MacBook White Updated, DIY Mac Tablet, Danger of 'Safe Sleep', $350 80 GB SSD Kit, and More
This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News
All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
News & Opinion
- Apple Updates $999 MacBook White
- Disable 'Safe Sleep' in Mac OS X to Protect Laptop Hard Drives
- Apple Tablet in 2010 'Confirmed'
- Wintek to Supply Panels for Upcoming Apple Tablet/Netbook
- Apple's 'Kindle Killer' Gets Touchscreen
- Turn a MacBook into a Tablet Computer
- New MacBook Air Family with 3G, Cheaper Base Model Rumored
- Nvidia Cites Ongoing 'Failure' Problem in Some Laptops
- How to Share Your Mac's Internet Connection
- Possible 'Fix' for an Apparently Broken MacBook Left Speaker
Products & Services
- SendStation Releases Mini DisplayPort Adapters for DVI, VGA, and HDMI
- iFixit Releases New 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz Guide
- Verbatim Launches Color Nano Wireless Notebook Mouse for PC and Mac
- Macally Introduces mGlide Wireless Mouse
- Mercury On-the-Go Pro Highest Capacity and Fastest Bus Powered Portable Hard Drive
- Kingston Technology Offers SSDNow M Series Bundle
News & Opinion
On Tuesday Apple quietly updated the entry-level polycarbonate MacBook White's Core 2 Duo clock speed from 2.0 GHz to 2.13 GHz, along with adding 40 GB of standard hard disk capacity (bringing it to 160 GB), and also upgraded the price-leader 'Book's RAM specification to 800 MHz SDRAM from 667 MHz RAM in the preceding version, although it's still slower than the Unibody MacBook's 1066 MHz. The standard RAM capacity remains at 2 GB, upgradable to 4 GB or (unofficially) 6 GB.
With this week's upgrade, the base MacBook is now more powerful than the $300 more expensive low-end unibody model, and has received two refreshes so far this year while the unibody model has had none since it was introduced in October 2008, which inclines one to even more strongly infer that a unibody speed bump is in the offing. It's been nearly eight months since the Unibodies were introduced, which is a long interval by historical precedent, and it won't surprise me a bit if a unibody MacBook speed bump is announced at or around the time of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). I don't anticipate anything radical, but the $1,299 model should be bumped to at least match the $999 model's clock speed, and possibly to 2.4 GHz, with the higher-end one going to 2.53 GHz or even 2.8 GHz. They'll probably also get hard drive upgrades to 250 GB and 320 GB respectively.
We shouldn't expect anything dramatic in processor or video chipset updates until Intel and Nvidia roll out some new product, and even then there's usually a lag before Apple brings it on stream.
I would love it if Apple repented of its unfortunate decision to drop FireWire support from the Unibody MacBook and found a way to shoehorn in a FireWire port, but I'm not expecting that to happen.
Aside from the changes noted above, the WhiteBook's specifications remain the same. The $999 machine already had Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics with 256 MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared memory and a faster 1066 MHz frontside bus in its January 21 update.
Very attractive to many Mac laptop fans is that White machine still has a FireWire port, which the Unibody MacBook doesn't.
13.3" MacBook White (May 2009) Base Specs:
- 2.13 GHz
- Intel Core 2 Duo
- 2 GB DDR2 Memory
- 160 GB hard drive
- Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics
- Standard keyboard
- White polycarbonate shell
RecoveryForce says that Apple's 'Safe Sleep' feature is a major factor for iBook, MacBook, and MacBook Pro hard drive crashes, since when the user closes the lid with the system still on, they are expecting that the system is entering a sleep mode and powering down the hard drive and using just enough power necessary to keep the memory contents stored in RAM, but that's not what's actually happening. Instead, the system takes the time necessary to save the contents in RAM to a file on the hard drive, just in case the system runs out of power while in suspend mode - but the user is often unaware that it can take several minutes for the memory contents to be saved to disk, causing the hard drive to remain spinning while the system is being moved around with less than necessary caution.
The article suggests that in order to avoid causing damage to your hard drive, you can either wait for the system to completely power down the hard drive or disable Safe Sleep all together. The article includes instructions for disabling Safe Sleep.
