The 'Book Review

World's Best PB G4 Deal, iPod Users Choose Apple Laptops, Tech Challenges of Going Mobile, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.08.30

World's Best New 12" 1 GHz PowerBook G4 Deal?

An anonymous PowerPage poster says:

"I just got an incredible deal on an iBook that I wish to share with you.

"I'm a student studying in Hong Kong. Last week I was planning to get a new iBook for my Mom so that she can get rid of her old PC and virus. When I opened the newspaper last Friday, I saw there was an advert with a huge heading HKD 6960 (US$892) for an G4/12.1-inch/iBook. I was shocked by that and immediately I dropped by the booth that held by Apple to have a look....

"PowerBook G4 12-inch with the 1 GHz processor, if you wish to add an Airport Extreme card, it cost only extra HKD 300, which is US$39. So altogether US$933 you get a brand new iBook which should be selling at US$1,178. A good deal right?"

Students Crazy about iPod Follow the Music to Apple Laptops

USA Today's Jefferson Graham reports:

"Apple's trendy iPod digital music player, which has revitalized the company, is giving laptop sales a boost during back-to-school season.

"Many students, after falling in love with the iPod, are packing for college with new Apple Macintosh computers.

"'This is my third student rush season,' says Jason Thorpe, a sales associate at the University of Oregon's computer store. 'When I started, people wouldn't even look at Macs. Everyone came in wanting a PC. This year, two-thirds of them want Macs.'

"In Tucson, at the University of Arizona's on-campus store, salesman Jeff Guba says Apple sales are way up from last year, when 4 of 10 computers sold were Macs. This year, it's 6 of 10....

"Overall, 74% of new computer sales are desktops, says market tracker IDC. But Apple does more business in laptops - 53% of sales in the third quarter.

"Apple's share of the education laptop market has risen to 26.7% from 22.6% earlier this year, IDC says."

The Tech Challenges of Going on the Road

The San Diego Daily Transcript's Phil Baker says:

"Frequent notebook users on the road are constantly dealing with battery power, easy and fast connectivity to the Internet, and protecting important data.

"Ultimately we'll have computers with 20 hours of battery life, fast online backup storage and free low-cost connectivity from virtually anywhere. But until that time arrives, we'll need to deal with reality, and use some of these products to help us."

NuPower MaxCapacity Replacement Battery for Pismo, Lombard

Newer Technology, Inc. (NewerTech) and Other World Computing (OWC) have introduced the NuPower MaxCapacity replacement battery compatible with the PowerBook G3 FireWire (2000/Pismo) and PowerBook G3 Lombard (1999/Bronze Keyboard) models.

Utilizing the latest Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) cell technology, the new 7200 mAh PowerBook battery provides 50 percent more capacity than the Apple stock battery for PowerBook G3 Lombard and FireWire models and is available immediately for $159.95.

"The NuPower MaxCapacity battery gives Pismo and Lombard owners even more use out of their laptop without having to recharge," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "Batteries don't last forever, and some people may even just like to have a second battery on hand. The MaxCapacity offers phenomenal battery run time and makes a great replacement whether your stock battery is past its time or not."

The new NuPower MaxCapacity battery rounds out the line of additional NuPower replacement batteries for G3 and G4 PowerBooks, including the NuPower 6600 mAh (now priced at $149.95, formerly $159.95) and 5400 mAh (now priced at $139.95, formerly $145.99) batteries also available for Pismo and Lombard models.

"These batteries are the 'once you try 'em, you'll love 'em' kind," O'Connor said. "Who wouldn't like more battery life for their laptop? NuPower replacement batteries give users crucial added time as their primary power source when no electric outlet is near."

The NuPower MaxCapacity battery, as well as the full line of high capacity batteries, including models for the PowerBook G3 WallStreet and Titanium PowerBook G4 are available through OWC.

MadsonLine Core Charger XK-series Announced

MadsonLine has announced a series of PowerBook and iBook battery chargers that can can charge and recalibrate batteries for the 12 and 14-inch iBook, and the 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook.

