The 'Book Review

Apple Fixes MacBook Discoloration, 'Book Sales See 39% Growth, Keeping Your 'Book Cool, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.07.07

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report.

MacBook Discoloration

News & Opinion

Products and Services


Bargain 'Books

MacBook Discoloration

Some MacBooks Have Premature Age Spots

CNET's Michelle Meyers reports:

"What began as a few isolated reports of mysterious stains appearing on the wrist rests of Apple Computer's MacBooks looks to be more widespread and the impetus for a growing Web community of displeased owners.

"Reports of the discoloration, which seems to take place on the most frequently touched plastic areas of the white MacBooks, first surfaced in early June. A related post on an Apple discussion board got hundreds of replies - including many from MacBook owners experiencing the same problem - before it was locked by the company five days later."

Link: Some MacBooks Have Premature Age Spots

Apple Comes 'Clean' on MacBooks

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady reports:

"Apple has apparently admitted that the discoloration on the wrist rests of some MacBooks (mostly white ones) is actually a manufacturing defect as opposed to a 'cosmetic' problem caused by improper handling by the owner (whatever that means)....

"Apple changed the formulation of plastics in the production line already, so the newest models arriving in retail stores shouldn't have the same problem. The newer top case is reportedly much smoother to the touch than the previous MacBooks which feel slightly rougher."

Link: Apple Comes 'Clean' on MacBooks

Apple Acknowledges MacBook Stains as Manufacturing Defect's Victor Mihailescu reports:

"It looks like all the complaints about the white MacBooks have finally gotten through to Apple....

"Those with discolored MacBooks should contact AppleCare and inform them of the stain problem. The replacement top case should no longer have this issues, nor will the newest MacBooks as Apple seems to have changed the plastic, the newest MacBooks having a much smoother feel to them in those areas, while the ones with the problem feel rough."

Link: Apple Acknowledges MacBook Stains as Manufacturing Defect

Apple Replacing Stained MacBooks?'s Danielle reports:

"After many complaints from disappointed MacBook Users, who bought brand new MacBooks and found - to their dismay - that their brand new MacBooks had begun discolouring at an alarming rate (within 1-3 weeks), it appears that Apple is beginning to replace stained/discoloured MacBook top cases (the plastic covering of the area around the keyboard). You can see some photos of discolouration below. The discolouration ranges in colour (it has been reported normally grey or orange, but sometimes can be pink or even blue). There are several theories to the cause of discolouration, including: 'Porous plastics used in the MacBook allow tiny skin cells and sweat to accumulate within the microscopic openings, Skin melanin rubbing off and staining surface plastics, Acidic sweat damaging the plastic, or even Chemical reaction between the polymer and skin oils.'"

Link: Apple Replacing Stained MacBooks?

News & Opinion

You Can Make Book on MacBook's Success

The Boston Herald's Eric Convey says:

"Seldom is a computer's most obvious feature among its more important, but the first thing you notice about Apple's new MacBook - if you take advantage of the new chance to get one in black - is a key one indeed.

"It's been too long since Apple sold a black notebook computer, and framing a computer screen in flat black rather than silver or white makes it a lot easier to look at in the humble opinion of your friendly gadget columnist.

"But to suggest the MacBook's major changes are only cosmetic would be a huge mistake. The replacement for the iBook is superior to its predecessor in every way and a worthy younger sibling to the superb MacBook Pro."

Link: You Can Make Book on MacBook's Success

Apple Notebook Sales to Hit 39% Growth in 2006?

Macworld UK reports:

"Apple has experienced stronger than expected MacBook sales, according to DigiTimes.

"A report published today claims that the success has been so great that MacBook sales have given a significant boost to business from Apple's Far East manufacturing partner Asustek....

"The report also predicts that Apple may launch a 15.4-inch widescreen MacBook later this year."

Link: Apple Notebook Sales Hit 39% Growth in 2006?

