The 'Book Review

Apple Grows Laptop Sales, 500 GB WD Scorpio Holds Its Own, Toshiba's 7200 rpm Notebook Drives, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.07.30

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

News & Opinion

Reviews

Apple Updates

Products & Services

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Apple and Lenovo Only Ones to Increase Notebook Sales

TechSpot.com's Matthew DeCarlo reports:

"Continuing its push to dethrone HP in the notebook segment, Acer has shipped 8.1 million laptops worldwide in the second quarter, just behind HP's 8.51 million units, according to IDC. Both companies witnessed a sequential drop in sales in the recent period, with Acer shipping 5.8% less machines and HP's sales falling 10.9%. That performance isn't too different for other top notebook players, with only Apple [up 37.6%] and Lenovo [up 18.6%] seeing a sequential increase in shipments."

Apple Brings Inertial Scrolling, 3-finger Drag to Some MacBooks

AppleInsider Staff reports that Apple on Tuesday issued an update to a number of recent notebooks - including the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air - bringing inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture support to some trackpads.

Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0 is a 75.09 MB software update (see below) that requires Mac OS X 10.6.4. and also adds support for Apple's newly released $69 Magic Trackpad.

Reviews

500 GB WD Scorpio Black Drive Holds Its Own Against More Costly Momentus XT

Hot Hardware reports:

"When it comes to notebook hard drives you almost can't get enough of two things, capacity and speed. Though SSDs (Solid State Drives) definitely address the speed issue, they only exacerbate the capacity issue (at least currently). Not to mention, the higher you go up in capacity with SSDs, into the 256 GB range especially, costs scale upward in multiples of their standard spinning media-based counterparts....

"...bellwether hard drive manufacturers like Western Digital continue to drive rotational media storage technologies further to improve both capacity and speed, as well as drive cost structures downward....

"Recently, WD took the time to send us in their fastest 7200 RPM 500 GB notebook drive. I decided to take the opportunity to do a little A/B comparison in performance. The new WD Scorpio Black 500 GB 2.5-inch notebook hard drive weighs in at half the price ($76 at Amazon) of the Momentus XT, and as you'll see, does a fairly good job of hanging with it, from a performance standpoint as well...."

Apple Updates

Apple Releases Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0

This update adds support to Mac OS X for the Magic Trackpad (covered in Mac News Review) and is required for its use, and also enables inertial scrolling and the three-finger drag gesture in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.

Mac OS X 10.6.4 is required before installing this update.

Products Affected: Magic Trackpad

Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0 includes the required software to use Magic Trackpad. The update also installs the three-finger drag gesture and inertial scrolling for Mac portable computers, as listed below. This update also installs a Trackpad System Preferences pane for configuring Magic Trackpad on Intel-based Mac desktop computers that support Mac OS X v10.6.4 and above.

It's important to run Software Update after you've successfully paired Magic Trackpad by clicking on the Apple () menu and choosing Software Update. Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0 will appear in Software Update only after you install the the Mac OS X v10.6.4 update and after you pair your Magic Trackpad. You can pair Magic Trackpad by clicking the Bluetooth menu bar icon, choosing "Setup Bluetooth Device &" and completing the onscreen instructions using Bluetooth Setup Assistant.

If you have a supported Mac portable (as listed below) that has Mac OS X v10.6.4 installed, install this update by using Software Update or by downloading the manual update to add inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture support.

Inertial Scrolling and Three-Finger Drag Gesture Support

These Mac portables support inertial scrolling and the three-finger drag gesture after you install Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0:

  • MacBook
    • MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009)
    • MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)
    • MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009)
    • MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)
  • MacBook Pro
    • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010)
    • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010)
    • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)
    • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53 GHz, Mid 2009)
    • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
    • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)
    • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)
    • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2008)

The following Mac portables support inertial scrolling after installing Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0:

  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2009)
  • MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2008)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2008)

File Size: 75.09 MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.4

Products & Services

Toshiba's Family of 7200 RPM 2.5" SATA Drives

Toshiba's new notebook hard drivePR: Toshiba Storage Device Division, a pioneer in small form factor hard disk drives (HDDs) has announced a new family of 7200 RPM 2.5" SATA drives. This represents the industry's first broad line of 7200 RPM 2.5" models optimized for demanding performance, power consumption, and durability requirements across a wide range of high-performance and business-critical applications.

MKxx61GSY:

Available in 160 to 640 GB capacities, the MKxx61GSY is targeted at high-end notebook PCs, gaming laptops, and mobile workstations as well as all-in-one and slimline desktop PCs. Using Toshiba's extensive experience in the mobile computing market, the MKxx61GSY offers greater power efficiency and durability over 3.5" drives.

