The 'Book Review

Widescreen iBooks Coming, Maximize Battery Life, Take-Apart Guides, First Fuel Cell Laptop, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.04.15

This Week's PowerBook, iBook, and Notebook News

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

'Book News

'Book Reviews

'Book Tips

New Products

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

'Book News

Quanta Secures iBook Orders from Apple's David Tzeng and Rodney Chan report:

"With Quanta Computer recently securing orders for a new model of the Apple iBook, Asustek has lost its status as the sole contract maker for the popular consumer notebook series, sources close to the deal revealed yesterday.

"Quanta, already the biggest contract maker for Apple's PowerBooks, will start to ship 14.1-inch widescreen iBooks as early as the fourth quarter of 2005, the sources said.

"Asustek has also received orders for a new model, the 15.4-inch iBook, which will be launched in 2006, plus follow-up orders for the 12.1-inch iBook and 12.1-inch PowerBook, the sources said."

Apple Signs 'Widescreen iBook' Contract

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Recent rumours that Apple is preparing to update its consumer hardware product lines were given added weight today when sources close to Taiwanese contract manufacturer Quanta claimed it has won a deal to make a new, widescreen iBook.

"The sources, cited by DigiTimes, said Quanta could begin shipping the new model in Q4 this year. It is not yet certain whether the widescreen version will replace the standard 14.1in iBook, which may be updated soon in any case....

"The deal ends Apple's exclusive arrangement with its current notebook supplier, Asustek. Not that it need feel badly off. It has received fresh orders for 12.1in iBooks and PowerBooks, and - most interestingly - a 15.4in widescreen iBook, due to ship in 2006, the sources claim...."

PowerBook, iBook Top UK Consumer Magazine

MacNN reports:

"UK consumer magazine Which? has published a report on the best laptops in three categories. Apple topped two of the three categories, providing the best desktop replacement and entry level machines. The PowerBook 15" was the best 'desktop replacement,' and it 'tore through our tasks, burning a CD of MP3 files in just over four minutes.' The 14" iBook was the highest ranked 'entry level' laptop...."

Illustrated PowerBook and iBook Take-Apart Guides

PR: Interested in taking apart your 'Book?

PowerBook Tech has posted some illustrated guides that explain and show what you need to know for WallStreet, Lombard, Pismo, iBook (All White), Titanium.

PowerBook Tech reminds everyone that they can't be responsible for damage caused by customers doing their own repairs, but if you're prepared to proceed at your own risk, you can check them out at:

Streamload Wins Mobile Choice Award

Mobile magazine, formerly known as Mobile PC magazine, awarded Streamload with its Mobile Choice Award in the April 2005 issue. Streamload earned a 4.5-star rating (out of a possible 5).

Regarding Streamload, Mobile magazine reports, "Just another dull online storage service? Not Streamload, which is better described as an online media center, a place to house, share, and - true to its name - stream your music, movies, photos, and the like. Of course, it's also a fine place for presentations, work files, and backups, but that stuff is, like, so boring. Whatever you use it for, Streamload is awesome."

Streamload's service allows users to transfer and stockpile their personal entertainment files, i.e. TiVo, digital video recordings, MP3 and photo collections, into a centralized library, move Gigabyte-size media files ("Megafiles") seamlessly between people and their digital devices, and access files everywhere there is an Internet connection.

Mobile magazine added, "Streamload is a snap to sign up for an account (four fields and you're done), and the file-management interface manages to be simultaneously hip and elegant. For the most part Streamload is easy to navigate. There's a utility you can install for drag-and-drop uploading and downloading, but the browser-based interface couldn't be simpler."

Streamload is also expanding support for mobile devices including the new PSP (PlayStation® Portable). PSP owners will soon be able to store and manage their TiVoToGo files and their entire personal digital video collections on Streamload. Streamload's goal is to make everyone's digital files accessible from all their devices, at anytime.

Streamload CEO Steve Iverson said, "It's great to be recognized by Mobile Magazine and receive their Mobile Choice Award. Users today don't want to just have their files in one place; they want them everywhere. Streamload lets them access as much as they want, from wherever they are without worrying about limits." Iverson added that Streamload will offer broad support for mobile devices such as the PSP later this year.

Streamload is further supporting mobile users with its recently announced xStreamMail email system, specifically designed for sending and sharing large files up to 2 GB in size and up to 25,000 separate files per email message. This new service follows Streamload's recent offering of free 10 GB storage accounts - ten times more than other online services.

