The 'Book Review

First 320 GB 7200 rpm Notebook Drive, USB Ports Inside MacBook Air, Modbook Impressive, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.03.28

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


Apple Updates


Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Fujitsu to Ship First 7200 rpm 320 GB Notebook Drive

Macworld's Martyn Williams reports:

"Fujitsu plans to begin selling in late June a new range of high-performance hard-disk drives for laptop PCs that offer more storage space than current models.

"The 'MHZ2 BJ' series of drives have disks that spin at 7,200 rpm (revolutions per minute) - faster than the 5,400 rpm common on most similar drives - and will be available in capacities up to 320 GB, the Tokyo company said Monday.

"Fujitsu already sells a range of 2.5-inch drives at 7,200 rpm but the highest capacity model in the range can accommodate just 120G bytes so the new range is a big jump in capacity terms."

Editor's note: At present, the highest capacity 7200 rpm notebook drive on the market is 200 GB, so this is a huge increase in capacity. dk

More USB Ports Discovered Inside the MacBook Air

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

USB solder points in MacBook Air"If you find that the MacBook Air lacks connectors, John Maushammer has tried to discover those that Apple did not wire in the MacBook Air, and they are numerous. The MacBook Air Chipset is indeed capable of handling many more devices than those available to us. Of special interest would be USB ports and even a SATA port.

"He has already successfully located and tested 3 USB ports."

MacBook Air Makes a Great Vista Ultraportable

Ars Technica's Chris Foresman says:

"X-bit labs, who last month replaced Mac OS X with Vista on a MacBook Pro and concluded that 'The MacBook Pro is better in almost every objective and subjective parameter, including design and the status of the brand,' is at it again. This time, however, X-bit has replaced OS X with Vista on a MacBook Air and gave the svelte computer a thorough workout. After kicking the tires and driving around the block a few times, it had a lot of good things to say."

TSA Examines MacBook Air, Declares It 'Completely Different'

Ars Technica's Justin Berka reports:

X-ray view of a PowerBook"Going through airport security isn't normally one of life's more enjoyable experiences (no frisking jokes, please), so I would imagine that missing your flight due to your new, $3000 MacBook Air would be even less pleasant. The firsthand account of one flyer's Air-induced delay was quickly posted on the TSA's Evolution of Security blog, and Blogger Bob was on the case. To see what all the fuss was about, Bob got his hands on a MacBook Air, ran it through the X-ray machine, and even posted video of the test."

Super Talent to Ship 256 GB Laptop SSD (but You Can't Afford It)

Macworld's Martyn Williams reports:

"Super Talent, a San Jose-based developer of memory devices, will soon begin commercial sales of a solid-state disk (SSD) drive for laptops that can store 256 GB of data....

"The new drive from Super Talent is the same size as a 12.5-millimeter-thick 2.5-inch laptop drive...."

Editor's note: Exciting news? The article says that the drive will sell for - are you sitting down? - US$5,950. cm

Laptop Vendors Burned in Battery Plant Blaze

Channel Register's Kelly Fiveash reports:

"Some of the world's leading computer vendors have admitted that a worldwide shortage of laptop batteries will impact prices, shipments and sales.

"Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Asustek have all grumbled about the dent in the supply chain caused, in part, by a fire at a Korean factory earlier this month where some laptop batteries are manufactured....

"LG Chem, which is South Korea's second biggest battery vendor, said its factory will be out of action for up to three months."

Editor's note: There is no indication whether this might impact Apple. dk


Axiotron Modbook: Impressive Engineering

Cnet's Dan Ackerman and Matthew Elliott report:

"Axiotron aims to fill some of the gaps in Apple's lineup with the Modbook, a 13-inch MacBook reworked into a slate-style tablet PC. It's a clever bit of engineering, taking the guts of a MacBook and removing the lid, omitting the keyboard and trackpad, replacing the display with a Wacom-enabled LCD and digitizer, and adding a scratch-resistant magnesium shell to the top."