High-Durability MKxx61GSYB:

Leveraging the MKxx61GSY platform, the MKxx61GSYB series is a high-durability model targeted at demanding 24x7 applications such as network routers, network switches, blade servers, and point-of-sale terminals in a full range of capacities from 80 to 500 GB. The MKxx61GSYB offers nearline storage levels of reliability and performance in a small form factor design.

Self-Encrypting Drive (SED):

The third member of the family, designed to the TCG Opal Specification, provides industry-standard, government-grade security features for organizations wanting to secure data at rest for compliance with data privacy policies. The SED drives will be available after launch of the GSY and GSYB series models.

Continuing the Toshiba tradition of leadership and innovation in small form factor storage, this product family offers systems designers a choice of capacities across standard, high-durability, and self-encrypting models. This new HDD family provides extremely quiet operation the seek acoustics are the same as idle mode. Halogen-free and power-efficient, the new models also deliver lowered heat generation and power consumption during operation.

Additionally, an optional free-fall sensor in the MKxx61GSY responds to drop events to securely lock the heads in place off the media before system impact. This is an added benefit for mobile applications and gives an extra level of ruggedness and durability to the Toshiba solution.

"With this family, Toshiba is addressing the high-performance 2.5" market and enabling system differentiation in the fiercely competitive notebook PC market. The MKxx61GSY is designed for speed, with a balanced approach to storage capacity, durability, power consumption, and acoustics, compared to 5,400 RPM mobile and 3.5" desktop drives," says Maciek Brzeski, vice president of marketing at Toshiba Storage Device Division. "We have been able to transfer our extensive experience to the enterprise market so that the MKxx61GSYB meets demanding applications that require greater durability, availability, and performance."

"Extracting additional value from HDDs with performance, security, and other features is challenging, requiring market savvy in addition to technological prowess from the HDD supplier," says John Rydning, research director at IDC. "Executing on this strategy, Toshiba is addressing the market's needs with a differentiated product lineup based on one family which helps customers get to market efficiently with key product differentiation."

Toshiba has started shipping the MKxx61GSY, with volume production scheduled in the third quarter of 2010. The MKxx61GSYB will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010 and availability of the SED models will be announced at a later date.

AViiQ Space Age Hybrid Composite Portable Laptop Stand

AViiQ Portable Laptop StandPR: The body of the AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand is made from Hylite, a composite material comprised of aluminum sheets bonded to a polypropylene core. By milling off the aluminum and leaving the polypropylene the material becomes flexible. The feet of the stand are injection-molded Dynaflex, a thermoplastic elastomer.

The AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand adheres to the tenet that form should follow function. It has a minimalist aesthetic; four aluminum plates with white plastic hinges and matte grey feet; a pop of magenta in the lower right hand corner to mimic the AViiQ logo. The light simplicity of the design mirrors the physical weight, size and ease-of-use of the Laptop Stand itself. Even though other laptop stands are designed to support inherently mobile products they are, generally, not designed to travel, and ones that are don't always support the keyboard at an ergonomically-correct angle. The AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand folds flat to fit easily into a laptop bag and is less than 1/4" thick and weighs only 5.25 oz. It unfolds in less than two seconds and can support up to 17" laptops. The aluminum in Hylite, along with the airflow underneath, helps to dissipate heat to improve battery life and overall longevity.

The AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand is exceptionally light, thin and simple to use. When folded flat it slides into any laptop bag (even a laptop sleeve) but when unfolded for use it supports the keyboard at a 12° angle and allows air to flow underneath, dissipating heat from the laptop. The simple, geometric form of the AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand, as well as the brushed aluminum finish complements the design of most of today's laptops. The white, vertical lines, while functional, add visual interest and the hit of magenta in the nameplate catches the eye without overwhelming it.

AViiQ Portable Laptop StandAViiQ Portable Laptop Stand Specs:

  • Supports up to a 17" laptop
  • Keyboard Angle: 12°
  • Folded Dimensions: 12.75" x 2.75" x 0.25"
  • Unfolded Dimensions: 11.3" x 9.3" x 1.75"
  • Weight: 5.5 oz

$79.95

New Kensington Laptop Locking Station Provides Highest Level of Physical Security with Ultimate Ease of Use

PR: Kensington Computer Products Group announces its highest level of physical security for laptops with a new locking station and tether kit. The Kensington Laptop Locking Station offers superior laptop security combined with an exceptionally easy to use design. Ideal for business users, the product will also serve IT managers working to improve security compliance across an entire department or company.