BusinessWeek's Peter Burrows reports that "a source familiar with Apple's product plans" says the company plans to introduce a tablet-based device in early 2010 - a larger (7 -10 ) touchscreen tablet device (not a netbook) priced at about $500-$700.
A short news report by DigiTimes' Cage Chao and Meiling Chen says that Wintek has been selected as the panel module supplier for Apple's upcoming e-book form factor netbook product, according to Taiwan notebook related IC designers.
The Register's Rik Myslewski says:
"More evidence has surfaced that the long-rumored Apple tablet/netbook/media-pad/ebook/whatever is on its way to a fanboi near you. Or to you yourself, if you swing that way.
"Taiwanese market-watching site DigiTimes reported Friday that touch-screen manufacturer Wintek has been tapped by Apple to supply display panels for Cupertino's 'upcoming e-book form factor netbook product.'
"The twist in DigiTimes's latest report, of course, is the mention of an ebook form factor."
Life Hacker's Jason Fitzpatrick reports:
"If you're craving an ultra-sensitive tablet computer, but you're not willing to wait for the rumored Apple tablet to materialize, you could always build your own version.
"Lifehacker reader Wei . . . could have bought a tablet PC, but the sensitivity on them is lacking for graphic design work. Faced with the option of either blowing a couple grand on just the interface, or settling for an inferior interface plus a computer, he decided it was time to flex some DIY muscle and built something better than both options...."
SiliconRumors' Alexandros Roussos says Apple could be readying a substantial revision of the MacBook Air family of notebooks according to "sources," with the most significant new feature to be a built-in 3G modem for connecting to high-speed cellular networks, and a reduced entry-level price in the $1300 to $1500 range, as well as possibly SSD (Solid State Drive) data storage becoming the standard configuration across the line, and less likely is the inclusion of a GPS.
Cnet's Brooke Crothers reports:
"Nvidia said that some notebooks with its chips continue to have 'failure' issues, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
"In the Form 10-Q filing, Nvidia stated that though it does not continue to see 'abnormal failure rates' in systems using Nvidia products,' some notebooks are still affected."
MacBook Pro models with Nvidia GeForce 8600 graphics may be affected, and Apple has stated that it will replace defective chips.
Mac Blorge's Ronald O Carlson says:
"You're in a hotel that charges $15 per client for internet access and there are three of you using notebooks. What to do? Pay $45 - about what fast residential broadband costs per month - or find a way to share the wealth (bits are after all free)?"
An anonymous Mac OS X Hints contributor says:
"If you notice that the left speaker on your MacBook Pro or MacBook has gone silent, make sure to first check the following settings before making an appointment with the Apple Store for a hardware inspection...."
CNET Crave's Nate Lanxon reports that while Apple won't sell you a 500 GB hard disk for your MacBook yet,* Seagate will, and they've been testing Seagate's 2.5-inch Momentus 5400.6 500 GB ST9500325AS SATA hard disk, which works nicely in the new unibody MacBooks, noting that 500 GB is "a whole hell of a lot of storage," and 180 GB more than the maximum 320 GB drive capacity Apple will sell you.
Happily, Lanxon notes that the Momentus Drive proved quiet and quick tested on a 2008 Unibody MacBook with 2 GB of RAM and a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, adding that replacing a MacBook hard disk is not difficult, taking only a couple of minutes, and DIY doesn't invalidate your warranty.
* Cnet's article was posted a few days before the new MacBook White was introduced. Apple will now sell you a 500 GB drive with your new MacBook. dk
AppleInsider's Prince McLean reports:
"OQO, a company formed by two members of Apple's Titanium PowerBook G4 team who left the company to deliver the micro-sized laptops that Steve Jobs refused to build at Apple, is shutting down after nearly a decade of trying."
Products & Services
PR: SendStation Systems has released its new Mini DisplayPort Adapters for Mac. Available as DVI, VGA, and HDMI models, the SendStation Mini DisplayPort Adapter allows you to expand your desktop size by up to 4 Mio. pixels, creating more space for important things you need to keep track of or need to work with, such calendars, mailboxes, to-do lists, Photoshop palettes, or chats with friends.
"Many users are unaware of the Mac's excellent support for additional, external screens and how easy it is to multiply the existing desktop space" says André Klein, SendStation Systems's founder. "With a new MacBook or Mac, all one needs is a SendStation Mini DisplayPort Adapter and a computer display with DVI or VGA connection, which often already exists."
