The 'Book Review

Intel Down on AMD-powered $100 Laptop, iBook Keyboard Devolution, Widescreen iBook Coming?, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.12.16

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. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

MIT's $100 Laptop

News & Opinion




Bargain 'Books

MIT's $100 Laptop

It won't be a Mac, but it won't be a Windows laptop either. MIT's plan is to see these Linux-based laptops selling to governments at $100 in bulk, and we may see a $200 consumer version as well.

Quanta to Build MIT's $100 Laptop

eWeek reports:

"The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab has announced that Taiwanese device maker Quanta Computer Inc. [longtime Apple PowerBook subcontractor] has been selected to design and build the $100 computers planned as part of the school's One Laptop per Child initiative.

"After reviewing design submissions from several different companies, the OLPC's Board of Directors said it selected Quanta in part because the computer maker, which builds some PCs sold by Hewlett-Packard Co., promised to devote 'significant engineering resources' to the project from its Quanta Research Institute. Under the company's current plans, it expects to deliver the laptops to market by the fourth quarter of 2006."

Link: Quanta Building MIT's $100 Laptop

Intel Chairman Claims World's Poorest Don't Want $100 Laptop

Reuters' Peter Apps reports:

"Potential computer users in the developing world will not want a basic $100 hand-cranked laptop due to be rolled out to millions, chip-maker Intel Corp. chairman Craig Barrett said on Friday.

"Schoolchildren in Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria will begin receiving the first few million textbook style computers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) media lab run by Nicholas Negroponte from early 2006.

"'Mr. Negroponte has called it a $100 laptop - I think a more realistic title should be 'the $100 gadget,' Barrett, chairman of the world's largest chip maker, told a press conference in Sri Lanka. 'The problem is that gadgets have not been successful.'"

Editor's note: The $100 education laptop will have an AMD CPU, not Intel inside. Sour grapes? dk

Link: World's Poorest Don't Want '$100 Laptop': Intel

News & Opinion

Apple Preparing 13" Widescreen iBook?

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Another day, another Intel-based Mac launch progress rumour. The latest points to a widescreen iBook, to surface 'early next year'.

"So suggest sources cited by Apple-watching website Think Secret. Their take on the situation: Apple will deliver a widescreen iBook with a 13.3in, 1280 x 720 display."

Link: Apple Readies '13.3in Widescreen Intel iBook'

iBook Keyboard Devolution?

TUAW's Victor Agreda, Jr. says:

"Back in September of 2001 I received a spankin' new iBook G3 for my birthday. It was a great machine. While I'd admired the simplicity and form of the clamshell iBooks (and for some reason I loved that nuclear green), they were too darn big and too low-res for me....

"When the G4 iBooks were introduced, I knew I had to upgrade, so I wound up with an 800 MHz iBook, the one I'm still using. The 60 GB drive and 384 MB of RAM made it a little pricey, but thankfully help keep it's little brain together....

"Less than a year later, I bought my wife a 1.2 GHz G4 iBook. It's a great machine too, runs everything pretty smoothly, even with only 30 GB drive (we later bought a RAM upgrade so she's got 512 MB). One thing I noticed through these purchases: Apple's iBook keyboards get crappier every year, and I've got the pics to prove it...."

Link: iBook Keyboard Devolution?


How Fast Is the 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz Compared to the 15" PowerBook G4/800 MHz?

MacReviewZone's Johnny AppleSpeed compares the PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz 17" vs. PowerBook G4/800 MHz 15"

Link: How Fast Is the PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz 17" Compared to the PowerBook G4/800 MHz 15"

The Lap(top) of Luxury - Marware PowerBook Protection Pack's Derrick Story reports:

"I always keep something between the keyboard and the screen of my 17" PowerBook. My favorite protector has been the Optix cloth by, but I wanted to try Marware's new Protection Pack for PowerBook.

"Their approach is a little different. The kit includes a soft PVC leather-like handrest cover (very suede) that adheres to the area below the keyboard and around the trackpad. It's designed to fit perfectly. The soft surface feels really good on the palm of my hands and wrists. Actually, it's quite luxurious to have my hands resting on this suede-like leather instead of aluminum. And if you wear a watch or jewelry, the cover protects the surface of your PowerBook...."

Link: The Lap(top) of Luxury - Marware PowerBook Protection Pack


Compact EZ-Reach Keyboard

PR: Ergonomic compact keyboard ideal for use with laptop stands.

The EZ-Reach Keyboard is a small footprint - low profile split key keyboard from Contour Design.

