Mac News Review

iPhone Launch a Religious Event, Apple's 13% Market Share, Noise in OS X 10.4.10, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.06.29

This week's biggest Apple news takes place at 6:00 p.m. local time on Friday, June 29, 2007, when the iPhone goes on sale. We expect it to be a huge success for Apple and a revolutionary experience for iPhone users. We'll look at all of that starting on July 11, after Low End Mac's summer break.

Next to the iPhone, the huge news is that Apple has 13% market share in the US - and that includes looking at both storefronts and online sellers. One notebook of every seven sold is a Mac, while desktop sales lag that at 10.4%.

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products

iPod News

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

iPhone Release a 'Religious' Event

Busted Halo's Rocco Palmo says:

"June 29 marks the feast day dedicated to the founders of the church of Rome: Saints Peter and Paul. The observance is an ancient one, but this year it coincides with a religious festival of a more modern sort.

"For the believers of this other faith, it's the day of deliverance they have long awaited, the moment when they'll finally be able to grasp the Holy Grail which they've long lusted and defended against all nay-sayers, sight unseen.

"I'm talking, of course, about the release of Apple's iPhone. And to say that the thought of nabbing one makes my brain water would be putting it lightly.

"To be sure, I'm a new convert. But as with many others, the living encounter with the Mac has changed my life and the way I work. Even the Vatican 'webmistress,' Sister Judith Zoebelein, recently disclosed that the Internet Office over at Catholic Central had just undergone the same conversion experience.

"So, yes - I've drunk the Kool-Aid. Yes, I've become something of a Cupertino cultist. But if your workload just happened to kill three PCs in the space of seven months, you'd probably end up one, too....

"There's an analogy of faith in this. People want to belong to something that makes greatness manifest in our own time, a movement that can show beauty and achievement as more than just traits of the past....

"As far as some of our own are concerned, man's expression of his God-given creativity halted sometime around 1570. But just as there'd be no Internet without Gutenberg and no iPhone without Bell, tradition's clock never stops ticking. It extends even into our own time and becomes our responsibility to cultivate, grow and pass forward even richer than we found it, but just as faithful to its beginnings as it was before....

"If only Apple's sense of embracing the future was heeded within the walls of the church. We need to change the perception that the only future we can offer is a return to the past. Until that happens, don't be surprised when the eager masses find their future's promise not in a living God, but in his battery-powered stand-in instead."

Mac Sales Grow Faster than Windows

InformationWeek's Antone Gonsalves reports:

"Apple notebooks and desktops in May continued to take market share away from Windows PCs in the consumer market, a research firm said Friday.

"Apple's share of desktop and notebook sales online and through brick-and-mortar stores rose to 13% from 11.6% in April, according to The NPD Group. Apple notebook sales rose to 14.3% of overall purchases from 12.5%, while desktop sales inched up to 10.4% from 10.2%."

Running Windows on Mac a Rising Trend

OSWeekly's Brandon Watts reports:

"Nowadays, there's a lot more to a Mac than OS X. Thanks to Parallels, VMware, and Apple's own Boot Camp, that beautiful Mac that you have sitting on your desk, or on your lap, can also run Windows. Granted, the experience doesn't even come close to matching that of OS X (in my opinion), but it can be done. Due to the large exposure and applications catalog that Windows has, it's easy to see why many users would supplement their OS X usage with a little bit of Windows from time to time, but did you ever stop to think about the fact that there's a segment of users who buy a Mac solely to run Windows? It may seem crazy, but it's being done.

"If you've taken the time to explore the PC hardware possibilities that are in the market today, then I'm assuming that you came away from the experience largely unimpressed. Every time I go to an electronics retailer, I scour the aisles that are loaded with Windows computers, and while a few of the products may be intriguing in design and functionality, the majority of them are still fairly generic and uninspiring.

"There's so much of an emphasis on selling budget computers, and unfortunately, their aesthetic appeal matches their price tag. When the iMac first came out, there was a resurgence of interest from the PC manufacturers in terms of building better looking machines, and even though they do look better than the eMachines of yesteryear, you can still spot a PC from a mile away."

