The 'Book Review

No $99 Netbooks, Apple Netbook Will Fail, Learning from a Stolen Laptop, Tiny iDrive, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.03.27

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.

Apple Netbook

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Products

Bargain 'Books

Apple Netbook

No Such Thing as a $99 Netbook

ZD Net's Tom Steinert-Threlkeld says:

"Oh, the heart goes aflutter with the idea that a netbook is coming out from Apple.

"And, some hearts might just pop a valve with the idea that it'll only cost $99.

"But, I'm not buying that this week's single line in the Boy Genius Report does in fact signal the arrival of a $99 Apple netbook...."

Apple's Netbook Will Flop

The Street's Scott Moritz says:

"Like a moth to a hot trend, Apple will fly into the netbook flame and get burned.

"The company will unveil a 10-inch touch-screen tablet computer sometime this year, say analysts. Not only does Apple want to showcase its design prowess, the company desperately needs a new hit to revitalize its computer line-up. Mac sales fell 16% from year-ago levels last month.

"No question, the tablet will dazzle Apple fans who typically don't think twice about paying upwards of $2,000 for the latest, greatest Mac. But beyond the core fan base, Apple will discover what other PC makers have known for a while: Consumers find big tablets hard to swallow....

"There's a more eye-opening index that Apple investors should probably heed. Nine of the 10 bestselling computers at Amazon as of today were netbooks. And only one sold for more than $400."

Apple Could Find Margins in Netbooks

The Street's James Rogers says:

"[Apple] is rumored to have its eye on the netbook market, a move that would signal a major change in the company's strategy.

"The iPhone maker has so far avoided mini-computers, preferring to focus its energy on feature-rich, premium-priced products like the MacBook.

"As Apple's results show, this strategy has worked....

"With a string of healthy product lines and $28 billion in cash, does Apple really need to lower its margins with netbooks?

"At least one analyst, however, claims that this may not be the case and argues that Apple must jump into netbooks.

"'I think it's crucial for them to continue to gain share,' Brian Marshall, an analyst at Broadpoint AmTech, told TheStreet.com. 'The success of Apple is in their continued share gains.'"

Apple's Tablet Will Flop? We'll Believe It When We See It

Silicon Alley Insider's Dan Frommer says:

"TheStreet.com's Scott Moritz pans the not-yet-announced Apple tablet and gets the Apple blog army up in arms.

"Specifically, Moritz predicts that Apple's (AAPL) supposedly forthcoming tablet computer 'will flop.'....

"We don't know any more than Moritz about Apple's supposed tablet plans. It's possible he will be right. But Moritz forgets to mention a few important things that are in Apple's favor....

"Apple products don't generally flop. They have a track record of building popular products - and few duds."

7 Features of an Apple Netbook

Retrevo's Andrew Eisner says:

"The rumors are flying on an Apple netbook, with some reliable sources claiming confirmation of a forthcoming device, but that doesn't stop us from fantasizing about what an Apple netbook might look like. We are big netbook fans and think an Apple netbook is a great idea. Apple watchers agree that a netbook from Apple is likely, pointing to the acquisition of P.A. Semiconductor and the hiring of Mark Papermaster from IBM as signs that Apple is planning a new mobile device like a netbook."

Apple OLED Notebook & iPhone Confirmed by LG

SmartHouse's David Richards reports:

"Apple is set to launch new OLED notebooks and flat panel monitors along with a new OLED iPhone claim sources at LG in Korea.

"It's also believed that a new iPhone and iPod touch due later this year will include an OLED screen made by LG who last year scored a multibillion dollar deal to manufacture display screens for Apple.

"One source that SmartHouse has spoken to claims that Apple already have working prototype of a new Netbook which will be manufactured in Taiwan with the OLED screen supplied by LG...."

