The 'Book Review

iPad to Kill off Netbooks, Apple Behind in Laptop Race, DIY Hard Drive Upgrade Kits, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.03.26

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

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

iPad vs. Netbooks

Laptop Magazine's editors say pick up on Steve Jobs' supercilious declaration at the iPad unveiling that netbooks "aren't good at anything."

"They're slow, have clunky displays, and run clunky old PC software," adding "They're just cheap laptops," and declaiming that the iPad bests netbooks at everything they promise to do, including a better ergonomic, multimedia, and even productivity experience.

Do those contentions hold up to critical scrutiny?

To find out, they conducted a round-by-round competition to check Jobs' claims out.

Notebooks and Android Smartphones Set to Surge

EE Times' Rick Merritt reports:

"PC demand is starting off the year better than expected with Acer, Apple and Hewlett-Packard benefiting from the trend based on conclusions deduced from recent Asia trips by a handful of analysts from Barclays Capital.

"Barclays believes its current forecast of 16 percent PC growth in 2010 is 'a bit conservative,' and that notebook sales could expand 27 percent this year, with that segment business in the first three months of this year is outperforming its seasonal tendency to be down about ten percent, and with HP, Acer and Apple seeming solid even into 3Q. The analysts were bullish on Apple's outlook for sales of Macintosh computers, iPhones and iPods."

Netbooks 'a Sea of Sameness'

Gizmodo's Brian Barrett says:

"If you're in the market for a netbook - the gimpy kittens of the laptop jungle - know this first: on the inside, they're all basically the same, making the little differences all the more important! And yes, they do add up. For our Battlemodo, we decided to look only at netbooks powered by Intel's Pine Trail (Atom N450) processor....

"I'll say this as many times as I have to: netbooks are a sea of sameness. And it's a shame that even the ones that stand out come with some significant caveats."

Models profiled:

  • Dell Inspiron Mini 10 - $425
  • HP Mini 210 HD Edition - $465
  • Acer Aspire One 532h - $350
  • Toshiba NB305 - $400

iPad Will Kill Off Netbooks

PCMag's Tim Bajarin thinks the iPad and similar tablets have the potential to introduce a new paradigm for personal computer that just might kill the netbook space altogether, saying he spoke with a number OEM suppliers Taipei who build parts for leading PC companies, including Dell, HP, and Acer, many of whom asked him the same question: "Could the iPad kill netbooks?" With about 40 million netbooks currently being sold annually, a major decline in that number could have a huge effect on their business.

Bajarin says most market forecasters believe the netbook market has already peaked and will gradually decline over the next few years, partly because mainstream laptops (viz. the superb 13" MacBook Pro and MacBook) are getting thinner, lighter, smaller, and cheaper - already encroaching on the netbook space.

The ideal small computer for most consumers, he says, has a 12" or 13" screen, full-sized keyboard, weighs less than three pounds, and is priced below $700. Bajarin reports that most PC manufacturers think they can persuade consumers to "upgrade" to ultra thin notebooks.

However, he says that the iPad and other tablets may become a major disrupter in mobile computing.

Apple Falling Behind in Laptop Race

Fudzilla.com's Nick Farrell thinks Apple has been too busy pushing the iPhone/iPad, making some wonder if it's decided to abandon its laptop range.

"With the tame Apple press pushing press releases that are full of yarns about the iPad, iPhone and dull applications that can run on the gizmos, the notebooks have been languishing undeveloped," Farrell says - the premium-priced MacBook Pro being saddled with an outdated Intel Core 2 Duo processor while other PC makers are rolling out nice new notebooks with Intel's new Core i3/i5/i7 processors.

Farrell thinks the problem may be that Apple is paralyzed until it is clear whether the iPad is a success or not, and if the iPad takes off, it could indicate a new direction for Apple, away from the traditional notebook space.

Faulty Battery in MacBook Pro

Mac Format's Christopher Phin says:

"A few weeks ago, I noticed the battery on my MacBook Pro was acting up. It was holding a charge for only an hour or so, and, worse, powering the machine off without any warning, not only losing work, but potentially corrupting data on the hard disk. (Another weird thing: sometimes, when the power cable was plugged in, the orange/green LED on the MagSafe connector wouldn't be lit.)

"And the other night, when I clicked on the battery icon in the menubar, I saw a note telling me I should service the battery...."

How to Replace Your MacBook's Palm Rest and Keyboard

Fairer Platform says:

"If you have a MacBook with cracking along the palmrest, there's a very good chance Apple will fix it free of charge. However, for MacBooks that are more than three years old, such as the MacBook 1,1, then Apple will probably turn you down, leaving you to either sell or figure the problem for yourself.

"That said, if you still want it fixed, the Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Center will want to charge you $129 plus tax. Further, if you're a hands kind of guy or girl most of the places that offer the part, the White Keyboard/Trackpad Top Case Assembly, for sale want $119 and up.

"Other World Computer's price for the White Keyboard/Trackpad Top Case Assembly easily beats all other listings I could find at just $54.99. That said, swapping out the part for a new one isn't that hard and there are two quite excellent guides available online for getting the job done...."

Products & Services

OWC DIY Notebook Hard Drive Kits

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) has announced the availability of over 50 OWC Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Storage Upgrade Kits priced starting at $67.99 MSRP that consist of a 2.5" SATA hard drive up to 1 TB, an OWC brand FireWire and/or USB 2.0 bus powered 2.5" portable external enclosure, and a five piece installation tool kit. With an OWC DIY Storage Upgrade Kit, Mac and PC notebook users and Mac mini users can upgrade their computer's internal hard drive to a new larger capacity and/or faster speed, transfer their data to the new drive, and then continue using the "old" drive by installing it into the provided OWC enclosure for a "new" pocket-sized external drive at savings of up to 40% versus buying all the included components separately.

