The 'Book Review

iBook G4 Field Report, Drive Replacement, 1 GB Upgrade; Temperature Monitor; New iPod Case; and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.11.14

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

iBook G4/933 First Impressions

An Accelerate Your Mac reader reports:

"It finally arrived. According to vendors, the 933 was the most in demand of the three models....

"Compared to my iBook 12" G3, not ONE external component is the same. Not materials, not keyboard, not power adapter.

"The new center material is lighter grey than the old design, and has NO sheen to it. The outer shell is no longer clear, but solid white. The power button is textured white, the keyboard is opaque and of the same exact color as the middle materials. The hinge is not metal colored. The touchpad is a different material, as is the button. Even the power cord extension from the brick is 3 pronged instead of two, round instead of flat, and white instead of grey. The only items that look to be the same are the VGA adapter and the included modem cable."

Actually, that description matches my 10+ month old "Opaque White" 700 MHz iBook quite well. Looks like Apple has switched to the Opaque White motif across the board. Personally, I'm quite partial to the look.

As for the 933 MHz G4 iBook being the most popular configuration, that's no surprise. The 933 unit hits a sweet spot of price/value.

iBook G4 Owner Replaces Internal Hard Drive

Accelerate Your Mac has an interesting reader report on replacing the hard drive in a new G4 iBook

"I ordered the 30 gig internal knowing I'd be replacing it. I xBenched it at about 59 points. The drive did get noticeably hot during use, making my left hand sweat! I looked on the old dual USB iBook pages for how to replace the hard drive, and have some great comments to report.

"First of all, you don't have to remove the bottom cover at all (on the iBook G4 model) to remove the top. Remove all the screws on the bottom, and there are now two extra in the battery compartment. The bottom will not remove even if you try, there are two screws near the slot loading optical drive! Anyhow, remove the keyboard, AE card and the plate to access the RAM.

"Disconnect the keyboard, remove all screws (including one under the small round magnet in the middle-top). The top of the case then comes off very easily, starting with the battery compartment and going around clockwise until it comes off the last corner, since it needs to come out quite a bit to get it over the power plugin.

"The heat shield comes off easily and the drive was a cinch to replace!...I don't recommend anyone actually do this, since it was a nightmare of nervousness, BUT if you know not to try and pry the bottom of the case open, it's really quite easy, just take your time."

Trans Intl Introduces 1 GB Memory Modules for iBook G4

The question is answered. The new iBook G4s will support 1 GB of RAM.

Trans Intl. has announced the availability of a 1 GB DDR memory upgrade module for the newly released iBook G4 800 MHz, 933 MHz, 1 GHz Model.

The iBook G4 models have one available memory expansion slot for main memory expansion and 128 MB of RAM soldered on the system logic board. Trans Intl's 1 GB memory modules brings the system's main memory in the iBook G4 models to 1152 MB of RAM.

Without this upgrade, the system memory capacity was limited to a total of 640 MB of memory as currently specified in Apple documentation.

Trans Intl. memory modules conform to Apple's stringent electrical and mechanical design guide lines. Trans Intl 1 GB DDR Memory Modules operate at a clock rate of 133 MHz and transmits data at 266 Mbps.

The 1 GB module sells for $449.

For more information, visit:

Willow Winspear Brief Laptop Case

The Winspear Brief laptop case is a lightweight and compact solution for safely transporting your laptop. The simple effective design offers excellent protection for you laptop without the expense and bulk of unwanted features.

Winspear Brief Laptop Case Features:  

  • Clean, lightweight and flexible design.
  • Excellent protection for your iBook or Pismo afforded by 1.2 cm (0.5") foam reinforced by corrugated plastic on the back, high density polyethylene reinforcement on the handle side and 4 mm (1/8") hardboard on the bottom.
  • exterior 600 denier polyester and interior 200 denier nylon both of which are urethane coated for waterproofedness. The fabrics give an excellent balance between superb protection and durability and light weight.
  • Exterior 600 denier polyester and interior 200 denier nylon both of which are urethane coated for waterproofedness.
  • Excellent shoulder carrying comfort insured by a wide, contoured, thickly padded shoulder strap.
  • Heavy duty mountain bike style briefcase handle double rivet reinforced (on each side) through the wrap handle to insure the safety of your laptop.
  • Convenient DVD, CD-ROM & cable pockets located in the laptop section for easy access plus extra room for manuals or other letter sized paperwork on lower accessory level.
  • Outer front organizer panel with pockets business cards, pens, elasticized pocket for the Apple power supply plus room for the power cord and an ethernet cable.
  • Outside flat, outer pocket for airline tickets, thin paperwork, etc.
  • Flat external rear pocket especially handy for maps, magazines or newspapers.
  • A velcroed elastic strap to lockdown your laptop and 1.2 cm ( 0.5") of paperwork for further protection.
  • Handy mesh pocket in the lid for safe and convenient storage of cables or other thin items.
  • luggage feet riveted through the hardboard bottom of the case which actually keep • It up and off the ground when you want to set the case down whilst entering and leaving your vehicle.
  • Lifetime guarantee against defects in materials or craftsmanship

