive gives new meaning to stylish portable storage.

"Iomega's eGo portable hard drives have garnered tremendous attention in the beige world of external storage by offering consumers a choice of several different vibrant colors as well as a camouflage print and genuine leather," said Peter Wharton, vice president of marketing, Iomega Corporation. "The eGo Helium extends that strong commitment to delivering style with substance. What makes eGo Helium such an effective piece of industrial design is the way it dresses up a highly functional 320 GB hard drive device into a durable and sleek package with plenty of storage capability, making it an easy-to-use 'eye-catcher' that's small enough to go anywhere."

Key Software

Iomega offers two Mac OS X backup software applications with the eGo Helium portable hard drive as free downloads for added data safety: EMC Retrospect Express for Macintosh 6.1 software, and MozyHome online backup software (2 GB free; unlimited online storage for $4.95/month). Retrospect Express protects a single Macintosh desktop or notebook computer by backing up to internal and external hard drives, NAS devices, CD/DVDs and removable drives such as Iomega's REV Backup Drive. MozyHome online backup service provides online storage for backing up selected folders or files to world-class EMC data centers.

Computer users running the Windows XP or Vista operating systems can reformat the eGo Helium drive to NTFS for use with Windows only, or the drive can be formatted as Fat 32 for use with both Macs and Windows PCs. Customers running Windows XP or Vista can also download Retrospect Express HD 2.5 for Windows with MozyHome integration, which gives users the convenience of shared setup information and the ability to send backups to either nearline storage (an external hard drive or network drive), online storage (the Internet), or both.

Compatibility

The Iomega eGo Helium Portable Hard Drive USB 2.0 320 GB is compatible with Mac OS X 10.1.5 or above and with Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. MozyHome software is available for Mac OS X 10.4 and above, along with Windows XP and Windows Vista. EMC Retrospect software is available for both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

The Iomega eGo Helium Portable Hard Drive USB 2.0 320 GB will be available worldwide in October for $149.99 from online retailers, VARs, resellers, and select retailers, as well as at iomega.com.

Sonnet Pro Dual CompactFlash Adapter ExpressCard/34 for MacBook Pro

Sonnet Pro Dual CompactFlash AdapterPR: Sonnet Technologies today announced the Pro Dual CompactFlash (CF) Adapter ExpressCard/34, which enables digital photographers to transfer files concurrently from two CF memory cards to a MacBook Pro computer on-location or in the field, studio, or office. The ability to transfer data from two cards concurrently, rather than swapping them out of the adapter, makes for a significantly more convenient and efficient workflow. The Sonnet adapter uses the 2.5 Gbps PCI Express interface incorporated into ExpressCard slots, so it delivers performance superior to adapters that depend on the ExpressCard slot's USB 2.0 interface.

"The Pro Dual CompactFlash Adapter ExpressCard/34 saves precious time for professional photographers, allowing them to transfer content quickly," said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. "Media professionals today are expected to produce results quickly, whether working remotely or in the studio. This newest adapter also allows the photographer to swap a pair of cards and get back to shooting while the cards' photos are being imported."

Sonnet's unique dual-slot CF memory card adapter accepts two Type I (flash memory) cards or a combination of one Type I and one Type II (hard drive) card. The high-performance Sonnet dual CF card adapter supports UDMA6 transfer modes with sustained data transfers up to 133 MB/sec. The Sonnet adapter supports at full speed the fastest available CF memory cards and future CF cards up to 886x, making it a superior alternative to USB readers. Its compact size allows it to fit into a gear bag.

The Pro Dual CompactFlash Adapter ExpressCard/34 is compatible with MacBook Pro systems running Mac OS Version 10.5 or higher. The adapter will be shipping in October 2008 at a suggested retail price of $99.95.

Sonnet ExpressCard 34 2-Port eSATA Host Controller

PR: Sonnet Technologies has announced the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34, a two-port SATA host controller that delivers the highest available throughput performance to notebook users. Ideal for video capture and editing in the field, studio, or office, this newest Tempo SATA card supports sustained data throughput of up to 200 MB/sec, 140 percent as fast as Sonnet's standard-performance Tempo SATA card (and other popular two-port eSATA adapters) for notebook computers. With this exceptional throughput, the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 supports more simultaneous video streams during playback, and enables faster file transfers for content of any kind.

Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34"As media professionals increasingly turn to on-location capture and editing of video content, they require high-performance storage systems with the speed to support larger files and a greater number of video streams," said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. "The Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 adapter addresses this demand for speed, setting the new standard for host controller performance in mobile storage applications."

Based on Sonnet's acclaimed Tempo SATA E4P SATA host controller for desktop computers, Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 enables users to connect from one to 10 SATA hard drives to any compatible notebook computer with an ExpressCard/34 or ExpressCard/54 slot. The new Tempo card is a perfect match for demanding, high-performance editing applications. When used in combination with storage systems featuring two or more drives, the Sonnet card delivers significant gains in read and write data transfer speeds, with remarkably higher throughput than FireWire, USB, and even earlier-generation eSATA ExpressCard adapters.

The Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 is compatible with MacBook Pro systems running Mac OS 10.5 and 10.4, as well as with notebooks running Windows Vista and Windows XP SP2. The Sonnet card will be available in October 2008 at a suggested retail price of $299.95.

MacBook Pro ExpressCard 802.11n Offers Wireless Options

PR: QuickerTek announces the extension of its ExpressCard MacBook Pro products to include a new version which comes with an external antenna - further increasing speed and range. It's ideal for those MacBook Pro users who do not have internal AirPort wireless cards. The new ExpressCard with antenna is available for $199.95.

