The 'Book Review

Disappointing PC Laptops, Apple's Superior Laptops, 10 Hour Fuel Cells, Apple ProCare, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.04.09

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.

PC Laptops Are Kinda Disappointing

Blogger Dennis T Cheung says:

"To this day, I continue to be perpetually disappointed with the PC laptop experience. They're almost always ugly, they have poor power management, they don't go to sleep guaranteed on on lid close, you can't change batteries without plugging them in, and the OEMs always add weird stuff to the machine.

"For example, why did Toshiba add that stupid 'eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' on lid close feature? I mean, did they really envision a scenario in which a person who closes their laptop lid lets everyone in a 50 foot radius know "HEY! My Toshiba's lid is closing!! Look at me!!"

"Then there are Sony Vaios with the jog wheel that doesn't do anything, and support for memory stick which no one uses.

"And finally, there's my Acer, which has a bunch of extra rubber flaps that don't do anything.

"I hope Longhorn will fix some of the weird OS/Hardware integration issues.

"But for now, Apple definitely do laptops right IMHO."

"Apple Has Always Made Superior Laptops"

Blogger Omar Shahine, a Lead Program Manager on Virtual PC for Mac, says:

"I can't tell you how many times I've closed my laptop lid, placed it in my bag and opened it back up on the train a 30 minutes later to find the battery half drained. Since I refuse to install any of the Toshiba Power management software for my Tablet PC (because it locks it up from time to time) I get about 1.2 hours of juice as my tablet runs at full bore the whole time.

"Apple has always made superior laptops. They just work, aren't ugly with dozens of panels, protruding pieces of plastic and boneheaded design placement like my microphone that is located right near my loud fan. Oh, and lets not even mention the 15 or so stickers that come on the thing. That's just tacky. I'm not sure this will ever change. The business that OEMs are in require that they compete on price, so they'll never spend the kind of money Apple does to make their stuff sexy and functional. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to an Apple store and play with a 15 or 12 inch PowerBook. Notice the clean design, smart placement of panels, lack of stickers and panels, fluid lines, pulsing LED lights, keyboard controls that have stunning On Screen UI, and ambient light detection for back lighting the keyboard etc."

Samsung Readies Portable Fuel Cell, Could Provide 10 Hours of Power to a Notebook Computer

IDG News Service's Martyn Williams says:

"Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, the research and development arm of South Korea's Samsung Electronics, has successfully developed a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), the company says.

"Direct methanol fuel cells mix methanol with air and water to produce electrical power and are viewed by many as a potential successor to Lithium-Ion and other batteries used in devices such as notebook personal computers and other portable electronics devices."

ProCare at Your Apple Store

Apple has announced ProCare, their newest level of service for Apple customers. As a ProCare member you'll enjoy a higher level of service and support at your local Apple Retail Store. Best of all, if you're currently a Pro Card member, your first year of ProCare is free.

With ProCare, you'll get added benefits over and above our standard level of service:

  • Rapid Repairs. Get priority, next-day turnaround on in-store repairs.
  • Reserve a Genius. No waiting at our Genius Bar with up to seven-day advance reservations.
  • Complete setup. We'll transfer your old files and get you ready to roll before you leave the store.
  • Custom workshops. Book free, one-hour workshops to take your skills further.
  • Exclusive discounts. Get special discounts on selected Apple and third-party products.

Get ProCare for $99. Pro Card members get their first year free. If you're currently a Pro Card customer, just bring your Pro Card to your local Apple Retail Store by July 31, 2004 and get your new free ProCare card, good for an entire year. Or purchase a ProCare card for $99 at your local Apple Retail Store.

iBook Production Moving to China? Emma Wang and Steve Shen report:

"Asustek Computer will initially invest US$25 million (about NT$825 million) to build a plant in Shanghai, China, according to a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.....

"The Chinese-language newspaper Commercial Times reported today that Apple Computer, which contracts its iBook models to Asustek, has pushed the local motherboard maker to migrate its notebook production to China from the third quarter. The migration is expected to complete by the end of this year...."