Kensington Laptop Locking StationThe Kensington Laptop Locking Station is built with an all-steel backbone that resists cutting, drilling or prying. Users simply place their laptop on the base of the unit and close the side arm, with no key or cable required. To unlock, insert a key to release the laptop. The optional Tether Kit offers additional flexibility to users who do not want to permanently attach the laptop locking station to a desktop surface. Locking a laptop has never been this easy.

A recent 2009 TNS national survey commissioned by Kensington shows workplace demand for improvements in laptop security practices. Kensington's new Laptop Locking Station elegantly fulfills that need. According to the survey, 49% of respondents leave their laptops unsecured when they are away from their desks. Another 21% surveyed said that when they are away from their desks, they hide their laptop in a drawer. And when asked to select the place they are most worried about having their laptops stolen, 17% of the respondents indicated the office.

Kensington Laptop Locking Station"Kensington customers have told us they need the highest physical safeguards possible for laptops while still having easy access to their hardware, and we listened," says Rob Humphrey, Director, Security Products, Global Business at Kensington. "The Laptop Locking Station will finally give IT managers the ability to drive security compliance in the workplace by leveraging an efficient method to protect their investments. This is a product that is as easy to use as it gets, and provides a highly secure environment for your company laptops, deterring theft and guarding valuable data."

"We've made superior security easier than ever with the Kensington Laptop Locking Station. Just give the security arm a squeeze. That's it! Laptops are secured with far fewer steps and even greater security than a traditional cable lock. Unlocking is fast, too: just turn the key and the arm spring open."

  • All steel backbone and deflector plates resist cutting, drilling and prying
  • High-security disk lock resists bumping and picking
  • No key needed to lock, simply place the laptop on the base and squeeze the arms
  • Station allows laptop to rotate, slide and tilt for optimal positioning and access to laptop ports
  • Easy to install on any desk
  • Master keying available
  • Works with laptops from 13.3" to 17"

Kensington Laptop Locking Station sells for $79.99.

Kensington Tether Kit for Laptop Locking Station

Add the Laptop Tether Kit to the Kensington Laptop Locking Station and you have a highly secure solution that doesn't have to be permanently attached to the desktop. Your desk stays unmodified and your laptops stay secure.

  • Requires Kensington Laptop Locking Station
  • High-security disk lock resists bumping and picking
  • Secures laptops without marring or modifying desktops

$29.99

The Kensington Laptop Locking Station and the Tether Kit are available for purchase at Kensington.com and at other resellers.

Software

CoolBook MacBook Temperature Control Utility

PR: CoolBook is a tool for the MacBook and MacBook Pro computers that lets you monitor the frequency, voltage and temperature of the Core Duo/Core 2 Duo CPU.

Registered users can also change the frequency and voltage of the processor. Download CoolBook to find out more.

How effective is CoolBook?

CoolBook MacBook Temperature Control UtilityIn two different tests using the maximum frequency of a MacBook (1833 MHz), meaning no performance loss. In both tests different voltages between 0.9875 V and 1.2625 V were tested.

In the first test, several processor demanding tasks were repeated. The fan was locked at the max setting (6200 RPM) using the app smcFanControl.

CoolBook was then used to set the maximum frequency, and to change the voltage. When the temperature had stabilized, it was recorded. This procedure was repeated for every voltage in the diagram.

The maximum temperature using 0.9875 V was 58 °C, compared to 73°C using the original settings. But even the modest voltage decrease to 1.1000 V showed a substantial temperature decrease, with temperatures close to 60°C.

As the MacBook gets warmer, the fan will automatically increase the rotation speed. This diagram shows the differences in RPM at the end of the Cinebench benchmark. The original driver ran more than 2000 RPM over the lowest CoolBook setting. Not showing in the diagram is the differences in temperature. At 0.9875 V the temperature reached a maximum of 63°C, while the original driver reaches 72°C.

The price for the license is $10 (+25% VAT in the EU) for one unique computer.

You can download and install CoolBook before you buy the license to confirm that it works with your Mac model.

Fan Control 1.2 Open Source Utility Adjusts Minimum Fan Speed on MacBooks

Do you think your MacBook or MacBook Pro is running too hot? Then give Fan Control a try (it's free). Some MacBooks (Pro) are just to hot for daylong use. Fan Control adjusts the minimum fan speed depending on the current CPU temperature. For safety, it leaves the original automatic fan speed control intact.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

System Support: Intel

Fan Control is distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The sources are included in the download.

Fan Control is free. Donations still gratefully appreciated.

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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