Core Charger XK-10Core Charger XK-10


  • External charge 1.25 hrs.
  • Recalibrate batteries to match fuel gauge.
  • 10 bays.
  • Will charge 12" & 14" iBooks, 12" & 15" AL PB's.


  • Rails supplied to align smaller batteries.
  • 2 recalibration bays.
  • Amber light on right side of each bay is "on" when battery needs to be recalibrated.
  • Fully SMBus compliant.
  • Draws 3.8 amps when charging 10 dead batteries.
  • Wake up feature if battery falls below 2.8 volts per cell.
  • Each bay is independent. Each bay has it's own circuit board and power supply (UL 240 - 100V AC).

Price: $1,288

Shipping late September.

Core Charger XK-4Core Charger XK-4


  • External charge 1.25 hrs.
  • Recalibrate batteries to match fuel gauge.
  • 4 bays.
  • Will charge 12" & 14" iBooks, 12" & 15" AL PB's.


  • Flashing green when charging. Solid green when done.
  • Amber light on right side of each bay is "on" when battery needs to be recalibrated. Put batteries into the recalibration bay on the right side, press the red button. The middle light then starts flashing amber. Flashing amber means it is going through the recalibration cycle. This will take 10 hours. Be patient. Solid amber means it is done.
  • Fully SMBus compliant.
  • Draws 2.4 amps when charging 10 dead batteries.
  • Wake up feature if battery falls below 2.8 volts per cell.
  • Each bay is independent. Each bay has it's own circuit board and power supply (UL 240 - 100V AC).

Price: $628

Core Charger XK-12Core Charger XK-12


  • External charge 1.25 hrs.
  • Recalibrate battery to match fuel gauge.
  • Will charge 12" iBooks, 12" AL PB's.

Price: $188

Targus Announces New Line of Apple Compatible Mobile Computing Accessories

Targus Inc., inventor of the notebook case and the preeminent provider of mobile accessory solutions, today announced a suite of products compatible with Apple PowerBook and iBook notebook computers running Mac OS X operating systems. Targus' new products unveiled today include the Wireless Ultra-Mini Optical Mouse, Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC Adapter, Podium CoolPad and the Notebook Portable LapDesk.

"Targus continues to develop a wide range of innovative product offerings compatible with all major notebook brands," said Paul Collas, director of product management for Targus. "As a pioneer of the personal computing revolution, Apple has continued to deliver high-quality products that are a perfect companion to Targus' line of accessories. Our mobile products are a natural fit with Apple's commitment to user-friendly computing environments."

Wireless Ultra-Mini Optical Mouse

Wireless Ultra-Mini Optical MouseAs the leader in mobile mice for Windows-based notebooks, Targus now offers a mouse specifically for the Apple notebook marketplace. Mimicking the aesthetics of the iBook, the mouse features the familiar white coloring and silver accents. Wireless RF technology, coupled with a compact, lightweight design, makes this mouse perfect for notebook users seeking to maintain an uncluttered workspace and carrying case. The 800-dpi optical resolution provides optimum precision and accuracy while the thumb-sized USB receiver enables precise data transmission. Also included is an on/off switch for effective power management, a three-button scrolling wheel and a carrying pouch. The mouse is compatible with Macintosh OS X as well as Windows 98, 2000, ME and XP. When used with Macintosh operating systems, the mouse does not require installation of a driver, making it plug-and-play. The Wireless Ultra-Mini Optical Mouse has a suggested retail price of $49.99 and can be purchased at online and at major retailers, such as Best Buy.

Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC Adapter

Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC AdapterTargus' Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC Adapter powers and charges iBooks and PowerBooks from a standard AC wall outlet, car cigarette lighter or commercial airplane power port. Weighing just 8.5 ounces, the compact device offers a three-in-one adapter for Mac users on the road. The Mobile 70 adapter includes two charging tips compatible with most iBooks and PowerBooks, a three-foot AC input cord, a three-foot DC (auto/air) input cord, and a six-foot DC output cord. Targus plans to introduce an optional accessory power adapter this fall with charging tips for the Apple iPod and other mobile devices. This accessory can be used in conjunction with the Mobile 70 Adapter to simultaneously charge a cell phone, PDA, or iPod from the same power source while at the same time powering a PowerBook or iBook. Targus' Mobile 70 Universal AC/DC Adapter is available at major retailers, including Best Buy, as well as online with a suggested retail price of $119.99. The additional charging tips will be available exclusively on the Targus website.

Podium CoolPad for Mac

Podium CoolPad for MacOne of Targus' more popular accessories, the Podium CoolPad increases airflow to improve the cooling efficiency of any notebook computer, including an iBook or PowerBook. The CoolPad works by raising the back edge of a notebook off the desk to allow the notebook's fan to easily pull air and cool the internal components of the notebook. By increasing heat dissipation the CoolPad prevents the system from overheating and reduces the amount of time that a computer's internal fan operates, thus potentially extending the life of the notebook. While a notebook is on the CoolPad, users can swivel the iBook or PowerBook 360 degrees, and six small rubber pads on the bottom provide a tight grip on most work surfaces. Height on the CoolPad is adjustable for optimal ergonomics, and the unit weighs less than 15 ounces. The Podium CoolPad for Mac is available exclusively at CompUSA or on the Targus website with a suggested retail price of $29.99.

Notebook Portable LapDesk for Mac

Portable LapDeskAnother popular ergonomic accessory, the Targus Notebook Portable LapDesk is a folding tray that supports a notebook computer while on a user's lap, plane service tray or other surface that can benefit from added stability and the LapDesk's cooling properties. The unit converts to an ergonomic desktop notebook stand with one quick fold, and completely collapses to fit into a briefcase when not in use. The suggested retail price of the Notebook Portable LapDesk for Mac is $29.99 and is available exclusively at CompUSA or on the Targus website.

O'Sullivan Furniture Releases New 'SmartDesk' in OfficeMax Retail Outlets

O'Sullivan Furniture, the second largest manufacturer of Ready-To-Assemble (RTA) furniture in the world, announced today the release of its new Macintosh- and PC-compatible SmartDesk, a beautifully crafted piece of furniture featuring O'Sullivan's Digital Satellite and starting at $199. Installed in O'Sullivan's Apex and Intelligent Designs' Maestro Collections, the Digital Satellite is a USB/ethernet portal that acts as a hub, a power strip, and a surge protector, eliminating the tedious process of reaching around the back of the computer tower in order to connect and switch peripherals.

"An explosion of USB-enabled devices such as digital cameras, MP3 players, and PDAs have made it essential for PC users to have multiple USB connections readily available," states Michael Franks, director of strategic planning for O'Sullivan Furniture. "Until the advent of the SmartDesk with Digital Satellite, the computer desk often has been more of a hindrance than a help in the connection of peripheral devices with a PC."

The Digital Satellite, which retails separately for $49, is a desktop electronic device that is integrated into the SmartDesk's cable management system, allowing for desktop access to USB ports, AC power, Ethernet and phone connections. These connection points will allow desktop PC users to use multiple USB-based devices, and laptop PC users to completely connect their PC at the desktop. The patent-pending Digital Satellite features two 110 -volt electrical outlets, an RJ-45 Ethernet (high speed) jack, an RJ-11 phone jack, a USB 2.0 Upstream port, four USB 2.0 Downstream ports and a lighted on/off switch.

"The most important aspect of understanding the affect of USB technology is to realize that the U stands for universal," says William Bonner, manager of marketing and communications for OfficeMax, a leading office furniture retailer. "And that fact is responsible for the growing array of USB-enabled products and the consumer's need to connect these products to their computer. This is why we welcome new office furniture innovations like the Digital Satellite, which connect the computer desk to the computer itself."