Brisk MacBooks Sales Boost Shipments for Asustek's Celia Lin and Steve Shen report:

"Sales of Apple Computer's Intel Core Duo-based MacBook laptops have been stronger than expected, boosting monthly shipments of 13.3-inch MacBooks from Taiwan-based Asustek Computer to about 120,000 units in June, up from about 100,000 units when the company started shipping the new computers in April, according to sources at Taiwan-based notebook makers....

"...For all of 2006, Apple may deliver two million iBook and MacBook laptops in addition to one million MacBook Pro notebooks.... [which] would represent a 39% increase from the 2.16 million units shipped in 2005....

"Sources contacted by Lin . . . also noted that Apple may expand its MacBook family by introducing a 15.4-inch widescreen lineup...."

Link: Brisk Sales of Apple MacBooks Boost Shipments for Asustek (registration required)

Keep Your Mac Cool This Summer

The Seattle Times' Jeff Carlson says:

"Sure, your new black MacBook is cool, but is it really cool? The hot summer weather this week got me thinking about one of a computer's biggest enemies: heat.

"As computer processors have gotten faster, they've also dramatically increased their heat output, making that MacBook more hot than cool. In fact, Apple no longer uses the term 'laptop' when describing its portable line, because the new Intel-powered Macs can get too hot to rest on your lap for an extended period.

"Now that summer is upon us, here are some ways to keep your Macs cool."

Link: Keep Your Mac Cool This Summer

Throwing Another Dead Apple on the Pile

The Sunday Herald's Sylvia Patterson says:

"This week, the computer died. After months of gyp, of sticking, crashing and refusing to turn on altogether, the ghost in the machine finally gave up, no fight whatsoever, to try to save several years' worth of written work (we say we'll back-up 'tomorrow' and 'tomorrow' turns into 'twerp') and blinked it's way to oblivion.

"So, today I'm writing on a pal's PC, which is technologically alien and temple-poundingly annoying because my fingers keep pinging on to the wrong keys because they've been trained for years to the Apple way of life, a laptop life now cruelly taken away, the lovely, shiny, spiffy-new Apple Mac iBook sensation which once defined the techno-universe, what with being all white and small and cute and everything, and you couldn't move on transport for its pristine presence twinkling away like a jewellery box."

Link: Forced by Consumerism to Throw Another Dead Apple on the Pile

Laptops Have Been Really Hot Lately

The Globe and Mail's Alex Dobrota reports:

"Cindy Brown wrapped an Apple laptop and put it under the Christmas tree last year, thinking about the future of her 11-year-old son in an increasingly digitalized world.

"Instead, her gift turned into a flaming nightmare....

"...A string of laptop fires, sparked by faulty or overheated batteries, is raising concern with industry experts and computer manufacturers. As many as 43 laptop fires have been reported in the United States since 2001, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. No one died, but some laptop users were severely injured, CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese said.

"To curb this trend, laptop companies have recalled more than 150,000 batteries since Jan. 1, 2005. Hewlett-Packard recalled 15,700 of them in April alone. Dell retrieved 22,000 batteries in December and Apple recalled about 120,000 batteries in 2005."

Link: Laptops Have Been Really Hot Lately

10.4.7 Update Adds Two-Finger Right Click

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady reports:

"A nice little bonus arrive with yesterday's release of Mac 10.4.7: two-finger right clicking for 15-inch MacBook Pro owners. Originally reported at TUAW Apple's 113 MB update for OS X included this nice little feature for MacBook Pro users that previously had to install a hack to get the functionality."

Link: Mac OS 10.4.7 Update Bonus: Two-Finger Right Click

Apple Extends MacBook Line-up

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Apple has begun shipping a pair of new MacBook configurations through its retail chain, bumping up the specification and upping the price accordingly, it has been claimed. The two new models sit, respectively, above the current white and black 2  GHz MacBooks."

Link: Apple Extends MacBook Line-up

fingerprint scannerMacBook Pro Biometrics says:

"Just having a MacBook wasn't enough for me sooo....

