The 'Book Review

Apple Share of Ultrabooks to Shrink, Time Machine Glitch When Restoring to New Drive, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.12.23

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

News & Opinion

Products & Services


Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Apple's Share of Ultrabook Market Will Decline

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports that although Apple will sell an increasing number of MacBook Airs over the next two years, its share of the light-and-thin notebook market will fall as computer makers crank out Windows-powered competitors, according to analyst Brian Marshall of International Strategy & Investment Group (ISI) in a Dec. 13 note to clients.

Marshall estimates that Apple will sell 6.3 million MacBook Air notebooks in 2011, 8.4 million in 2012 and 10.4 million in 2013, and that MacBook Air sales accounted for 49% of all Apple's notebook sales in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, 2011.

However, he predicts, even as Apple sells more MacBook Airs, its share of the total "ultrabook" market will decline.

Marshall thinks Apple's 2102 ultrabook (notebooks that weigh less than three pounds, use SSD storage, have a full-sized keyboard and at least an 11" screen) share will diminish to approximately 46% in 2012, and to 32% in 2013, with more Windows PC makers jumping on the ultrabook bandwagon.

Marshall projects that no Windows PC maker will beat Apple, but Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo will come closest, with Microsoft's release of Windows 8 next year to help boost non-Apple ultrabooks sales, noting in his research note that "Success hinges on reaching mainstream notebook PC prices close to $700, or 30% below the base 11.6" MacBook Air model at $999."

Marshall anticipates some 30 to 50 ultrabook announcements at the Jan. 10-13 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Publisher's note: This is like predicting that Windows' share of the operating system market, Internet Explorer's share of the browser market, or the iPad's share of the tablet market will decline. When you so completely dominate a market, there's really nowhere for your share to go but down, and since Apple pretty much invented the ultrabook category (the MacBook Air came out before the term ultrabook had even been coined), the conclusion is obvious. It is interesting to see the trajectory being predicted - and remember how none of the 10" Android tablets have yet made a dent in iPad sales. dk

Glitch in Backing Up after Data Restore from Time Machine

MacGroup blogger Chita Hunter notes that there was one item from a laptop drive failure a few weeks ago that didn't end at all as expected, despite having a a full clone backup, an emergency Lion USB thumb drive, and a Time Machine backup.

Once home, the laptop was booted up from the thumb drive, restored from the Time Machine drive, and seemed fine, but running SuperDuper at the end of the day, it was noted that the backup seemed to be taking longer than normal, although it completed, but an attempted Time Machine backup the next day found Time Machine overwriting existing data.

It is deduced that with a new drive ID, even though the info on the new drive was from a Time Machine restore, the drive is still a new different entity to Time Machine, with data on the new drive considered new data.

Something to consider if you're restoring your date to a new drive from Time Machine.

Editor's note: Your editor does Time Machine backups periodically, but depends mainly on Carbon Copy Cloner (donationware). cm

Publisher's note: Your publisher doesn't use Time Machine, but depends on SuperDuper ($28) to create bootable hard drive clones. dk

Products & Services

Aegis NetDock - Mac Edition 3-in-1 Notebook Docking Station

Aegis NetDockPR: Apricorn has announced a new Mac Edition of their Aegis NetDock ($229 for 1 TB model), an ultra-compact 3-in-1 USB Docking Station, combining a 4-port USB hub, dual layer DVD burner, and hard drive in a footprint smaller than a stapler. An ideal accessory for Apple's MacBook Air especially, the Aegis NetDock instantly adds desktop functionality and optical drive support via a single USB connection.

Compact Design

With its attractive candy-red enclosure and space-saving vertical stand facilitating a tiny footprint small enough to fit on the most cluttered desk, the Aegis NetDock is a perfect solution for mobile professionals, students, and those looking for a simple way to connect all of their mobile devices.

4-Port USB Hub

Aegis NetDockIdeal for connecting and charging Apple "i" devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod, the NetDock's 4-port USB Hub with two "Always On" USB ports enables you to connect up to four USB devices using a single USB port on your MacBook or MacBook Air.

Dual Layer DVD Burner

Aegis NetDockThe Aegis NetDock's optical drive is perfect for installing the latest software, playing games, or watching a DVD. Need to burn your latest iMovie or iLife project to a DVD? With its Dual Layer recording engine you can record up to 8.5 GB of data per DVD, virtually doubling data storage capacity on a DVD recordable disc from the single layer recording capacity of 4.7 GB.

High Capacity Hard Drive

Fully compatible with Time Machine, the Aegis NetDock's built-in 500 GB or 1 TB hard drive also gives you plenty of space to store your media collection, photos, and videos in one local and always-accessible location.

The Aegis NetDock is also available without a hard drive. The easy open enclosure enables you to add, swap, or change out the hard drive in a snap. The enclosure fits any 2.5" 9.5mm SATA hard drive.

Green Energy Efficient Design

Aegis NetDock with MacBook AirIn addition, the Aegis NetDock's energy efficient design incorporates an auto "ON" and "OFF" feature, automatically turning on when connected to your MacBook and powering down when not in use.