GarageBand Microphone Cable Connects XLR Mic to GarageBand

GarageBand Microphone CableProfessional microphones for sound and music recording typically have a 3-pin XLR connector designed to work with most pro music gear. The Griffin iMic USB Audio Interface has a built in preamp and is an effective and inexpensive way to connect a microphone to a computer and incorporates the computer standard stereo mini jack input.

XLR microphones have previously required a combination of awkward adapters and cables that can also cause potential audio problems. The release of the new GarageBand Microphone Cable, with its XLR connector at one end and stereo mini jack at the other, makes a clean and simple recording setup for GarageBand.

The GarageBand Microphone Cable also works great with the Griffin iTalk iPod Recording module. The Griffin iTalk turns any compatible iPod into a convenient voice recorder. Now even low impedance professional XLR microphones can connect directly into the Griffin iTalk.

Price: $24

Edge Tech Corp Releases 9-in-1 Card Reader with xD Slot

9-in-1 Card ReaderEdge Tech Corp, a leading supplier of RAM and Flash memory upgrades, portable computing products, storage devices, and other experience-enhancing technology solutions announced today the launch of a 9-in-1 Card Reader with xD Slot. This new product is the latest addition to the company's fast-growing digital media product line.

The new 9-in-1 Card Reader with xD Slot is now available for purchase at the company's reseller and distribution partners. It supports xD-Picture Cards, SD Memory Cards, MultiMedia (MMC) Cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, SmartMedia Cards, Type I/II CompactFlash Cards, and IBM Microdrive. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $24.95 after rebate.

"This product is a real compliment to our existing digital media offering, as it's our first reader solution for the xD user. Its support of nine card formats, including xD, provides the user a complete digital media reader solution. This product allows us to meet more of our customers' needs, which is the ultimate force driving our constantly evolving product mix," stated Simon Crossley, Director of Sales.

The Edge 9-in-1 Card Reader with xD Slot utilizes a USB 2.0 interface for high-speed data downloads from digital media cards to a PC or Apple Macintosh system. No additional adapter is required to support the xD format. The reader is built to easily transition from one type of card to another, allowing for easy card insertion and removal.

The product is available for purchase at, PC Mall, eCOST, Tech Depot (an Office Depot Company),,, and, and through distribution at Tech Data, Ingram Micro, and D&H Distributing.

Pentax Optio X 5.0 MP Camera

Pentax Optio XPentax Imaging Company has announced the new Optio X digital camera featuring a new twist in design innovation. Offering twice the versatility in digital imaging, the Pentax Optio X opens with just a twist of the hand and positions the lens on one side for shooting freedom and the generous LCD monitor on the other side for viewing ease. With 5.0 effective megapixel clarity, a 3X optical zoom and a unique design that allows both above-the-head and hip-level shots, the Optio X also features a high-performance, 2.0 inch, low-temperature poly silicon TFT color LCD monitor.

Optio X users will not sacrifice size for innovation. The Optio X body is a mere 7/10 inch thick making it the thinnest model in the entire Optio series. The Sliding Lens system - a unique Pentax feature that allows the lens to be completely retracted inside the body as soon as the power is turned off - makes the Optio X so easy to carry in a bag or pocket.

Along with the 5.0 megapixel clarity, a newly developed ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) improves image quality and enhances processing speed. The Optio X also features a new "My Menu" function, which allows users to group together frequently used functions for easy future access.

Pentax will unveil the Optio X and other new digital products on September 20 at the PEPCOM Holiday Spectacular in New York City.

As with all newer Pentax Optio digital cameras, the Optio X includes the latest version of ACDSee 5.1 software. With a $150 value, ACDSee digital camera software makes it easy to retrieve, view, manage, print, enhance and share your digital photos.

