The 'Book Review

Better Battery for 15" AlBook, youPod Sync and Backup, iBook Comparison, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.11.24

iPod News

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

High-Capacity NewerTech Battery for 15" Aluminum PowerBook/G4

PR: Newer Technology, Inc. and Other World Computing have announced availability of the NuPower AL15 high-capacity replacement battery for the 15" aluminum PowerBook G4.

The 53.3 watt-hour NuPower AL15 battery is available immediately for $129.99 and offers the longest run-time of any battery currently on the market for 15" aluminum G4 PowerBook models.

"We have had such significant demand for a 15" aluminum G4 model PowerBook battery that when we first made the AL15 available, all we could do was list it on our Web site without a formal news release and try to keep it in stock," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "It's only now, three months after we first began shipping, that our supply is ramped up to the point where we can let the 'rest of world' know about this great product."

The NuPower AL15 batteries are built in the United States using premium Li-Ion cells manufactured in Japan and/or Canada. By using only the best components and building them in the U.S., NewerTech is able to ensure that its batteries run longer at full charge and last longer compared to other batteries built to lesser standards. The high-quality cells also allow for more charge cycles than other batteries, and stringent quality control measures make sure that the batteries will not be recalled as others have been.

"We believe these and all of our laptop batteries are honestly the very best batteries you can buy," O'Connor said. "We build them not only to run longer, but also with lasting reliability in mind. This makes good economic sense, and it certainly benefits the environment with less waste as well."

The NuPower AL15 batteries, as well as NewerTech's full line of the highest capacity PowerBook batteries available, can be purchased through OWC and other fine retailers. Also available are the longest lasting and highest capacity NuPower iPod batteries (with some models reported to provide more than 21 hours of continuous playback).

iBook Specifications Page: October 2004 & April 2004 iBooks Compared

NEWS: Poste at MacSpeedZone, these tables show the major specifications and features for Apple iBooks. Different configurations for the iBooks are based on Apple's Online Store. Vendors' configurations may vary.

Configurations and prices reflect that of the machines when they were introduced.

Major technological changes from last generation of iBooks:

  1. Processor speed moves from 1 GHz and 1.2 GHz to 1.2 GHz and 1.33 GHz, respectively
  2. $100 price drop on low-end model
  3. Hard drive of middle model moves from 40 GB to 60 GB
  4. SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) now standard on high-end model
  5. 54 Mbps AirPort Extreme now comes installed as stock, rather than optional

OWC FireWire Solutions 100% Compatible with Mac OS 10.3.6

PR: Other World Computing has announced that its highly regarded FireWire solutions are completely compatible with all versions of Apple's OS X 'Panther,' including 10.3.6.

While some other companies have had to issue fixes in order for their FireWire products to operate on a machine upgraded to 10.3.6, OWC drives have required no such update or fix.

"For the record, OWC's FireWire solutions are 100 percent compatible with Apple OS 10.3.6," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "We have literally had customers write and thank us for providing them with drives that didn't take a nosedive when they upgraded to 10.3.6. And in fact, we have actually seen an increase in sales on all of our FireWire solutions and empty enclosure kits. This is a result of the positive discussion taking place in online forums with regard to our drives' resiliency to problems that have plagued other FireWire products since 10.3.6 was released."

OWC's FireWire products include its Mercury line of storage solutions, including Mercury Elite FireWire 800/400/USB solutions, Mercury On-The-Go portable solutions, and Mercury Pro CD/DVD optical solutions. Also, OWC has its own line of FireWire drive enclosures, as well as the OWC Neptune line of FireWire solutions for "value done right."

iPod News

youPod v1.1: Sync Your Work, Back Up Your Mac

PR: You've got a Mac and an iPod. It's pretty cool that you can sync your calendars and export your addresses to your iPod to use when you're "on the go" - but what about when you "get there"? You can't use them on another Mac, even though it's "right there" on your iPod!

youPod changes all this. youPod lets you take your real AddressBook and iCalendars with you, as well as your bookmarks for Safari, Firefox, or Explorer. You can even take your Keychain so you don't have to remember all of those passwords and logins.

youPod even turns your iPod into an iTunes Music Share when you're away so you can play and share your music as well as makes all your music visible to the Finder in a well organized directory structure with the My Music button.

youPodJust use youPod's super-easy interface to pick what you want to take with you, and when you get back, just click on the youPod icon to sync any changes you made while away.

youPod is like .mac for your iPod, but so much more!

