The 'Book Review

MacBook Air Battery Easy to Replace, Fujitsu Tablet PC Lighter and Cheaper than MacBook Air, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.01.25

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion



Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Apple' War Against User Replaceable Batteries

ZD Net's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says:

"Apple has to be the most high-profile hardware manufacturer on the planet. Whatever it is that comes out of Cupertino is instantly put under intense scrutiny, and as a rule pundits are divided - some love Apple products, while others hate them. Me, I feel divided. Some Apple products fit in with my lifestyle perfectly, while others just don't light my fire. But one design aspect of Apple's latest product offerings bothers me greatly - and that's the gradual eradication of the user-replaceable battery."

Editor's note: Me too. cm

MacBook Air Battery Replacement Take Only Minutes

AppleInsider's Kasper Jade says:

"Due to its ultra-thin profile, Apple's new MacBook Air was designed with an integrated 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery that is not user-replaceable. Though this has caused some initial concern amongst potential adopters, AppleInsider has learned that the replacement process is quite trivial.

"According to people familiar with the new-generation notebook, there are no special tools or knowledge required to swap out the MacBook Air's battery, which Apple has billed its 'thinnest ever' in a product. Instead, the process requires a single size-0 type Philips screwdriver and some diligence."

MacBook Air Can Boot from Remote Disc

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"If the MacBook Air does not feature an integrated optical drive, it can access those plugged to another Mac or PC via the Airport. One can then load an installation CD/DVD in a wireless-enable Mac, and get the MacBook Air connect to it via Airport as confirmed by MacFixIt.

"This computer is not alone in the dark as some people heavily claim it, one could even think of having a compact flash-based USB disk as an emergency disc."

You Can Boot MacBook Air from a Remote Disc

MacFixIt reports:

"Apple officials have confirmed with MacFixIt that the MacBook Air can startup from remote optical media via the Remote Disc function. We asked Janette Barrios, Apple spokesperson for Desktops and Notebooks: 'Does the Remote Disc function allows booting the system. In other words, could you put a Mac OS X Install disc in a remote computer then boot the MacBook Air from that disc?' She answered 'Answer is yes, you can.'"

MacBook Air SuperDrive Needs High Power USB Port

Electronista says:

"The MacBook Air's special processor is not the only example of the ultraportable veering away from Intel's reference designs, Electronista has discovered. People familiar with the internal design of the system have explained that the external SuperDrive DVD burner available for the notebook should only be recognized by the Air rather than any computer due to custom requirements from both the subnotebook and its peripheral."

Details of MacBook Air's '60% Smaller' CPU

AnandTech says:

"Earlier this week Apple announced its MacBook Air, and within hours we had the mystery of its '60% smaller' CPU uncovered. Or at least we thought.

"It turns out there's even more depth to the CPU in the MacBook Air, it's even less conventional than we originally thought. Here's what happened over the past couple of days.

"When Apple first made the announcement, we sent an email off to Intel to see exactly what CPU was used in the MacBook Air. As is usually the case with companies that work closely with Apple, including Intel, we got the usual 'you have to ask Apple PR' response.

"Intel, surely responding to tons of similar requests, put out the following official response:

"'Intel provides its customers with a range of technology choices. If a customer requires a different technology feature-set, then where possible, Intel will work with them to develop a solution to meet their respective market needs, as we have done in this case.'

"But by then we'd already pieced together the puzzle and published our article."

Fujitsu P1620 Tablet PC Lighter and Cheaper with Features MacBook Air Lacks

Wired's Rob Beschizza says:

"Fujitsu rules the subnotebook category with an entire field of entries, coming in every size and shape from true UMPC and up. It's also the first to announce a new model since Apple stormed along with the MacBook Air. The Fujitsu P1620 is lighter, cheaper, and packed with features the Air doesn't have - while lacking some of those it does."

