The 'Book Review

Apple Tops in Laptop Support, Rise of Netbooks Charted, 1 TB Bus Powered Hard Drive, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.03.12

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Consumer Reports: Apple #1 in Laptop and Desktop Tech Support

Macworld's Nicholas Bonsack says:

"It seems Consumer Reports subscribers feel the same way. In a survey with four categories - problem solved, phone waits, phone staff and online support - 3,685 subscribers ranked Apple number one in laptop tech support and 3,711 ranked Apple number one in desktop tech support. The combined scores are ranked out of 100, with differences of 7 points not considered meaningful. Apple was the only company to earn the highest Consumer Reports individual rating (that coveted red circle with the little dot in the middle) for any category - and it earned them for all four categories for both desktops and laptops!

"For laptop tech support, Apple scored 86 out of a possible 100, putting them above 'very satisfied' (80) on average...."

Apple Files for Patents Covering Notebook Cooling Tech

MacNN reports:

"The US Patent Office is currently reviewing several of Apple's applications detailing technology for cooling and heat dissipation. One filing, initially submitted in September of 2008, describes a system for cooling devices using flow sensors. The technology is designed to help reduce heat by limiting the performance characteristics or using active cooling systems.

"'Heat dissipation is an important consideration in the design of such electronic devices,' the filing reads. 'If this heat is not adequately dissipated, the electronic components may fail and/or cause damage to the electronic device.'

"The sensors, such as velocimeters and temperature sensors, could be placed near a cavity in a notebook housing to detect the flow and temperature of air. The velocity can then be adjusted as the computer generates more heat under heavy load."

Quick Update: The Mac User and His i7 Laptop

Applepeels' David Sobotta says:

"The simple response would be that my HP i7 running Windows 7 is doing great. I have had no problems and have yet to run into an issue. My only minor complaint is that the power supply brick seems very large. I have used all the software on the system that I normally do. As far as I can tell everything is working fine.

"Some additional things which are important to me have been resolved by this system. One is that it is very quiet and wakes from sleep quickly and reliably. It is also fast. I find Picasa much nicer on this system than on my previous Windows' system. I also find importing pictures to my laptops is faster on my Windows system than it is on my Intel MacBook that will turn four this year. That's a minor point, but it is something that I do everyday so I am pleased with the speed increase."

Tech Trends

The Rise of Netbooks Charted

If you are of a mind that netbooks are just an ephemeral flash-in-the-pan fad fueled by the global economic recession, check this out.

Excerpt from GigaOM's Rise of Netbooks chart
Excerpt from GigaOM's "Rise of Netbooks" chart.

Next 'Must Have' Fashion Accessory: HP's Vivienne Tam Netbook

PR: HP and world-renowned designer Vivienne Tam have announced availability of the latest in "digital clutch" chic.

The HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition made its runway design debut at New York Fashion Week as part of Tam's spring 2010 collection. Fashion-forward women around the globe can reserve theirs now.

HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam EditionCombining Tam's arresting "Butterfly Lovers" design with premium PC technology, the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition is pitched to become the next must-have accessory. Starting at 2.7 pounds and less than 1-inch thin, it fits easily into purses or bags.1

"As a fashion designer I have always found inspiration in bringing contrasting worlds together," said Tam. "I use computers in every aspect of my life so it seemed natural to marry fashion and technology. Together with HP, we created this movement of fashionable tech accessories with the second-edition digital clutch."

Partnering with Beats by Dr. Dre, HP has included high-performance audio software that enables listeners to experience music through headphones or external speakers the way artists intended. Previously Beats Audio was available only in the premium HP Envy notebook PC line.

Inspiration and Design

Reflecting Tam's spring 2010 collection, the netbook design is inspired by the classic Chinese love story, "Butterfly Lovers," a beautiful tale of freedom, romance and inspiration. Integrated directly into the netbook's lid using HP Imprint technology, the design is as durable as it is stunning.

The HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition also comes with a Butterfly Lovers desktop theme that includes an animated butterfly start menu, custom Vivienne Tam icons and three wallpapers to coordinate with the design.

HP has been at the forefront of fusing fashion and technology since unveiling the HP Mini Vivienne Tam digital clutch netbook on the catwalk of Tam's 2008 fashion show at New York Fashion Week in Bryant Park. Models walked down the runway in that show with the peony-adorned computer in hand, a first on an American runway.

What's Inside

With an elegant design on the inside and out, the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition features custom software to help fashionistas be efficient, stay connected, and look their best while on the go:

The built-in webcam allows customers to create and upload videos, take snapshots, and chat with friends over the Web.2 With a click of a button, the Webcam turns into an instant "mirror."

HP QuickWeb, the company's instant-on software, lets users post to Facebook, send a tweet, listen to music, browse the Web, check an appointment, send an email or chat in seconds saving time usually spent waiting for the computer to fully boot.2

Coordinated accessories that further complement the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition include a matching microfiber suede sleeve, an optional Butterfly Lovers wireless mouse and Monster-branded in-ear headphones. The Vivienne Tam Mini comes in exclusive gift-box packaging to provide a premium experience.

Product details

The HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition is the ideal companion PC for the highly mobile, intern et-centric fashionista, providing freedom and fun with up to 5.5 hours of battery time.3 It has a 10.1" diagonal LED widescreen display and a keyboard that is 93% of the size of a standard notebook PC keyboard.

The HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition comes with 2 GB of memory and large hard-drive options up to 320 GB, automatic backup software, and Microsoft Windows 7 Premium.4

Pricing, availability and preorder options5

Customers in the United States can reserve the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition by calling +1 800 230 5752 or by visiting hp.com/viviennetam. The HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition also will be available at US retailers including Neiman Marcus, Amazon.com, Best Buy, and J&R Electronics. A list of additional retailers worldwide is available at http://www.hp.com/viviennetam

The HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition is expected to be available March 19 with a starting price of $599.