Moreover the HDMI model makes it possible to watch movies or show Keynote or PowerPoint presentations directly from the Mac on a flatscreen TV or projector.
SendStation Mini DisplayPort Adapters are built under official license from Apple and work plug & play with
- MacBook 13" Aluminium (Unibody; from October 2008)
- MacBook Pro 15" (Unibody; from October 2008)
- MacBook Pro 17" (Unibody; from January 2009)
- Mac mini (from March 2009)
- iMac (from March 2009)
- Mac Pro (from March 2009)
- all other Macs & PCs equipped with Mini DisplayPort
SendStation Mini DisplayPort Adapters are immediately available from SendStation Systems and from authorized dealers worldwide. Suggested retail price across Europe is EUR 22.95 for the HDMI and DVI model or EUR 24.95 for the VGA model, respectively $22.95/24.95 in the US and the rest of the world.
PR: iFixit announces an addition to their family of ever-go-happy Guides - a new guide for the 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz, which can be identified by the model number of A1134 printed on the lower case.
There are a few notable hardware differences that give the 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz its uniqueness:
The laptop features a unique AirPort Extreme/Bluetooth combo card located under the top shield. It is specifically designed to only work in the 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz and 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz. Unlike previous iBook models, the replacement of the combo card requires a bit more finesse. But don't worry, iFixit strives to make your lives effortless. Simply follow their free AirPort Card replacement guide.
The 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz does not utilize a hard drive cable like its predecessors. It connects to a hard drive connector that is mounted on the metal framework. Replacing the iBook's hard drive requires a simple tug and pull.
The Reed Switch board is mounted on top of the optical drive and is responsible for sleep sensing in the iBook. A combination of a magnet in the display assembly and this sensor enables your iBook to automatically go to sleep when the lid is closed and magically wake up when opened.
iFixit also notes, cryptically, that they may or may not be releasing a guide for the 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz in the very near future.
PR: Verbatim Americas, LLC has announced its new Color Nano Wireless Notebook Mouse for Windows and Mac. The sleek-looking mouse combines the reliability and performance of 2.4 GHz technology in a small form factor nano receiver with a splash of color for a fully enhanced computing experience. Available in red, green, purple, yellow, pink, blue and graphite, users can express their own unique color preferences to match their laptop or computer bag.
The uniquely designed nano receiver is small enough to leave connected to a laptop, making it ideal for anyone who is tired of packing up their mouse receiver every time they re on the go. With 2.4 GHz wireless performance, users won t experience the frustration of delays in cursor movements; and, there will be fewer cords to pack when they take their notebook on the road.
Nano mouse users will also find that the mouse travels well in compact spaces and fits easily in work totes, backpacks or even handbags. For added convenience, the receiver slides into its own storage area in the bottom of the mouse.
"As with the new netbooks that have emerged, our Color Nano Mice enable mobile users to meet their computing needs in a space-saving way," says Ron Hanafin, Verbatim Product Marketing Manager. "They have the reliability and performance of the Verbatim brand, while also giving people the flexibility to use color to personalize their computing lifestyle."
The mouse's clean, uncluttered design is complemented with a smooth, rubberized grip that provides comfort and control for both right- and left-hand use. A programmable roller button is also included for assigning favorite features to the roller and making them more convenient to access.
- 2.4 GHz Wireless Performance - No delays in cursor movements and fewer cords to pack. The receiver also slides right into the bottom of the mouse for safekeeping.
- Nano Receiver - Small enough to plug in once and leave connected
- Wireless - Plug in nano receiver and go wireless - 2.4 GHz reliability and performance
- Nano Slot - Convenient nano receiver storage for when you need it.
- Comfort Grip - Smooth, rubberized grip designed for comfort and control. Its sleek design offers a smooth, contoured comfort grip for right or left hand and a programmable roller button
- USB 2.0 or 1.1
- Mac OS 10.4.X and higher
- Windows XP, 2000, Vista
Verbatim's new Nano Wireless Mouse is available through Verbatim retail and distribution channels for use with Windows XP, 2000 and Vista systems as well as Mac OS 10.4.X and higher systems. Retail prices start at less than $29.99 The package includes the mouse, nano receiver, software CD, 2 AAA batteries and a Quick Start Guide.