'Book Reviews

iBook Mini Review says:

"Well I've had the pleasure of using my 1.33 GHz, 14" iBook for two days now and I wanted to share some initial impressions; I know this isn't mini or even home theater related for that matter, but it is an Apple and hey that's enough. My particular configuration included a 1.33 GHz processor, 14" screen, combo drive and an additional 256 MB of memory from, I just couldn't bring myself to pay Apple's prices for extra memory.

Starting with aesthetics I'm really impressed by the fit and finish of the entire laptop. It just feels right, the screen clasp closes as if it was made in an aviation machine shop and the grey band around the outside edge gives a nice balance between the smooth acrylic-ish white finish....

"Getting down to the nitty gritty, I was also pleasantly surprised with how fast it was. Now don't get me wrong, this thing won't break any land speed records, but apps popped open much much faster than I had already prepared myself for."

A Linux Fan's PowerBook First Impressions

a blog says:

"I'm playing with my PowerBook for about two days now and even though not being too tolerant when it comes to operating systems, I have to admit that OS X itself is pretty appealing. It has that Just Works(tm)-touch I sometimes miss with GNU/Linux. I'm afraid there's probably not too much to write about, it's nearly too simple and I found my way around pretty fast....

"Both, PowerBook and OS X made quite an impression here. It _is_ simple. It is fun to use. The general performance is not as snappy and responsive as Debian/KDE 3.4 on my P4 2.4 GHz XPC but it's not exactly slow and I guess with all that eye-candy I have to compromise (not that KDE would look any worse here). I guess there will be a lot more entries covering my new Mac."

'Book Tips

Maximize PowerBook, iBook Battery Life

A new Apple article says:

"With a little bit of care, you can maximize the battery life (i.e. the time your battery will run before it must be recharged) and life span of your PowerBook or iBook battery. Most importantly, use your PowerBook or iBook in its comfort zone for temperature (See 'Keep Your Notebook Comfy'). Don't leave it locked in a hot trunk during the summer....

For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it's important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her iBook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month....

If you don't plan on using your notebook for more than six months, Apple recommends that you remove and store the battery with a 50% charge. If you store a battery when it's fully discharged, it could fall into a deep discharge state, which renders it incapable of holding any charge. Conversely, if you store it fully charged for an extended period of time, the battery may experience some loss of battery capacity, meaning it will have a shorter life. Be sure to store the ejected battery at the proper temperature....

A properly maintained PowerBook or iBook battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 300 full charge and discharge cycles.

New Products

MCE Multi Drive for iBook G4: DVD±RW, CD-RW, and DVD-RAM

PR: A Multi Drive is a SuperDrive with the additional feature of being able to read and write to DVD-RAM discs. The MCE DVD-R/RW/RAM Drive for the iBook G4 utilizes 4.7 GB single-sided and 9.4 GB double-sided rewritable industry standard discs and can record to DVD-RAM/DVD-R/DVD-RW/DVD+R/DVD+RW/CD-R/CD-RW media and provide superior performance and reliability.

Fully compliant with the DVD Forum's standards, the single-sided media is capable of storing a full two-hours of MPEG-2 video. MCE's DVD Multi Drive for the iBook G4 offers unprecedented media interchangeability and seven times the capacity of CD-R and CD-RW. The MCE DVD Multi drive reads industry-standard DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-R, CD-ROM, CD-R/RW, CD-DA, Photo CD, and Video CD media. The random-access, drag-and-drop DVD-RAM storage media provides in excess of 100,000 write/rewrite cycles and data life in excess of 30 years.

The DVD-RAM recording function of the MCE Multi drive is supported natively by Mac OS X at the desktop level without the need for additional drivers, and is also fully compatible with Dantz Retrospect backup software.

The MCE DVD recorder for the iBook G4 comes complete with DVD authoring software compatible with Mac OS X and Mac OS 9. Here's a few of the many customizable menus and buttons you can create, as well as the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop DVD authoring environment:

The MCE Multi drive upgrade for iBook G4 must be professionally installed into your iBook by MCE, or at one of MCE's worldwide authorized upgrade centers. Once installed you'll be able to easily record up to 4.7 GB of data, video or audio onto recordable DVD discs right from your iBook.


