The 'Book Review

12" MacBook Pro Rumored, Useful MacBook Freeware, Core 2 Provides 'Brisk Improvements', and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.12.08

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Macworld Expo is just a month away, and rumors of a thin 12" MacBook Pro are rampant. In other MacBook Pro news, Hardmac reports that Apple appears to have halted production of both the 15" and 17" models temporarily.

A new website provides links to useful software for MacBook users, and the clever Huckleberry mirror lets you turn your MacBook into a video camera. Toshiba has achieved 100 GB on a 1.8" hard drive, the size Apple uses in the iPod, and we report on two programs to control the speed of the MacBook's fan.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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

News & Opinion


Products and Services


Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Rumors of Ultrathin MacBook Pro

Ars Technica says:

"As Macworld creeps up on us (only a month away now!), rumors of the iPhone and what features the iTV will have aren't enough for the Mac web. Because of this, in comes the smaller, ultrathin MacBook Pro rumor, which claims that there will be a new iteration of MacBook Pro that will use the 12-inch form factor - I can hear throngs of 12" PowerBook users cheering in the distance - as well as be much thinner and much lighter than its current design."

Also see my Road Warrior column on MacOpinion this week - cwm

Will Apple Make a 12" MacBook?

PowerPage reader Eric Nix says:

"Have we seen the end of Apple's ultra portable laptops? Hopefully, no.

"Many users demand ultra portability because of frequent travel. In my case, I frequently travel to third world countries for international relief work. I need something that's ultra portable with a decent battery life. Stocked with a few extra batteries, it might be days before I can plug into an electrical outlet to recharge a battery.

"Here are the reasons why we 12" PowerBook users feel abandoned and why we hope Apple will produce another ultra portable laptop...."

MacBook Pro Production Temporarily Halted?

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"Last Monday, we have received a message from Pierre-Yves.

"I wanted to purchase a MacBook Pro 17" Core 2 Duo, but I was told that they had received a message from Apple asking for not taking orders of MB Pro anymore; with no additional information. We were following this news, waiting for additional information, comments or reports, and today we have received another message from FxParis.

"I have received the following message from my Apple Reseller: 'bad news: MacBook Pro 15" production is temporary stopped due to a quality issue identified on non-glossy LCD panel. There is no additional information!'

"It remains unclear if the production is stopped for all MacBook Core 2 Duo or only for those models with the non-glossy widescreen LCD display."

Extremely Useful MacBook Freeware

For a collection of links to mostly MacBook & Intel-ready applications, visit Extremely Useful MacBook Freeware.

Other freeware sites:

Sony Says Battery Probe Should Have Been Quicker

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Sony has admitted it could have moved 'more quickly' to tackle the burning battery bug that hit two of the company's biggest power-pack customers, Dell and Apple, and prompted many others to recall Sony-made lithium-ion batteries.

"In an interview with Japanese-language newspaper the Mainchi Shimbun, relayed by Agence France-Presse, Sony President Ryoji Chubachi is quoted as saying: 'The company should have investigated the cause of the battery problem more quickly.'"

PowerBook Drops 3 Stories

Blogger "Motherfunky" says:

"PowerBook G4 falls from three story balcony and almost survives

"You see alot [sic] of damaged computers in desktop support, but this morning a real doozy rolled in. This one had been accidentally dropped from a 3 story balcony."


Core 2 MacBooks 'Provide Brisk Improvements in Performance'

The Orlando Sentinel's Chris Cobbs reports:

"Without going all techie on you, let me just say the shift from the Core Duo to the Core 2 Duo chip delivers a nice speed bump without cutting into battery life or making the systems run hotter. The revised lineup of laptops doesn't mean their predecessors are candidates for eBay, but users who crave all the speed they can get are likely to feel an urge to upgrade.

"The best-looking laptop computers have just been tweaked to increase their appeal to holiday shoppers and general users.

"However, you'll have a hard time spotting the differences, even with a careful visual inspection.

"The exteriors of the latest MacBook Pro and MacBook models from Apple have hardly changed at all. With the exception of a high-speed port on the right side of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the external design hasn't changed.

"The higher-end MacBook Pro retains its silvery aluminum case, while the MacBook still comes in a choice of shiny white or matte black plastic.

"Once you press the power button, however, you will likely notice how the addition of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors provide brisk improvements in performance."

Windows Expert Has 'No Second Thoughts' about Switch to Mac

Computerworld's Scot Finnie reports:

"Last month, I initiated a three-month trial of the Macintosh as a total replacement for my primary Windows machine. That computer is asked to pull double duty as a work and personal machine. It's also the only computer I run e-mail on. And it's the one machine (other than backup) that contains all my data files. In other words, it's got to work flawlessly.

"I've had serious pain switching to the Mac (we'll get to that in a moment), but I've also had great success and no second thoughts about my experiment.

"...Enter a brand-new, 2.33-GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro 17 with a 160 GB hard drive and glossy screen. I love this new 17-in. MacBook Pro. The screen is glorious. The performance is top-notch. It became my primary computer about 10 seconds after it first booted.

