The 'Book Review

PowerBooks Apple's Top Earners, FlexUSB Cable, a Networked USB Server, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.01.16

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars, bold links are to outside sites, and regular links lead to 'Book profiles on Low End Mac.

PowerBooks Apple's Biggest Money-Earner

Apple on Wednesday announced financial results for its fiscal 2004 first quarter, which ended December 27, 2003. For the quarter, the company posted a net profit of $63 million, or 17¢ per diluted share. These results compare to a net loss of $8 million, or 2¢ per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter reached a four-year high of $2. billion, up 36% from the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 26.7%, down from 27.6% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 44% of the quarter's revenue.

The quarter's results include an after-tax investment gain of $3 million which increased earnings per diluted share by 1¢.

Apple shipped 829,000 Macintosh units during the quarter, up 12% from the year-ago quarter, as well as 733,000 iPod units, up 235% from the year-ago quarter.

"It was an outstanding quarter for Apple, with double-digit unit and revenue growth and over 730,000 iPods sold," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We're kicking off 2004 with strong momentum, especially for Mac OS X, which is now used by almost 40% of our installed base, iPod and the iTunes Music Store, which has a 70% share of the legal music download market."

"We are very pleased to have exceeded our revenue and profit targets for the first quarter," said Fred Anderson, Apple's CFO. "Continued strong asset management enabled us to increase cash by $225 million to just under $4.8 billion. Looking ahead to the second quarter of fiscal 2004, we expect our third consecutive quarter of year-over-year double-digit growth in both revenue and earnings, with revenue of about $1.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of 8¢ to 10¢."

Portables now represent 48% of total Mac CPU sales. In the quarter Apple sold 195,000 PowerBooks (nearly twice the 101,000 units in the same quarter last year).

Ideative's FlexUSB Fully Adjustable USB Cable

Ideative, Inc. announces the release of FlexUSB Cable, the second product in their FlexConnex family of flexible products. FlexUSB Cable is a USB cable with a flexible connector, and with the smallest profile in the industry. FlexUSB Cable made its World debut at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV on Jan. 8-11, 2004.

Who says all USB cables are created equal? FlexUSB Cable blows away the competition with patent-pending FlexConnex technology, allowing USB cables to be used in difficult to reach and confined spaces. FlexUSB utilizes less than half the footprint of traditional USB connectors. Its fully adjustable design allows for cable direction to be set and locked in all four directions, without the long "loop-around" required by other cables. Like the original FlexUSB adapter, FlexUSB Cable is designed to work with both Windows and Macintosh computers, and all USB devices.

"Based on the overwhelming response our FlexUSB adapter received since last year's CES, we expect great things for FlexUSB Cable," says Tavis Schriefer, President of Ideative, Inc. "FlexUSB Cable allows anyone to securely position their cables, save space and save money at the same time. FlexUSB actually costs less than many of the competition's standard USB cables."

FlexUSB Cable is designed for today's high speed USB requirements and is made with a premium lightweight cable that is USB 2.0 Certified. FlexUSB Cable is currently shipping and is backed by a one year warranty. FlexUSB Cable is available on Ideative`s website in Standard, Mini, and USB Extension cables.

FlexUSB Cable joins the original FlexUSB adapter as the second product in the FlexConnex family of products. FlexUSB is the World`s first and only fully adjustable USB adapter. FlexUSB is a small, lightweight accessory that provides a means to position USB devices, allowing their use with all computers in even the most cramped environments. FlexUSB is rapidly becoming a standard for all computer users needing an easier and more adaptable way to connect their expanding collection of USB computer peripherals. Patent-pending FlexUSB bends, rotates and flexes in response to the changing needs of the user.

Ideative's FlexUSB adapter is currently available in nearly 50 retail stores nationwide, including Fry's, Micro Center and J&R. With sales in 11 countries to date, Ideative is well on their way to make FlexUSB available in retailers worldwide. FlexUSB Cable will join FlexUSB in wide retail distribution soon, at a price comparable to other premium USB cables.

Keyspan Introduces USB Server for PCs and Macs

Keyspan has announced its revolutionary USB Server that connects USB devices to a Mac or PC via a wired or wireless ethernet-based LAN. The USB Server will ship in late Q1 2004 with an MSRP of $129.