  • Slot-loading mechanism
  • 2 MB Cache Buffer
  • Buffer underrun protection
  • Bootable
  • Ships with DVD Authoring software for creating Video DVDs and Video CDs
  • Compatible with iDVD, DVD Studio Pro, iTunes, Disc Burner and Apple DVD Player


  • Type: Internal
  • Interface: ATAPI
  • Audio Interface: Analog out
  • Data Buffer: 2 MB
  • Loading Method: Slot-load
  • Warranty: 1 year

Write Support

  • DVD-R 4.7 GB, DVD-RW 4.7 GB, DVD-RAM 4.7 GB (single sided), DVD-RAM 9.4 GB (double sided)
  • CD-R 700 MB (type 80), CD-R 650 MB (Type 74), CD-RW

Read Support

  • DVD-ROM and DVD-Video (Single and Dual layer)
  • CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-ROM XA Mode 2 (form1, form2)
  • CD-DA CD-EXTRA (CD Plus), Video CD, Photo-CD (single or multisession), CD-Text
  • CD-R, CD-RW

Write Speed

  • DVD-R: 4x, 2x, 1x
  • DVD-RW: 2x, 1x
  • DVD+RRW: 2.4x, 1x
  • DVD-RAM: 2x, 1x
  • CD-R: 16x, 12x, 8x, 4x
  • CD-RW: 8x, 4x, 2x

Read Speed

  • DVD-ROM (Single): Max 8x CAV
  • DVD-ROM (Dual): Max 8x CAV
  • DVD-R, DVD-RW: Max 4x CAV
  • CD-ROM: Max 24x CAV
  • CD-R, CD-RW: Max 24x CAV

Minimum System Requirements

  • iBook G4
  • Mac OS X (10.3.2 and later)
  • 64 MB RAM (256 MB or greater recommended)

What you get

  • Internal Slot-Loading DVD-R/RW Drive
  • Toast Lite CD-Recording Software CD
  • ImageMixer DVD Authoring Software CD
  • (2) Blank DVD-R Discs

Price - $249

MCE MobileStor 100 GB PowerBook and iBook Hard Drives

PR: MCE has released a 100 GB version of its MobileStor 9.5 mm, 2.5" laptop hard drive series. The drive is a 4200 RPM unit with 8 MB of buffer cache.

Each MobileStor Ultra ATA/IDE hard drive model has been tested and certified by MCE to be 100% compatible with the Apple PowerBook and all Mac OS versions up to and including Mac OS X. MCE MobileStor drives do not require any third-party hard disk drivers, as they perform best when used with Apple's standard Drive Setup utility software (pre-Mac OS X) as well as with Apple's Disk Utility program under Mac OS X. MCE claims to be the only Apple Certified Developer that tests its drives with every PowerBook and Mac OS to maintain and guarantee this high level of compatibility.

The MobileStor MS40GX, MS60G72K and MS80GX with 8 MB cache and MS60GX with 16 MB cache and at least 5400 RPM spindle speed, are drives especially well-suited for the Apple PowerBook G4 (Aluminum and Titanium), the PowerBook G3 (FireWire), and the PowerBook G3 Series - 1999 (Bronze/Lombard), all of which have high-speed internal hard disk controllers. Other systems will see some performance increase, but not as significantly as these systems.

MCE says that the hard drive in the iBook is not end-user, or even dealer/service center, upgradeable. Just accessing the hard drive bay is a job involving the removal of over two-dozen screws, hex-nuts, plastic parts, and very small, sensitive, electronic components. If the proper level of antistatic protection is not maintained and the take-apart procedure not properly documented then a successful upgrade is nearly impossible. This being the case, installation instructions are not included for the iBook in the MCE PowerBook Hard Drive Installation Kit. MCE now offers an iBook hard drive upgrade program.

The MCE PowerBook hard drive installation kit is included free with every MobileStor hard drive upgrade solution:

  • Installation manual with step by step instructions and photos (makes installation a breeze).
  • All of the necessary tools to open your PowerBook and install your drive
  • Antistatic wrist strap.

The 100 GTB MobileStor sells for $279.

MCE 100 GB/4200 RPM Xcaret Pro Expansion Bay Hard Drive for WallStreet

PR: Just slide the Xcaret Pro Expansion Bay Hard Drive into your expansion bay and it's ready for use. Multimedia tuned to deliver clean, uninterrupted audio and video for your project.

Note: This unit is for use with the PowerBook G3 Series 1998 (WallStreet) which has a black keyboard. This is not for use with the PowerBook G3 1999 (Lombard/Bronze) or PowerBook G3 2000 (FireWire/Pismo), which both have a semi-translucent brown keyboard.