"If I decide to go back to Windows when this Mac trial is over, returning to my ThinkPad T60 Core Duo may be a very difficult move. I've settled into the MacBook Pro 17 and Mac OS X 10.4.8 as if I was born to them. If the Mac OS doesn't mesmerize me to the point that I lose all interest in Windows, this piece of hardware might just do that all on its own.

"My only complaint is that the spacebar squeaks whenever I press it. Whoop-de-doo. I'll head to the nearest Genius Bar and see if I can get Apple Computer to replace it free of charge.

"Why can't Dell, Hewlett-Packard or even Lenovo build notebook hardware this good?"

Products and Services

Quicky Wireless AntennaiBooks Get Quicky WiFi Transceiver

PR: QuickerTek announces the addition of support for Apple iBooks to the Quicky USB Transceiver. No longer do iBook users have to resort to disassembling the computer to gain wireless networking enhancement. iBook users can double the wireless performance for a suggested retail price of $225 from either authorized dealers or from QuickerTek.

Quicky Wireless AntennaQuicky temporarily clips to the top of the open iBook case. The Quicky is a unique combination of the wireless networking power of the transceiver and an external antenna that is more effectively located up and out of the confines of the iBook case. It requires no computer skills to either set up or use - no extra steps are necessary.

Once Quicky is clipped on and the short USB cable is connected to the USB port, users experience ten times more RF power than a stock iBook. This additional wireless power produces greater operating distances from the AirPort Base Station or wireless access point and more available networks to choose from.

Quicky works with all 802.11/b/g WiFi equipment including Apple AirPort and AirPort Extreme. Quicky works with all AirPort-equipped iBooks and requires no software drivers. Quicky now works with USB and AirPort-equipped PowerBooks, MacBook Pro, MacBooks, and iBooks.

Like most QuickerTek products, Quicky is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Huckleberry Turns MacBook into a Video Camera

HuckleberryPR: Ecamm Network on Wednesday announced the immediate availability of the Huckleberry MacBook mirror. Ecamm will offer Huckleberry via their website, shipping worldwide.

Is your built-in iSight tired of the view? Turn your MacBook or MacBook Pro's camera around with Huckleberry.

Huckleberry is a unique mirror device that connects to the lid of any MacBook or MacBook Pro, reflecting the built-in camera's field of view back over the top of the screen. This allows users to create pictures and movies while still viewing and controlling their favorite Mac video application.

HuckleberryThe Huckleberry mirror is the perfect addition to any MacBook or MacBook Pro. Consisting of an acrylic mirror and two durable plastic mounting brackets, Huckleberry is placed above the screen to reflect the built-in camera's field of view.

Fun Uses For Huckleberry:

  • Film home movies in iMovie HD.
  • Create stop-motion video in iStopMotion.
  • Scan your media with Delicious Library.
  • Take pictures in Photo Booth.

Ecamm includes their award-winning iGlasses software for image enhancement and video mirroring. with every purchase. iGlasses provides iSight video enhancement and manipulation, including mirror image functionality.

Dimensions: 32mm H x 67mm W x 51mm D

Compatible with MacBook or MacBook Pro.

Compatible Apps

  • iChat AV
  • Skype 2.0 or higher
  • iMovie
  • QuickTime Pro Player
  • Apple Photo Booth
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • SightSpeed
  • BTV and BTV Pro
  • SecuritySpy
  • iSpQ 6.3.1
  • QuickTime Broadcaster
  • EvoCam 3.5
  • GCam 1.2
  • iVisit
  • Delicious Library
  • vChat
  • iCamShare
  • ohphoneX
  • ineen
  • WuffCam
  • Blog.Mac
  • Boinx iVeZeen
  • Boinx iStopMotion
  • MulleSight
  • aMSN
  • Mercury Messenger
  • Journler
  • Gawker
  • KeyCamX


  • Huckleberry
  • Carrying Case
  • iGlasses Serial Number

Price: $19.95, shipping worldwide.

Huckleberry is available from Ecamm Network.

Toshiba Hits 100 GB Mark with 1.8" Hard Disk Drive

PR: Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD), the industry pioneer in small form factor hard disk drives (HDDs), continues to lead innovation in the mobile HDD category with the introduction of the world's highest-capacity 1.8" HDD. The 100GBa two-platter HDD is based on perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) and propels the functionality and storage capacity of mobile PCs.

Designed in the "short" 1.8" form factor, Toshiba's new MK1011GAH offers a footprint that is 10 percent smaller than first-generation 1.8" drives. With an areal density of 155.3 Gbit/in2, the drive is specially designed for thin and light mobile computers with an 8 MB cache. In addition, Toshiba's new 1.8" capacity leader features the same tunnel magnetoresistive (TMR) head technology combined with perpendicular recording that delivered the company's world-leading 200 GB capacity in the 2.5" HDD class with an areal density of 178.8 Gbit/in2.

