The 'Book Review

Life After PCs, Retina MacBook Has Better Color, $42 Portable USB Blu-ray Player, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.07.06

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

Rumor Roundup

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Anticipating Life After the Personal Computer

Robert Cringely contends that nearly all of us are on our next-to-last PC, a hardware category he reckons will be dead in about five years - or 1.5 PC hardware replacement cycles. He makes some interesting observations on the history of technology life cycles, noting that more often than not a particular technology will find its greatest success being used in ways other than were originally expected.

He also qualifies that fifteen years from now we won't be able to function without some sort of machine that has a microprocessor and memory inside, and while we probably won't call it a personal computer, that's essentially what it will still be.

Cringely says a trend toward more mobile devices has been clear for years, with notebooks having long since caught and passed desktops in the market share stakes, and a significant compromise they imposed us was smaller screen size. He notes that he writes today mainly on a 13" notebook, which replaced a 21" desktop, but he doesn't miss the desktop because the total value proposition is so much better with the notebook, and he wouldn't go back to a bigger screen, because it would mean scrapping his mobility.

That dynamic is now entering another phase with the ascendency of smartphones and tablets, with desktops and even notebooks on life-support attributable to corporate buying policies, hardware replacement cycles, and inertia.

Retina MacBook Pro: Better Color Calibration and Display for Better Photography

CDTobie's Photo Blog, asked to put together an overview of observations on the Retina Display MacBook Pro as related to photography - and specifically to display calibration - has done so, the report drawing on previous analysis plus further information about calibration of the Retina Display.

The report notes that the Retina resolution of the new display is certainly its top feature and is the first thing you notice about the display, while video is certainly the second area where the Retina Display will excel. The Retina Display now offers a very close replication of sRGB on screen, increasing the gamut from earlier devices. The high resolution reduces eyestrain and calibration is decent for a laptop but there's room for improvement.

Rumor Roundup

Retina Display Coming to 13" MacBook Pro

AllVoices' itobin53 says that if you were impressed with the 2012 MacBook Pro Retina Display on Apple's new 15" model but didn't want the extra size or price tag, your wait will be over in a few months, with Apple planning to launch a Retina Display upgrade to the 13" MacBook Pro in October.

The report predicts that the next-generation 13" Retina display MacBook Pro is expected to lack an optical disc drive and to rely solely on solid-state flash memory storage, with pricing projected to range between $1,100 and $1,500, depending on configuration.

Tech Trends

Ultrabooks Propel Growth in Higher Price Point Notebooks as Overall Market Struggles

PR: The NPD Group Blog notes that Ultrabook sales are off to a fast start, capturing nearly 11% of all $700+ Windows notebooks sales at US retail through the first five months of 2012, according to the market research company's Retail Tracking Service. While the overall Windows market for notebook PC sales fell by 17%, Ultrabooks helped propel the premium market with Windows notebooks priced over $700 falling by just 3%, and those priced over $900 increasing 39% versus the prior year.

Ultrabook share of $700+ Windows notebooks

"Ultrabooks have helped establish a market for more premium-priced Windows notebooks at retail," says The NPD Group vice president of industry analysis Stephen Baker. "The share of sales that the $700+ notebook segment represents jumped from about 12% in 2011 to nearly 14% in 2012 as a result of the solid market acceptance Ultrabooks have gained. Consumers continue to respond positively to finally being offered stylish, thinner, and more premium device offerings than ever before within the Windows ecosystem."

This strong performance comes as Ultrabook ASPs remain considerably more expensive than the general laptop market, with selling prices that averaged $927 over the first five months of 2012 and only dipping below $900, to $885, for the first time in May. While this is considerably above the Windows market price of $510, average pricing has risen by $13 since the same period in 2011, in part due to the growth in Ultrabook sales.

"As we head into the crucial back-to-school selling season, lower-cost Ultrabooks, some as low as $699, will be the hot form factor," says Baker. "As we look towards the fourth quarter, the expected launch of Windows 8, a wide variety of Ultrabooks with touch screens, and convertible form factors should continue top of mind with the consumer as well as provide a much needed revenue boost to the entire PC ecosystem."

Publisher's note: Nice to see the PC industry finally catching on to something Apple has known all along. Give your customers a better quality computer, and they will be willing to pay more for it. dk

Products & Services

Centrix Portable External Toshiba Blu-ray Reader

$42 Portable Blu-ray Reader & DVD Burner

PR: This portable External Toshiba Blu-ray reader and DVD burner with LightScribe Technology is available in either black or white livery. Tested to work with all computers that meet Blu-ray minimum requirements, including Macs as well as PCs - notebook or desktop.

Installation is claimed to be a breeze; simply plug the device into your USB port, and it will ready to use in a few seconds. No driver installation is required.