Milano iBook and PowerBook Leather Cases

Milano leather casesThe Milano leather case is as slim and full-featured as your new PowerBook or iBook. This high-quality leather case is geared to the executive who wants a slim, stylish case for business use.

Crafted of high-quality cowhide leather, the Milano comes in a 12", 15", and 17" version to ensure a custom fit for all PowerBook models. The 12" and 14" iBook also fit nicely in the respectively sized cases. The Milano is a tight design that avoids the bulkiness found in most other cases.

The Milano has a comfortable, padded non-slip shoulder strap with an attachment for your iPod, digital camera or cellphone. Or you can go strapless and carry the case by its rugged handle. The buckles and handle connectors are all-high quality solid stainless steel hardware.

The interior features a padded laptop pocket, lined with soft plush fabric. A smaller pocket holds your non-digital documents and folders. There is also a pocket for your extra batteries, cables, adapters, etc. The back of the case features a large open pocked for quick access to magazines, plane tickets or other quick-reach items.

The Milano is a slim design with enough storage for the "on the go" professional. Matter of fact, it is so sleek that most people won't even realize that you have a laptop in your bag.

Milano iBook and PowerBook Cases sell for $139.95.

FireWire 1394a/USB 2.0 32-bit CardBus Adapter

The CB1394U is a PCMCIA standard-compliant, 32-bit, high-performance bus-mastering architecture for Mac and PC computers. Broadening the ability of interconnect between computers, computer peripherals, consumer devices either USB 1.1/USB 2.0, FireWire/1394a or iLink ports

Provides a 32-bit multiplexed address/data path, which can yield a peak bandwidth of 132 Mbps using the synchronous burst-transfer orientation of PCI. The CB1394U can assume control of the system bus and act as system-bus masters, allowing for "intelligent" system adapters.

The CB1394U CardBus supports Win98, 98SE, ME, 2K, XP, and Mac OS 9.x or higher


  • Operating System: Win 98SE, ME, 2K, XP, Mac OS 8.6 or higher
  • IEEE 1394 Interface: IEEE 1394-1995, IEEE 1394a compliant. Support data
  • transfer rate up to 100, 200, 400 MBps. SBP-2 Target
  • Revision 4 compliant.
  • One 6-pin 1394a port, One 4 pin 1394a port, Two USB2 ports

PowerBook G4: Customer-Installable Parts Procedures

This document contains links to QuickTime Movies and written instructions, in both text and PDF format, for installable parts for the PowerBook G4 model computer.

iBook G4: Customer-Installable Parts Instructions

This document contains links to replacement instructions in PDF format for the customer-installable parts listed below. These instructions cover customer-installable parts for the iBook G4 and iBook G4 (14-inch).

PowerBook and iBook: Identifying the Right Power Adapter and Power Cord

Learn which power adapter, power cord, and plug are appropriate for which PowerBook and iBook computers from this document.

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) and the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz.

Wegener Media

  • PowerBook 5300cs, 8/775 MB, floppy, AC. Get a great deal on a low-end PowerBook. Just in from being refurbished, $49.99
  • PowerBook 1400cs, 16/775 MB, floppy, new Battery, AC, $99.99

Baucom Computers

Power Max

Refurbished PowerBooks

  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, $1,149
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/667, 256/30/Combo, $1,449
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, $1,599
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/800, 512/40/Combo, AirPort, $1,629
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SuperDrive, AirPort, $1,849
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, $2,649

Small Dog Electronics

Refurbished PowerBooks and iBooks

  • 12" iBook G3/800, 128/30/CD-ROM, AirPort, $759
  • 12" iBook G4/800, 128/30/CD-ROM, $899
  • 12" iBook G4/800, 256/30/Combo, $999
  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/SuperDrive, $1,349
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $1,699

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Best iBook G4 Deals, and Best iBook G3 Deals.

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