The 'Book Review

MacBooks Dust PC Sales, Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard, and More 'Book News

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.12.14

News & Opinion

Reviews

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

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

Purchases made through links to Amazon.com and Apple's iTunes/iBook/App/Mac App Store support Low End Mac.

News & Opinion

Solid MacBook Performance Dusts Sluggish PC Sales

Seeking Alpha has posted an article written by an analyst at Saibus Research, which has published 16 reports on Apple Inc., and in this one they devote their attention to Apple's Macintosh computers, noting that while Apple's iOS devices have generated the lion's share of revenue and profits for Apple since 2009, Macs still generated $23.22B in revenues in its latest fiscal quarter.

And while Apple's Mac desktop volumes were flat in 2012 relative to last year's levels, that was better than an 8% contraction in the PC market, Mac vs. HP and Dell revenue growthand Apple's MacBook notebook computers accounted for 74% of Apple's FY 2012 revenue and 80% of its Q4 2012 revenue. This is helping to offset the impact of soft revenue and unit sales volume performance of Apple's Mac desktop products.

Saibus also cites research metrics showing that Apple's MacBook products had a 27% market share of the personal computing market as of Q2 2012, and its MacBook Air is set to take 39% of the slim notebook market in 2012, but will slip to 28% in 2013 as Windows-Powered Ultrabook sales rise, but the authors say they can bet their last bottom dollar that Dell and HP would give their proverbial right arms to achieve growth rates that are half of what Apple has achieved with its MacBook notebook computing products.

Reviews

PC Advisor Reviews MacBook Pro 13" with Retina Display

PC Advisor's Andrew Harrison says the Retina display is the main attraction of Apple's 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Harrison notes that the 13" Retina panel's pixel count has been doubled in both directions, from 1280 x 800 to 2560 x 1600 pixels, and unlocks a HiDPI mode, whereby the desktop interface looks the same size and proportion as before, but with every element literally twice as sharp.

He notes that the new display's advanced engineering means expensive repair bills should the worst happen, but provides not only the rich, saturated colors you expect from a glossy finish screen, but also fantastic viewing from any angle, thanks to the panel's in-plane switching (IPS) technology and an antireflective coating applied to to its surface.

Harrison also applauds Apple's perseverance with 16:10 aspect ratio screens that provide a much more comfortable viewing experience than the nearly ubiquitous 16:9 displays now used across the computer industry that are fine for watching widescreen film and video, but far from optimal for productivity.

Not so good, says Harrison, are the absence of Apple laptops' signature slow pulsing sleep light, no Kensington lock slot, and the continued absence of gigabit wireless (802.11ac). Also, compared with the 15" Retina MacBook Pro, the 13-incher offers no a quad-core Intel processor, with a 2.9 GHz dual-core Core i7 being the most powerful CPU available, and while the 15" machine can be ordered with 16 GB of RAM, the 13-incher is only available with 8 GB.

The 13" entry-level model also comes with a 128 GB SSD, while the base 15" Retina starts at 256 GB, and like memory, storage upgrades on the new MacBooks are not supported, and the batteries are epoxied to the chassis and sealed down with proprietary pentalobe screws, rendering potential expansion to whatever can be connected via the machine's USB or Thunderbolt ports.

Tech Trends

3 Reasons a Windows 8 Laptop Leads, MacBook Lags

Cnet's Brooke Crothers says that while the MacBook Air is a wonderful design, it's not perfect, and that none other than mainstream HP offers some compelling reasons to consider a Windows 8 laptop, with HP's 3-pound HP EliteBook Revolve business ultrabook "convertible" laptop offered with a swivel touchscreen, 4G/LTE as an option, and a well-appointed docking station that offers every port under the sun, thus providing a range of ports typically found only on desktops.

Crothers says he likes his MacBook "a lot" but concedes that its limitations can feel claustrophobic by times, especially when compared with some of the emerging Windows 8 competition.