"Two things never go out of style . . . value and having enough data storage," says Larry O'Connor, CEO, Other World Computing. "Our DIY Kits are an excellent way for Mac and PC users to expand their internal capacity and add external capacity with one complete, value-priced bundle."

Kits Answer Drive Upgrade Questions

Consumers running out of hard drive space on their notebooks often aren't aware they can upgrade the internal drive and what's required to get the job done. OWC DIY Storage Upgrade Kits answer four key questions:

  1. What size and speed drive to install? OWC DIY Kits offer larger drives than the factory original up to 1 TB as well as speeds up to 7200 RPM for faster boot times, app loads, and overall system responsiveness.
  2. What do I do with my old drive? OWC DIY Kits come with a choice of OWC brand FireWire and/or USB 2.0 bus powered external enclosures so the existing drive can be continued to be used as a portable external drive for additional data storage and/or backup.
  3. How do I transfer my data to the new drive? Because OWC DIY Kits include cables for all the supported interfaces, simply connect the OWC external drive to the computer to access the data.
  4. How difficult is it to upgrade? OWC offers free on-line resources to make upgrading quick and easy. OWC's Tech Tip on how to transfer data from an existing drive to a new drive can be found online. Installation videos show how to remove and install Mac drives as well as how to install the replaced drive into the OWC enclosure.

OWC DIY Storage Upgrade Kits starting at $67.99 are available for immediate ordering from Other World Computing in the following enclosure models:

  • OWC Express USB 2.0 Bus Powered Enclosure Bundle: Kit includes 2.5" 250 GB to 1 TB drive, enclosure for replaced drive, USB interface connecting cable, carrying sleeve, and five-piece toolkit.
  • OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro FireWire 800/400 and/or USB 2.0 Bus Powered Enclosure Bundle: Kit includes 2.5" 320 GB to 1 TB drive, enclosure for replaced drive, interface connecting cables, carrying case, five-piece toolkit, and $200 retail value disk utilities bundle.

OWC DIY Storage Upgrade Kits are compatible with Mac OS 8.6 to 9.2.2, OS X (all versions) including the latest 10.6 "Snow Leopard"; and Windows 98SE or later operating systems and come ready to upgrade a Mac or PC notebook or Mac mini internal drive with greater storage and turn the replaced drive into an external bus powered drive for additional storage and backup.

Full Line of Bare 2.5" Drives

In addition to its DIY Storage Upgrade Kits, OWC also offers MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and PC notebook owners a full line of "bare" 2.5" SATA 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM hard disk drives and SSDs in capacities of 50 GB to 1 TB priced starting at $49.99.

iResQ Unveils Antiglare Screen, 1 TB Hard Drive Replace for Late 2009 MacBook

PR: The Kansas-based repair provider has new full-service matte LCD replacement services for late-2009 MacBooks in addition to 1 TB hard-drive upgrades for unibody MacBooks/MacBook Pros.

Late 2009 MacBookiResQ, the Midwest's premier mail-in Apple service provider and forerunner of Apple computer, iPod and iPhone repairs, has added matte (or antiglare) LCD screen panels to their available repairs for the Late 2009 MacBook models. The newest MacBook line was released fourth quarter of last year and marked the first significant change in design since the notebook's inception in 2006.

Among the various changes in construction and component layout, the Late 2009 MacBook features the first LED-backlit LCD in a plastic MacBook. The notebook is sold with a glossy screen and no antiglare option like its professional-tier brother, the MacBook Pro. iResQ, performing MacBook LCD screen repair for the nearly four years of MacBook's existence, now offers that option.

"Replacing a broken glossy LCD with a matte LCD was extremely popular with owners of the previous generations of MacBook," commented Eric Kautzi, Apple-Certified Technician and manager of iResQ's notebook repair division. " Of the thousands of LCDs we've replaced, a significant portion of those customers chose to switch to the antiglare screen, so we want to offer the same option for those who bought the latest MacBook as well." MacBook LCD repairs are one of the most-purchased repairs in the iResQ service line.

Replacing a broken glossy LCD with a matte LCD was extremely popular with owners of the previous generations of MacBook.

MacBook matte LCD screen full-service repairs start at $249, the same as glossy LCD screen repairs. iResQ still offers screen repairs for the previous MacBook iterations, as well as for MacBook Pros, PowerBook G4s, iBooks and MacBook Airs at industry-low prices. Shipping costs may be additional.

iResQ has also added 1 TB hard drives to its list of available services for the Unibody MacBook and Unibody MacBook Pro. Users needing more storage space can now have 1000 GB at their disposal, which is markedly a considerable advancement in personal computing. 1 TB drive upgrades start at $299.

Centrally located in Olathe, Kansas, iResQ is an Apple-Authorized Service Provider that repairs Apple computers and portable devices in addition to the Sony PlayStation Portable. Servicing Apple products since 1994, its team of technicians boasts years of experience and multiple Apple Certifications. 24-hr. diagnostics and repair service cover the entire line of iPods, iPhones, Portable Macs, and Mac Minis. This includes the entire PowerBook G4 family, the iBook family, plus the MacBook and MacBook Pro systems, as well as all versions of the iPod except the iPod Shuffle.

iResQ is also an ideal solution for schools and computer repair shops. Its repair depot can handle large numbers of repairs quickly and efficiently, and it provides volume discounts.

For more information or to order repair services, call 1-888-447-3728 or visit iresq.com

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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