Editor's note: There's nothing new about running Windows on Macs. Macs have had DOS support since the Dayna MacCharlie hardware introduced in 1985, add-in DOS cards since 1987 (introduced with the Mac SE and Mac II), and x86 emulators - such as SoftPC, SoftWindows, and VirtualPC - since 1986. dk

Macs 'Snap-Crackle-Pop' after 10.4.10 Update

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports:

"Apple Inc.'s update to Mac OS X 10.4.10 last week is driving some users crazy from a new popping sound.

"Dubbed 'Snap Crackle Pop' on Apple's support forum by the first to note the problem, the noise was irritating enough for one to call it 'maddening,' while another claimed it 'would slowly drive me insane.'"

Silencing Pop Once and for All

MacUser's Derik DeLong reports:

"More than a few of you may be thinking that the title suggests a way to keep the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake from being emitted from your poor computer's speakers, but no, I've found a solution to the speaker popping problem we talked about yesterday thanks to the venerable MacFixIt. Their solution (which is sure to disappear to the purgatory of their paid archives in mere days) involves a little hackery but should be generally manageable."

Apple Looking for More 500 GB Hard Drives

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"Following the lack of PowerBook top case part, Apple seems to have problem to deliver 500 GB HD to the certified Apple Centers to replace the faulty ones found in iMac 24".

"One of our team members has his iMac stacked in a French Apple Center for more than a month simply because Apple can not deliver a 500 GB HD... And still no date for a potential replacement...."

Intel Releases Core 2 Chip BIOS Fix

The Register's Austin Modine reports:

"Intel has released a BIOS patch for Windows machines running Core 2 and Xeon 3000/5000 chips that addresses potential unpredictable system behavior.

"The update is recommended for users running an Intel Core 2 Duo E4000 and E6000, Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 and QX6700, Dual-Core Intel Xeon 5100 and Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300.

"Specification updates for the affected processors are available at <http://developer.intel.com/>.:

Editor's note: No word on whether this might impact Macs. Because Intel-based Macs don't use the old BIOS system, this may not be an issue. dk

Core 2 Duo Gains 1.33 GHz Bus

MacUser's Derik DeLong reports:

"It's been a little while since we revisited the latest in Intel technology, but one new juicy tidbit has been announced. Core 2 Duo chips will soon feature 1.33 GHz frontside busses. That's double the speed of the Merom chips that fuel iMacs, MacBooks, and, up until recently, MacBook Pros (which now have a 800 MHz bus)."

Third Party Websites with iMac Updates

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"iMac third party websites for updating hardware and software.

"These updates are not supported or necessarily recommended by Apple, this is merely an information service for iMac customers.

"For more information on available USB products please visit the apple.com website "USB Products" at <http://guide.apple.com/uscategories/usb.html>."

Products

Iomega 160 GB eGo Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive

Iomega eGo hard drivePR: Take files anywhere, in style, with the Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive USB 2.0 - an extremely durable drive which includes patent pending Drop Guard feature to withstand the toughest of travel environments. Available in 160 GB capacity, it holds up to 640,000 photos, over 2,900 hours of music and 240 hours of video. Plus, the Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive requires no external power supply and includes a free EMC Retrospect HD backup software license.

At a Glance:

  • Super Durable - Extremely durable with Patent Pending DropGuard feature
  • Stylish & Compact - Ultra stylish - fits easily into a briefcase or purse
  • Easy-to-use - USB powered, no external power supply required
  • Secure EMC Retrospect HD software license included for file backup (software via download)

What You Get:

  • Iomega Portable Hard Drive
  • USB 1.1/2.0 power cable
  • Backup software license included, software via download (PC only)
  • HTML User Manual and Help Files
  • Quick Install Guide
  • One year warranty

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later

$159.95

Iomega also just introduced its new eSATA/USB 2.0 Professional Hard Drive which features an external serial ATA interface plus a USB 2.0 interface, has 500 gigabytes capacity, requires Mac OS X 10.2. or later and sells for $209.95.

Seagate Unveils 1 TB Hard Drives

PR: Seagate has announced 1 terabyte (TB) hard drives that deliver an industry-leading combination of capacity, performance and reliability for a wide range of enterprise and desktop PC applications as rampant growth of digital content continues worldwide.