Currently available at Amazon.com from $19.26, Buy.com from $19.26, B&H from $22.95, eCOST.com from $23.99, Meritline from $25.99, MacMall from $27, and NewEgg from $27.99. Prices may vary by color. Shipping is generally not included.
PR: Macally has introduced their new mGlide 2.4 GHz wireless mouse.
The mGlide has three buttons, a scroll wheel and a compact RF receiver, and is an ambidextrous design comfortable for use by both right-handers and lefties.
When you insert the nano RF receiver in its storage slot in the mouse, it automatically that powers-off the unit to conserve battery life. The mouse ships with batteries included.
- Mac OS X 10.1.5
- Available USB port.
The Macally mGlide retails for $29.95.
The mGlide mouse is currently available from B&H at $22.95 plus shipping.
PR: Other World Computing (OWC) has announced the OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro, the largest capacity, fastest bus powered portable storage solution on the market. The Mercury On-the-Go Pro is a high-performance, 500 GB 7200 RPM pocket-sized portable storage solution for Mac or PC users featuring FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and/or USB 2.0 interfaces for data transfer speeds up to 100 MB/s. With its 500 GB of storage capacity, the Mercury On-the-Go Pro can hold up to 500,000 JPEG photos, 250 DVD movies, 38 hours of digital video, or 175,000 MP3 songs.
The Mercury On-the-Go Pro 500 GB 7200 RPM line features three models, including a "Triple Interface" model for FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0; a "Combo Interface" model for FireWire 400 and USB 2.0; and a USB 2.0 model priced starting at $189.99.
Pocket-Sized & Bus Powered - Ideal for the Mobile Office
Designed for the active "On-the-Go" computer user that needs the largest and fastest portable storage solution available on the market, the OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro is compact at 3.5"x 5.5"x 1" in size - small enough to fit into a shirt pocket, yet big enough to offer 500 GB of capacity. Stylishly engineered in a sleek, acrylic enclosure, the Mercury On-the-Go Pro is bus-powered, so it doesn't require an AC adapter, which makes it ideal for presentations, multimedia, law enforcement, surveyors, and other "mobile office" uses. Additionally, notebook users with internal 5400 RPM drives will find that using the OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro as a startup disk offers faster system bootup and overall system performance.
Works with Macs, PCs, and Digital Devices
Featuring a variety of FireWire and USB 2.0 interfaces, the Plug-and-Play ready Mercury On-the-Go Pro can be used with Macs and PCs for additional storage capacity, transporting large files between multiple computers and real-time A/V editing. The drive can also be used with storage capable digital cameras and camcorders with FireWire and/or USB data ports for quick, convenient backups of images and video while on the road.
"Since we launched the first Mercury On-the-Go Pro in 2001, this pocket-sized powerhouse has established numerous industry innovations in portable storage," said Larry O'Connor, CEO, Other World Computing. "As the first 500 GB 7200 RPM portable drive on the market, the Mercury On-the-Go Pro continues to deliver best in class portable performance and convenience."
OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro 500 GB 7200 RPM Pricing:
- OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro "Triple Interface" FireWire 800/400 + USB
Features Oxford 934 chipset, two FireWire 800 ports, USB 2.0 Mini-B port, FireWire 800/FireWire 800 to 400 and USB 2.0 connecting cables, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility bundle, and a three year warranty.
- OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro "Combo Interface" FireWire 400 + USB 2.0:
Features Oxford 934 chipset, FireWire 400 port, USB 2.0 Mini-B port, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connecting cables, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility bundle, and a three year warranty.
- OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro USB 2.0: $189.99
Features JMicron 20339 chipset, USB 2.0 Mini-B port, USB 2.0 Mini-B connecting cable, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility bundle, and a three year warranty.
The three new OWC Mercury On-the-Go Pro 500 GB 7200 RPM models are available immediately from Other World Computing. They are compatible with Mac OS 8.6 to 9.2.2 plus OS X 10.0.x and later; and Windows 98SE or later operating systems and come ready for Plug and Play ease of use with all supported interface connecting cables, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility software bundle, and an industry leading three year complete solution warranty.