News & Opinion

What I Learned from Having My Laptop Stolen

TidBITS' David Blatner says:

"Someday, somewhere, somehow your computer will be gone. It will be stolen, or the hard drive will self-destruct, or it will be hit by a meteor. While the latter would at least provide you with an excellent story, having your laptop stolen, as mine was recently, just plain sucks. However, I did manage to learn a few things in the wake of disaster, and wanted to take the opportunity to share them with you here.

"Three things are lost with a computer's theft: hardware, data, and privacy. I'll let others deal with the emotional aspects of loss, and instead focus on the practical ones...."

MacBook Pros with X1600 Graphics Experiencing Issues

MacFixIt reports:

"MacBook Pro users with models that have the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics cards* have been reporting issues such as horizontal lines of noise and other display artifacts. These issues seem primarily affect early MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo machines....

"Apple's OS X update to 10.5.6 was supposed to fix issues related to graphics on some MacBook Pro models (as described in its update details). However, many users found that the graphics problems still existed after installing the update....

"Currently there is no official fix or solution for this issue from Apple. In some cases, Apple will issue a recall or automatic repair for known issues across a certain serial code set or a particular model. The issues surrounding the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card have not qualified for any such program to date and Apple is treating these issues on a case-by-case basis...."

*This covers the original Core Duo MacBook Pro models, the next generation Core 2 Duo ones, and the Santa Rosa models. dk

2-Finger Scrolling Not Working on New MacBooks

MacFixIt reports:

"After migrating from a previous-generation Macintosh model to a newer laptop that has some form of multitouch support in the trackpad, several people have found the two-finger scrolling doesn't appear to work....

"In most cases, various multifingered gestures seem to work just fine, with only the two-finger scrolling not functioning properly.

"This problem seems to happen only when people are migrating, and not with new hardware or when fresh system software is installed on the newer computers, which indicates the problem is a software setting and not a faulty trackpad...."

How to Calibrate Your MacBook's Battery

Fairer Platform says:

"Proper care and feeding of your Apple portable's battery can help you achieve longer run time and extend battery life. Here's a quick tutorial on calibrating your MacBook (Pro, Air)'s battery.

"You should calibrate your portable's battery about once a month or so, and the methodology for getting the job is quite simple...."

MacBook Pro SuperDrive Error During DVD Burning

MacFixIt reports:

"Users trying to burn DVDs on MacBook Pros have reported burn errors (code 0x80020063 or 0x8002006E) that prevent them from successfully creating their DVD. Disk burning issues can often be associated with some sort of hardware malfunction. However, in this case, the issues are somewhat software related...."

Dell's Adamo Looks Like a MacBook, but Isn't a MacBook

Dell Adamo notebookThe Industry Standard's Paul Boutin says:

"I'm convinced the Adamo will never become an Apple-like cultural icon.

"It's slim, sleek, and sexy. Dell's new Adamo notebook is thinner by one-tenth of an inch than the fat end of a MacBook Air. It's a bit pricier, but unlike the MacBook you can get mobile broadband built in. It's definitely one of the sharpest-looking laptops ever.

"Too bad it runs Vista . . . It'll always be 'the Windows machine that's sort of like a MacBook.'"

Apple Patent Hints at Laptop Handles

image from Apple patent for notebook handle that provides coolingMacsimum News' Dennis Sellers reports:

"Third parties have sold attachable handles for Apple laptops for some time. Now Apple may be preparing to get in the game itself with future laptops. An Apple patent (number 7508662) for a handle arrangement with integrated heat pipe has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office...."

Laptop Battery Power Conservation Tips

PC World's James A. Martin says:

"In some respects, life as a laptop-carrying frequent flyer has gotten a little easier. Exhibit A: Though far from commonplace, it's not freakishly bizarre anymore to find a power port at your airplane seat - even in coach. Virgin America and American Airlines are among the most generous airlines in terms of supplying power ports to passengers.

"But it's still way too easy to run out of juice in flight, or during the course of a long day away from a wall socket. Here are some tips for keeping your laptop running as long as possible when you're on the go...."

Apple Updates

MacBook Pro 17" Graphics Firmware Update 1.0

Addresses the appearance of vertical lines or distorted graphics.