"Using a Dremel, 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, a Sony Puppy FIU-600 and some skill I just put a fingerprint scanner in my MacBook Pro. The only one in the world to do this I guess I have yet to see anyone else do it."

Link: MacBook Pro Biometrics

Maine and Apple Sign Contract to Continue iBook Program

Apple to equip 32,000 students and 4,000 teachers with iBook notebook computers, wireless networks, training, and technical support in order to transform teaching and learning through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

The Maine Department of Education has signed a four-year, $41 million contract with Apple to continue to supply the technology, training, and support to Maine's groundbreaking initiative that has equipped all the State's 7th and 8th grade students and teachers with one-to-one access to wireless notebook computers and the Internet for the past 4 years.

The Initiative is still considered the single largest 1:1 educational technology program in the world. Maine's Education Director of Special Projects, Bette Manchester notes, "The strength of the program is that the focus is on education. This is an educational project, not a technology project."

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative has become a national and international model for 1:1 educational technology programs. Since its inception in 2002, many other U.S. states have implemented or are about to implement similar programs including Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and North Dakota. In January of 2005, Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media lab cited Maine's program in his announcement at the World Economic Summit of the creation of One Laptop Per Child initiative that is working to put laptops in the hands of millions of students around the world.

A more detailed summary of the terms of the contract is available on the website at

Products and Services

Trans Intl Releases miniXpress Portable SATA to FireWire Drive

PR: Trans International announces it's first SATA to FireWire miniXpress portable external drive. The miniXpress will begin shipping on July 10th 2006.

Utilizing the latest Serial-ATA to FireWire, hot pluggable, and bus powered technology, the miniXpress solves the MacBook and MacBook Pro internal drive upgrade issue of utilizing the replaced drive and allows the FireWire drive to be plugged or unplugged without turning-off or restarting the computer. The drive mounts automatically when plugged into the FireWire port of the computer.

With Trans' miniXpress portable enclosures, users can upgrade their MacBook and MacBook Pro with larger capacity drives. They can then install the replaced drive in a miniXpress and use it as back up or added storage.

Portable, rugged, and stylish cases are made with aluminum, assuring durability and excellent heat dissipation. Equipped with an anti shock mechanism and a triple interface (FW 800/FW 400/USB 2.0) making the miniXpress an ideal and versatile answer for portable external storage.

Link: miniXpress portable FireWire Hard Disk Drive

TruePower High Capacity Battery Upgrade for White iBooks

PR: The TruePower iBook battery is priced at $99.95 and offers up to 50% more capacity than the original

FastMac today announced it has begun shipping TruePower laptop batteries for all models of the iBook (G3 and G4). The TruePower iBook battery is priced at $99.95 and offers up to 50% more capacity than the original.

TurePower batteryAll customers who placed preorders through the company's website will receive their shipments in the next few days. FastMac offers a variety of high-quality and high-capacity batteries for: PowerBook G4 Aluminum (all models), iBook (all models), and PowerBook G3 (Wallstreet, Lombard and Pismo).

The TruePower batteries start at an introductory price of $99.95 and offer up to 56% more capacity than the original. All models including the iBook (G3 and G4) are now shipping.

The TruePower batteries are engineered using the highest quality, highest capacity Lithium cells available. FastMac utilizes custom form factors and materials to achieve a superior fit and finish, matching the original battery while increasing capacity. Each battery is individually tested and includes safety features to protect against overcharge, short circuit, and power surges. All TruePower laptop batteries come with a 1-year warranty and 30 day money back guaranty.

