The 'Book Review

15" Laptops Still King, iPad Squashing Netbooks, Seagate's Self-Encrypting Notebook Drive, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.09.17

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

Products & Services

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

15" Laptops Still King, Despite Wealth of Smaller Alternatives

Engadget's Darren Murph reports that DisplaySearch has found that the vast majority of laptop systems sold in America and Europe fall into the 15" category (35.3% and 46.4% respectively), despite the fact that many offer no gain in resolution over 12" and 13" ultraportables with 1366 x 768 panels. (In Asia, 14" laptops dominate, with 15" models in second place.)

One reason Murph cites is that of supply and demand. There are vast numbers of different 15" machines on the market from various manufacturers, and that suppresses prices thanks to competition.

Editor's note: We can be grateful that Apple does provide more pixel resolution on its 15" 'Books than on 13" models. Today's 13" MacBooks have 1280 x 800 panels, while the 15-inchers have an impressive 1440 x 900. dk

iPads Expected to Squash Netbooks by 2012

PC Advisor's Lexton Snol reports that with the iPad capturing 6% of the portable PC segment in the second quarter of 2010, Apple will continue to lead the tablet market through at least 2011 - largely because of the lack of innovation in the netbook market.

Snol cites the Canalys quarterly worldwide PC market data, highlighting Apple's jump into the top five PC vendors, with the iPad capturing approximately 6% of the portable PC segment in Q2 2010, and more than 3 million units shipped during the device's first few months on the market,. Snol quotes Canalys Vice President and Principal Analyst Chris Jones contending that the iPad owes at least some of its success to a lack of advancement in other portable computing segments, such as netbooks, and noting that Canalys expects the tablet PC market to reach 12.5 million units in 2010, growing to 66 million by the end of 2014 with Apple staying in the vanguard of sales through at least 2011.

Who's Still Buying Netbooks?

Cnet's Erica Ogg thinks that netbooks have lost much of their shine since the introduction of the iPad, with netbook sales dropping from 10.5 million in Q4 2009 to 9.7 million in Q1 2010 and 8.4 million in the second quarter, according to Gartner Group data, with the trend lines pointing to further decline.

Ogg cites Larry Ellison's onetime contention that the tech industry's penchant for fads - not unlike that of the fashion world - with netbooks touted not so long ago as the future of mobile computing, with a form factor larger than a smartphone but at a much more reasonable price than a full-size notebook. However, she says that market researchers are finding that netbooks are now falling out of favor behind traditional laptops, as well as being impacted by the touchscreen tablet craze, noting that in its US Consumer PC Market 2015 report released this summer, Forrester Research projects that the US PC market will be led by notebooks, with a 42% market share; followed by tablets, with 23% of the market; desktops, with 18%; and netbooks occupying just a 17% share. Even with "premium netbooks" with larger screens, more power, and higher prices slipping over into standard notebook territory, Ogg predicts that a slew of iPad tablet challengers, to be released in coming months, will make it hard to recall the appeal of netbooks in the first place.

Products & Services

Everki Ships First Laptop Bag Designed with an iPad Pocket

Everki Track Messenger Laptop BagPR: Everki, makers of mobile lifestyle products designed to carry and protect digital equipment, have introduced the Track Laptop Messenger with an extra pocket specifically made to carry an iPad, Kindle or tablet.

Everki Track Messenger Laptop Bag"People who have bought the iPad, Kindle or other tablets want to be mobile. Messenger style bags are the perfect choice for people on the go, looking for simplicity and portability. According to data recently released from Yahoo!, a majority of iPad users are in the 35-44 years old range," says Vyrio Ngo, Everki USA, Inc.'s director of sales. "We wanted to create a true messenger bag for customers that could carry their laptop and iPad, Kindle, or tablet together. The Track is casual and stylish enough to use everyday, but with enough sophistication to take into meetings."

The Track Messenger comes with ample storage space, designed to fit a laptop, an iPad, cords and accessories, with plenty of room to spare for other essentials.

Everki Track Messenger Laptop BagThe front features a safety reflective strip for extra protection at night, especially convenient for bicyclists looking for a versatile laptop bag. The front also features a two-system closure, Velcro on the inside front flap for quick access, and Everki buckles for extra security. The Track can also be easily converted into a carry-on bag for travelers.

The Everki Track Messenger Laptop Bag (Model: EKS618) is priced at $59.99 (SRP) and is available immediately at major online resellers like compusa.com, tigerdirect.com, circuitcity.com, and newegg.com.

Track is backed by Everki's Limited Lifetime Warranty and world-class customer service.

Speck's Form Fit, Fabric-Wrapped Fitted Hard Shell Cases for MacBook Pro Available in 4 Stylish Patterns

PR: Speck announces their ever-popular Fitted case line is expanding and bringing its unique brand of tailored hard shell protection and styling for the first time to the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro notebooks (latest unibody models).

Fitted for MacBook Pro"Speck popularized high quality, form-fit hard shell protection on the MacBook with our SeeThru and SeeThru Satin cases. Now we're offering our extremely popular Fitted fabric-wrapped hard shell cases to style-minded MacBook Pro users," says Speck CEO Irene Baran. "With its unique fashionable fabric backing, our new Fitted cases help create the stylish looks you want while delivering the protection your MacBook Pro needs."

While crafting Fitted for the MacBook Pro, Speck's designers referenced the mastery they accomplished in the sleek SeeThru and SeeThru Satin hard shell cases for MacBook. The new Fitted cases feature authentic original fabrics over a protective hard shell top cover with comfortable soft-touch finished bottom shell cover. The new cases also feature complete access to all ports and battery check button, are fully vented for optimum heat disbursement, and allow the screen to open all the way.