"With so many mobile professionals and students using the MacBook Air as their primary computer, the ability to conveniently add desktop features when needed makes the Aegis NetDock an ideal companion for the MacBook Air," says Mike McCandless, VP of Sales & Marketing at Apricorn. "Its tiny size, affordable price, and comprehensive feature set make the Aegis NetDock an appealing addition."

Warranty - 1 year

  • With 500 GB Hard Drive - $199 ($124 after mail-in rebate)
  • With 1 TB Hard Drive - $229
  • Without Hard Drive - $69

Web Exclusive Offer - $75 Mail-in rebate and get free Shipping on Aegis NetDock 500 GB (Free Shipping Available in Continental US only)

Apricorn's Aegis NetDock is available from online retailers and Apricorn's website.

Publisher's note: Bear in mind that, unlike Apple's $79 external SuperDrive for the MacBook Air, this is not a bus-powered device. I comes with an AC adapter, which also allows the two "always on" ports. The included hard drives are 5400 rpm with an 8 MB buffer - performance lovers may want to buy the bare NetDock and add a faster hard drive. dk

Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter

PR: Thunderbolt technology offers amazing speed (up to 10 Gb/s) and versatility, supporting high-resolution displays plus high-performance data devices through a single, compact port. It's next generation I/O technology available today. But what about connecting existing FireWire and eSATA peripherals as well as high speed memory cards?

Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt AdapterSonnet's Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter expands Thunderbolt connectivity to support more than just storage systems and monitors, adding an ExpressCard/34 slot to any computer to which it's connected, enabling you to use a wide variety of ExpressCard/34 cards to add a range of interfaces and capabilities to your system.

For example, this adapter lets you add more FireWire ports or an eSATA interface through a single Thunderbolt adapter, allowing you to choose your connections and add more to your setup. Because this adapter supports hot-swapping, you can select and change the ExpressCard to use as needed. It supports most Sonnet ExpressCard/34 cards (with a PCI Express interface), such as their models with FireWire interfaces, CompactFlash and SDXC card readers, and select eSATA controllers. It also will support most specialty bus-interface products like the interface adapter for AJA io Express.

Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt AdapterSetup for this Sonnet adapter is simple - just connect it directly to your computer or at the end of a Thunderbolt device chain with a Thunderbolt cable (not included, sold at the Apple Store). That's it. There is no software to install and no power supply to plug in. Plug the ExpressCard/34 card into the Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter as you would into a notebook computer's ExpressCard slot, install software for the adapter if necessary, and you're ready to work.

Key Features

  • Expands Your Computer's Connectivity and Capabilities - Enables you to use ExpressCard/34 adapters with Thunderbolt technology-equipped computers
  • Fast Interface - High-performance 10 Gb/s Thunderbolt technology, 2.5 Gb/s ExpressCard/34 interface
  • Supports Common ExpressCard/34 Adapters - Supports Sonnet CompactFlash and SDXC readers; FireWire, and select eSATA adapters
  • Supports Specialty ExpressCard/34 Adapters - Supports ExpressCard adapters for specialty devices such as AJA io Express
  • SxS Memory Card Compatibility - Based on testing in our lab, we expect the Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter to be fully compatible with SxS media cards and transfer data at the full card speed once Sony makes available an updated driver that is Thunderbolt technology aware.

Versatile Connectivity via Thunderbolt

Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt AdapterSonnet's Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter opens a world of connectivity options to any Thunderbolt technology-enabled computer. ExpressCard/34 adapters, originally intended for use with notebook computers, offer users additional connectivity and functionality beyond what's available through their computers stock configuration. With Sonnet's EchoExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter, you can have an eSATA Thunderbolt adapter, a FireWire 800 Thunderbolt adapter, or an SDXC or CF Thunderbolt adapter. Sonnet says additional options will be available soon.

Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter Specifications

  • Warranty - 1-year
  • Bus Interface - PCI Express x1
  • External Connectors:
    • 1 Thunderbolt
    • 1 ExpressCard/34
  • Data Transfer Speeds - Up to 2.5 Gb/s
  • Supported ExpressCard/34 Adapter Types - PCIe-based with driver support for Thunderbolt Technology
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 2.7" x 4.0" x 1.3" (6.7 x 10.0 x 3.4 cm)
  • Mac Compatibility - Mac with Thunderbolt Technology
    • Mac OS 10.6.8+
    • Mac OS X Lion compatible

Requires Thunderbolt cable, available at the Apple Store.

Ergonomic Solutions from RTA Products

PR: RTA Products LLC has announce two new ergonomic solutions lines, 2COOL and The Sharper Image, which feature innovative ergonomic laptop stands and tablet accessories.

Most people spend hours at the computer each day, which often leads to neck strain and overall fatigue. The Sharper Image and 2COOL ergonomic laptop stand collections feature sleek, modern silhouettes, that raise your laptop's monitor to an eye level position, while a built in keyboard and touch pad increases productivity. Built in fans and additional USB ports are just icing on the cake!