Centrix Portable External Toshiba Blu-ray ReaderWith this drive you can:

  • Watch Blu-ray movies on your laptop or desktop computers ( Blu-ray playback software required)
  • Rip your Blu-ray or DVD movies for personal backups
  • Replace an existing optical drive without having to spend hours removing and installing an internal drive
  • Use one drive for multiple computers. The light compact form factor combined with the plug and play installation makes this simple.
  • Install any new operating system or software from both CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disk
  • With a low power consumption chip watch hours of DVD, Blu-ray movies on any trip from your laptop
  • Burn CD or DVD music audio and data disk to hear in your car or home stereo
  • Create CD or DVD computer recovery disk with a few click of your mouse (PC)
  • Burn data onto a CD or DVD disk
  • With LightScribe software create designs for your disk (LightScribe disk required)

This product contains a 30 Day warranty with Centrix International direct.


  • Manufacturer: TSST (Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corporation) (internal optical drive)
  • Type: Tray Loading (internal optical drive)
  • Color: Black or White
  • Warranty: 30 days warranty with Centrix, no manufacturer warranty.
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Read Speed:
    • 4x BD-ROM (Blu-ray Read)
    • 24x CD
    • 8x DVD
    • 5x DVD-RAM
  • Write Speed:
    • 24x CD-R
    • 24x CD-RW
    • 8x DVD-R
    • 8x DVD+R
    • 6x DVD-RW
    • 6x DVD+RW
    • 4x DL-R
    • 4x DL+R
    • 5x DVD-RAM
    • BD-R (Blu-ray Write) & BD-RE (Blu-ray Rewrite) - none, does not write to Blu-ray

Are You Ready to Play Blu-ray Discs? Find out at

Enclosure made in China, internal drive is a 12.7mm TS-LB23L from TSST. Both parts assembled together into an external in the USA.

System Requirements: Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X. (contact seller for Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 Drivers. XP, Vista, and Windows 7 do not need driver disk.)

Package Includes: External optical drive with USB cables. No external AC adapter is required; external is powered by USB.

Price: $42 with free economy shipping

Lounge-Book: Digital Life Concept for Saving Space; Laidback Computing

Lounge-bookPR: Thanks to WiFi technologies, now you can redefine the Laptop Desk in house, with architectural and social dynamic altered and products like Lounge-Book making comfort a central focus of attention with house technology systems.

Lounge-bookStrategic factors in this home computing vision are the great diffusion of laptop wireless features, standard now in most of devices available.

For this reasons Cisco Linksys considered Lounge-Book a furniture complement interesting for a new Digital Life in their Digital House in Milano, an extraordinary showroom where products and ideas become a daily reality for business and leisure.


Good-bye to computer desks, computer tables, laptop support that people usually put on the table in living room, kitchen, or that awful solution . . . on the lap - a mode not endorsed by posturology experts and which also may cause computer troubles.

Lounge-bookWith Lounge-Book you can enjoy your laptop on a comfortable chair, sofa, lounge chair, Deck chair, on the bed, and you can save space because you can leave tables for other uses and save money because you don't need expensive ergonomic chairs.

Lounge-Book is useful for home office workers, who can be no longer deskbound strangers to the family, or contrarily able to achieve better privacy at home thanks to greater location flexibility.

MacBook Pro Lock Security Bundle for MacBook Pro with Retina Display

PR: In most cases MacBook Pro users, use a covers/skins to protect their computers from dirt and external damage.

MacBook Pro Lock for MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Maclock's security cover (patent pending) is a simple solution that incorporates a security slot into the actual MacBook Pro cover (Only adds 0.35 lb. when using the lower skin and 0.7 lb. when using it as a shell). A similar solution is offered for the MacBook Air.

MacBook Pro Lock for MacBook Pro with Retina DisplayThis smart skin mechanism, slightly elevates the MBP above the surface thus enhancing current venting system. The polymer security cover is engineered to support the MBP cooling process.

That way you can lock the security cable to the MacBook Pro case, and loop the cable's other end around a fixed object such as a table leg (or an anchor point which is available at

MacBook Pro Lock for MacBook Pro with Retina DisplayOnce the case and cable are locked together, it's hard to detach the case without damaging the MacBook Pro.

This makes the MacBook Pro with Retina display Lock, flexible and light, as well as stylish

Regular price: $79.95

Pre Order Special Price: $69.95

Pelican Launches Pelican ProGear Consumer Brand

PR: Pelican Products, Inc., an acknowledged leader in design and manufacture of advanced lighting systems and high-performance protective case solutions, has announced its first consumer-focused product line - Pelican ProGear, comprised of a wide range of new cases and lighting built especially for the digital protection and extreme performance needs of adventurous people.

Pelican ProGear Urban BackpackPelican ProGear is being presented to consumers via a national television, online and print media campaign. In addition to the national campaign, a comprehensive website has been developed where customers can go to learn more about, and purchase, all products in the Pelican ProGear line. The site incorporates a variety of informative features that include access to comprehensive product specs and pricing, as well as the ability to purchase product via a shopping cart/checkout process.