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Now Optimized for Windows 8 Touch

PR: Thin, light and durable carbon fiber Ultrabook captures the Windows 8 experience

One of your editor's favorite PC Ultrabooks, Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (which one reviewer said reminds him of Apple's 14" G3 PowerBooks of the late '90s), has been optimized for Windows 8 and now adds touch gesture support to the business class Ultrabook. The X1 Carbon and X1 Carbon Touch enclosures are made with carbon fiber and deliver rugged durability.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon"We are excited to be able to offer customers the best experience in a thin and light business class Ultrabook. The X1 Carbon Touch is the Ultrabook to beat. Bringing touch gesture control to our best ThinkPad ever is a natural evolution of the portfolio and a big step towards fulfilling our promise to bring computers into a new PC+ era," says Peter Hortensius, president, Lenovo Product Group. "We are excited to be able to offer customers the best experience in a thin and light business class Ultrabook. The X1 Carbon Touch is the Ultrabook to beat."

The World's Lightest 14" Touch Notebook

Weighing in at a svelte 3.4 pounds and just 20.8mm thick, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch is constructed with carbon fiber material that provides strength and durability beyond traditional notebook case materials. You can interact with smooth 10 finger touch on the X1 Carbon's 14" HD+ display, or more conventionally use the laptop's large multi-gesture glass touchpad.

Even with its thin and light design, the X1 Carbon Touch packs a punch, with either Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and enhanced multimedia content via Dolby Home Theater v4. Certified as the first Ultrabook optimized for Microsoft Lync, the HD face tracking camera and dual array microphones ensure high quality video and voice track capability without the need to use USB peripherals.

A new optional slim 65W AC adapter is also offered for serious road warriors using the X1 Carbon Touch. At 17mm thick and weighing 53% less (235g) than the standard AC adapter, it fits neatly into your bag and gives you maximum portability as you travel with the worlds lightest 14 Ultrabook.

For business users, the X1 Carbon Touch offers state of the art security and manageability features including vPro, Integrated Fingerprint Reader, Trusted Platform Module and BIOS encryption. Lenovo's RapidCharge technology provides what it claims are the industry's fastest charge times while the 8 hours of battery life and optional 3G connectivity ensures maximum productivity virtually anywhere.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch is available now at http://goo.gl/i1vT5 or through Lenovo business partners, with prices starting at $1,499.

Products & Services

Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard and Wireless Rechargeable Trackpad

PR: Logitech has announced expansion of its Mac lineup with two new products: the Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard for Mac, iPad, and iPhone and the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac.

Each product brings new dimensions to the way you navigate and control your favorite Apple products. The Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard features Logitech Easy-Switch technology similar to the popular Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 so you can easily go from typing an email on your Mac to taking notes on your iPad to replying to a text on your iPhone by simply pressing a button. In addition, the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad gives you the full set of Mac OS multitouch gestures on a smooth glass surface.

"Logitech's new products build on what people love about their Macs, iPads, and iPhones, and make them even more convenient and easy to use," says Mike Culver, vice president of brand development for consumer computing platforms at Logitech. "Building on Logitech's history of delivering high quality products, both the keyboard and trackpad have an insightful design that complements your existing Apple devices, and you'll appreciate their smart power management as well."

Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard

Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch KeyboardThe Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard can pair with up to three Apple devices simultaneously, and its familiar Mac layout features the keys you'd expect, including Command, Brightness, and Mission Control. Its sleek aluminum design matches Apple's signature style, making it look right at home next to your Mac, iPad, or iPhone.

In addition to its attractive design, this keyboard was built to maximize usability and power. The bright illumination of its backlit key characters makes them easy to read in low light conditions or at night, so you can type in any environment. Virtually anticipating your needs, the keyboard turns on its illumination when your hands approach, and it automatically dims or brightens based on the amount of light in the room.

Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad

Logitech Rechargeable TrackpadThe Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad features multitouch control, so you can click, scroll, swipe, zoom, and more. With a low-profile design and smooth glass surface, the trackpad replicates a touchscreen experience. And, because the touch area is larger than the typical notebooks touchpad, its easier to take advantage of the full range of Mac OS multitouch gestures, so you can naturally control and access your information. Plus, the trackpad has been engineered with embedded precision sensors and resistance to fingerprints and scratches.

In addition, the trackpad makes battery hassle a thing of the past - it is rechargeable through a USB cable and can be used while being recharged. Fully charged, you'll have one month of power, which you can manage through its convenient On/Off switch. With Bluetooth wireless connectivity, the trackpad also provides up to 30 feet of wireless range.

The Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard and the Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad are expected to be available in the US and Europe in January 2013, for a suggested retail price of $99.99 and $69.99.

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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