The 'Book Review

Nvidia Inside Next MacBook?, Time for a Mac Netbook, Asus Launches MacBook Air Killer, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.10.10

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

Tech Trends


Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Nvidia Driven MacBooks on October 14?

ITWire's Davey Winder says:

"The Apple world has been going crazy over news of the new MacBooks. You know, the aluminium bodied, glass-trackpad festooned objects of desire that everyone thought would already be on sale. Now we are told that they will have added Nvidia power and be unveiled next week...

"According to a posting on that bastion of all things Apple shaped and rumour flavoured, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, we do not have long to wait for the new MacBook.

"What's more, those same sources are insisting that the MacBook will come complete with some Nvidia power under the hood. 'A source tells us that Nvidia is showing off new MacBooks to their employees' TUAW says."

Photo May Reveal More about Next MacBook Pro

AppleInsider reports:

possible new MacBook Pro casing"A photo originating on a Chinese website and making the rounds on the Web this afternoon resembles descriptions of Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro, which is expected share design similarities with the company's MacBook Air and aluminum iMacs.

"The photo depicts what could be the left-hand side of a 15- or 17-inch MacBook Pro with a new speaker grill design and keyboard cutout that matches the one already employed by the company's 13-inch MacBook Air....

"This would appear to conform with expectations that both Apple's new MacBook and MacBook Pro would borrow design cues from the most recent iMacs and MacBook Air, as was outlined in an AppleInsider report in April...."

Time for a Mac Netbook? I Don't Think So

Mobile Devices Today's Michael says:

"Forget an Apple Tablet, Kevin C. Tofel makes a good case for a Mac Netbook and as much as I want one too, it isn't going to happen.

"It's just too niche of a market right now and would potentially cannibalize too much of the market for high end devices."

3 Reasons Why We'll See an Apple Netbook Soon

jkOnTheRun says:

"I mentioned this crazy scheme in our last podcast, but now that more blurry pics of an anticipated MacBook Pro refresh have resurfaced, it's a good time to rehash. I've been wondering if and how Apple will get into the netbook market. With millions of netbooks selling this year, I don't think it's a market they can afford to ignore. Others like HP, Dell and Lenovo agree or they wouldn't have jumped in with low-priced, small notebook computers. But Apple has a far more limited product line than the PC manufacturers, so how can they fit another device in the mix? They can't, but they still will. Here's why I think so and how I expect they'll do it...."

Is the 'Brick' a New Manufacturing Process?

9 to 5 Mac's Seth Weintraub reports:

"The MacBook Brick is a block of high-quality, aircraft grade aluminum. It is the beginning.

"The beginning of what?

"It is the beginning of the new Apple manufacturing process to make MacBooks. It is totally revolutionary, a game changer. One of the biggest Apple innovations in a decade.

"The MacBook manufacturing process up to this point has been outsourced to Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturers like Foxconn. Now Apple is in charge. The company has spent the last few years building an entirely new manufacturing process that uses lasers and jets of water to carve the MacBooks out of a brick of aluminum...."

Potential MacBook 16:9 Screens Compared to Current 16:10

9 to 5 Mac's Chauncey Dupree reports:

"iMacmatician has used his mathematics skills for good and not evil to create a helpful guide for what we feel will be new MacBook screen sizes. The 16:9 ratio seems like a lock at this point so we will have some nice new sizes to choose from....

possible new MacBook screen sizes vs. current ones

"...the height is about the same but the screens will become a bit wider at various sizes. Most likely the bezel around the screen will have to change significantly for the new MacBooks."

iBook towerTurn a 12" iBook into a Mac mini-like Tower

Hardmac's Lionel says:

"Aurore got an iBook G4 12" for her son, however the notebook had a problem with the LCD display. She could not find spare parts, so she decided to turn the iBook into a Mac mini-like desktop tower.

"The entire hardware of the iBook has been installed in a 5.25" enclosure initially designed to host a DVD burner. Everything is kept, including the SuperDrive. For those willing to improve further this mod, by up scaling the cooling system, one could overclock the CPU and the GPU."

Apple Settles Class-action Suit Over Faulty Notebook Adapters

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"Apple has agreed, without admitting fault, to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that power adapters sold with certain PowerPC-based iBook and PowerBook notebooks were defective in that they could dangerously fray, sparks and prematurely fail to work.

"The settlement offers to provide a cash payment to customers who purchased certain model Apple PowerBook or iBook computers, had their power adapter fail within the first three years following the initial retail purchase, and then purchased a replacement adapter."

Tech Trends

Asus Launches 'MacBook Air Killer'

The Guardian reports:

Asus S101 notebook"Taiwan's Asus aims to move the Eee PC line upscale with its slim and light S101, which is in some respects better than a MacBook Air for a fraction of the price

"Taiwanese manufacturers are not known for inviting the world's press to fancy product launches, but this afternoon in rainy Taipei, Asus put on a little fashion show to launch the latest Eee PC, the S101. This is a cut above the previous models in being thin and stylish, and Asus reckons it's 'a successful melding of fashion and functionality' that puts it at the 'pinnacle of netbook computing.' And while it comes at a higher price - $699 - it's much lighter (1 kg) and cheaper than a MacBook Air, it looks nicer, and it has a much more practical specification."