Much like a USB print server, the USB Server enables attached USB devices to be used and shared by client PCs on a LAN. In addition to printers, the USB Server supports other USB devices such as hard drives, scanners, and more.

The USB Device Server provides 4 ports for connecting to USB devices at Full Speed USB (12 Mbps). It connects to 10/100 ethernet networks via an RJ-45 connector and supports static IP, DHCP, and Apple's Rendezvous address assignment. Client PCs must be running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Mac OS X 10.2.8 or higher.

"This USB Server makes it possible to use and share USB printers, scanners, and hard drives across a LAN," noted Mike Ridenhour, president of Keyspan. "Yet, its most innovative use may be to enable WiFi-based laptops to connect to remote USB devices."

Kano Intros Super Fast 8x Dual-Format DVD+RW/R and DVD-RW/R Drive for Macs and PCs

K8XtremeKano Technologies introduced its super-fast 8x dual-format DVD+RW/R and DVD-RW/R drive today. The K8Xtreme has an 8x write speed for both DVD+R and -R media and can record an entire DVD in less than 15 minutes. At this time, it is the only drive capable of 8x recording on Verbatim 4x DVD-R media, which allows users to take advantage of 4x media availability and pricing.

K8Xtreme can also write to and read CD media at 32x16x40x speeds, and can read DVD-ROM at a 12x speed. A complete storage solution, with a capacity of 4.7 GB per DVD, the K8Xtreme is the perfect choice for video and audio archiving, and data backup and archiving. The new drive is available now in three versions: an internal model for PCs and external models for PCs and Macs.

"This is simply the fastest DVD recording system currently available," said Robert Young, Kano's director of national sales. "At the same time, the dual-format recording capability allows users to create home movies in either the DVD+R or DVD-R format used in most set-top DVD players. We are extremely pleased to be one of the first companies to introduce an 8X +R and -R Dual format recorder."

"Using a USB 2.0 or FireWire 400 (1394A) connection, a user can easily add K8Xtreme DVD burning capability to a PC or Mac laptop or desktop," Young continued. "PC users opting for the internal model can connect with an IDE interface."

The K8Xtreme PC models include Roxio DVD Creator 6 for quickly creating photo and video archives, or business training and promotional videos on DVD. Roxio features drag-and-drop video, menu backgrounds, video transitions and titles. The K8Xtreme Mac model includes Roxio Toast Lite for audio and video recording and playback.

The K8Xtreme comes complete with cables for the external models, drive mount screws, DVD+R media and an instruction manual. MSRPs are $199 for the K2500RI-WHT internal model for Windows and $299 for the K2500RU external USB 2.0 Windows model and the K2500RF external FireWire model. All models are available now from Kano storage-solution providers.

Zip-Linq Road Warrior Kit

The perfect travel kit for the urban commando, the Zip-Linq Road Warrior Kit includes a USB Light, a USB Optical Mouse with a retractable mini 5 pin USB cable, a retractable phone/modem cable, a retractable Cat5 networking cable, and a retractable USB A male to A female extension.

Mouse Specifications:

  • Buttons: 2+ 1 Wheel
  • Encoder: Opto-Mechanical
  • CPI: 1500
  • Cable: Retractable USB A to Mini 5 pin
  • Windows 98/2000/ME/XP

Light Specifications:

  • Length: 17"
  • LEDs: 1 white, super bright
  • Connection: USB A male

Cable Specifications:

  • Durable ABS housing.
  • Max data transfer rate: 12 MBps.
  • USB Expands from 4" to 30"
  • Modular Expands from 4" to 48"


Willow Garibaldi 17" PowerBook Backpack

Willow GaribaldiThe Garibaldi Backpack is Willow's largest backpack specifically designed to fit the 17" PowerBook with lots of extra room for accessories, peripherals or other paperwork. It offers superb protection in an understated pack which does not draw attention to the fact it's holding a very expensive laptop.