New 2.6 GHz MacBook Pro 18% Faster than Previous BTO Model

Macworld's James Galbraith reports:

"We've seen what Intel's next-generation of Penryn chips can do to the performance of both MacBook Pros and MacBooks. But that testing focused on the standard configurations of Apple's revamped laptop offerings - there are also build-to-order configurations. And now we've gotten our hands on such a system, a customized MacBook Pro, to see how optimizing the hardware translates to performance gains.

"Specifically, we received a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a speedier processor, faster (though smaller) hard drive, and more memory. Our build-to-order laptop sports a 2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo processor; the standard MacBook Pro tops out at 2.5 GHz. We've also swapped out the standard 250 GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive for a 200 GB model that runs at 7,200 rpm. And our customized MacBook Pro has been maxed out to 4 GB of memory, up from the 2 GB that ship with the standard version.

"This souped-up MacBook Pro costs $3,199 - $700 more than the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo chip. But that extra money gets you the fastest portable Mac we've ever tested."

"Opening up the configure to order system also bested a 2.4 GHz iMac meaning that using a portable Mac no longer means a necessary trade off in performance - as long as you're willing to spend the extra money, that is."

MacBook 'Slick and Polished'

PC Pro's Matthew Sparkes writes:

"The Mac versus PC divide used to be so unbridgeable that switching seemed as likely as a lifelong Everton fan deciding Liverpool was the team for them, but no more.

"Ever since Intel processors became standard across Apple's range, there's been little architectural difference between a MacBook and any given PC laptop. What's more, Mac OS X and Windows coexist happily; there's no issue with sharing files with PC users and most popular (and non-gaming) software is available in a Mac version.

"And this latest MacBook looks set to lure even more Windows users to the other side. Like the MacBooks that have gone before it, it manages to feel slick and polished in a way that only Apple can achieve. By designing the software, hardware and everything in between, it ensures that things look and run just the way that it intends and, it goes without saying, it all works beautifully.

"The Special Sauce is ZiPhone

"The application that does all the heavy lifting for you is a free, open source, cross-platform application called ZiPhone, and it can do everything from quick and simple iPhone and iPod touch jailbreaks to unlocking the iPhone for unofficial carriers (i.e., not AT&T). I'm going to cover the very basic jailbreaking of the iPhone and iPod touch, but the process is the same no matter what device you're jailbreaking and what level of unlocking you want."

MacBook: 'I'm Impressed'

Blogger James Ashberry review of the MacBook says:

"First, the bad stuff. Sadly, there are 1 or 2 dead pixels on the glossy wide-screen, but a quick look around the Internet and I've realized there's not a lot of point taking it back because low end TFTs can suffer from dead pixels. It's only when you pay more for a 'pixel-perfect' display that there is a return policy on dead pixels. Oh well.

"That aside, it has all the trade marks of a classic Apple product. The packaging was superb, and minimal....

"Once out the box, the MacBook looks simply stunning....

"The first noticeable thing is how bright the 13.3 inch display is compared to my old 12 inch PowerBook. I can see me having to turn the brightness down to avoid headaches. The keyboard, which I was worried about, turns out to be almost as usable as a standard keyboard, with lovely positive feedback. Again, a definite improvement over my PowerBook."

Apple Updates

Swap the MacBook or MacBook Pro Battery Using Safe Sleep

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"In order to swap the battery on your MacBook or MacBook Pro when a MagSafe adapter is not connected, power down or put the computer into sleep mode.

"As the computer goes to sleep, it will save the contents of the RAM (Random Access Memory) to the computer's hard drive. When you remove the battery, the sleep light will go out and the computer will power off.

"After you've inserted the new battery, open the lid and press the power button. The computer will start up and, using safe sleep, your system will resume where it left off when you put it to sleep."

MacBook Pro: Display Issue Related to 'Hot-plugging' Symptoms

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"When hot-plugging an external display into your MacBook Pro, you may notice the external display occasionally stays dark, or the internal display of the MacBook Pro appears to flash or turn black.

"Sometimes, when switching from an S-Video to a DVI connection, the internal display may appear black or display only the mouse cursor."

