The 'Book Review

MacBook Pro 'a Dream Machine', Wanted: MacBook with TrackPoint, MacBook Power Alternative, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.08.17

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review.

News & Opinion


Apple Updates

Products and Services


Bargain 'Books

G3 iBooks from $130, G4 from $515. 12" G4 PowerBooks from $330, 15" from $579, 17" from $759. MacBooks from $849, 15" MacBook Pros from $1,499, and 17" from $2,199.

News & Opinion

Back-to-School Notebooks: Don't Choose on Price Alone

The Chicago Tribune's Eric Gwinn says:

"Macs and PCs are so different under the hood that dollar-for-dollar comparisons are difficult to make. For instance, the Mac comes with easy-to-use music, photo and video software so you can have fun or get to work right away. Adding similar programs to a basic PC bumps up its price. Then there's the update factor. Rumors of new Apple products swirl every few months.

"Back-to-school shopping for a Mac laptop is different from searching for one from a PC manufacturer, which we did last week. The choices and pricing are very different: PCs are made by numerous manufacturers, tend to come in a large array of technical configurations and run a Windows operating system and Windows-compatible software. Mac laptops are made by Apple, come in fewer models and technical combinations and run the OS X operating system and software created for the Mac.

"Bare-bones PC laptops start in the US$500 range; half the price of the cheapest Mac. However, don't choose on price alone."

One MacBook with a ThinkPad Keyboard Please

ZD Net's David Berlind says:

TrackPoint and touchpad"Just because almost everybody is doing it, does that mean it's a good idea? Or does that mean that we've somehow been hoodwinked into thinking this makes sense. I'm talking about touchpads. Somehow, users have been convinced that these kissin-cousins to the digitizing tablets that graphics artists use (where the technology benefits productivity) make sense as a pointing device near a notebook's keyboard. It's a rotten bill of goods. Touchpads make sense to manufacturers because there are fewer moving parts that can fail (digging into profits if the machine is under warranty). Unless you're one of the ten people in the world that's particularly adept at guiding a mouse around the screen with your thumbs (I've never seen anyone doing this), touchpads are a productivity killer.

"This gets to the one reason I don't own a MacBook: none of the MacBook models come with pointing stick like the TrackPoints found on ThinkPads. Maybe I'm in the minority but, touchpads like the ones found on MacBooks simply can't compare from a productivity point of view to a keyboard with a pointing stick that sits near a touch typists index fingers...."

Editor's note: Gotta disagree on this one. I had a ThinkPad here for a while last spring, and while I thought the keyboard was great, I couldn't stand the wretched TrackPoint stick. Touchpads aren't perfect, and some are a lot better than others, but I sure wouldn't want to be stuck using a TrackPoint. cm

Apple Won't Refund 'Lemon' MacBook reports:

"Dear Consumerist,

"So I purchased a MacBook last year and it's been a nightmare. It's been replaced twice now, each time with multiple mail-out services before Apple would replace the laptop.

"Each time Apple representatives told me that under warranty details they will refund at 'their discretion', which seems to mean never. Am I stuck with yet another lemon laptop now that I've run out of ways to escalate?

"Does California offer me any good consumer protection? Can I take them to small claims court perhaps?

"When I encountered issues with the third machine, I took your column's advice and escalated to a supervisor on the technical line and asked for a refund, but met with a canned denial. So I escalated to Jean Toulouse, but met with a canned denial from a secondary. So I escalated to Steve Jobs, but met with a canned denial from a secondary."


15" MacBook Pro 'a Dream Machine'

LaptopMag's Jeffrey L. Wilson reports:

"You can't tell by looking at the sexy, familiar aluminum design that the MacBook Pro has undergone several significant improvements that elevate it from a very good machine to one that's arguably the best in its class. Aimed at mobile professionals who want power and performance in an easy-to-carry design, the MacBook Pro features a blazing-fast Intel Core 2 Duo processor, powerful Nvidia graphics, outstanding battery life, and one of the best software suites around. Starting at a reasonable $1,999, the MacBook Pro is definitely a dream machine for creative types seeking a notebook for work and play."

