The 'Book Review

MacBook Pro Nvidia Settlement, New Core i5 and i7 Mobile CPUs, Restore from Time Machine, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.10.01

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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News & Opinion

June 2007 and February 2008 MacBook Pro Owners Invited to Apply for Compensation Under Nvidia Class Action Settlement

Certain 2007 and 2008 15" and 17" MacBook Pro systems were subject to a video issue that manifested as scrambled video output and/or sometimes black screens. A class action lawsuit resulted, and a settlement has been arrived at. The lawsuit (Case No. 08-04312-JW NVIDIA GPU LITIGATION) claimed that NVIDIA sold defective Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and Media and Communications Processors (MCPs) that affected the performance of some of the computers in which they were incorporated. NVIDIA denies all allegations of wrongdoing and has asserted many defenses. The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

However, users who own affected MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2007 and 2008 and who are experiencing video problems (black or scrambled output) will be eligible to have their systems fixed for free. Reimbursements will be paid to people who have had these problems fixed at their own expense. You may be a Settlement Class Member if you are a United States resident who purchased for your own personal use and not for resale one of the computers listed in Section 7 of the Full Notice during the corresponding time period, which contained one of certain NVIDIA chips that were incorporated into some versions of those computers.

If you believe you are entitled to the benefits of this settlement, you can register to have your system fixed at the Nvidia GPU Litigation Web site. The site has a specific model check section where you can see if your computer is eligible for repairs.

To determine whether your model is affected by this lawsuit, visit this page:

Affected models incorporate the Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT GPU:

Intel Reveals New Core i5 and i7 Mobile Processors

Intel Core i5 Mobile CPUAccording to separate reports by Cnet's Brooke Crothers and Thinq's Paul Taylor, Intel has added several new Core i series chips to its CPU lineup, including two Core i5 mobile chips for laptops - the 2.66 GHz i5-580M (3 MB L2 cache, two cores, four threads) and the 2.66 GHz i5-560M - both rated at 35W power draw, plus an 18W ultra-low power 560UM clocked at 1.33 GHz

Intel Core i5 Mobile CPUAlso new are a Core 1.33 GHz i5-560UM ("ultralow power" - 3 MB L2 cache, two cores, four threads, 32-nanometer) CPU drawing just 18W of power, making it suitable for ultraslim laptops and tablets, and the power-efficient 2.26 GHz Core i7-660LM (4 MB L2 cache, two cores, four threads, 32nm) and 1.46 GHz i7-680UM (4 MB L2 cache, two cores, four threads, 32nm).

It remains to be seen whether and which of these chips will find their way into Apple laptops.

Turn Your MacBook Into a WiFi Hotspot

MacGroup's Terry White offers a handy connectivity tip for travelers who travel with both a MacBook and an iOS device, such as an iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone, noting:

"Although I usually travel with an AirPort Express for those times when I'm in a hotel room with Internet access via ethernet, sometimes I'm in a conference center and I'm connected to the center's Internet via Ethernet directly into my MacBook Pro . . . The problem is that in those cases there are rarely multiple Ethernet plugs and nor is there WiFi (well sometimes there's WiFi, but usually at an additional cost). I do the next best thing. I plug the Ethernet cable in my MacBook Pro and then I enable Internet Sharing via the Sharing System Preferences. This in effect turns your MacBook notebook into a temporary WiFi hotspot for other devices to share your Internet connection."

Restoring a Mac from Time Machine

eXtensions' Graham K. Rogers reports that his 15" MacBook Pro was returned to him with its hard disk having been replaced a week after its 13" junior arrived. He chronicles reinstalling his software and files from a Time Machine backup, observing what a beautiful machine his MacBook Pro is and how the disappointments of freezing had colored his perspective.

His 13" MacBook Pro was connected to the Time Machine disk, so in theory Graham had the latest backup, and he intended to switch directly to the 15" MacBook and run that as his main machine to see how it fared after the repair.

Rogers reports in detail that he was able to restore his mini-fleet of MacBook Pro computers fairly quickly to a running state using Time Machine, but he is still not sure whether the cause of his recent problems with the 15-incher was the hard drive, graphics switching, or a faulty sudden motion sensor (as some have suggested), noting that he may never know - but he's back on track with productivity.

MacBook Being Replaced by Smaller, More Affordable MacBook Air?

Three Guys and a Podcast's Mark Reschke says:

"If recent reports are to be believed, a new MacBook Air from Apple is imminent . . . the rumored number of screens on order is said to be up to 500,000 by year's end. If accurate, those volumes indicate Apple is looking to reposition the MacBook Air within their portable lineup . . . So where will the new MacBook Air fit in order to find relevance?"

Reschke ventures that when the new Air arrives in October or November, it could slot into the current MacBook space at a $999 price point; suggesting that the current base MacBook will cease to exist and the new MacBook Air take it's place with an ultra low power Intel Core i-series CPU, a smaller overall footprint, greater performance, and dramatically improved battery life.

An interesting line of speculation, although your editor is dubious, but I do agree with Reschke that the Air is either overdue for its rumored refresh or it won't survive much beyond year's end.

Apple Readying Smaller, Lighter MacBook Air?