Fitted for MacBook ProAvailable in delightfully deceptive styles and patterns including Brown Cookie Camo, geometry-inspired but presentable Purple SpexyHexy, pleasingly professional Darkest Tartan Plaid and the classic Black and White Tartan Plaid, new Fitted cases for 13" and 15" MacBook Pro will ease bumpy journeys while helping notebook owners reach their destinations in style for a MSRP of $69.95 in October. Pair the new Fitted MacBook case with your matching Fitted for iPhone 4 and iPad and create a stylishly matched look.

Laptop Lockdown with Momentus Self-Encrypting Drives

PR: Momentus SEDs (Self-Encrypting Drives) give organizations of all sizes a simple, cost-effective way to protect against unauthorized access to data on notebook PCs and a powerful tool for complying with the growing number of data privacy laws calling for the protection of consumer information using government-grade encryption. The AES encryption chip in the Momentus SEDs automatically and transparently encrypts all drive data, not just selected files or partitions. The 2.5" drive also eliminates disk initialization and configuration required by encryption software, allows IT administrators to instantly erase all data cryptographically so the drive can be quickly and easily redeployed, and delivers full inline-speed encryption with no impact to system performance.

Momentus SEDs keep all security keys and cryptographic operations within the drive, separating them from the operating system to provide greater protection against hacking and tampering than traditional software alternatives, which can give thieves backdoor access to encryption keys and are otherwise more vulnerable to key theft. With third-party management software, organizations can easily and affordably manage and protect encryption keys and passwords. Momentus SEDs are offered in capacities up to 500 GB.

Seagate Ships Opal-Compliant Self-Encrypting Drives to OEM Customers for Evaluation; Submits Drives for FIPS 140-2 Certification

In another significant step forward for Momentus SEDs, Seagate began shipping evaluation drives that are compliant with the Trusted Computing Group's Opal specification to major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. The Trusted Computing Group, an international body that promotes open standards for computer security, issued the Opal specification in 2009. The specification is focused on enabling the ecosystem for self-encrypting drives and increasing their adoption. Seagate has submitted its Opal-compliant Momentus SED for FIPS 140-2 certification.

Seagate's Self-Encrypting Laptop Hard Drive First to Win Key US Government Certification

PR: Seagate has announced that its groundbreaking Momentus Self-Encrypting Drive, the world's first laptop hard drive with built-in encryption to protect against unauthorized access to information on lost or stolen mobile computers, has secured FIPS 140-2 certification from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The key government certification clears the way for deployments of Momentus Self-Encrypting Drives (SEDs) by all US and Canadian federal agencies, many state and local governments, and regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, and defense required to use FIPS-certified gear to help protect sensitive data on PCs and computer networks. Many utility, education, and transportation entities also have adopted the FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 standard to lock down confidential information. Foreign governments in addition to Canada also recognize FIPS-validated products. The Momentus SED is the first hard drive with native encryption to earn the FIPS certification.

"The FIPS 140-2 certification exemplifies Seagate's commitment to security standards that enable the widespread adoption of encrypting hard drives for laptops and other computers as the explosive growth of laptop PCs puts more sensitive personal and business information at risk," says Dave Mosley, executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management at Seagate. Today's NIST approval gives our system builder and end-user customers the peace of mind that Momentus Self-Encrypting Drives deliver the full power of government-grade security."

The FIPS 140-2 seal of approval comes three years after NIST, the federal agency focused on promoting product innovation by establishing technical standards for government and business, certified the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) chip built into the Momentus drive. Seagate has shipped more than a million of its self-encrypting laptop drives since their introduction in 2006.

Software

Temperature Monitor 4.92 Compatible with 2010 iMacs, Mac Pro

PR: Temperature Monitor (which is one of the very few system utilities your editor always has running) is the small, free version of the Hardware Monitor application to read out all accessible temperature sensors in Macintosh computers. The program can visualize the history graphs of the readings, display measured values in a large variety of fashions, or announce readings by speech output. It can also store and export values.

The program can display in a default window, in a floating window, tabular display in an overview window, display in the menu-bar, display of a maximum of two readings in the Dock, graphical display of short-term and long-term history curves, speech output of readings, export to text files.

Full-featured Hardware Monitor can additionally display "non-temperature" sensors and artificial operating system probes, or control external LCD panels. Temperature Monitor is part of a software suite of 9 different monitoring applications that can be used for numerous purposes.

New in version 4.92 (Build 100908)

  • Added support for new (Mid-2010) iMac computers.
  • Added support for computers with Intel "Westmere class" processors, including the new (Mid-2010) Mac Pro systems.
  • Added support for many additional sensors found in Intel-based Macintosh computers.
  • Added the display of known sensor limits for locations in certain older Intel-based Macintosh computers.
  • The new version shows a production location for computers refurbished at the European Apple Online Store.
  • The window to display extreme values no longer uses a misleading value of 0 when selecting a time period where no readings have been collected yet.
  • When displaying long-term history graphs of remote computers, network traffic has been greatly reduced.
  • By user request, a menu item has been added to the Lite version to let the application automatically launch at login time. It is no longer necessary to use System Preferences for defining the login item.
  • Resolved a problem where sensor entries referring to remote computers might have been lost in customized history windows when restarting the application.

Temperature Monitor is electronically distributed software. You can download the product free of charge.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

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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