Available colors: black, charcoal, navy

Pricing: $115 Cdn./$83 US

Temperature Monitor 1.4 Displays CPU Temperature

Temperature MonitorTemperature Monitor is a Mac OS X application that displays the current processor temperature of selected Macintosh computers. It will only work on hardware equipped with temperature sensors

The temperature can be displayed in a variety of formats and styles, selectable by the user. You can choose between one or more of the following options:

  • display in a standard window
  • display in the Dock
  • display in the system menu
  • display in a "floating" transparent window hovering on top of your applications
  • display in a history graph that shows measurements in a selectable time interval
  • talking thermometer that will speak the current value whenever the temperature changes
  • ASCII output, usable at the Terminal command line or in any script language supported by Mac OS X

Temperature Monitor supports the following units to display its values:

  • Celsius
  • Fahrenheit
  • Kelvin
Supported Hardware

The following Macintosh models are definitely supported by Temperature Monitor, because they are equipped with dedicated temperature sensors:

  • Power Macintosh G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors)
  • Power Macintosh G4 (FW 800)
  • Power Macintosh G5
  • PowerBook G4 (12")
  • PowerBook G4 (15-inch FW800)
  • PowerBook G4 (17-inch)
  • XServe
  • XServe (Slot loading)

For all other models, there is no easy answer: Analysis of over hundred Macintosh systems shows that there is no one-to-one-relationship between model name and support status possible. Apple appears to have shipped Macintosh product lines with same labels but different hardware inside. For example, in the product series known as "Power Macintosh G4 Cube", some systems are capable of providing temperature values and others are not. The computers known as "iBook (Late 2001)" may have a PowerPC 750 cxe v 2.4, or a PowerPC 755 v3.1 inside, and so forth...

Unfortunately, this means it is impossible to predict if Temperature Monitor will run correctly on your hardware. Your only chance is to let the software analyze your particular computer.

It is very likely that your hardware is capable of providing temperature values even if it has no temperature sensor if your computer uses one of the following processors:

  • PowerPC 745 (G3)
  • PowerPC 750 (G3)
  • PowerPC 750cxe (G3)
  • PowerPC 755 (G3)
  • PowerPC 7400 (G4)

Your Macintosh system is very likely not capable of providing temperature values if it has no temperature sensor and uses one of the following processors:

  • PowerPC 750fx (G3)
  • PowerPC 7410 (G4)
  • PowerPC 7450 (G4)
  • PowerPC 7455 (G4)
  • PowerPC 970 (G5)

New in this version: Support for temperature sensors of the next generation aluminum PowerBooks (Apple PowerBook G4 15-inch FW800) and support for the PowerMac G5 have been added. Please note that the temperature reading displayed for G5 models is not the CPU core temperature. See the Release Notes for further information.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2.5 or higher

Temperature Monitor is freeware.

iCover II Designed to Protect and Preserve Laptop Computers

Acme Made, a division of Tonic Ware, Inc., has announced the introduction of the iCover II, Acme Made's newest addition to their successful iCover line of screen covers for Apple PowerBook and iBook computers.

The iCover is an important product to help protect the computer's display from dirt and oils that build up on the keyboard and are subsequently transferred to the screen when the laptop is closed and can result in permanent damage to the display.

The new product was redesigned specifically to meet the needs of Apple's newly redesigned aluminum PowerBook computers but the new iCover also fits the titanium PowerBook models. "The iCover II is one of the best and most inexpensive investments a PowerBook owner can make to protect and preserve their computer," explains Acme Made's Kirk Thornby.

The redesigned iCover features two mesh side panels that allow the product to fit better, slide on easier, and improve the cover s overall durability. The iCover II is made from a very soft micro suede fabric that does not scratch and is gentle enough to be used as a cleaning cloth for the display. Additionally, because of the unique, micro-thin fabric, the iCover II does not place undue pressure on the computers hinges or latch.

The iCover II is available now internationally through Acme Made's Web site and soon through major Apple dealers and resellers. The product retails for $24.99 for the 12" and 15" models and $25.99 for the 17" version.

Willow Shows Laptop Cases at Southern California MacFair

Willow Design will be exhibiting its newest cases November 15 & 16th at Southern California MacFair 2003 at Cerritos College. Willow will be showing their new Cinema Display and G5 Tower cases and dust covers as well as a variety of their PowerBook and iBook slipcases, carry cases, backpacks and handbags.