The Butterfly Lovers themed HP Wireless Mouse is expected to be available March 19 for $39.99.

Vivienne Tam is a leading designer fashion house founded in 1994. The company produces, designs and markets women's contemporary apparel distributed in major department stores, specialty stores and independent boutiques throughout the US The company also has a strong presence in the Asia Pacific region with over 30 freestanding stores and in-store boutiques.

The Vivienne Tam brand's unique positioning designs that meld the aesthetic and feminine mystique of Asia with the spirit of the modern world is well recognized around the globe. The company's philosophy is to create harmonious clothing that enhances one's personality while at the same time provides fashionable clothing for modern women that is beautifully designed, superior in quality, wearable, easy to travel with and affordable.

  1. Actual weight will vary by configuration.
  2. Wireless access point and Internet service required and sold separately. Availability of public wireless points limited.
  3. Battery life will vary depending on the product, model, configuration, loaded applications, features and power management settings. The maximum capacity of the battery will decrease with time and usage. More information is available at MobileMark07 battery benchmark: www.bapco.com/products/mobilemark2007.
  4. In select regions in Asia, the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition will come with the option of 1 GB of memory and/or Windows 7 Basic.
  5. Estimated US street prices. Actual prices may vary.

Link: HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition series

Products & Services

Bus Powered Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini Hits 1 TB

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) announced its OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini is the first 2.5" 1 TB "Quad Interface" bus powered portable storage solution on the market and available for immediate ordering with 10 models priced from $119.99. Featuring a "Quad Interface" of FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0, and eSATA interface connectivity for data transfer speeds up to 300 MB/s, the fanless Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini delivers high performance storage/backup to Mac or PC users in a portable, brushed aluminum, no AC adapter required Plug and Play footprint.

In addition to the new 1 TB model, the Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini is available in nine other "Quad Interface" models offering a variety of speed, capacity, and drive type options:

OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini5200/5400 RPM

  • 250 GB 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, $119.99
  • 320 GB 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, $129.99
  • 500 GB 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, $154.99
  • 640 GB 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, $189.00
  • 1.0 TB 5200 RPM, 8 MB cache, $299.99

7200 RPM

  • 320 GB 7200 RPM, 16 MB cache, $144.99
  • 500 GB 7200 RPM, 16 MB cache, $189.99

Solid State Drive featuring the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD

  • 50 GB SSD $299.99
  • 100 GB SSD $469.99
  • 200 GB SSD $849.99

All OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini models, including the new 1 TB model, are available for immediate ordering from Other World Computing.

Mercury Elite-AL Pro Storage Solutions are compatible with Mac OS 8.6 and later including the latest 10.6 "Snow Leopard"; and Windows 98SE or later operating systems; and come ready for Plug and Play ease of use with all supported interface connecting cables, a $200 retail value disk utility software bundle, and an industry leading three year complete solution warranty.

Portable & Bus Powered for Mobile Lifestyles

Measuring a compact 3.8" W x 5.5" L x 1.1" H, the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini offers storage capacity up to 1 TB - enough space for up to 1,000,000 JPEG photos, 500 DVD movies, 76 hours of digital video, or 350,000 MP3 songs - in its fanless, aircraft grade brushed aluminum enclosure. Because it's bus-powered, the Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini doesn't require an AC adapter, which makes it ideal for in-the-field business professionals, creative/entertainment professionals, students, and anyone else needing to back up data, transport large files between computers, gain additional storage capacity, and even perform video editing and live music recording.

Built for Performance & Flexibility

Designed to emulate the award winning history of the larger desktop sized Mercury Elite-AL Pro, the new Elite-AL Pro mini portable storage solution features the fastest 2.5" SATA hard drive mechanisms up to 7200 RPM as well as OWC's Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD for demanding A/V, digital photography, professional music, graphics, general data, and Time Machine ready storage needs. With two FireWire 800 ports, users can "daisy chain" multiple devices, connect legacy FireWire 400 devices via the included 800 to 400 connecting cable, and can even utilize the fastest data transfer interface, eSATA, while bus powering via FireWire. The Mercury Elite-AL Pro mini can also be used with storage capable digital cameras and camcorders with FireWire and/or USB data ports for fast, on-location backups of images and video.

"We're very pleased to have our renowned Mercury storage line achieve another industry first," said Larry O'Connor, CEO, Other World Computing. "With the highest capacity and most interfaces in a portable design, our 'mini' delivers massive, professional grade data storage/backup to the modern mobile computing society."

Proporta Perfora Leather Style Laptop Case for 13" Laptops and MacBook

Proporta Perfora Leather Style Laptop CaseProporta Perfora Leather Style Laptop CasePR: The Perfora Netbook Case offers robust protection and a sharp, stylish finish. The handcrafted faux-leather exterior guards against everyday damage, scratches and knocks, and the contrast stripe and perforation detail design means that it cuts quite a dash in the process, whilst inside the luxury lining will cocoon your Netbook in the finest style - and safety.

The Perfora Netbook Case is available in black, red and green and is suitable for your MacBook or any Netbook with a 13" screen.

Proporta Perfora Leather Style Laptop Case Key Features

  • Handcrafted from the finest quality faux-leather.
  • Luxury lining and robust exterior guard against scratches and knocks.
  • Adds little bulk to your MacBook or Netbook.
  • Striking design detail and stylish finish. Available in red, black and green

MSRP$34.95

Currently just $27.95

Bargain 'Books

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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