In addition to the new 500 GB 7200 RPM Mercury On-the-Go Pro drives, OWC also offers a full line of 5400 RPM Mercury On-the-Go Pro models with FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and/or USB 2.0 interfaces in capacities of 80 GB to 500 GB, priced starting at $72.99; and 7200 RPM models in capacities of 250 GB and 320 GB priced starting at $89.99.
Mercury On-the-Go Pro Specs:
- Fully suitable for Audio/Video applications.
- Oxford or JMicron bridge chipset.
- 2.5" Serial ATA (SATA) 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive.
- 16 MB hard drive data cache.
- Data transfer speeds up to 100 MB/s.
- Cool blue activity LED.
- Super quiet fanless operation.
- Compact size: 3.5"(W) x 5.5"(D) x 1"(H).
- Lightweight: 11 ounces empty case, 2.5 lb. with drive.
- Clear, shock resistant polycarbonate acrylic case.
- Industry leading warranty: Three years complete solution.
- Carrying case.
- All interface connection cables.
- Mac and PC compatible.
- Includes $200 retail value disk utility software bundle: Carbon Copy Cloner, ProSoft Engineering Data Backup 3, NovaStor NovaBACKUP, and Intech SpeedTools Utilities.
PR: Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is shipping a bundle kit with the popular SSDNow M Series 80 GB and 160 GB solid-state drives. The SSDNow M Series are the Intel X-25M SATA SSDs. The bundle combines the solid-state drives (SSD) with the software tools necessary to clone the contents of one's hard-disk drive to the SSD, as well as installation hardware.
This all-in-one kit is the perfect solution for enterprise companies, corporate end users, and consumers to incorporate SSD technology into existing systems, said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. The Kingston SSDNow M Series Bundle makes moving the operating system, applications and all other data from a hard-disk drive to a solid-state drive quick and easy, whether for a notebook, desktop, or workstation.
The bundle kit includes: SSDNow M Series 80 GB or 160 GB (Intel X-25M SATA SSDs) Acronis True Image hard drive cloning software and CD installation guide USB 2.5" enclosure with accompanying USB cable (for notebook PCs) 2.5" to 3.5" drive bay mounting brackets and screws (for desktop PCs) SATA data and power cable extenders (for desktop PCs) The bundle is backed by a three-year warranty, 24/7 tech support and legendary Kingston reliability.
- 80 GB kits are currently available from Buy.com at $349.99, Amazon.com at $352.99 (shipped), Meritline at $354, and MacMall at $392.99.
- 160 GB kits are currently available from Buy.com at $681.99, and MacMall at $767.99, and Amazon.com at $841.20 (shipped).
Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.
PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.
- refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $999
- refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,199
- refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, Nvidia, 2 GB/120, $1,549
- refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,299
- refurb 1.86 GHz MacBook Air, Nvidia, 2 GB/128 SSD, $2,149
- 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/SD, $1,699
- refurb 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,999
- refurb 15" 2.8 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,299
- refurb 15" 2.8 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/128 SSD/SD, $2,299
- 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,099.99
- 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook White, 2 GB/120/SD, $848
- 2.0 GHz Core 2 Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,214.99
- 2.4 GHz Core 2 Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,489.99
- 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,799.99
- 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,199.99
- 15" 2.66 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,289.99
- 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,949.99
- 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,199.99
- 2.0 GHz Nvidia MacBook White, 2 GB/120/SD, $848.99
- 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,949.99 after mail-in rebate
- 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200 @ 7200 rpm/SD, $2,199.99 after mail-in rebate
- 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $899
- Lombard PowerBook G3/400 MHz, 256/6/DVD, Mac OS 9, $179
- Pismo PowerBook G3/400 MHz, 512/10, AirPort, $299
- 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
- 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $899.99
- 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $979.99
- 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,179.99
- 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 1.25 GB/40/Combo, $449
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60/Combo, $549
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60/SD, $629
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 1 GB/80/Combo, $549
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, $699
- 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/80/SD, scratched, $799
- 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/100/SD, $999
- 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, scratched, $549
- 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD $799
- 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $609
For more deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our MacBook, MacBook Air, 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.
Links for the Day
- Mac of the Day: Original iBook G3, introduced 1999.07.21. Innovative, rugged, heavy, clamshell laptop introduced AirPort and was a huge hit.
- Support Low End Mac
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