Apple Updates

MacBook Pro Software Update 1.1 for Santa Rosa Models

"This update provides important bug fixes and improves stability with Motion 2 and Motion 3. It is recommended for all 2.2/2.4 GHz MacBook Pro models.

"This update replaces MacBook Pro Software Update 1.0.

"This update requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.

"File Size: 14.7 MB

"System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later
  • MacBook Pro 2.2 GHz or 2.4 GHz

"System support: Intel"

Products and Services

Third Party MacBook/MacBook Pro Power Solutions

PR: Mikegyver Computer and Tech., Inc. is offering the first Automobile/Aircraft/Boat charging solution for Apple's Intel-based notebooks with MagSafe power adapters.

MCT Inc. MagSafe DC car/air adapter & Apple adapter for MacBook / Pro (No Exchange)

For MacBook / PRO.

You will get one Apple adapter (for home) & one DC car/airplane (empower) adapter. 90-day warranty


US customers Only.

Allow 1-3 weeks for shipment.

MCT Inc. MagSafe DC car/air adapter & Apple adapter for MacBook / Pro (Exchange)

Conversion to use MagSafe power connector with DC adapter. For MacBook / PRO.

ONE Apple adapter(for home) & ONE DC car/airplane(empower) adapter. $90.00 retainer will be refunded after the return of your original unmodified Apple 85w or 60w adapter; free of any major scratches and damages and if so, no refund. Please indicate condition of your Apple adapter. 90-day warranty.

$75 after return of Apple adapter.

US customers Only. Allow 1-3 weeks for shipment.

MCT Inc. MagSafe car/air adapter conversion for MacBook / Pro (User Supplied)

Conversion to use MagSafe power connector with DC adapter. For MacBook / Pro.

You send your own Apple adapter, then we send back your Apple adapter and one DC car/airplane (empower) adapter. After payment you will get an email with address to send your Apple Adapter. 90-day warranty.


US customers Only.

Allow 1-3 weeks for shipment after receipt of your adapter.

Kensington 120 Watt Notebook AC/DC Power AdapterSome of the MCT adapter bundles include the Kensington 120 Watt Notebook AC/DC Power Adapter, which uses patented technology to deliver all the power you need in a size that is 40% smaller and lighter than other power supplies. With its AC and DC power options, you always have the right adapter - whether in the office, on the road, or in the air. The Kensington Notebook AC/DC 120W Power Adapter is the ideal replacement for your existing power supply. It is designed to provide reliable power for today's larger, high-performance notebooks as well as other small mobile electronics such as iPods, cell phones, DVD players, and PDAs.


  • Slim and lightweight design for easy portability
  • Powers and charges virtually all notebook computers from any AC or DC source
  • Provides the right power for iPods, cell phones, DVD players, and PDAs
  • 120 watts - enough to power and charge larger, high-performance notebooks
  • An ideal replacement or upgrade for your existing power supply
  • Includes multiple tips for use with major-brand notebooks
  • Works with most Dell, HP, Compaq, Sony, Toshiba, IBM, Gateway, Averatec
  • Tips included: N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N9, N15, N19

iGo juice70 Notebook Power AdapterAdapter tips are available for PowerBooks and iBooks from the PowerBook 1400 forward.

Another third-party power adapter that can be used with the MCT solution is the iGo juice70 Notebook Power Adapter With iGo Dualpower Accessory.

This compact all-in-one adapter powers and charges your notebook computer from virtually anywhere.