Fujistsu P1620 tabletEditor's note: This compact 2.2 lb. machine has a 9.1" x 6.6" footprint, an 8.9" 1280 x 768 display, a small keyboard (75% of full size), only 512 MB of RAM (2 GB max.), a 60 GB hard drive (100 GB max., 32 GB SSD option), a 28 Watt-hour battery (vs. 37 for MBA), measures 1.38" thick, runs at 1.2 GHz, and retails for just $50 less than the MacBook Air with its 13.3" 1280 x 800 display, full-sized keyboard, and 5 hour battery. dk

Will All the Cool Evaporate When Someone Asks You to Read a Disc?

ZD Net's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says:

"Over the weekend I was discussing the pros and cons of the MacBook Air with a bunch of other tech geeks and we came to the conclusion that the lack of an optical drive is a brave move of Apple's part (a move that other notebook manufacturers are likely to copy over the coming months), but that this could be the feature that's either the deal-maker or deal-breaker.

"Bottom line, whether the MacBook Air is the notebook for you really comes down to whether you use the optical drive on your current notebook much...."

Quanta to Build MacBook Air for Apple

DigiTimes' Yen Ting Chen and Esther Lam report:

"Quanta Computer aims to achieve an on-year notebook shipments growth of over 25% in 2008, according to chairman Barry Lam. Industry sources estimate that Apple and Hewlett-Packard (HP) will be key contributors to the growth with each expected to account for over 20% sales for the notebook OEM.

"Apple, which has just introduced its new MacBook Air, will outsource corresponding assembly orders to Quanta, according to industry sources. Total sales contribution from Apple is expected to surpass 20% this year on an estimated volume of 6-8 million units. Quanta is expected to be the key notebook OEM for Apple in 2008 as the spin-off at Asustek Computer has prompted Apple to shift its orders to Quanta."

Seagate Boosts Momentus Laptop Drive Capacity to 250 GB

Computerworld's Brian Fonseca reports:

"Seagate Technology LLC today is set to unveil an updated Momentus laptop disk drive that boosts capacity from 160 GB to 250 GB.

"The new 2.5-in. Momentus 5400.4 version includes two disk platters and 8 MB of cache, and it can spin at speeds of 5,400 rpm, the company said. The new version of the storage device is currently shipping, Seagate said."


17" MacBook Pro Thin, Light, Feature-laden, and Costly's Mark Kyrnin reports:

"The Apple MacBook Pro have two very strong things going for it. First, it is the smallest and lightest 17-inch notebook available on the market making it great for people who want a large screen but not have the bulk associated with a desktop replacement. Second, the Mac OS X Leopard operating system let's it also use the Windows operatings system via the official Boot Camp release. This is great for designers needed to work or test in both environments. The downside is that it is a relatively expensive machine for the hardware."


Canary Wireless Launches Second Generation WiFi Detector with LCD

PR: The Digital Hotspotter Device Displays Network Information, Signal Strength, Encryption Status and Channel Data at the Push of a Button

Canary WiFi detectorCanary Wireless announces the availability of its second-generation Digital Hotspotter device. The first to introduce a WiFi detection and analysis tool with an LCD display providing essential network information, Canary Wireless now brings to market the HS20, featuring a slimmer form factor, an improved user interface, and the superior RF performance that made the first generation Hotspotter an award winner. The HS20 will be available online at during the first quarter of 2008 and will retail for $59.95.

Canary Wireless' offering is theonly device of its kind to provide smart signal analysis, including network ID, encryption status and channel data for 802.11 (b, g, and n) networks.

The HS20 now features a slick black mirrored-surface, a slimmer design (2" x 3" x 0.5") and weighs only 2 ounces. It also features many added benefits including a "scroll" feature to toggle between multiple available networks, a backlit display and a larger screen with quick glance icons.

"As WiFi users become more and more reliant on these networks as a critical communication channel while traveling, accessories such as the HS20 that provide insight into the network's security and accessibility are becoming essential," commented Steve Deutscher, president, Canary Wireless.

According to the latest hotspot report by iPass, a leading provider of enterprise mobility services, a growing number of businesspeople are using hotspots to stay productive on the road. In its WiFi Hotspot Index, iPass found that usage of WiFi hotspots by traveling businesspeople increased by 68 percent between the second half of 2006 and the first half of 2007. "These results indicate that business demand for WiFi hotspots has grown from a novelty to a mainstream need," said Joel Wachtler, VP of marketing and strategy at iPass.