Compatibility & Pricing

  • PowerBook G4 Titanium, $99.95
  • PowerBook G4 Aluminum 12", $99.95
  • PowerBook G4 Aluminum 15", $99.95
  • PowerBook G4 Aluminum 17", $119.95
  • PowerBook G3 (1998) Wallstreet, $99.95
  • PowerBook G3 (2000) Pismo, $119.95
  • iBook G3 Clamshell, $99.95
  • iBook G3 & G4 12", $99.95
  • iBook G3 & G4 14", $99.95
  • TruePower Batteries

QuickerTek Intros Handle for MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro HandlePR: MacBook Pro users now have latest in carrying handle technology for their new laptops. QuickerTek has just made available a specially designed MacBook Pro Handle that not only makes it easier to carry, but also aids ergonomics and in heat dissipation. The new MacBook Pro Handle is $48 and is in stock now.

This handle has several new features including:

  • Brushed and anodized finish to match the MacBook Pro case
  • Slotted mounting holes to insure perfect snag-free installation
  • Non-slip handle grip makes it more comfortable to carry and prevents scratches to the MacBook Pro case or the desktop surface
  • Easy grip thumb screws (patent pending design) allow the tilt angle to be locked in for consistent placement
  • All aluminum construction for strength, heat dissipation and light weight

MacBook Pro HandleThe QuickerTek MacBook Pro Handle is designed for the Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro and comes with all hardware and required tools. The padded handle not only makes carrying easier, but also helps secure the laptop to any smooth desktop work surface. Improved ergonomics are made possible through the larger possible tilt angle adjustment.

Like most QuickerTek products, the MacBook Pro Handle is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. Additional product information is found at:

Link: MacBook Pro Handle

Marware Protection Packs for 'Books

  • Protection Pack for PowerBook 15": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack for MacBook Pro 15": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack for PowerBook 17": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack for PowerBook 12": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack for iBook 12": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack for iBook 14": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack Black for MacBook 13": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack White for MacBook 13": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
  • Protection Pack for MacBook Pro 17": Wrist rest and a microfiber laptop keyboard cover, $19.95
Link: Marware Protection Packs for Apple Portables

Tom Bihn Introduces Imago Messenger Bag

PR: Tom Bihn, a designer, manufacturer, and retailer of laptop bags, backpacks, messenger bags and briefcases, has introduced the Imago, a small, messenger/shoulder bag available in two models with distinct styling - different fabrics, different colors, and different design - and multiple personalities - a shoulder bag, messenger bag, or laptop messenger bag.

The Imago Yin

The Imago Yin, made of 1000 denier Cordura, features a sexy recurved on the flap and is available in color combinations Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Plum/Crimson/Steel, and Olive/Steel/Wasabi.

The Imago Yang

The Imago Yang, made of 1050 Ballistic nylon model, has a more conservative look, and is available in color combinations Black/Black/Wasabi, Steel/Kiwi/Deep Blue, and Crimson/Steel/Crimson.

Imago bagsBoth models are lined with 500 denier Cordura, and, other than the flap design, feature the same basic architecture.

The Imagos are open-top bags that close with a flap and a 2"/50mm plastic side release buckle. Under the flap, on the front of the bag, are two pockets: one curved open-top and one zippered, plus three places to snap your key strap (included) or Organizer Pouch (optional; order here). Inside the main compartment are two deep pouch pockets that are good for organizing power adapters, or energy bars. On the back, a flat pocket is perfect for magazines or a newspaper.

On both sides of the bag are small pockets designed to securely carry portable electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods/MP3 players or PDAs. Lined with Ultrasuede and closed by #8 YKK "splash-proof" Uretech zippers, these snug little pockets also provide scratch-free storage for eyewear.

The Imago rides on your shoulder with a 1-1/2" (40mm) nylon webbing strap and a comfortable, soft grip pad that matches the main body color of your Imago. A removable waist strap secures the bag to your body when you're the move, making the Imago useful for riding a bike (push or motor).

Size-wise, the Imago falls between our Large Café bag and our ID messenger bag. The main compartment can carry a spiral-bound notebook, a medium-sized book, a light wind/rain shell, and some lunch. While the Imago does not have a built-in spot for a laptop, you can slip our Soft Cell laptop sleeve or Brain Cell laptop case inside the main compartment, transforming it into an efficient and protective laptop messenger bag. Only smaller laptops that will fit in our Size 5 or Size 6 (for the 13" MacBook) Soft Cell or Brain Cell will fit in the Imago.

