The 'Book Review

$214K MacBook Air, iPads and MacBooks for All at Seton Hill, New Hackintosh Netbook Site, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.04.01

So we can post our three news roundups (Mac News Review, The 'Book Review, and The iNews Review) earlier, we first do a quick proofread and link check, leaving out images. We add images later when time permits. dk

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

News & Opinion

Hackintosh Netbooks

Reviews

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Planning to Buy a Macbook? Wait!

Techtree's Rohan Naravane says that while everybody is excited about Apple expected to announce an iPhone 4G this June, the Macbook range could very well get a refresh before that. Consequently, if you're planning to purchase a Macbook or Macbook Pro anytime soon, it might be worthwhile to hold off for a while.

The Macbook Pro line was last updated in June 2009. Then, in October 2009, the cheaper Macbook received an redesign that brought many of the key features of the Macbook Pro to it.

Naravane speculates that the Core 2 Duo will be replaced soon by Intel's Core i5/i7 processors and that Nvidia's recently released Optimus tech, which lets laptops with two graphics chips switch automatically depending on usage, will be included. His personal guess is that USB 3.0 will also be included, at least on the Macbook Pros, further noting that the Macbook Air also hasn't received an update in almost a year, so if you're planning to buy any Macbook any time soon, he'd suggest waiting a month or two if you can.

Future MacBooks Could Have Screens Backlit by the Sun

AppleInsider's Neil Hughes reports that a new Apple patent application revealed this week describes technology that would allow an external light source, such as the sun, to provide the backlight for a display, helping to conserve battery life.

Hughes says that the patent application, entitled "External Light Illumination of Display Screens," observes that current LCD displays can be difficult to view when outdoors in direct sunlight nad that it often takes high-powered components to properly light the display, and goes on to describe how a portable computer such as a MacBook, could collect external light to illuminate the computer screen.

Seton Hill to Give iPad and MacBook to Every Full-time Student

PR: A newly announced iPad initiative kicks off Seton Hill University of Greensbrook PA's Griffin Technology Advantage Program.

Beginning in the fall of 2010, all first year undergraduate students at Seton Hill will receive a 13" MacBook laptop and an iPad. Students will have complete access to these mobile technologies for classes as well as at all times for personal use. After two years, Seton Hill will replace the laptop with a new one that the user can take with him or her upon graduation.

iPadatSetonHillUniversity.jpeg

This technology is youted with creating a just-in-time learning environment, letting students stay in touch with professors, advisors, and classmates, research any topic at any time, engage in hybrid and fully on-line courses, and access a whole host of Seton Hill technology services.

Installed software is to include:

  • Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard (incorporating Time Machine, Quick Look, Spaces, Spotlight, Dashboard, Mail, iChat, Safari, Address Book, QuickTime, iCal, DVD Player, Photo Booth, Front Row, Xcode Developer Tools)
  • The iLife suite (includes iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, iDVD)
  • Mac Office 2008
  • VMWare Fusion
  • Windows XP
  • Microsoft Office 2007

Seton Hill is a Catholic university rooted in Judeo-Christian values, its mission statement declaring: "In the tradition of Elizabeth Ann Seton, we educate students to think and act critically, creatively, and ethically as productive members of society committed to transforming the world."

Founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1885, Seton Hill started out as a small liberal arts college for women. It has since grown into a 2000-student coeducational university. A Catholic university, Seton Hill embraces students of all faiths.

For more information on the Griffin Technology Advantage Program, visit the website.

Inspiring, Awesome, and Stylish Mac Setups

AppStorm's David Appleyard says:

"We spend an awful lot of time discussing applications and software on Mac.AppStorm, and today we wanted to take a slight departure to investigate a few physical Mac setups. After all, you need a relaxing and inspiring environment in which to use your computer!

"Our roundup will take a look at 50 visually inspiring, gorgeous Mac setups. Some are very minimal, others are wonderfully cluttered. They may not all use the most powerful Mac hardware, but will hopefully give you some great ideas for improving your desk and workspace. Enjoy!"

iPads May Be Nice, but Notebooks and Netbooks Still Rule

There seem to be two dominant schools of thought about the iPad's degree of market success and cultural impact. Many seem to think the iPad will be the greatest thing since the proverbial sliced bread.