When you're away, youPod knows and adjusts accordingly. Run youPod from your iPod when you get where you need to go, and it adds a handy menu to the menubar without "hacking" the system you're using.

Choose whatever you want - your bookmarks, keychains, addresses, and calendars are waiting, just like at home. Click again, and everything is set back. It's that simple. Nothing is left behind. No rebooting, no admin privileges, no drivers no logout. It just works.

youPod lets the music play, even when you are away

You carry your music with you; it's why we have iPods. Wanna "get your groove on" at another Mac? youPod can help. Click 'My Music' when you're home, and youPod makes a youMusic folder that is visible on your iPod. Your music is organized by Artist and Album.

When you are away, youPod turns your iPod into an iTunes Music Share. You, and everyone else on the network can enjoy the music on your iPod, without altering the playlists on the Mac your iPod is connected to.

youPod does even more - on all of your iPods

One youPod license allows you to use it with any and all iPods you may have. It works with all iPod models.

Need to send your Mac for repair? youPod makes sure your personal info is safely stored.

Backing up your personal data is not routinely done, or, if it is, there's an additional charge. Often, Service Centers run Restore Utilities to set the machine back to the factory default. You may have your apps backed up, but the tedium of reentering your ISP settings, appointments, and other custom info is left to you. youPod takes care of safely storing this info with one click. Click SafeKeeping when you're home, and your settings are saved to your iPod in case of emergency.

youPod can also run AppleScripts when you insert and/or eject your iPod. If you're like us, when you're ready to go, you grab your iPod and run - right after you close this app, set your iChat to "Away," and lock your screen. You've got stuff you usually do. youPod can help! AppleScripts that automate all sorts of things are available for free all over the Web. Try this feature out, its really helpful!

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3+ and an iPod

youPod is $12.95 shareware.

H2O Audio Launches Waterproof MP3 Player Housing and Speaker Headset for iPod mini

PR: H2O Audio has announced the launch of the H2O Audio SV-iMini, the first fully waterproof and submersible housing for Apple's iPod mini. The SV-iMini includes a unique dial and push button assembly for use underwater, providing full access to the iPod mini's proprietary Click Wheel controls.

Audio SV-iMiniWatersports enthusiasts can now take their iPod mini with them while participating in sports such as wakeboarding, surfing, snowboarding, swimming and kayaking. H2O Audio's patented waterproof headset is lightweight and designed to stay securely fastened through the wipeouts, flips and turns endured by today's surfers, snowboarders and wakeboarders.

"Having music in the water is simply amazing," said Peter Mel, professional surfer and world-class big wave rider. "Big props to H2O for creating a product that could be the biggest technological advancement in surfing since the short board."

Designed for extreme wear and tear, the new H2O Audio SV-iMini includes H2O Audio's durable waterproof housing featuring easy-to-use controls and a comfortable waterproof headset. Patented technology allows the device and headphones to play clear music both in and out of the water.

"Apple's iPod mini has made waves in popular culture," said Kristian Rauhala, CEO of H2O Audio. "Our SV-iMini lets customers enjoy their iPod mini in places they never before imagined, such as the ocean, ski slopes or swimming pool."

Key Features

  • Waterproof housing for the iPod mini
  • Waterproof speaker headset
  • Unique watertight scrollwheel control assembly
  • Impact-resistant design
  • Compatible with standard headphones for land use
  • Allows easy access to iPod mini functions
  • Sleek, lightweight design

MSRP for the H2O Audio SV-iMini housing and headphones is US$149.95. The H2O Audio SV-iMini will be available in December at selected retailers and at the H2O Audio eStore.