AppleInsider Staff note that since introducing the 13.3" MacBook Air as the "world's thinnest notebook" nearly three years ago, sales have stagnated - along with the design, which has received just two minor revisions in a 29-month production run, the most recent more than a year ago. AppleInsider suggests that the Air's 13.3" footprint and 3 pound carrying weight may be a bit more than its target cohort of customers would prefer, especially when compared with the more compact and lighter 9.7" iPad (not to mention PC netbooks, which hadn't heavily impacted the market when the MacBook Air was introduced in 2008.

Aside from a smaller display making a more compact footprint possible, AppleInsider speculates that weight reduction could be facilitated by going to a partial carbon fiber enclosure, and that the revised Air will be powered by an Intel Core i ultra-low voltage processor.

11.6" MacBook Air Coming Soon?

DigiTimes' Yen-Shyang Hwang and Steve Shen report that longtime Apple laptop subcontractor Quanta Computer's shipments are likely to reach five million units in September, with the company expected to ship a total of 13-13.2 million notebooks in the third quarter - down 3-5% from 13.7 million units shipped in the second quarter, and that Quanta has reportedly also received orders for 11.6-inch MacBooks from Apple, with shipments expected to top 400,000 to 500,000 units in 2010.

If they're going to hit that metric with a relatively low-volume niche model like the MacBook Air, we would deduce that it should be introduced soon. Or perhaps rumors of a significant price cut for the new Air have some substance, and Apple will be shooting for a higher sales volume with the new model, all of which at this point is speculation.

11.6" MacBook Air Release Imminent?

The Register's Tony Smith also suggests that an 11.6" MacBook Air may be nearing release, observing that with the MacBook Pro range now including 13.3" models, it leaves little room in between them and the polycarbonate-housed MacBook for the 13.3" MacBook Air, which hasn't been updated for almost 18 months and is due a refresh. Smith observes that dropping the Air's screen size to 11.6" would move it out of the MacBook and MacBook Pro space to become the Intel Core "true successor" to the erstwhile and much-lamented 12" PowerBook G4 - and as the logical keyboard-equipped step up from the iPad.

Editor's note: I agree. cm

iOS Netbook Instead of a Smaller, Lighter MacBook Air?

AppleMatters' Chris Seibold observes that Apple is supposedly going to churn out a netbook, which would be the rumored second-generation MacBook Air with an 11.7" screen, a slightly undersized keyboard, a low power CPU etc., but suggests that the trouble with this idea is that Apple has already, publicly and unequivocally, rejected the idea of a netbook.

Seibold is of a mind that Apple isn't about to make a smaller version of the MacBook Air at cut-rate prices just to appease folks who have been clamoring for a cheaper portable Mac, but the iPad makes things little more interesting - and the idea of an 11.7" Apple netbook a lot more plausible. He thinks Mac OS X on an Apple netbook is a nonstarter, but iOS, conversely, has been pitched as the OS for products with more affordable price points, so we're not talking about a smaller Mac but rather an enhanced iPad with a real keyboard and better I/O connectivity, which would allow Apple to get more mileage out of its A4 CPU, and that if Apple determines that such a device could revolutionize the netbook market you can expect to see it.

Sounds plausible

Products & Services

Wooden MacBook Pro Case with Leather Lining

Wooden Laptop CasePR: Custom furniture, interior and exhibition designer Rainer Spehl announces this Wooden Laptop Case with leather lining and magnetic closing device for Apple MacBook Pro 13", 15" and 17".

Not much other detail provided, and Spehl lets these photographs by Achim Hatzius do the talking.

Spehl manages and realizes projects for commercial clients from concepts to the finished product. His portfolio includes exhibition stands, events and product displays for clients such as Nike, Stone Island, Dior, and Gucci.

He also works on his own collection of furniture and products as well as designing individual pieces for private clients.

Wooden Laptop CaseSpehl's designs show a strong interest in craftmanship and its utilisation. The choice of material, the detailing and the incorporation of the respective surroundings are characteristic for his work - aiming to be of the highest standard; functionally - as well as aesthetically.

For purchases contact:

Rainer Spehl
Koepenicker Strasse 187/188
10997 Berlin
tel + 49 30 817 979 58
fax + 49 30 616 215 69
mob + 49 178 355 16 77


Watts, a Mac Laptop Battery Calibration Tool

Watts logoPR: Your Mac laptop's battery needs to be recalibrated from time to time to keep the onscreen battery time and percent display accurate, and to keep the battery operating at maximum efficiency. Watts is a utility that can assist with battery maintenance, and automate the recalibration chore.

Better battery indicator

Watts appWatts can substitute the default menu bar battery icon and adds advanced features. Watts menu will behave as the system battery icon menu, and provides some extra options like calibration assistant and other features.

Intuitive calibration assistant

Watts will guide you through the process of calibrating your battery. The calibration scheduling can be adjusted for your needs, and even postponed if you want. Calibration dates are automatically logged.

More useful Growl notifications

Have your battery always in excellent conditions by enabling useful Growl suggestions. For example, allow Growl to remind you to disconnect the power adapter after a long time connected.

Detailed battery information

All relevant information about your battery is fully available as well as clear explanation of any technical details. Charge cycles, current battery capacity, capacity history log - everything to check your battery lifespan.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 and up

$6.95, 60 day demoware

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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.

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