"We are enhancing the capabilities of PMR with the incorporation of TMR head technology to deliver another industry-leading mobile HDD," said Scott Maccabe, vice president and general manager, Toshiba Storage Device Division. "Toshiba's technology innovation is setting the bar for mobile HDDs, and our first-to-market position in PMR is clearly helping us define the possibilities for pushing capacity limits in the mobile sector with more than two million mobile PMR HDDs shipped and over a year in commercialization."

Toshiba's 100 GB 1.8" HDD integrates a low insertion force (LIF) connector, providing a format that enables mobile PC manufacturers to easily transition to higher capacities in smaller footprint HDDs.

Marking its technology leadership in mobile HDDs, Toshiba was again the world market-share leader in HDD shipments into consumer electronics applications and tied for the lead in overall mobile HDD shipments, for the third quarter of 2006 according to leading research firm IDCb. Toshiba commands a resounding 80 percent share in the 1.8" category, according to IDC, and has shipped more than 40 million 1.8" drives since introduction in 2000.

Toshiba's MK1011GAH 1.8" HDD is RoHS compliant and will ship to OEMs for integration into mobile PCs in January 2007. For more information about Toshiba's full line of small form factor HDDs, visit:


iCyclone MacBook Fan Control

iCyclonePR: iCyclone lets the user set the minimum speed of the built-in fans. So you can increase your minimum fan speed to make your Mac run cooler with manual mode or let the program set the minimum fun speed for an appropriate Idle temp with Automatic mode. In order not to damage your machine iCyclone let's you not set minimum speed to a rate under Apple's defaults.

Growl is a notification system for Mac OS X. It allows applications that support Growl to send you notifications.

With Sparkle integration applications is able to get instant self-update functionality. it'll read the update information from iCyclone server, download, extract, install, restart, and even offer to show the release notes before to decide if you want to update.

warniong messageSystem requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 or later,
  • MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini(Intel)

System Support: Intel


smcFanControl Control MacBook Fan Speed

PR: Control the MacBook or MacBook Pro fans to make it run cooler.

smcFanControl lets the user set the minimum speed of the built-in fans. So you can increase your minimum fan speed to make your MacBook run cooler. However in order not to damage your machine smcFanControl let's you not set minimum speed to a rate under Apple's defaults. To change fan-speeds you need to authenticate with valid credentials of an user-account with admin privileges.

  • If you want to auto-apply your changed settings after a restart, check the "auto apply after launch" checkbox and add smcFanControl to your Login-Items.
  • In order not to lose your changed settings after standby, run smcFanControl in the background.
  • Let's you set the minimum speed for each fan individually.
  • Adjust fan speed until the MacBook(Pro) is finally comfortable on your legs again
  • Auto apply mode to set the new fan-speeds after a restart
  • Source code included! Extend it and change it to your needs

New in version 1.2.3:

  • Adds support for the new 17" MBP with Core 2 Duo CPU and some fixes related to authentication.

Info: On MacBook Pros the speed of fan #2 can not be set under the speed of fan #1. This behaviour seems to be due a setting in SMC controller. I can not change it.

System requirements: MacBook or MacBook Pro, Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

System Support: Intel


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, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/CD, $275
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $379
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $425
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/DVD, $455
  • 12" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $499
  • Add AirPort for $79


  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 128/40/SD, no AirPort, $499
  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 384/40/Combo, Scratch & Dent, $549
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, Scratch, $549
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 768/80/SD, APX, BT, Screen Issue, $599
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, PAX, BT, $899


TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz 256/30/Combo, $599.99 - $25 = $574.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, APX, $999.99 - $25 = $974.99

Computer Geeks

  • 12" iBook G3/900, 256/40/CD, AirPort, OS X, $449.99
  • 12" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, AirPort, OS X, $479.99
  • 12" iBook G4/1.0 GHz, 512/30/CD, APX, OS X, $519.99
  • 12" iBook G4/1.0 GHz, 512/30/CD, APX, OS X, $529.99
  • 12" iBook G4/1.3 GHz, 512/40/Cobo, APX, OS X, $749.99


  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, OS X, $209
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/30/CD, OS X, $329

Custom Macs

  • Clamshell iBook G3/300, 128/3/CD, OS X 10.2, $259.99
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, OS X 10.2, $209.99

Wegener Media

  • PowerBook Pismo G3/400, 128/6/DVD, $349.99
  • PowerBook Pismo G3/500, 128/6/DVD, $399.99
  • PowerBook Pismo G3/400, 256/40/DVD, $439.99
  • PowerBook Pismo G3/400, 256/60/DVD, $459.99
  • PowerBook Pismo G3/500, 256/40/DVD, $479.99
  • PowerBook Pismo G3/500, 256/60/DVD, $499.99

Apple Store

  • refurb 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, 512/60/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core Duo white MacBook, 512/60/SD, $899
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core Duo black MacBook, 512/60/SD, $999.00 - out of stock at press time
  • refurb 15" 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,399
  • refurb 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD, $1,599
  • refurb 17" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $2,199
  • refurb 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/100/SD, $1,799

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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