You should download and install the MacBook Pro Graphics Firmware Update 1.0 on your MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009) computer. The update addresses the possibility of vertical lines or distorted graphics on the display.

Products Affected

  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)

There are two parts to this process:

  1. Installing the firmware update application onto your hard drive.
  2. Using the firmware update application to update your graphics subsystem firmware.

Before you begin, your MacBook Pro must be plugged into a working power source, and the battery must be charged to at least 50%. Some USB and FireWire devices may prevent firmware updates from installing correctly. Disconnect nonessential devices for the best install experience.

This update requires a Macintosh-formatted disk or partition and an administrator password.

  1. Close any open applications.
  2. Download the MacBook Pro Graphics Firmware Update 1.0. The download will place a disk image that contains an installer into your default download location.
    Note: If you downloaded the update using Safari, Safari will notify you that an application is contained in the image. Click OK to continue.
  3. If "Open safe files after downloading" is selected in Safari preferences, the disk image file will mount by itself. If that preference is not enabled in Safari, double-click the disk image to mount it.
  4. Double-click the graphics firmware update disk image to open it.
  5. Double-click the MBPGraphicsFWUpdate1.0.pkg file.
  6. Read the introduction, then click Continue.
  7. After reading the licensing agreement, click Continue.
  8. To agree to its terms, click Agree.
  9. Click Install to install the update application to the folder path /Applications/Utilities.
  10. You will be asked for your administrator password. Enter the password and click OK.
  11. After the software successfully installs to your hard drive, an Installation Completed Successfully message appears. Click Close to start the updater application.
  12. Read the onscreen firmware update installation instructions, then click Restart in the MacBook Pro Graphics Firmware Update window and wait for your computer to restart. If asked to reenter your administrator password, enter the password and click OK.
  13. After the restart, the firmware update starts automatically. A status bar indicates the progress of the update.
    Important: Do not interrupt the update. Do not press any keys on the keyboard or hold down the trackpad or mouse button during the update. The installation may take several minutes.
  14. Your computer will restart automatically when the update completes, and a dialog will confirm your firmware is now up-to-date.

To determine if your MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009) has successfully installed this update, follow these steps:

  1. From the Apple menu choose About this Mac.
  2. Click More Info... to open the System Profiler.
  3. In the Hardware section of the System Profile, select Graphics/Displays.
  4. If you have successfully applied the update, the gMux Version should be 1.7.10.

System Requirements: 17" MacBook Pro (2009)

Platform Support: Intel

Free

Products

IDrive Pocket-Size USB Backup Drive

IDrivePR: An automated local backup solution, IDrive Portable offers the best integration of offline and online backups. Stylish and durable, with a sleek form factor, it's designed to fit right into your pocket for data access on the go.

Handsfree backup

On install, commonly backed up data such as 'Documents', 'Pictures' and 'Videos' are automatically selected with a random after hours schedule which you can customize or execute immediate backup with one-click 'Backup Now' option.

Install and use on multiple machines

IDriveYou can install the application for automatic backup of data from one or more machines. Integrate local and online backup. Optionally add online backup with 2 GB of storage free or avail 150 GB of storage at $4.95/month.

Search and restore backed up data

Locate your backed up files and folders quickly with fast search and restore with ease.

Open and locked file backup

Reliable backups of your open/locked files like Outlook files (.pst),

QuickBooks, MS-Excel etc. for supported platforms.

Mapped drive/USB backup

Backup of your mapped drives and USB drives, even in the Log-off mode.

Smart Sync

IDriveSync your IDrive Portable data with your PC data.

Unicode Compliant

Supports character sets of most major languages.

Hibernate and Log-off mode backups

Backups of your files and folders even when you log-off or the computer is in the Hibernate mode.

Notification

Receive email notification on completion of the scheduled backups.

One-click option to backup critical data with options to customize the data selected for backup and its schedule; backup data from multiple computers to a single drive.