On the other hand, PCWorld's Preston Gralla predicts that iPads will top the publicity charts this week when they launch - for that matter, they have been for weeks - but netbooks will still top the sales charts, far outselling iPads into the foreseeable future, while the iPad will remain an expensive, niche device compared to all-purpose netbooks.

Gralla observes that a recent IDC report shows netbook and notebook sales will dwarf sales of the iPad, and that according to the EETimes, even by 2011, after the iPad has become a well-established presence, its sales will lag far behind that of netbooks, with IDC estimating shipments of 47 million netbooks that year versus just 15 million tablets, of all types (not just iPads), while conventional notebook sales will still massively outstrip both both, with projected sales of 260 million.

MacBook Pro Switcher Has Some Complaints

Iron Tongue of Midnight blogger Lisa Hirsch has posted an open letter to Apple saying she just switched from a Windows laptop to a 15" MacBook Pro and has a few complaints, saying that she prefers the Windows interface with no fixed menu bar, but it's the physical stuff that's making her want to have a talk with Steve Jobs - specifically that Apple doesn't believe in docking stations, which means she's got a pile of cables snaking around her desk.

Your editor can sympathize and identify. The top of my desk looks like a plate of spaghetti.

On the upside, Hirsh notes that the MacBook Pro is giving her about 50% longer battery runtime than the Lenovo ThinkPad it replaced, and while the Mac has a fan, but it's rarely on.

Back in the negative column, she notes that the Lenovo's case was made out of plastic with the front edge rounded and sloped slightly, compared with Mac's sharp right angle aluminum edges that dig into her wrists - so much for the belief that Apple is so careful and thoughtful about design issues.

Editor's note: Now that Apple is building all MacBook Pro models with aluminum unibody construction, there's no reason that hard, right angle edge shouldn't be machined for comfort when the computer is built. Users have been complaining about this edge since 2006. dk

Hackintosh Netbooks

Insanely Mac Launches MyMacNetbook.com for Hackintoshing Netbooks

Cult of Mac's John Brownlee says his guilty little secret is that his ugly Asus Eee PC 1000HE netbook is actually his favorite Mac laptop, although not the prettiest (a Frankenstein) or the most powerful (a sloth). It is the one with the 20 hours of battery life spread between two interchangeable batteries - and now, thanks to the OSx86 project and a new netbook hackintoshing guide, it's the one Mac he's always guaranteed to have on him.

John notes that many netbooks are capable of running OS X, and these days they can do so pretty much out of the box, but it can still be a conundrum sussing out exactly what OS X features your netbook supports and then find the appropriate guides. That would be Insanely Mac's latest site, MyMacNetbook, which promises to be a constantly updated resource for people who want to Hackintosh their netbooks, while acknowledging that indubitably wiggling beyond the confines of OS X's EULA is an individual ethical call, but netbook owners who do so have great rewards to look forward to.

Not Getting an iPad? Don't Forget the Netbook Option

TUAW's Mel Martin says that in the midst of all the netbook (not to mention iPad) hoopla, it's worth remembering that Apple really hasn't filled the need for a full-featured, really small laptop, with Steve Jobs' obstinate contention that he can't build a cheap netbook without sacrificing quality, leaving Mac lovers who want one, quite literally, left to their own devices.

Ergo, Martin cites myMacNetbook.com as being able to help, providing all of the latest news about getting OS X to run on a netbook in one place, along with a valuable chart showing which PC netbooks work best with OS X and links to the software that you'll need to get OS X up and running, including step-by-step directions for turning a netbook into your OS X compact notebook dream machine - observing that currently 10 different netbook models lend themselves to OS X installs.

LINK: Not Getting an iPad? Don't Forget the 'Netbook Option'

Mac Netbook Computer Compatibility Chart

AppleGazette's Kevin Whipps says:

"My Mac Netbook [is] a neat little site that walks you through the process of installing OS X on your non-Apple hardware, step-by-step. Not a bad idea if that's what you're looking to do.

"But the big kicker here is the computer compatibility chart. It shows you every netbook out there, and what functions work with OS X installed."

The Definitive Netbook Hackintosh Guide?

9 to 5 Mac's Seth Weintraub says he's not fixing to judge or be judged, but just throwing out news of what he calls the most complete and up -o-date netbook Hackintosh table he's ever seen.