This explosive growth of digital content in the home and the office is driving demand for massive amounts of hard drive storage. Businesses and consumers are generating and consuming staggering volumes of digital content - from high-definition video, music, blogs and podcasts, to Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and other large graphics files, critical business records, archived emails, and database and file server data. Seagate is focused on delivering the industry's most advanced hard drives to satisfy the world's growing need for digital content, from the home to the hand to the car and the office.

"The need for high-capacity storage in enterprise networks and home entertainment centers is almost insatiable," said John Monroe, a research vice president at Gartner. "Historians may consider the shipment of 1 TB drives as a watershed event for the industry but users will consider such devices commonplace. We believe 1 TB (and larger) drives will become 'standard equipment' in, on or near virtually every television set in the world as well as in a variety of multi-user environments."

As the industry's only second-generation desktop and enterprise perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) hard drives, the Barracuda 7200.11 and Barracuda ES.2 deliver 1 TB of capacity, 7,200-rpm spin speeds, average seek times of 8.5ms, caches up to 32 MB and Seagate's industry-leading five-year limited warranty. Seagate's newest hard drives pack 1 TB of data on just four discs to provide cool operating temperatures and low power consumption, which help extend drive life.

The Flagship of High-Capacity Enterprise Storage - Barracuda ES.2

The Barracuda ES.2 is a newly designed product optimized for demanding business-critical and nearline enterprise storage environments including: networked and tiered storage solutions, reference/compliance storage, disc-to-disc backup and restore, archiving solutions, rich media content storage and collaboration.

The Barracuda ES.2 hard drive's robust new features stand out in performance, reliability, capacity, and energy efficiency. Among them is its new RVFF (Rotational Vibration Feed Forward) system, designed to sustain performance in densely-packed multi-drive systems. The Barracuda ES.2 also boosts reliability with an industry-best unrecoverable error rate that is 10 times better than desktop class drives and a 1.2 million hour Mean Time Between Failure at full 24 x 7 data availability.

With the introduction of the Barracuda ES.2, Seagate is first to provide customers with a SAS interface option in addition to SATA. SAS offers greater levels of reliability, data integrity and performance for business-critical and nearline enterprise environments. The choice of SATA or SAS also enables greater system-design and integration flexibility for solution builders and OEMs.

"EqualLogic's customers have an insatiable demand for increasing capacities and high performance in their networked storage solutions," said John Joseph, vice president of Marketing at EqualLogic. "Seagate's strategy of offering a SAS or SATA version of a 1 TB disk drive demonstrates leadership in recognizing that customers want high performance and high capacity disks for enterprise storage. Serving both needs with a single interface like SAS simplifies technology design decisions and customer choices."

Seagate's new PowerTrim( technology is integrated into the Barracuda ES.2 and dynamically manages drive power consumption at all levels of activity. With PowerTrim, the Barracuda ES.2 addresses the IT dilemma facing energy-constrained data centers by delivering a 20% reduction in overall drive power consumption and a best-in-class 55% reduction in watts-per-gigabyte.

Desktop Storage - Barracuda 7200.11

Award-winning Barracuda hard drives are the industry standard for computing applications ranging from mainstream, high-performance and gaming PCs to workstations and desktop RAID. Now with over 42 million PMR Seagate drives already shipped, the proven technology and components of the 11th generation Barracuda 7200-Series hard drive enables Seagate to deliver high-volume shipments of the 1 TB drive with the highest levels of quality and reliability - essential in ensuring long drive life.

"Seagate is a valued and trusted supplier to Nor-Tech, and has always maintained the highest levels of field-proven reliability with consistent product delivery," said David Bollig, president of Nor-Tech. "We look forward to enhancing our portfolio of offerings using Seagate's new Barracuda drives that will offer even more choice and value for Nor-Tech's customers."

The Barracuda 7200.11 stands alone in performance among high-capacity desktop hard drives, with category-leading 105 MB/s sustained transfer rate - the highest ever. And with a low power rating of 8 watts at idle, the Barracuda 7200.11 is not only energy-efficient, but also operates cooler, increasing reliability. Barracuda 7200.11 also delivers industry-leading acoustics, as low as 2.7 Bels, which is nearly undetectable by the human ear.

The Barracuda ES.2 and 7200.11 will begin shipping in volume during the third quarter. The 1 TB Barracuda 7200.11 will be offered at an MSRP of $399.99.