From business travelers to students and today's mobile workforce, the Canary device offers users convenience, flexibility and security. Benefits include: No need to bootup a laptop to detect whether an accessible WiFi network is near Quick glance icons show signal strength and security status for each access point Device gives network ID (SSID), allowing identification of public or private networks Backlit display with 96x64 pixels for easy viewing Uses inexpensive and easy to find AAA batteries (2) Scroll feature allows easy access to multiple access points per scan; highlight an access point name to view details on network type, security open/WEP/WPA, and channel configuration Battery meter icon displays status of AAA batteries Does not require any additional software or hardware Can be used as a network analysis, rollout and maintenance tool Uses a true 802.11 engine, resulting in no false readings from Bluetooth® signals, cordless phones, or microwave ovens like some competitors' products Slim form-factor easily slips into shirt pocket or computer bag; lanyard hook also allows the HS20 to be attached to other cases Can be branded with your company logo - great for outfitting a sales force

AirMail Manila Folder Notebook Sleeve for MacBook Air

PR: The AirMail laptop sleeve is handmade out of durable upholstery-grade vinyl, and lined with fuzzy, soft fleece. All AirMail sleeves have the same dimensions as standard interoffice manila envelopes, which will serve to remind you - and everyone around you - that your new MacBook Air really is the thinnest laptop in the world!

AirMail laptop sleeveApple's MacBook Air is a revolutionary computer, and we thought we'd take Steve Jobs up on his idea that it can fit inside a standard manila envelope. Besides, we wanted a cool case to show off our new laptops!

AirMail laptop cases are lined with thick fleece, which will protect your laptop from any cosmetic damage and smudges, and keep it safe from bumps in daily use. It is not suitable, however, for any extreme use. But geez, treat your MacBook Air kindly!

The AirMail is the brainchild of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, two Apple geeks with combined handicraft-and-idea-person superpowers!

AirMail laptop sleeveClaire hacked a sweatshirt into a skirt and got some blog attention, Jona and his friend Flint created FlickrBlockrs to protect privacy on the internet, and Jona has some really nice T-shirts he designed for his band for sale here.

When can I get one?

You can pre-order your AirMail MacBook Air sleeve and expect to receive it via USPS Priority Mail by the time you get your MacBook Air. Ships two weeks from January 15 or when the MacBook Air becomes available.


Crumpler Tony Blair Squirrel Notebook Case

Tony Blair Squirrel Notebook CasePR: This is a limited edition model of the new laptop bag range - "The Squirrels" - available in five sizes and four colors; our answer to the laptop briefcase. What better way to release this new series of laptop bags than with the "Tony Blair Retirement Special"

The Tony Blair Squirrel Notebook Case has a water resistant 600D polyester shell. 150D ripstop lining. and a brushed polyester lined main compartment. There is a full briefcase organizer, with an expandable filing pocket and storage space, easy access stowable handles, and a removable and adjustable shoulder strap.

Tony Blair Squirrel Notebook CaseIt measures 15.75" x 11.75" x 2.5" and fits laptops up to 14" x 11.5" x 1.5" (i.e.: most 13" and 15" laptops)

Weight: 1 lb., 3 oz.


Belkin Announces New Sleeves for MacBook Air

PR: Belkin International, Inc. announces new Sleeves designed to fit and complement your MacBook Air. Ranging from neoprene to leather, the Sleeves protect your MacBook Air without adding any bulk.

Slim-Fit Sleeve for MacBook AirAvailability

  • Neoprene Sleeves will be available in March 2008 in the US and Canada
  • All other Sleeves will be available late May 2008 in the US and Canada

Slim-Fit Sleeve for MacBook Air (F8N069) - $39.99

  • No zippers or magnets, just slip in your MacBook Air and flip the top over to secure it in place
  • Made of high-quality neoprene that protects and cushions your notebook

Leather/Neoprene Sleeve for MacBook AirLeather/Neoprene Sleeve for MacBook Air (F8N066) - $49.99

  • Asymmetrical zipper gives you the flexibility to access your notebook from the top or the side
  • Made of high-quality leather and neoprene