EZ-Reach Keyboard

Key Features:

  • Unique columnar key layout reduces hand motion
  • Small footprint takes less desk space allows for more optimal mouse positioning adjacent to keyboard (12-3/4"W X 5-1/2"D X 1/2"H)
  • Low profile and small size allows for portability with notebook computers
  • Supports both PS2 and USB ports for both Windows and Macintosh computers

EZ-KEY01 MSRP $109.95

Link: EZ-Reach Keyboard

Waterfield Racer-X Laptop Case

Racer-X Laptop CasePR: Built to bolt. A perfect fit for your laptop and a few necessities. Plush interior. Mountain bike grip. Meet your PowerBook's new best friend.

Available in three sizes:

  • 17" PowerBook Racer-X $139 / 16.5" x 11.5" x 4.5" / 3.1 lb. fits laptops up to 15.5" x 10.5" x 1.0"
  • 15" PowerBook Racer-X $134 / 14.5" x 11" x 4.5" / 2.8 lb. fits laptops up to 13.7" x 9.5" x 1.1"
  • 12" PowerBook Racer-X $129 / 12.5" x 9.5" x 4.5" / 2.4 lb. fits laptops up to 10.9" x 8.6" x 1.2"


coconutBattery v2.0 Completely Rewritten

PR: coconutBattery v2.0 is completely rewritten...preferences menu...dashboard widget...more languages(coming soon)...many groundbreaking new features are planned for the next versions...and it's still freeware(but donations are more than welcome)

coconutBattery isn't just a tool which shows you only the current charge of your battery - it also shows you the current maximum capacity of it in relation to the original capacity your battery had as it left the factory.

You also get information about the battery-loadcycles (how often did you fully load your battery), the current charger (coconutBattery even warns you if you plugged in a wrong charger for your Notebook) and last but not least information about the age of your Mac.

coconutBattery gives you all these information just in time because of it's live-feedback interface!

Of course you are able to save the current maximum capacity of your battery - with just one click! coconutBattery uses Apple's new and really powerful technology named "CoreData" to realize this comfortable saving option.

The absolutely most requested feature has been added: coconutBattery now ships with a Dashboard Widget, which has exactly the same coconut-flavour as the real app! You have to check it out!

And last but not least: coconutBattery is Universal Binary (you can run it on the upcoming Intel-Macs!) and it is completely localizable!

Many localizations are ready to start but still need some bug fixes.

If you want to help translating coconutBattery to your language, just write me an email - but you should wait these few days until I know what localizations needs a update.

By the way: The really really cool and absolutely coconut-flavoured icon was created by - really good job! Check out the web page.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS 10.4.3 (Tiger)
  • An Apple-Notebook (PowerBook or iBook)

New in version 2.0:

completely rewritten, added a dashboard widget, preferences menu for custom values and much much more!

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.


Link: coconutBattery

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

  • used 15" PowerBook G4/667 (DVI), 256/30/Combo, $649.99
  • used 15" PowerBook G4/867, 256/30/Combo, $749.99
  • used 15" titanium PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $849.99
  • Upgrade to a 2x SuperDrive installed - $129.99
  • Upgrade to an 8x SuperDrive installed - $169.99
  • Upgrade to 1 GB of RAM - $189.99
  • Upgrade to 512 MB of RAM - $59.50
  • Upgrade to 40 GB HDD - $69.50
  • Upgrade to 60 GB HDD - $79.50
  • Upgrade to 80 GB HDD - $109.50
  • Add an AirPort card, $109.99 installed
  • Targus carrying case, 99¢

Apple Store

  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, APX, $1,099
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/60/Combo, APX, BT 2.0, $1,199
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/ SuperDrive, APX, $1,149
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,299
  • refurb 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, APX, $1,299
  • refurb 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, APX, BT 2.0, $1,449
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, APX, $1,799


  • used 12" iBook G3/800, 128/30/CD, $419
  • used 12" iBook G3/800, 384/30/CD, $429
  • used 12" iBook G3/800, 128/30/Combo, $439
  • used 12" iBook G3/800, 384/30/Combo, $459
  • used 12" iBook G3/900, 128/40/Combo, $499
  • used 12" iBook G3/900, 384/40/Combo, $549
  • used 12" iBook G3/900, 640/40/Combo, $599
  • used 14" iBook G3/600, 256/20/Combo, $439
  • used 14" iBook G3/700, 256/30/Combo, $459
  • used 14" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, Scratch and Dent, $529
  • used 14" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $529
  • used 14" iBook G3/800, 384/30/Combo, $589
  • used 14" iBook G3/900, 640/40/Combo, $599
  • used 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $899


  • used 14" iBook G4/933, 256/40/Combo, $799.99
  • used 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, BT, $1,199.99

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our best aluminum PowerBook G4 deals, best titanium PowerBook G4 deals, best iBook G4 deals, best PowerBook G3 deals, and best iBook G3 deals.

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