Seagate remains the only hard drive manufacturer dedicated to the digital entertainment, security and surveillance markets with hard drives built to specifically address these unique applications. Seagate will extend its offerings in this area from the new 1 TB platform and will provide details as these new products become available.

Software

Miglia Enhances Its TV Products with MigliaTV Software

Miglia TVMaxPR: Miglia, a market-leading manufacturer of Macintosh-based computer peripherals, has announced its intuitive new software MigliaTV. MigliaTV software is to be used to enhance functionality in its existing TV products - TVMax+, TVMax and EvolutionTV.

MigliaTV software features a new clear design with a simple user interface. The software has been redesigned for improved usability. MigliaTV's new features include a toolbar in the scheduled recording window and new icons, allowing easier access to the 'Add to iTunes', 'Burn to DVD', 'Show in Finder' and 'Play' functions. MigliaTV software includes support for image cropping on live recordings for MPEG-4 and DivX formats. This enables you to create perfect looking videos in 16:9 format for AppleTV.

MigliaTV software is available for TVMax+, TVMax, and EvolutionTV as a free download.

The MigliaTV software download will remove earlier TVMax+ and EvolutionTV installations. Your recordings, schedules, and channel lineups will be kept.

iFreeMem - The Memory Optimizer for Mac OS X

PR: Free system memory for better application performance. A quick and easy alternative to either a reboot or RAM upgrade to get defragmented free memory.

If you are in the middle of using an application and the system becomes unresponsive for several seconds it could be the memory manager working and claiming back some of the Inactive memory for your application to use, if you wish to avoid this then iFreeMem may be for you.

Some scenarios where iFreeMem can be useful:

  • You have been busy on your laptop preparing for a presentation meeting and you would rather not have the system become unresponsive in the middle of your demo, might be worth running iFreeMem shortly before the meeting.
  • You are a musician or DJ, about to do a live performance or session using your Mac, you want to ensure everything will run smoothly and on cue.
  • You have just closed down a whole load of applications as you are just about to start a new task with different applications, you might want to use iFreeMem here.
  • You are about to run some memory hungry applications, such as graphic design software packages (Photoshop, Flash etc.)
  • Your CPU is not working hard at all, yet you are convinced your Mac used to run a little quicker when you first got it, could it be that the activity of your startup items cause Inactive memory to fill-up when you log-in, and your memory hungry applications are having to grab Inactive memory back fairly soon, making them appear to run much slower?
  • You have low 'Free' memory and high 'Inactive' memory and you want to test if your applications performs better with more 'Free' memory.
  • You just have a specific application you wish to run as fast as possible without memory manager interruptions.
  • Ideally, you would like to buy more memory, but its too expensive. This app might be a solution for a performance degradation you could have been experiencing when Free memory gets very low?

iFreeMem can improve your Mac's performance by maximizing Free memory and reducing Inactive memory!?

How can this bold statement be so?

Well, firstly lets look at Apple's official description of four types of random-access memory (RAM)

Wired memory

This information can't be cached to disk, so it must stay in RAM. The amount depends on what applications you are using.

Active memory

This information is currently in RAM and actively being used.

Inactive memory

This information is no longer being used and has been cached to disk, but it will remain in RAM until another application needs the space. Leaving this information in RAM is to your advantage if you (or a client of your computer) come back to it later.

Free memory

This memory is not being used.

This means you shouldn't worry when the Free memory is low. The only time Free memory should be high is right after the computer starts up. As you use applications or services, memory is used and transitions to Inactive. Applications that need more memory will take from the Inactive, but the Inactive is there just in case you need it again. If the combination of Free and Inactive is very low, then you might need more memory.

Source:

https://web.archive.org/web/20071011054433/http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107918

However....

There can be a performance hit when applications need to take from Inactive memory.

This can cause a very noticeable delay where the applications appear to have become temporarily unresponsive and this performance hit may not always be desirable for you, especially when you are in the middle of working with a memory hungry application or doing a presentation or even working with audio in a live recording session.

iFreeMem was created to avoid this particular performance hit happening mid-application by clearing out inactive memory in favor of maximum free memory.

New in version 1.6.2:

  • AppleScript support
  • Now working as a status bar item.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

System support: PPC/Intel

$12 shareware

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