MCE Launches TuneWear iPod 4G (Click Wheel) and iPod mini Product Line

PR: MCE Technologies, LLC has entered into an exclusive agreement with TuneWear to sell and distribute their products in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

The initial product lineup will consist of IceWear, a transparent case made from high quality silicone, and PRIE, an upscale and fashionable case that is available in four different colors. TuneWear cases are designed in Japan by hfo:design.

TuneWear cases are built using materials, features and craftsmanship that you would see in much more expensive cases, but at a fraction of the price.

"We are excited to launch TuneWear products exclusively in the United States, Canada, and Latin America," said Arnold Ramirez, president of MCE. "These are world-class products, crafted with extremely high quality, and best of all, they are affordably priced. iPod owners will be thrilled by the workmanship and design of these cases."

Unlike existing silicone cases, IceWear uses the same silicone found in diving masks, which allows for both scratch protection and a crystal clear view of your iPod 4G (Click Wheel) or iPod mini's original color. The IceWear design allows access to all ports including the headphone jack, dock connector, hold switch and click wheel.

The shock absorbing ribs on the sides not only serve to protect your iPod 4G (Click Wheel) or iPod mini during falls, but they also function as a grip when held in your hand or when placed on most any surface. IceWear can also be attached to a belt or shoulder carry bags, with the added functionality of a belt loop feature.

Finally, IceWear was designed to protect the screen, but not obstruct the LCD view by covering it up. To accomplish this, IceWear has a raised border around the screen area made from extruded silicone around the LCD. The result is both crystal clear screen viewing and excellent protection.

PRIE is available in four different colors: Key Lime, Ruby Pink, Canvas Gray, and Jet Black. With the exception of Jet Black, each case is two toned with an eye-catching white accent on the front panel.

PRIE cases provide excellent protection for your iPod mini against dirt and scratches. With the top flap down, the iPod is completely surrounded and protected.

The TuneWear product line is available immediately from The MCE Store.

TuneWear products will be available from MCE resellers within the next 30 days.

IceWear highlights:

  • Now available for iPod 4G (Click Wheel) and iPod mini, iPod 3G version coming soon
  • High-density transparent silicone
  • Easy to put on, easy to take off
  • Shock absorbing ribs
  • Complete access to iPod's controls and connectors
  • Unobstructed view of the screen
  • Grips in your hands and grips to most surfaces
  • Belt loop for use with belts or shoulder carry bags
  • Washable with water and soap!
  • Suggested retail price of $24.95

PRIE highlights:

  • Now available for iPod mini, iPod 4G (Click Wheel) version coming soon
  • 4 color choices - Key Lime, Ruby Pink, Canvas Gray, Jet Black
  • Full access to headphone jack and dock connector
  • Top cover flips open for access to controls, or flips closed to cover and protect controls
  • Highest quality cut, stitching, and craftsmanship
  • Packaging allows for a 360-degree view of the product inside
  • Suggested retail price of $39.95

MCE develops and markets a wide range of Apple Macintosh related products and solutions to distributors, dealers and end users. MCE is based in Irvine, California.

Tech Trends

ATI Extends Notebook Graphics Leadership with Additions to Mobile PCI Express Portfolio

PR: ATI Technologies Inc., the global leader for PC graphics, announced two powerful new PCI Express-based graphics processors for notebook PCs - the Mobility Radeon X300 and Mobility Radeon X800. Addressing the needs of thin and light notebook PCs, Mobility Radeon X300 delivers the perfect blend of DirectX 9 performance and power management for consumer and commercial notebooks. At the other end of the spectrum, Mobility Radeon X800 is a 12 pixel pipeline mobile gaming powerhouse designed for today's most visually intensive DirectX 9 games and applications.