The latest ExpressCard features a powerful external antenna with 5dBi of RF power. Because it is external to the MacBook Pro case, it can be placed for optimum signal strength and speed. The antenna itself easily clips to the MacBook Pro case when open, but is also easy to transport. While the MacBook Pro case is stylish, it severely restricts wireless performance.

The stock MacBook Pro has 30 milliwatts of wireless RF power. This ExpressCard has 300 milliwatts of RF power. Additional power is needed to penetrate walls, office equipment and floors (upstairs and downstairs) where 25% of signal strength is lost at each barrier.

Users of this new ExpressCard have all the wireless compatibility, speed and range that 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. That broad range of wireless means that wireless connections can be made at the highest speeds. It is now easier to travel and be confident that maximum wireless speeds are within reach.

The previous ExpressCard offers 802.11b/g/n wireless. Triple external antennas guarantee an improvement in wireless performance for $149.95. Triple antennas provide the highest speed MIMO specification wireless performance. Virtually any wireless network running 802.11b/g/n equipment in the 2.4 GHz spectrum is available.

All QuickerTek ExpressCards work with all Apple AirPort Base Stations including the 802.11n AirPort Extreme. And the ExpressCard slot design also makes it ideal for those users who must have a removable wireless card - often government agencies and other organizations where security is under tight controls.

QuickerTek ExpressCard 802.11nThe QuickerTek ExpressCard supports all standard security protocols including WPA, WPA2-64bit Personal and 128bit WEP, so you can login anywhere you have password access. It also supports Mac OS 10.4 and Leopard (10.5) including Sleep Mode, so users do not sacrifice functionality to get better performance.

Three QuickerTek ExpressCard options

  1. Our original card has its own driver and works with Apple AirPort wireless card installed; 802.11b/g/n; $149.95
  2. 34mm ExpressCard that uses Apple drivers with the Apple AirPort card removed; 802.11b/g/n; $149.95
  3. 34mm ExpressCard with 5dBi external antenna; 802.11a/b/g; 300mbs speed and 300milliwatt RF power; $199.95

Like most QuickerTek products, the ExpressCards is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Software

FunctionFlip Toggles Function Keys on MacBooks

PR: FunctionFlip individually controls your MacBook or MacBook Pro's function keys, turning special keys back to regular F-keys, or vice-versa

FunctionFlip individually controls your MacBook or MacBook Pro's function keys, turning special keys back to regular F-keys, or vice-versa. As of version 1.2, FunctionFlip is a preference pane. You'll find it in the "Other" category in System Preferences.

FunctionFlip's purpose is simply to disable the special features - rewind, play, mute, etc. - on the function keys. For example, if you "flip" F7, F8, and F9, those keys will revert back to normal F keys - without affecting the other functions. Press the fn key with the special key to get the special function back. That is, the "special" and "normal" functions are flipped.

To assign a custom shortcuts to your reclaimed keys, use a program like Quicksilver or Keyboard Maestro.

New in version 1.2:

  • FunctionFlip is now a System Preferences pane.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

Please note: FunctionFlip only works on Macintosh laptops with the "new model" keyboard.

As of version 1.1, FunctionFlip supports all MacBooks and MacBooks Pro, as well as recent Apple external keyboards.

FunctionFlip requires that "Enable access for assistive devices" be checked on the Universal Access pane in System Preferences.

System Support: PPC/Intel

Free

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

Changes from last week are that the $2,099 MacBook Air is sold out, but the $1,649 15" MacBook Pro is back. Each model comes with an Apple one-year warranty, and ground shipping is free.

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,499
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $2,299
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,649
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,699
  • refurb 15" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,999
  • refurb 15" 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,499
  • refurb 17" hi-res 2.6 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,499
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,649
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,699

MacMall

  • 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,399.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,598.99
  • 15'' 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,799.98
  • 15'' 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,814.99

TechRestore

  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,499.99

Wegener Media - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook

  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $699.99
  • 1.83 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $759.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $729.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $779.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $799.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, 60 day warranty, $829.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $639.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $729.99
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD $799.99

We Love Macs

  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $699.95
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/DVD, $849.95
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 256 RAM, 60/Combo, $849.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/60/SD, $949.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, 1 year warranty, $894.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $929.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $1,199.95
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $1,109.95
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/120/Combo, 1 year warranty, $1,089.95

Beta Macs

  • Lombard PowerBook G3/400, 128/6/DVD, $150
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, 1 GB/60/Combo, $699
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, 1 GB/80/Combo, $799
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, 1 GB/80/SD, $825
  • 2.16 GHz Core Duo 15" MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,099
  • 2.16 GHz Core Duo 17" MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,199

Baucom Computers

  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $719
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $785
  • 15" 2.1 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, APX, $1,129

Power Max

  • open box 2.1 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, warranty started, $999
  • open box 2.1 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $1,039
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $1,899

PowerBook Guy

  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, $499.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 768/40/Combo, AP, AppleCare, $599.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 MHz DVI, 256/30/Combo, $499.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $999.95
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, APX, $1,599.95

Custom Macs

  • 12" iBook G3/600 MHz, 128/20/CD, OS X 10.2, $279.99
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/CD, APX, OS X 10.4, $449.99

For more deals on current or discontinued models, see our MacBook deals, MacBook Air deals, 15" MacBook Pro deals, 17" MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" 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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