System Requirements

  • Use with Windows 2000 and above, Mac OS X and Time-Machine
  • Administrator privileges to install and use the application
  • 512 MB RAM, 10 MB Free Hard Disk space for installed program, 20 MB or more recommended for local caching

Specs:

  • 10 mm deep, 0.3 lb. in weight - the thinnest and lightest drive in the category of 2.5" portable USB drives.
  • 5400 RPM hard drive - it's almost 24% faster than 4200 RPM drives.
  • $69.95

Free Shipping

IDrive Portable drive is shipped via United States Postal Service (USPS) to your doorstep, absolutely free

IDrive Online Backup for Mac

PR: IDrive for Mac is a user-friendly, secure and reliable online backup application that performs automated online backup of your files and folders.

The application safeguards your critical data. The graphical interface is coupled with powerful scheduling and logging features.

Features of IDrive for Mac

  • Incremental backups - only modified portions of the files are backed up for improved efficiency
  • Data compression during transmission
  • Enhanced security with 128-bit SSL encryption
  • Network or Mapped Drive backup support
  • Automatic backup of critical data including the Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Music, Movies and Pictures folders
  • Snapshots allow you to retain changed data history over a period of time
  • Provision to regulate the Internet bandwidth usage with the Bandwidth Throttle feature more
  • Provision to perform interactive backups/restores or schedule backups for a future date and time
  • Restore data from Mac OS X to the Windows platform with ease New more
  • Backup data from multiple computers to a single account New more

IDrive for Mac Finder Plugin

Integrates with Mac OS X, making access to your IDrive account on Mac as easy as opening a Finder window. Just drag-n-drop the files/folders that you need to backup or restore. While IDrive for Mac application is optimized for best performance, for a quick look and easy drag-n-drop, the Finder Plugin is a useful tool.

IDrive for Mac-Windows Restore Plugin

Makes data restore from Mac OS X to the Windows platform easy. The key features include quick search to easily locate backed up files, Snapshots for historical view of data and logs for details on the restore operations. more

System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or later
  • 500 MHz G3 processor or better
  • 256 MB RAM

Pricing structure for business use varies from personal use.

Get 2 GB of full featured Online Backup for free. Features include Automatic Backup, True Archiving, Versioning, Continuous Backup, Mapped Drive Backup and Web-based Backup Management.

Go to www.idrive.com and create an account. Get 2 GB of storage for free and see how you like it. Store your photos, documents and other important data

Or if you're ready for the big leagues, go ahead and get 150 GB for $4.95/month. Then you can backup all your important files.

Get 2 GB of online backup space absolutely free. Create and manage multiple accounts. Available is 150 GB of storage space at just $4.95/month or $49.50/year - for Personal use and 50 GB at $9.95/month or $99.50/year - for Business.

Rivet Horizontal Sleeve for MacBook and MacBook Air

Rivet Horizontal Sleeve for MacBookPR: The Rivet Horizontal Sleeve guarantees a perfect fit for your MacBook 13", with its slim and unique design that allows you to carry your laptop safely in any briefcase, bag or backpack. The Rivet Sleeve's high quality materials and soft construction provide comfort and protection.

Features:

  • Slim design for minimal bulk
  • Stylish and unique Rivet design
  • Soft fabric interior
  • Made of durable fabric and high quality vintage leather
  • Custom fit

Specifications

  • External dimensions:
  • 24.5 (H) x 35 (W) x 3 (D) cm
  • 9.7 (H) x 13.8 (W) x 1.2 (D) in

Fits Apple MacBook 13" and MacBook Air

Price: $34.90

Rivet Vertical Sleeve for 15" MacBook Pro

Rivet Vertical Sleeve for 15 inch MacBook ProPR: The Rivet Vertical Sleeve guarantees a perfect fit for your MacBook 15". Its slim and unique design allows you to carry your laptop safely in any briefcase, bag or backpack. The Rivet Sleeve's high quality materials and soft construction provide comfort and protection.