Lithium-Ion Battery Beater to Debut in 'Major' Laptop Release

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"Left-field battery developer ZPower has signed up a 'major notebook computer' manufacturer, which will release a laptop fitted with its silver-zinc power packs next year.

"Unsurprisingly, perhaps, ZPower isn't saying who it is. Still, it's a coup for ZPower, which has been trying to persuade the world for a few years now that it has a better rechargeable battery solution that lithium-ion.

"Its central pitch is that its technology delivers power for longer than a same-size lithium-ion battery will, and that it does so in a form not only more eco-friendly but one that has no risk of spontaneous combustion too.

"ZPower's projections have silver-zinc beating lithium-ion energy density by 30-40 per cent, a lead it claims can only increase over time as silver-zinc technology continues to evolve."

Murata Working on Turning Laptop Heat Into Power

IDG News Service's Sumner Lemon reports:

"Murata Manufacturing's unicycling robot was the star attraction at the company's Ceatec booth this year, but visitors in a hurry to see the robot perform likely rushed by one of the company's more interesting projects: a thermoelectric device capable of turning heat into electricity. The device could one day find a home in laptops, and other products....

"The thermoelectric device generates electricity when two ceramic semiconductors are subjected to different temperatures. When the semiconductors are connected, the temperature gradient produces a slight electric current...."


8 to 10 Hours of Total Battery Power for MacBook Pro

PR: QuickerTek announces the MacBook External Battery/Charger for the Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook laptops. This product either charges or powers MacBooks with up to 10 additional hours of computing power. It's available from QuickerTek and its dealers for $449.95 .

MacBook External Battery/Charger"We built MagSafe compatibility into this product", said Rick Estes, president, QuickerTek, Inc. "We use the regular MagSafe connectors coming out from the Battery/Charger, so you don't have to do anything different," he continued.

This product is an logical extension of QuickerTek's first MacBook Air External Battery/Charger, and gives MacBook Pro users far more flexibility in how and when they choose to use their laptops. With up to 10 extra hours of battery power - beyond the battery life of the built-in battery - users can plan for longer airline flights, more time outdoors and plenty of time for several leisurely cups at the coffee shop.

QuickerTek claims that a total of 8 to 10 total hours of MacBook Pro use are easily available when using the External Battery/Charger. Users can easily monitor how the external battery is working by checking the battery charge indicator in the menu bar, which stays at 100% for hours, before the internal battery is used.

While the stock MacBook Pro recharges in five hours using the AC wall adapter, the MacBook Pro External Battery/Charger recharges in only three hours. Styled to blend with your Apple equipment, the MacBook Pro External Battery/Charger is aesthetically attractive, and being both compact and lightweight it's ideal for traveling.


  • Physical: 9 x 6 x 1 inches;
  • Weight: 5 lb.;
  • Battery: Li-Ion Polymer;
  • 8 to 10 hours of total battery life;
  • LED charging status indicator

MacBook Pro External Battery and Charger $449.95

You'll need one modified MagSafe power adapter:

Modified 85W MagSafe power adapter $100

Modify customer's 85W MagSafe adapter $25

MacBook Air External Battery/Charger $349.95

You'll need one modified 45W MagSafe power adapter:

Modified MagSafe power adapter $100

Modify customer's 45W MagSafe adapter $25

Like most QuickerTek products, the MacBook Pro External Battery Charger is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

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

Apple Store

Changes from last week are that the $2,099 MacBook Air is gone again, the $1,649 15" MacBook Pro is sold out, as is the $1,899, 2.33 GHz 17" MacBook Pro. Each model comes with an Apple one-year warranty, and ground shipping is free.

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,499
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $2,299
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,699
  • refurb 15" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,999
  • refurb 15" 2.6 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $2,649
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,699


  • 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,399.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,548.99
  • 15'' 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,768.98
  • 15'' 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,814.99


  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,499.99

Wegener Media - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook

  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $645.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $699.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $749.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $769.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, 60 day warranty, $799.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $639.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $729.99
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD $799.99

We Love Macs

  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $699.95
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/DVD, $849.95
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 256 RAM, 60/Combo, $849.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/60/SD, $949.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, 1 year warranty, $894.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $929.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $1,199.95
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $1,109.95
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/120/Combo, 1 year warranty, $1,089.95

Beta Macs

  • Lombard PowerBook G3/400, 128/6/DVD, $150
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, 1 GB/60/Combo, $699
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, 1 GB/80/Combo, $799
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, 1 GB/80/SD, $825
  • 2.16 GHz Core Duo 15" MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,099
  • 2.16 GHz Core Duo 17" MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,199

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/0/Combo, APX, no hard drive, $259
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $655
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $729
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $759
  • 15" 2.1 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,129

PowerBook Guy

  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, $499.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 768/40/Combo, AP, AppleCare, $599.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 MHz DVI, 256/30/Combo, $479.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $849.95
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, APX, $1,499.95

Custom Macs

  • 12" iBook G3/600 MHz, 128/20/CD, OS X 10.2, $279.99
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/CD, APX, OS X 10.4, $449.99

For more deals on current or discontinued models, see our MacBook deals, MacBook Air deals, 15" MacBook Pro deals, 17" MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" 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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