Complementing Mobility Radeon X600, the industry's first mobile PCI Express VPU, Mobility Radeon X300 and Mobility Radeon X800 give ATI the broadest and fastest portfolio of mobile PCI Express graphics processors for next-generation notebook PCs.

"As the mobile market begins the transition to PCI Express, it is imperative that OEM designers have increased choice, flexibility and performance in the design of next-generation notebook PCs," said Phil Eisler, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Chipset Business Unit, ATI Technologies. "With the introduction of these new products, ATI continues its tradition of delivering industry-leading visual performance, highly efficient power management and broad usability across all segments of the market."

"The market for mobile gaming platforms continues to grow rapidly, with users now able to enjoy the same level of 3D performance as high end desktop PCs," said Robert Lusk, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Alienware. "By offering mobile systems based on Mobility Radeon X800 we can offer a best-in-class mobile gaming experience with a highly scalable architecture to push DirectX 9 gaming performance to levels never thought possible."

"Mobility Radeon X800 represents a giant leap in where the future of upgradeable notebook technology is going," said Mark Bialic, President, Eurocom Corporation. "Eurocom Corporation is always first to offer its clients the most powerful solutions to meet the needs of the most demanding users in the world. Mobility Radeon X800 will help our company continue this tradition and serve the needs of gamers and high end desktop replacement enthusiasts everywhere."

Designed for mainstream thin and light users, Mobility Radeon X300 offers a wide range of features including:

  • Four pixel pipeline DirectX 9 performance
  • PowerPlay 5.0 with new PCI Express based power management capabilities
  • LRTC and LCD-EE for improved video quality on notebook panels
  • Automatic Display Configuration technology for automated display setup
  • HyperMemory for increased system performance with smaller amounts of memory
  • A range of integrated memory options for thin and light designs

Targeting the gaming enthusiast segment, Mobility Radeon X800 delivers increased visual performance with such capabilities as:

  • 12 pixel pipeline DirectX 9 performance
  • Six vertex engines
  • 3Dc technology for increased performance and improved image detail
  • GDDR3 memory for lightning fast memory speeds
  • VideoShader HD with programmable video performance
  • 256-bit memory interface for support of 256 MB mobile designs

From December 2004 onwards, Mobility Radeon X800 will be available from such industry leading notebook designers as Alienware, Eurocom, Rock and Velocity Micro, with additional designs to be announced over the coming months. Mobility Radeon X300 will also be featured in many upcoming next generation mainstream OEM designs.

Batteries Better, But Are They Still Guilty As Charged?

NEWS: Cnet's Michael Kanellos says:

"During the holiday season, many wish for greater understanding between people and nations. Others just want better batteries.

"Although electronics manufacturers have made substantial strides in getting their devices to eke more life out of a battery charge, one of the chief complaints among consumers remains the perceived short run time of audio players, notebooks and other devices....

"Batteries in notebooks, which five years ago typically lasted only two hours, now can run up to five or more hours...

"On the other hand, devices are getting more complex and requiring more power. Wireless connectivity and 15-inch screens, baroque excesses less than four years ago, are now standard notebook features. Customers also expect companies to live up to their claims."

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.

Baucom Computers

  • PowerBook WallStreet G3/233, 192/4/CD-ROM, $209

Wegener Media

  • 12" iBook G3/300, 96/6/CD-ROM, blueberry or tangerine, $339.99
  • AirPort Card installed, add $89.99
  • Upgrade to 320 MB RAM, add $44.50
  • Get OS X Jaguar, add $19.99

Small Dog Electronics

  • new 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth, PC2700 SO DIMM 512 MB DDR 333, iSkin ProTouch PB Arctic White Keyboard Protector, $1,725
  • new 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/SuperDrive, AirPort Extreme, PC2100 SO DIMM 512 MB DDR 26, Red Timbuk2 Laptop Tote, $1,675 (NOTE: to purchase this special you must be a Top Dog Club Member)

Power Max

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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