Pelican ProGear Urban Backpack"Pelican Products is a trusted brand in the most demanding markets first responders, military, aerospace and industrial because our products excel in the harshest conditions known to man," says Lyndon Faulkner, President and CEO of Pelican. "We've used the same tough Pelican DNA found in our commercial products to create a wide range of extremely tough products for consumers to use as protection for tablets, laptops, smart phones and cameras for these products its all about digital survival. But, we didn't stop there; consumers will now have access to our world renowned lighting and the tough-as-nails performance of our all-new Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers, which feature an industry-first, lifetime guarantee."

The initial Pelican ProGear product lines - the Pelican ProGear Urban Backpacks, select cases in the Micro Case Series and Hardback Series, the Pelican ProGear LED Work Light, and select Pelican ProGear lighting - are now available for purchase. Throughout 2012 and 2013, Pelican plans to roll out additional Pelican ProGear products.

Pelican ProGear Urban Backpacks

Leading the Pelican ProGear collection is the Urban Backpack line. The backpacks seamlessly incorporate Pelican cases or rigid compartments to fit and protect personal electronics and belongings. The integrated Pelican case designed to safeguard laptops, MacBook computers, netbooks, e-readers, tablets, keyboard and accessories features the same professional-grade durability and protective qualities as Pelicans legacy case products. Urban Backpacks are designed to be comfortably lightweight and made of ballistic nylon for long-lasting durability. Additional features in the line include over-molded handle, padded lumbar storage area, ventilated back panel and cool color contrasted highlights. The U100 Elite Laptop Backpack, U140 Elite Tablet Backpack, U105 Laptop Backpack and U145 Tablet Backpack are available at an MSRP of $299.95, $259.95, $139.95 and $109.95, respectively.

Pelican ProGear Digital Protection

Pelican ProGear Digital Protection (Micro Case Series and Hardback Series)

The watertight, crushproof and impact resistant i1010 and i1015 Micro Cases offer ultimate protection for small electronics and other vital gear. The Hardback Series offers travel protection for portable electronics such as e-readers and tablets from 7 and 10 tablets to 14 and 15 laptops. Also, coming soon is the P1075 Weapon and Accessory Case. They're crush resistant, watertight and incorporate an automatic pressure equalization valve that prevents vacuum lock to make them easier to open at any altitude. In addition, all cases in the series offer anti-scratch foam inserts to add another layer of protection for delicate electronics. The cases also feature stainless steel hardware and easy-snap latches. The i1010 and i1015 are available at an MSRP of $38.95 and $39.95, respectively. The HardBack Cases range from an MSRP of $42.95 to $124.95.

Pelican ProGear LED Work Light / 9420 RALS

A new remote area lighting system, the 9420 RALS, is a portable LED work light that will deploy up to 62 inches in height. It features a removable, rechargeable lithium battery to give users round-the-clock light when and where its needed most. Additional features include twin LED swiveling head, high and low power, water-resistant switch and a carrying strap for easy transport. Perfect for rugged remote applications from camping to construction work sites, the Pelican ProGear 9420 RALS is now available at for an MSRP of $299.95. The 9420XL Kit with additional accessories included is also available for MSRP $399.95.

Pelican ProGear Sport Wallet (Coming soon)

Built to withstand extreme temperatures and conditions, the Sport Wallet is crushproof and water-resistant and will hold keys, identification cards, credit cards, cash and more. It features an easy-open latch and dual mesh pocket organization. The Sport Wallet, catalog #0955, is available for an MSRP of $29.95.

Pelican ProGear Lighting:

Pelican's 1910, 1920, 2360, 2370, 2710 and 2720 lighting are small in weight, yet big on performance. They offer the brightness, efficiency and durability required for outdoor activities after sundown. MSRP ranges from $23.95 to $59.95.

Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers (Available in August)

Utilizing world-class manufacturing technologies along with the highest-quality standards and construction materials, each Pelican ProGear Elite Cooler is built to last a lifetime with the same tested durability of all Pelican products. These coolers are designed to perform to professional outfitter and offshore fishermen standards with extreme ice retention and easy handling features like press-and-pull latches and dual handle system. These rotationally molded coolers offer extra thick corners to withstand multiple drops and have high-density polyurethane insulation and freezer quality gaskets. The first Elite Coolers will be available in three sizes, holding 35, 45 or 65 US liquid quarts, and will be priced at an MSRP of $249.95, $299.95 and $359.95, respectively. Additional sizes will follow in the future.

Visibility of the Pelican ProGear brand will be driven through endorsements from top athletes, explorers and adventurers (Pelican Pros) who use the products and exemplify Pelicans core values. All Pelican Pro profiles, videos and gear preferences will be featured on as well. Heading up the first Pelican Pros are:

  • Jeb Corliss, one of the worlds foremost BASE-jumpers and wingsuit pilots
  • Craig Sawyer, retired Navy SEAL, tactical trainer and advisor
  • Alexandra Cousteau, leading conservationist, Cousteau family legacy and founder of Blue Legacy
  • Mark Davis, renowned salt water fisherman and host of Big Water Adventures on the Outdoor Channel

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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