  • Combo AC/ DC adapter uses any standard wall, auto or in-flight outlet
  • Includes notebook tips 2, 3 ,6, 11,12, 31, 34 & 35)
  • Included iGo dualpower accessory enables you to power a notebook computer and a second mobile electronic device (such as a mobile phone or MP3 player) at the same time
  • Utilizes rapid charge technology for the fastest charge
  • Steady output- Up to 70 Watt continuous; 84 Watt peak
  • Compact size, only 5.4" x 2.2" x 1.1"
  • Very portable, weighs less than 9 oz.
  • 6' cord length

iGo setupPrice: $119.99

The iGo Notebook tip 32 for MacBook Pro is currently being developed. To receive an email notification when this tip is available, click on the "Email Me When Available" link to the Web page.

MacSense AeroLite 802.11g USB 2.0 Adapter

PR: The AeroLite is the latest addition to this WiFi product line. Supporting 802.11g 54 Mbps throughput, AeroLite is the smallest, most convenient wireless adapter available.

MacSense AeroLite 802.11g USB 2.0 AdapterAeroLite is a USB 2.0 adapter that adds wireless WiFi capability to any desktop or laptop Mac or PC. Simply connect AeroLite to a USB port of the computer and begin to enjoy the wonderful and convenient world of wireless connectivity.


  • Adds wireless capability to any desktop or laptop Mac or PC with an USB port.
  • Connect to wireless networks at public places and at home.
  • Transfers data at 54 Mbps, 5 times faster than 802.11b.
  • Supports both USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports and runs at native port speed.
  • Internal antenna for uniform reception.
  • Support Mac OS X 10.3 and above.
  • Protects data and network security with 64/128-bit WEP and WPA-PSK encryption.
  • Easy setup through the configuration utility
  • Ultra-compact dongle (body only 1.7" long) makes it easy, portable and convenient to use.
  • Interoperable with the Apple AirPort Base Station and all 802.11b/g-compliant Access Points. The AeroLite is an ultra-compact, 802.11b/g USB 2.0 adapter, transferring data at speeds up to 54 Mbps. AeroLite plugs into any USB port on a Mac or PC and allows you immediate wireless access to WiFi networks.

Don't have AirPort capability in your Mac? Unable to bear the slow speed of the AirPort 802.11b Card? Dislike the idea of opening up your Mac to install a wireless PCI card? Getting bad reception with your built-in AirPort antenna? AeroLite solves all these problems by providing an all-in-one, convenient solution. With support for Macs running OS X 10.3 and above, the driver is easy to install and the configuration utility makes it easy to set, switch and monitor the status of the network at any time.

The AeroLite is extremely compact, perfect for users on the go. The body is only 1.7" long.

While AeroLite is small, no function is sacrificed. It supports the latest WiFi technology and advanced security, including the latest WPA-PSK1 and PSK2, that further protects your data with the strongest encryption possible.

When plugged in, AeroLite becomes a part of your computer. AeroLite sleeps and wakes with your computer, knowing when to disconnect and when to resume the wireless network automatically.

  • 54 Mbps transfer rate. Supporting the latest 802.11g standard which transfers data at 5 times the speed of 802.11b.
  • Cross platform support. Drivers are included for Mac OS X 10.3 through 10.4, and Windows 98/Me/2000/XP.
  • USB 2.0. Backward compatible with USB 1.1 as well, AeroLite runs at the native port speed to ensure the highest performance.
  • Ultra-compact. At a mere body length of 1.7", it is the smallest, lightest wireless dongle out there.
  • AirPort support. AeroLite is interoperable with all Apple AirPort Extreme Base Stations.
  • LED. Flashing green LED provides timely feedback of network activity.

System requirements:

  • For Mac OS X 10.3+ and Windows XP
  • Compatible with any computer with a USB port. Support Mac OS X (10.3+); Windows.

Note: Temporarily out of stock. Estimated available date is mid September.