  • particularly suitable for those who are taller than 5'7" or 1.72 metres in height and who wish to carry a good quantity of extra items.
  • elegant design - at home on the road and acceptable in the boardroom in its briefcase form.
  • increased personal security by making your case NOT look like a briefcase or laptop carry case.
  • superb laptop protection through a centrally protected location surrounded by thick, single piece foam padding on the back, sides and bottom.
  • additional protection ensured by internal PowerBook compartment corrugated dividers sandwiched to a "gushy" foam padding to isolate the 17" PowerBook from the external pack walls.
  • front protection is assured by three separate levels of foam layers plus corrugated paneling and soft protective foam on the PowerBook upper surface.
  • 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.
  • easy storage of cables, and some accessories with a convenient Velcro secured, fold-down accessory divider /pocket system in the laptop compartment.
  • additional storage for the power supply and other accessories by a removable, mesh topped zippered pocket located in the upper section of the paperwork compartment.
  • extreme carrying comfort with contoured, padded shoulder straps which are quadruple layered at the back panel connection line for extreme durability.
  • removable sternum strap for increased stability and comfort as well as a removable waist belt for shifting your load to the hips and legs.
  • contoured pack back and bottom which will not allow anything to dig into your back, especially in your low back area.
  • additional thickly padded removable wrap handle for extra comfort in briefcase or vertical handle carrying mode.
  • .090 thickness of high density polyethylene reinforcement underneath the web handles with quadruple rivet reinforcing for even greater strength and durability.
  • a thickly padded traditional single shoulder carrying strap when you want to look more cosmopolitan.
  • room in the paperwork compartment for a eight centimetre (2.5") depth of letter sized file folders or other items plus a centimetre (0.5") of legal sized file folders.
  • lots of organizer pockets in the outer pocket and throughout the case.
  • convenient shoulder strap flap to hide away shoulder straps which can double as an easy to get to newspaper or magazine pocket
  • security pocket on back panel hidden under shoulder strap flap.
  • convenient shallow outer zippered pocket for airline tickets, change or other items you want fast access to.
  • new easy access cellphone pocket which can be attached securely to either of the two shoulder straps. (A second pocket for sunglasses or other items can be ordered for an extra $15 Cdn ($10 US).
  • highly reflective Scotch strips on the pack front, sides, and cell phone pocket for increased nighttime safety.
  • lifetime guarantee against defects in materials or craftsmanship.

Available colors: black, charcoal, navy

Price: $243 Cdn/$181 US

Willow Vermillion 17" PowerBook Slipcase

Willow VermillionThe Vermillion 17" PowerBook slipcase offers a lightweight, compact yet flexible solution for carrying your 17" PowerBook, power supply and cord and some accessories. The stylish design offers excellent protection for your 17" PowerBook in a compact but expandable sleeve style case.


  • the cables shown in the main photograph are the security cables of Macworld SF in January. They would not come off - but the Apple rep was much impressed with the fit and with the case.
  • excellent protection for your PowerBook afforded by 1.2 cm (0.5") soft "gushy" foam reinforced by corrugated plastic on the top and sides.
  • a clean, very lightweight and relatively compact size.
  • great carrying comfort foam wrapped, polyethylene cored padded handle designed with the seam at the top for maximum comfort.
  • contoured, padded shoulder strap with a special sticky bottom to keep it on your shoulder.
  • nylon web handle, quadruple reinforced with rivets, to insure the safety of your laptop.
  • convenient rubber luggage feet riveted through a high density polyethylene bottom piece to keep the Whumph! off the ground if you're leaning it against your leg or chair in the office, on the train or in the ballroom.
  • outer front organizer panel with pockets for business cards, pens, elasticized pocket for the Apple power supply plus room for the power cord and an ethernet cable.
  • rear flat pocket which expands to 2.8 inches of space when needed.
  • convenient under lid pocket which can be flipped up to access change and smaller items.
  • very handy, covered outer key chain clip to allow home or office keys to be immediately access on the daily commute.
  • stylish and protective reflective strips on slipcase front and sides for superior nighttime visibility.
  • lifetime guarantee against defects in materials or craftsmanship.

Available colors: black, charcoal, navy, taupe, burgundy

Price: $127 Cdn/$95 US

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).

Baucom Computers

The PowerBook Guy

Wegener Media

Note: these WallStreets are all upgradeable to G3/500 for less than $250 or to a G4/500 for around $400

The Apple Store Special Deals

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

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