Neoprene Sleeve for MacBook Air (F8N065) - $49.99

  • Designed to keep your MacBook Air snug and protected
  • Use it with your favorite bag or on its own

Vertical Sleeve with Strap for MacBook AirVertical Sleeve with Strap for MacBook Air (F8N067) - $49.99

  • Slim-Fit Strap gives you the flexibility to carry your MacBook Air in your arms or on your shoulder
  • Eliminates the need to put your Sleeve in another bag--the perfect minimalist case for your minimalist notebook

Chris McGugan, Vice President of Product Management for Belkin International, Inc. says: "We are excited to be the first to introduce new sleeves for the MacBook Air. Building off our strength in the iPod accessories category, we are extending this asset to create accessories for the MacBook Air that are stylish, well-designed, and easy to use. In respecting the thinness of the MacBook Air, we've designed our sleeves to complement it by keeping a similarly slim profile."

WaterField Designs Introduces SleeveCase for MacBook Air

PR: WaterField Designs, a San Francisco manufacturer of custom-fitted computer cases and bags introduces a new laptop SleeveCase made specifically for Apple's new MacBook Air. This protective sleeve ships by Friday, January 25.

The new SleeveCase is a slim, durable covering made of a sturdy ballistic nylon shell and a high-grade neoprene interior that is customized to the MacBook Air dimensions for a snug fit. Available in either a horizontal or vertical orientation, users can easily retrieve their laptop from a briefcase, messenger bag, or backpack without removing the sleeve itself. Alternatively, they can opt to add a strap to the sleeve and use it as a stand-alone case. Other options include a front flap for added protection and the "Piggyback," a detachable gear holder for accessories.

Frequent flyers can insert the SleeveCase into a wheelie or larger bag to comply with the 2-bag carryon limit. The SleeveCase can also be quickly retrieved and reinserted at airport security check.

"To properly protect your laptop, you need a case that fits snugly and is designed to the laptop's dimensions so that it stays cushioned while in transport," explained Gary Waterfield, Chief Designer. "You don't want your laptop bouncing around in a one-size-fits-all case; that's why we have over 50 sizes in stock and continually introduce new ones. Plus, the neoprene inner shell provides shock-absorbing qualities to cushion your laptop."

The new SleeveCase size 13-2 for the MacBook Air is $39. Optional accessories for the MacBook Air SleeveCase include: adding a front flap ($15), a suspension shoulder strap and D-rings ($18), the Piggyback ($22).

For stowing laptop accessories, WaterField offers the Gear Pouch ($19-$25), the Cable Guy ($19-$25), an iSight case ($24) and a variety of keyboard cases ($29-$49).

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.

Apple Store

Slim pickings in refurbished MacBook Pros from Apple this week. Just a few relatively high-end and expensive models available in both sizes. Lots of MacBooks, though. cm

  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $999
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $1,049
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,349
  • refurb 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,199
  • refurb 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,399
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,399
  • refurb hi-res 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,599


  • 15" PowerBook G4/400, 256/20/DVD, $499.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SD, $779.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $799.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.99

Wegener Media - 15" MacBook Pro - 17" MacBook Pro

  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro , 512/80/SD, $1,179.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,239.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,399.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,459.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,499.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,529.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/200/SD, $1,619.99


  • 12" iBook G4/1.07 GHz, 256/30/Combo, APX, $399
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/40/Combo, APX, $549.99

Power Max

  • MacBook 2.0 GHz Core 2, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $1,049
  • MacBook 2.16 GHz Core 2, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,439
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, warranty started $1,199
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook 2.16 GHz Core 2, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,229
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $1,399
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,419
  • open box 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,229
  • open box 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,599
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2,649
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,899
  • 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,969
  • 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $3,079

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, $449
  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, APX, $485
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SD, $685
  • Add Airport Extreme for $39

PowerBook Guy

  • Clamshell iBook G3/300, 64/3/CD, $149.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $199.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $179.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $219.95
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $229.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $269.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/Combo, $299.95
  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/40/Combo, $469.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 768/40/Combo, $519.95
  • 14" iBook G3/900, 256/40/Combo, $379.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/120/SD, APX, $1,299.95

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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