Technical Specifications - Model WUA-880

  • Standards: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
  • Device Management: Configuration utility
  • Host Interface: USB 2.0
  • Data Rate
    • 802.11g: 54, 48, 36, 24, 18, 12, 9 and 6 Mbps
    • 802.11b: 11, 5.5, 2, and 1 Mbps
  • Security: 64/128/256-bit WEP, WPA, TKIP
  • Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz to 2.484 GHz
  • Operating Range: 328-984' (100-300m), depending on surrounding environment
  • Transmit Power
    • 802.11g: 14dBm
    • 802.11b: 17dBm
  • Receiver Sensitivity
    • 802.11g < -68dBm @ 8% FER
    • 802.11b < -85dBm @ 8% FER
  • Power Consumption Transmit: around 320 mA
  • Receive: around 210 mA
  • LED: Green activity indicator
  • Operating Systems:
    • Mac OS X 10.3+
    • Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, XP
  • Temperature:
    • Operating: 32ºF to 131ºF (0ºC to 55ºC)
    • Storing: -4ºF to 158ºF (-20ºC to 70ºC)
  • Humidity:
    • Operating: 10%~90% (non-condensing)
    • Storing: 5%~90% (non-condensing)
  • Certifications FCC, CE
  • Dimensions 2 3/8" x 15/16" x 5/16" (7.7cm x 2.7cm x 1cm)
  • Weight 0.4 oz (12g)
  • Warranty 1 Year

Specifications subject to change without prior notice.



KeyRemap4MacBook 1.3

PR: KeyRemap4MacBook is a keyboard remapper for Mac OS X. You can change a keyboard-layout like enter2command, return2option, shift2escape...

Very small & concise source code written with C++. Use it as codebase of your original keyremapper.

New in version 1.3:

  • Add the following remapping.
    • option2shift
    • escape2tilde
    • enter2control
    • semicolon2return
    • jis_eisuu2option
  • Update StartupScript.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
  • We confirmed on MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini.

System Support: PPC/Intel


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

A 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo added this week and the low end MacBook is sold out, A high-resolution screen 17" MacBook Pro is available, although at just $200 of the new price, it's not a rip-roaring bargain.

  • refurb 1.83 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $949
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,699
  • refurb 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,199
  • refurb 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,199
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,399
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160 7200 rpm/SD, $2,599

PC Connection

  • 13" 1.83 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $949 less $50 mail-in rebate = $899


TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

A lot of new selections and some significant price drops this week.

  • 12" iBook G3/600, 256/20/CD, $349.99 less $25 = $324.99
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $419.99 less $25 = $394.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/SD, $679.99 less $25 = $654.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $529.99 less $25 = $504.99
  • 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/SD APX, $699.99 less $25 = $674.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/800, 256/40/Combo, $649.99 less $25 = $624.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $869.99 less $25 = $844.99

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/10/CD, $199
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 256/20/CD, $219
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $299
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $289
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, AirPort, $515
  • 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 512/30/Combo, AirPort, $559
  • 15" PowerBook G4/867, 512/40/SD, $579
  • Add Airport for $70

Power Max

$50 rebate on Power Max MP3 Sunglasses with the purchase of any new used or refurbished Mac.

  • refurb 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, BT, $1,199

Wegener Media

  • 15" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $689.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $749.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $769.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 256/80/Combo, $849.99


  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 768/30/Combo, $549
  • 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 512/30/Combo, APX, $599
  • 14" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 768/60/Combo, APX, $649
  • 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz, 512/60/SD, APX, $749
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/SD, APX, $849
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/Combo, $799
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, APX, $759
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, $1,099

The PowerBook Guy

  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, blueberry, 64/3/CD, $169.95
  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/366, Key lime, 128/10/CD, $289.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $219.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/20/CD-RW, $279.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/Combo, $349.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $239.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/DVD, $299.95
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $369.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/Combo, $379.95
  • 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/40/Combo, AP, $629.95

We Love Macs

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/10/CD, $284.95
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $379.95

Custom Macs

  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, 64/3/CD, OS 9, $129.99
  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, 256/3/CD, OS X 10.3, $189.99


  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, OS X, $209
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/30/CD, OS X, $279
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/30/CD, OS X, $329

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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