Apart from being able to showcase new cases, the SoCal MacFair is a great opportunity to get feedback from Mac enthusiasts. "Many of our best products are the result of user requests so we're particularly looking forward to getting new ideas and feedback," commented Willow president, Nigel Peck. Attendees can get a $5 discount by going to the MacFair website and use Willow's Discount Code WD-1.

Contour Design Shipping Innovative New iPod Case

Contour ShowcaseContour ShowcaseContour Design, Inc., a leading provider of innovative computer devices, introduced a new accessory for Apple's latest generation of iPod digital music players, the Contour Showcase.

"By applying advanced dual-injection molding technology, our design team has created a distinctive case that complements the clean, sleek beauty of the iPod," said Chris Charyk, Managing Director of Contour Design's Media and Macintosh Products Group. "There are many cases out there that offer protection, but they all somehow compromise that incredible iPod look and feel. The Contour Showcase is the first case on the market that truly highlights the iPod's design &endash; the Showcase actually looks and feels like a natural extension of the iPod."

The Contour Showcase fits all latest generation iPods (touch control models): 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 GB versions.

The Contour Showcase represents an ingenious melding of the best features of both hard and soft cases:

  • sleek, clean design that seamlessly integrates ultra-clear, protective plastic and soft, shock-absorbing rubber
  • quick, scratch-free iPod insertion and removal
  • impact-resistant cover allows perfect visibility of the iPod display
  • convenient openings for quick access to iPod controls, connectors, headphone jack and hold switch
  • horizontal belt clip provides a secure, comfortable fit
  • slim profile - slips comfortably into pocket when belt clip is detached

The suggested retail price of the Contour Showcase is $39.95.

For my full review of the Contour Showcase read The Road Warrior Review - Contour Design Showcase iPod Case And Belt Clip Combo.

Available at the Applelinks Think Different Store.

Florida Developer Gives Portable Mac Users More Wireless Web CDMA Options With Software Driver

An interactive media firm has developed a software program enabling Apple Computer notebook users to surf the Web using a device that was originally designed solely for the PC.

Stretched Out Software Inc.'s AirCard 555 Driver has also been given the thumbs up by Apple Computer, Inc.

The driver is now listed for review on Apple's website, which is home to The Macintosh Products Guide containing information on more than 20,000 software and hardware products for the Mac platform and is used heavily by end users to help them find information on a particular product or technology.

Stretched Out Software has sold more than 60 copies to date and climbing. The software is available for purchase online and was developed in October using development tools licensed through the Apple Developer Connection. It provides Mac notebook users a high-speed connection to the Internet via the nation's cellular telephone network. This service is not to be confused with WiFi, which is wireless Internet access that is piped in from a server-based landline system.

"We're excited about the response we've seen so far, and the feedback we've gotten from our users is quite amazing," said Greg O'Lone, Stretched Out founder and president. "We believe this driver will enable hundreds, if not thousands, of Mac users to be able to browse the Web and conduct various remote functions with their notebooks."

The AirCard 555 Driver software was developed specifically for the Mac OS X operating system using the Sierra Wireless AirCard 555 hardware.

Jason Michaels, president of 2.prosper Inc., a technology security consulting firm, approached Stretched Out about the challenge he had after switching from a PC laptop to a Mac notebook. He had invested about $250 in the AirCard hardware, which he wanted to keep.

"I had just bought this $2,500 laptop and wanted to make it work because I use it when I travel around the country for work," Michaels said. "I was told by my wireless Internet provider that there was no Macintosh support whatsoever and there never would be, but Stretched Out Software changed that."

Michaels uses the wireless Internet connection and the software made by Stretched Out to conduct remote administration of secure computer networks. He recommends the Stretched Out software program to any Mac notebook user with the same needs.

The driver has also caught the attention of other interactive services companies.

"The driver works like a charm. We were able to demonstrate our Internet product from the hotel room, from the showroom floor, anywhere without a hitch," said Jeff Milton, creative services director for Memphis, Tenn.-based GMotion. "They saved the trip and made us look like pros."

Bargain 'Books

There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (Gigabit Ethernet/2001) and G4/667 (DVI).


Wegener Media

Small Dog Electronics

  • new 15" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, Bluetooth & Airport Ready with InCase Large Laptop Sleeve, $2,625
  • refurb 14" iBook 900, 256/40/Combo, includes Ted Landau's book, "Sad Macs, Bombs, and Other Disasters," $1,079

Apple Store Special Deals

Baucom Computers

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals and Best iBook Deals.

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