Will your laptop fit in the Size 5 or 6 Soft Cell or Brain Cell, and thus the Imago? Use our Laptop Bag Fit Guide to find out.

The Imago is available immediately from Tom Bihn for $85, with sleeve inserts for $30-$50.

Link: The Imago


iCooked Overclocks 600 MHz and Faster G3 iBooks

PR: iCooked is a GUI for the iCook kernel extension by Patrick Swieskowski (included in package).

iCook is a small OS X kernel extension that allows simple overclocking of the IBM 750FX processor, found in some of the G3 iBooks (600 to 900 MHz).


  • Shows current CPU clock speed in menu bar.
  • Keeps user-defined CPU clock speed after sleep.
  • Automatically loads iCook.kext at launch.

New in version 1.2.7

  • Mac OS X 10.4.7 only.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.7.
  • (For Mac OS X 10.3.x use iCooked 1.2.3 103)

System Support: PPC

iCooked is donationware.

Link: iCooked

CoreDuoTemp 0.9.1

PR: Monitor the temperature of your Intel Macintosh with CoreDuoTemp.

CoreDuoTemp uses SpeedIt.

New in version 0.91:

  • Correction of bugs : window position, space folder location (installer and application).

New in version 0.9:

  • Package Installer
  • main window 33% smaller
  • no password at launch and no keychain
  • statistic feature for save computer infos
  • uptime info
  • bugfixes

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.6, iMac 2006, Mac mini 2006, MacBook Pro, MacBook.

System support: Intel


Link: CoreDuoTemp

Tech Trends

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.

PowerBook and iBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Apple Store

  • refurb 13" MacBook 1.83 GHz, 512/60/Combo, white, $949
  • refurb 13" MacBook 2.0 GHz, 512/60/SuperDrive, white, $1,099
  • refurb 13" MacBook 2.0 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, black, $1,299
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/60/Combo, APX, BT 2.0, $1,099
  • refurb 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive, APX, BT 2.0, $1,199

It's interesting to note refurb. 12" PowerBooks selling for more than refurb. MacBooks. cm

  • new 15" MacBook Pro 1.83 GHz, 512/80/SuperDrive - $1,799.99 less $150 mail-in rebate (ends July 18)

Baucom Computers

  • PowerBook "Kanga" G3/250, 160/5/CD, floppy, $139
  • iBook G3/500, 256/15/CD, $259
  • iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $335
  • PowerBook G4/667 VGA, 256/20/Combo, $529
  • Add Airport for $99


  • used 12" iBook G4/800, 256/30/Combo, $579.99
  • used 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/30/Combo, $749.99
  • used 14" iBook G4/933, 256/40/Combo, $779.99
  • used 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $729.99

Wegener Media

  • used 12" iBook G3/500, 10/192/CD, $329.99
  • used 12" iBook G3/600, 15/192/CD, $399.99
  • used 12" iBook G3/700, 20/192/Combo, $469.99
  • used 12" iBook G3/800, 30/256/Combo, $539.99
  • used 12" iBook G3/900, 40/256/Combo, $589.99
  • used 14" iBook G3/800, 30/256/Combo, $479
  • used 14" iBook G3/900, 40/256/Combo, $529

The PowerBook Guy

  • used 12" clamshell iBook G3/366, graphite, 192/6/CD, $279.95
  • PowerBook Wallstreet G3/300, 128/6/CD, $279.95
  • PowerBook Pismo G3/500, 256/20/DVD, $429.95

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our best 15" MacBook Pro deals, our best 17" MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" aluminum PowerBook G4 deals, 17" PowerBook G4 deals, titanium PowerBook G4 deals, iBook G4 deals, PowerBook G3 deals, and iBook G3 deals.

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