Features

  • Slim design for minimal bulk
  • Stylish and unique Rivet design
  • Soft fabric interior
  • Made of durable fabric and high quality vintage leather
  • Custom fit

Specifications

  • External dimensions:
  • 27 (H) x 39 (W) x 3.4 (D) cm
  • 10.6 (H) x 15.3 (W) x 1.3 (D) in

Fits 15" MacBook Pro

Price: $39.90

Proporta Impact Protective Crystal Shell for MacBook

Proporta Impact Protective Crystal Case Shell for MacBookPR: As a 13" Apple aluminum MacBook owner I can affirm from daily observation that it is a thing of beauty, which makes the thought of it getting scratched, scuffed, or dented painful to contemplate. Something this nice deserves the very best in protection to keep it that way, and Proporta's new Impact Protective Crystal Case for the 13" unibody MacBook 13" is crafted to the exact dimensions and specifications of the unibody, superimposing a scratch resistant shell that adds almost no bulk or weight, but provides a barrier layer of protection against knocks, impact damage, and any other surprises that life on the road or even closer to home might have in store.

Shatterproof and shock-absorbent, the Impact Protective Crystal Case is tough, and incorporates clever cutouts that give you access to the 'Book's ports and controls, so that you under normal circumstances should not have to remove your MacBook from the case. The Crystal Case is available in three translucent colors - charcoal, red or clear, and its stylish design means that your MacBook will still look sleek and sharp and you may find its polycarbonate has a more congenial tactile feel and offers a more secure grip (without skin oils and hand grime soiling the computer's pristine surface) than the MacBook's bare anodized aluminum.

Offering all round protection and a smart, stylish finish, using the Proporta Impact Protective Crystal Case is an attractive way to keep your MacBook safe and sound.

Key Features:

  • Available in charcoal, red or clear.
  • Shatterproof and shock absorbent.
  • Scratch resistant.
  • Cutouts give access to ports and controls.
  • Secure closure prevents accidental opening.

The Impact Protective Crystal Case sells for $43.95.

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare. Models are listed by size and CPU speed. Unibody models listed separately from others.

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

Apple Store

A good selection of old-school MacBooks this week, plus a full slate of refurb Unibodies,save for the 17-incher.

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $999
  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,199
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,099
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,299
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $799
  • 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $849
  • 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $899
  • 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/Combo, $999
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/160/SD $949
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/250/SD $1,049
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,399
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/128 SSD/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250 GB/SD, $1,699
  • refurb 15" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250 GB/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250 GB/SD, $1,799

  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $949
  • Axiotron ModBook - Value Priced Preconfigured ModBook Systems - $1,699

MacMall

  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,099.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,209.99
  • 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,489.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,929.99 less $150 mail-in rebate = $1,779.99
  • 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,199.99
  • 17" 2.66 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,543.99

Wegener Media - G3 iBooks - 15" Titanium PowerBook - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook - 15" MacBook Pro

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $169.99
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/15/CD, $249.99
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 128/20/Combo, $329.99
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/Combo, $399.99
  • 12" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $489.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, $489.99
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $594.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $659.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $719.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $769.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, 60 day warranty, $799.99
  • 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 G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $639.99
  • 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, APX, $729.99
  • 15" hi-res Aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, $799.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, 90 day warranty, $899.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD 90 day warranty, $979.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD 90 day warranty, $1,099.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, 90 day warranty, $1,179.99

ExperCom

  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 1.25 GB/40/Combo, $449
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 1.25 GB/60/SD, APX (scratched), $399
  • 1.83 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60 GB/Combo, $599
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60 GB/SuperDrive, $679
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 2 GB/80 GB/SuperDrive, $749
  • 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512MB/60/SuperDrive/AirPort, $399
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/80 GB/SuperDrive, $849
  • 15" 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, AppleCare, $2,999
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz 1 GB/80/SD, Scratched, $649
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz 1 GB/80/SD, APX, $799

Baucom Computers

  • 1.83 GHz MacBook, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $600
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $715
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB/100/SD, $805
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, APX, $969

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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