About LCD Display Pixel Anomalies

An updated Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"This document defines the term 'pixel anomaly', explains why such anomalies occur, and describes what to do if you feel your active matrix LCD panel has more than an acceptable number of pixel anomalies....

"There are typically millions of these subpixels on an LCD display. For example, the LCD panel used in the Apple Cinema HD display is made up of 2.3 million pixels and 6.9 million red, green, and blue subpixels. Occasionally, a transistor does not work perfectly, which may result in the affected subpixel being turned on (bright) or turned off (dark). With the millions of subpixels on a display, it is quite possible to have a low number of faulty transistors on an LCD. Therefore, a certain number of subpixel anomalies is considered acceptable. Rejecting all but perfect LCD panels would significantly increase the retail price for products using LCD displays. These factors apply to all manufacturers using LCD technology - not just Apple products."


Voltaic Generator Solar Laptop Bag

Voltaic GeneratorPR: The Voltaic Generator is the first solar bag powerful enough to charge a laptop. It uses high efficiency solar cells to generate maximum power in the limited space available. It includes a battery pack custom designed to efficiently store and convert the electricity generated. It can also charge cell phones and most other hand held electronics.

Voltaic GeneratorVoltaic Generator's Solar panel generates up to 14.7 watts, powerful enough to fully charge a typical laptop from a day of direct sunlight.

The included battery pack efficiently stores the equivalent of a typical laptop charge and automatically delivers the required output voltages.

  • Common adaptors are included for easy connection to laptops, phones and other handheld electronics
  • Other devices can connect via USB or car charger
  • Will hold up to a 17" PowerBook inside a protective case
  • Fabrics made from recycled PET (soda bottles), which is tough, water resistant and light weight
  • 150D lining all made from 100% recycled PET.
  • Weight: 4.5 lb. (2,050 grams) including solar panel and battery.
  • Dimensions: 17" x 12" x 3.5" (43 x 31 x 9 cm)
  • Volume: 700 cubic inches (12 liters)
  • Indicator light inside the handle shows when the panels are generating a charge

Voltaic GeneratorColors

  • Silver
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Charcoal

Voltaic Generator sells for $599

Shipping Spring '08

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

Each model comes with an Apple one-year warranty, and ground shipping is free. Changes this week are the addition of a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo 15" MacBook Pro for $1,499.00 (my 2 cents: go for the 2.2 GHz Santa Rosa unit for fifty bucks less and get the LCD backlight), and a 2.6 GHz 17" MacBook Pro for the same price as the 2.4 GHz unit. Only two MacBook models in stock this week. cm

  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook,black, 1 GB/160/SD, $999
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,049
  • refurb 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $999
  • refurb 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,649
  • refurb 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,149
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz hi-res Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,349
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,349


  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $379.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 (VGA), 256/30/Combo, $619.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 (DVI), 256/30/Combo, $629.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.99

Wegener Media

  • 15" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $629.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $699.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $709.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $739.99
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz 512/80/SD, $799.99

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, $379
  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, APX, $410
  • 12" iBook G4 1.07 GHz, 640/30/Combo, APX, $505
  • 12" iBook G4 1.2 GHz, 512/30/Combo, APX, $599

Power Max

  • open box 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $979
  • open box 2.1 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $1,049
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1/120/SD, warranty started, $1,099
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1/160/SD, warranty started, $1,129
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1/120/SD, $1,179
  • open box 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,299
  • open box 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,749
  • open box 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,599
  • open box 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,288
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2,399
  • 17" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,699

PowerBook Guy

  • clamshell iBook G3/300, Blueberry, 64/3/CD, $149.95
  • clamshell iBook G3/300, Tangerine, 64/3/CD, $169.95
  • clamshell iBook G3/366 SE, Graphite, 128/10/CD, $199.95
  • clamshell iBook G3/366, Key Lime, 192/10/CD, $259.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/Combo, $279.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 256/20/Combo, $319.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $249.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 768/30/Combo, $579.95
  • 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 768/40/Combo, $579.95


  • 14" iBook G3/700 MHz, 640/30/CD, Screen Spot, $299
  • 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 384/60/SD, APX, $599

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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