Price - $279.

MCE 100 GB/4200 RPM Xcaret Pro-99 Expansion Bay Hard Drive for Lombard, Pismo

PR: Just slide it into your expansion bay, and it's ready for use! Multimedia tuned to deliver clean, uninterrupted audio and video for your project.

Note: This unit is for use with the PowerBook G3 2000 (FireWire/Pismo) and PowerBook G3 1999 (Lombard/Bronze), which both have a semi-translucent brown keyboard. This is not for use with the PowerBook G3 Series 1998 (WallStreet), which has a black keyboard.

Price - $279

New Power Support 'Book Accessories

PR: Hot from Japan, Power Support offers:

  • Wrist Rag - protects an often abused area of the PowerBook from scratches and nicks while providing a comfortable surface to rest your wrists or palms.
  • Track pad Film - Simply peel off the backing and line up the film to your track pad. The film can be easily removed and will not leave a sticky residue.
  • Tilt Tray - Tilt Tray elevates the PowerBook, lifting it slightly off any surface you are working on. It is especially useful when traveling as it weighs under 8 ounces for the larger 15" model.

Tech Trends

Sanyo, IBM Develop ThinkPad Fuel Cell

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Sanyo and IBM today said they will jointly research and develop a fuel-cell power system for notebook PCs.

"The two companies said they will develop a hybrid system. Essentially, the direct methanol fuel cell will work alongside a slimline lithium-polymer rechargeable battery."

20% of LCD Displays Consume 3W or Less

The Mobile PC Extended Battery Life Working Group has announced that approximately 20% of display panels shipped in the first quarter of 2005 consume 3 watts of power or less. This is a significant milestone for the EBL-WG's low power display panel initiative, which strives to reduce the power consumption of laptop displays in order to extend battery life - one of the most important purchasing criteria for laptop buyers today.

A mobile PC display subsystem constitutes a significant portion of the overall, average power consumed by a mobile PC. Among the various components and subsystems within a mobile PC, the display subsystem absorbs the most power by far. To help address this issue, the EBL-WG developed recommendations for power consumption for XGA displays as well as display subsystem power measurement guidelines for uniform and consistent measurement across the industry, and has worked with display suppliers to enroll their support.

"As new lower power display technologies emerge, the display subsystem must also consume less power to continue driving down overall mobile platform power consumption," said Kamal Shah, Mobility Enabling Initiative manager, Mobile Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, and chairman of the EBL-WG. "Consumers are increasingly demanding longer and longer battery life from their notebook PCs. If we are to achieve the ideal of all-day battery life, reducing power consumption of notebook PC displays is critical."

"As we embark upon the era of spontaneous mobile computing, being truly wireless requires seamless wireless access and extended battery life," said Shah. "The availability of low power displays is a good example of what is possible when mobile PC industry companies collaborate with platform ingredient suppliers such as the display makers. I look forward to further broader availability of low power displays as this collaboration continues."

"We are pleased to work in collaboration with the EBL-WG in support of the vision for all-day battery life for notebook PCs by developing products which meet our customers requirements and are under 3W of power consumption. We have the best technology for a lower power consumption. It's 'Low Temperature Poly Silicon(LTPS) TFT,'" said Toshio Yanagisawa, Managing Officer & Chief Customer Solution Officer,Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co., Ltd.(TMD).

Bruce Berkoff, Executive Vice President of Marketing for LG.Philips LCD, one of the world's leading manufacturers of TFT-LCD panels, commented that "We at LG.Philips LCD are pleased to see the progress the EBL-WG has made in supporting the growing needs of mobile computing. LG.Philips LCD remains committed to providing more display choices, including larger, wider, and more power efficient LCD modules."

As part of its ongoing efforts to drive the industry to adopt its methodology for measuring battery life, the EBL-WG is encouraging all display panel manufacturers to include power consumption measured according to the group's guidelines in their product data sheets. This initiative will allow mobile PC manufacturers to assess the list of panel features comprehensively and simplify the panel qualification process by compiling all relevant data in one place.

The EBL-WG is pleased to note that two suppliers, Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co., Ltd. and Chi Mei Optoelectronics, have already committed to including this information in their panel data sheets for future production introduction.

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

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 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

Wegener Media


  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SuperDrive, Airport Extreme, TechRestore 6 Month Warranty, 30 Day Refund, $1,699.99


Apple Store

Baucom Computers

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

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