With the advent of our innovative ergonomic laptop stands and mobile accessories lines, our goal is to revolutionize how consumers experience their laptops and other portable devices such as iPad and ebook readers, said Gabe Dickstein, managing director of RTA Products. Each RTA Products stand and tablet case was developed to be ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing, to ensure that users can enjoy their devices for hours without compromising on comfort or style.

2COOL and The Sharper Image Ergonomic Solutions

RTA Products new ergonomic solutions provide tech-savvy professionals with accessories that meet their technological needs and enhance the look of their devices. Both lines offer laptop stands in silver, black or white and tablet cases in Techniflex synthetic leather. All laptop stands are Apple & PC compatible.

Sleek Chill Laptop Stand with KeyboardFeatured 2COOL and The Sharper Image products include:


Sleek Chill Laptop Stand with Keyboard (2C-SK31H2): An ergonomic laptop stand featuring three silent cooling fans, a two-port USB hub and full-size keyboard with built in touch pad.

Trendy Laptop Stand with Keyboard (2C-SK11H2): This trendy laptop stand offers an ergonomic solution with a durable full-size keyboard including numeric keypad, light display and touchpad.

Pro-Cooling Stand with KeyboardPro-Cooling Stand with Keyboard (2C-SK02H2): An ergonomic designed cooling solution, the pro-cooling stand includes a durable full-size keyboard, one silent, oversized fan and a USB port to connect to other devices.

iPad Portfolio with Bluetooth Keyboard (2C-TCK02C): A stylish, ergonomic solution, this portable iPad tablet case provides a Bluetooth connection to a spill- and dust-proof keyboard. (For iPad and iPad 2.)

The Sharper Image

Notebook Stand with KeyboardNotebook Stand with Keyboard (RTA-SISK31): This ergonomic laptop stand offers three silent cooling fans to keep a laptop from overheating, as well as a 2-Port USB hub to connect to other devices, and a touchpad and full-size keyboard made of durable ABS plastic.

White Laptop Stand with Built-In KeyboardWhite Laptop Stand with Built-In Keyboard (RTA-SISK11): With an ergonomic design laptop stand features a built-in full size keyboard and fully functional touchpad with left and right buttons which allows you to work on your laptop with ease. Also includes an open back design that allows heat to escape keeping laptop cool.

iPad Portfolio with Bluetooth Keyboard (RTA-SITCK02): Featuring a Bluetooth notebook-style keyboard and lightweight Techniflex synthetic leather case, this ergonomic solution is designed to make working in small spaces simple.

Ergonomic Laptop Stand Collections and Workspace Solutions

RTA Products easy-to-use website features each and every product in the 2COOL, TechniMobili, and The Sharper Image lines, and allows users to easily find the ergonomic solution that suits their needs simply by searching the product line, product number, category, and/or material they desire.

In addition, the site provides engaging instruction manuals, assembly tips and assembly videos as well as a blog where consumers can find the latest and greatest news about RTA Products and exciting information about related industry topics.

2COOL solutions and The Sharper Image products can also be found online at, (formerly and, as well as in store at Fry's Electronics.

For more information on where to buy RTA's ergonomic, stylish alternatives to traditional workspace solutions, email for a complete list of e-retailers.


iBrightness Overrides OS X Auto Brightness, Puts You in Control

PR: XCool Apps has announced iBrightness, their latest app designed for Apple's MacBook line of portable computers. iBrightness is now available on the Mac App Store and is targeted at filling the gap for one of the most basic features that should have been built-in to each MacBook that Apple sells.

Whenever we turn the power adapter on or off, our MacBooks will automatically adjust the screen brightness. However, it switches the brightness according to what it thinks is right, sometimes depending on what it feels like, even when we switched off the automatic brightness setting.



"We work on our Macs the whole day," say the developers, "and we grew tired of our MacBooks constantly forgetting the brightness level that we have set whenever we change power sources, so we came out with the idea for iBrightness."

Besides allowing you to freely adjust your brightness level straight from the menu bar, iBrightness sits in the menu bar, waiting for your Mac's power source to change and then re-adjusts the screen brightness according to what you have previously set. No more guessing if the screen will be too dim when you move away from the power socket, or if it will be too bright because you turned to the power adapter. iBrightness is here to keep the guessing game away.

iBrightness Features

  • Automatically adjust your portable Mac's screen brightness when switching power source
  • Separate brightness levels for each power source: battery or power adapter
  • Adjust screen brightness levels easily from the comfort of your menu bar
  • Option to run app on system startup (recommended)

iBrightness is designed for portable Macs like the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro running Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard or above. You may run this app on non-portable Macs, but with reduced functionalities.

System Requirements

  • Apple Macintosh computer
  • Designed for MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro
  • Requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later
  • 0.5 MB

iBrightness 1.0 is available at 99¢ (or its equivalent amount in other currencies) and is available worldwide exclusively through Apple's Mac App Store in the Utilities category.

Bargain 'Books

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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