The Optio X will ship along with the software to major camera retailers in September 2004.

iSkin Inc. Announces New eVo 2 for Click Wheel iPod

iSkin Inc. introduces eVo 2, an update of the popular protector for Apple's dominant music player designed to offer all round surface protection while maintaining the natural beauty of the iPod.

iSkin has left in place all the things you like about the eVo such as the form fitting design, rear heat release pores, elegant lines and combined them with upgrades and other refinements in key areas of design to create the iSkin eVo 2.

The iSkin eVo 2 now ships with an upgraded reinforced rotary RevoClip, and improved screen protector that maintains an ultra-clear view of the iPod's screen with an all-new six point soft contact base that reduces the possibility of your screen scratching. The eVo 2 allows devices like the iTrip to connect seamlessly while maintaining solid protection by featuring a thinned down top surface with beveled edges. iSkin has maintained the available color selection including the Ultra-Glo (glow-in-the-dark) skin tones with future plans for limited edition skins and an even greater selection of colors.

The eVo 2 is re-eVolutionary through redesign and attention to customer feedback.

The iSkin eVo 2 sells for $29.99. It is now available online at and will soon be available at Apple Retail Stores and other fine iSkin resellers worldwide.

Altec Lansing's inMotion Spawns New iM3 for iPod Family

A short ten months ago, Altec Lansing Technologies, Inc., the leader in the design and manufacture of powered audio products, redefined portable sound with the debut of the inMotion audio system for the Apple iPod. Now Altec Lansing does high quality, compact audio one better: introducing the next generation inMotion iM3 for the iPod family, including its little sister, the iPod mini.

Building on the audio and design breakthroughs that made inMotion an instant hit with critics from Rolling Stone, PC Magazine, Cnet, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications - as well as iPod customers the world over - Altec Lansing has given the new iM3 greater features and functionality. The updated iM3 design, for example, sports a perforated aluminum grillwork over its four full-range, custom-designed 1" neodymium micro drivers. A brand-new hinge system makes the unit easier to open and close; also included are an assortment of docking bay adapters for the growing iPod family of products.

Playback convenience on the iM3 has been improved with the addition of a wireless remote that controls power, volume, and song navigation from across the room. International travelers will find the iM3 more convenient thanks to an innovative universal power supply with a changeable plug set.

What hasn't changed in the inMotion iM3 is the audio quality that vaulted the original inMotion to the top of the portable speaker category. Simply insert an iPod or iPod mini and be amazed at the powerful, full-frequency output that enriches any kind of music.

Key to the inMotion iM3's powerful sound output is a 4-watt Class D digital amplifier, generating a surprising dynamic range for a unit only 8" by 5.4" by 1.2" in size. The iM3 also includes patented MaxxBass technology for impressive bass response. Founded on the principle of the "missing fundamental," MaxxBass creates harmonics that mimic the original bass sound - a strategy often used in the professional audio world where large speakers are impractical.

A wealth of handy features make the new iM3 as easy to use as it is to listen to. By placing an iPod or iPod mini into the docking bay, users can fill their room with music while synchronizing files, transferring data, and recharging their device. The iM3 also provides more than 24 hours of battery life.

The wireless remote, when not in use, stores in a specially designed slot atop the unit. Other handy features include front-mounted on/off and volume controls, a 3.5 mm jack with cable for auxiliary input from any suitable device, and padded carrying case.

Altec Lansing's inMotion, upon which the new iM3 is based, has been an instant hit since its debut in October, 2003. PC Magazine and Cnet both picked the inMotion as an 'Editor's Choice' Rolling Stone gave the inMotion 3 out of 4 stars, while Wired magazine scored it 8 out of 10 and Network World tallied a perfect 5 out of 5.

Altec Lansing's inMotion iM3 portable audio system is priced at $179.95 (MSRP) and will be available in late summer at all Apple store locations as well as the Apple online store.

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

Baucom Computers

Editor's note: Interesting juxtaposition here. You could add a FastMac or DayStar 550 MHz processor upgrade to the Pismo and have a faster, more rugged machine with expansion bay support for the same or less money than the TiBook

Power Max


Small Dog Electronics

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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