Of particular note, Mac OS X 10.6.2 is probably as far up-to-date as you should ever expect to go, since going any further isn't a sure possibility, and in his opinion the iPad at a few hundred dollars more and can do most of the stuff netbooks do - and do them "Better" (cf: S. Jobs) - arguing that cramped keyboards suck almost as much as on-screen keyboards, but that the $385 Eee 1000HE and $250 Dell Mini 10V make solid Hackintoshes (or so he's heard)

Reviews

USB Flash Drive Durability Tested

ZDNet blogger Robin Harris says:

"We know flash storage wears out after too many writes. But are vendor claims to be trusted? Researchers at Northeastern University decided to find out. Here's what they found.

"Simona Boboila and Peter Desnoyers' Write Endurance in Flash Drives: Measurements and Analysis (pdf) used chip-level testing, reverse engineering, whole device testing and analytic approaches to test 3 different USB flash drives to see how they hold up.

"Happily, the news is overwhelmingly good."

The cheapest flash drive tested "handled 77 million writes before failing."

Tech Trends

Linux: This Time, It Really Is Time

Libertarian Backwoods Home blogger Claire Wolfe says:

"Every once in a while, I beat the drum for Linux. I swear it's not just for geeks any more. After all, I'm no geek and I've been using Linux - and watching it get better and better - for 12 years.

"Windows users usually ignore me when I bang my Linux drum . . . but a couple of things happened recently that convinced me Linux has finally, truly, really, no-kidding gone beyond being a contender against Windows for the average desktop user. It has become clearly superior to Windows for the average desktop user.

"So, you who are using (or being used by) Windows, bear with me once more as I offer:

  • Two evidences that Linux is ready for the rest of us
  • 10 specific reasons to try Linux
  • Three reasons not to try Linux
  • One great Linux for newbies
  • Five other n00b-compatible Linuxes and
  • How to get 'em - free, cheap, and easy"

Products & Services

Super-Strong Carry Handle for MacBook MacBooks

PR: QuickerTek has announced a strong and secure means of carrying the Apple MacBook Air laptop. This new carry handle is made from non-flex aircraft quality aluminum for strength and weight savings. The new QuickerTek MacBook Air Carry Handle is priced at $79.95 and is available from QuickerTek and its dealers.

NewHandleMBA.jpeg

While the MacBook Air is beautiful to work with, it's smooth design makes it a challenge to carry. The Carry Handle ensures that the trim laptop doesn't slip and hit the floor. The lightweight handle is super strong and it's attached to the latop by a stiff aluminum mount that uses the existing screw holes in the Air. New countersunk longer screws secure the Carry Handle to the Air. The finish of the aluminum complements the MacBook Air, so it looks like it belongs there.

The Carry Handle also elevates the MacBook Air to allow air underneath the laptop for better cooling when you go mobile for hours and hours. This slight angle adjustment also keeps the keyboard at a non-tiring position for many hours of use. Rubber feet on the Carry Handle prevent you from chasing your laptop around on a hard surface like a desk.

SIDEVIEWMBAHANDLE.jpg

The QuickerTek MacBook Air Carry Handle does not alter your MacBook Air, and is completely reversible without any telltale marks.

This product is compatible

with the following:

  • Apple MacBook Air
  • 1" unibody-white & alum
  • 13" & 15" MacBook Pro

Weight: 3.8 ounces

Like most QuickerTek products, the MacBook Air Carry Handle is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

QuickerTek has been a recognized leading innovator of power products, antennas and RF products for Apple Power Macintosh, Mac Pro, iMac PPC and Intel, PowerBook, MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. QuickerTek products can be purchased online at quickertek.com and from authorized dealers.

$214,000 MacBook Air Supreme Ice Edition: Platinum and Diamonds

PR: For the discerning individual who strives to be distinctive, Stuart Hughes brings you the MacBook Supreme Ice Edition. Encrusted with 25.5 carats of 'I'F' Flawless diamonds, a magnificent total of 53 individually set sparkling gems dwell beautifully in their solid Platinum Apple logo. The whole front housing is made from a single piece of highly polished solid platinum, weighing an immense 2,500 grams, with the remaining sections left in a beautiful polished aluminium finish.

mbice.jpg

This superior laptop has brought together the subtle beauty and elegance of platinum, with the magical radiance of diamonds, and created an exquisite work of art. There is no finer relationship than platinum & diamonds. They are pure, rare, and eternal. This is a true celebration of your individuality. This item is of a limited edition of only 10 units to be made.

mbice2.jpg

Price - £139,995

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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