Mac News Review

Apple Finally Sues Psystar, Macs #3 PC Brand in US, First 1.5 GB Hard Drives, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.07.21

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tech Trends


Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple Sues Psystar for Trademark Violation, Copyright Infringement

ZD Net blogger Larry Dignan says:

"Apple has filed a lawsuit against Psystar, a Mac clone maker based in Florida....

"Apple alleges licensing and trademark violations and copyright infringement. Apple apparently was waiting to see if Psystar (all resources) was legit and finding customers before launching its lawsuit."

Clone Maker Gets Legal Greeting from Apple

The Register's Austin Modine reports:

"As was inevitable, hackintosh vendor Psystar has found itself on Apple's legal to-do list.

"Apple has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the open hardware manufacturer, which began raising eyebrows by offering a $400 computer capable of running copies of Mac OS X."

Apple Now Third-Largest Selling Personal Computer Brand in the US

Gartner says worldwide PC Market grew 16% in the second quarter of 2008 with laptops in the forefront

Worldwide PC shipments reached 71.9 million units in the second quarter of 2008, a 16% increase from the second quarter of 2007, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. Of particular interest to Low End Mac readers will be the metric that shows Apple is now the third-largest selling PC brands in the US, surpassing all competitors except for Dell and HP, and showing year-over-year growth of 38.1% - and that's with fourth-place Acer having gobbled up Gateway and Packard Bell.

US PC sales, Q2 2008

"Mobile PCs continued to lead unit growth across all regions as the average selling price (ASP) of mobile PCs declined sharply relative to desk-based PC ASPs," said Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group. "Economic uncertainties have hit PC revenues, resulting in steep ASP declines, especially in markets such as the United States and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. The industry could ultimately see a significant wave of consolidation if stronger vendors continue to press their pricing advantage."

HP continued to maintain the No. 1 position with its worldwide PC shipment market share totaling 18.1% in the second quarter of 2008. HP's growth rate exceeded the industry average in the worldwide market, and its growth rate was little above the industry average in the US

Dell had another strong quarter with worldwide PC shipments increasing 21.9% in the second quarter of 2008 and its market share reaching 15.6%. The company's growth was fueled by its expansion into retail and other indirect channels. Preliminary results show Dell achieved over 40% year-over-year growth in mobile shipments for two consecutive quarters.

PC shipments in the United States reached 16.5 million units in the second quarter of 2008, a 4.2% increase from the same period last year. US PC shipments actually accelerated during the quarter, despite continuing US economic woes. However, this acceleration appears to have been achieved at the expense of revenues as vendors appear to have cut prices in response to those woes.

"Home mobile PCs continue to have momentum in the US market. However, ASP declines were greater here than in other segments. The retail space was a harsh pricing environment during the quarter," Ms. Kitagawa said. "US professional units look to have been affected by tightening IT budgets as US business responded to growing economic uncertainty. Desk-based PCs gained traction among some professional users. Because desk-based PC deployment costs are still lower than that of mobile PCs, desk-based PCs provide a less expensive option for these buyers with tighter budgets."

Several mini-notebook PCs were introduced in the US market during the second quarter. However, this platform is still emerging and did not significantly contribute to overall shipment growth. Preliminary data shows the mini-notebook segment accounted for less than 3% of US mobile PC shipments.

In the US PC market, Dell continued to be the market leader with PC shipments accounting for 31.9% of the US market in the second quarter of 2008 (see Table above). HP's growth rate was slightly ahead of the US average, and it appears HP's issues around inventory were resolved in the quarter. Apple's PC shipments grew 38.1% in the quarter. The home PC segment continued to be the strongest driver for Apple, as well as sales into the education segment.

Keyboard vs. Mouse

David Alison says:

" of the myths that I clung to before considering a Mac was that it was a highly mouse centered machine. Indeed, Macs take better advantage of the mouse than most other operating systems do, especially in the drag and drop department. See an image in a web page that you want to grab? . . . Just drag it out of the browser and on to your desktop.

"Clearly the mouse works great on Mac for many tasks, but so does the keyboard. The usual navigational shortcuts are there for text handling and there are system standard shortcuts for things like preferences, window management, file saving, etc. But if you are a touch typist tools like Spotlight, Quicksilver or LaunchBar add an entirely new dimension to using the keyboard.

"In the time it takes to move your hand over to the mouse, position the mouse pointer on the screen and perform an action you can often do the same task more quickly by using the correct keyboard commands...."

Livescribe Audio Pen Computer on Its Way to Mac

BetaNews's Jacqueline Emigh reports:

"Livescribe's microprocessor-embedded, audio-enabled digital Pulse Smartpen - an upcoming gadget that made its first bow at Demo earlier this year - is now expanding its reach, with an Apple SDK already in the works....

"The initial Windows-based edition of the Smartpen has been targeted for release this fall. But during this week's Digital Life press preview here, a Livescribe spokesperson said the company actually now foresees a stronger market on the Apple side, due to anticipated uses of the sound-capable digital pen-and-paper set among college students and creative pros, a couple of long-time Mac strongholds." d

Less PowerPC, More iPhone

Hardmac's Lionel says:

"We regularly look at our statistics and analyze the OS and hardware being used by our visitors to evaluate trends and better know our readers. IT clearly shows a clear decrease of Power PC-based computers among our readers. It represents today only 27.74 % while Intel-based Mac captures 72.26 %. Surprisingly, 1.98 % of our visitors use an iPhone, a higher score than for Linux-based hardware readers."

1394 Trade Association Announces IEEE Approval of IEEE 1394-2008 Specification

PR: The 1394 Trade Association has announced that the IEEE Standards Board has approved the 1394-2008 specification, which combines all IEEE-1394 [FireWire] specifications developed since the world's leading audio-video multimedia standard was founded in 1994.

The 1394-2008 High Performance Serial Bus Standard updates and revises all prior 1394 standards dating back to the original 1394-1995 version, and including 1394a, 1394b, 1394c, enhanced UTP, and the 1394 beta plus PHY-Link interface. It also incorporates the complete specifications for S1600 (1.6 Gigabit/second bandwidth) and for S3200, which provides 3.2 Gigabit/second speeds.

Known commercially as FireWire™ and i.Link™, 1394 has been designed into a wide range of consumer, computer, industrial and other products since its inception, and is emerging as a powerful new standard for use in automotive entertainment systems.

"The consolidated 1394-2008 specification effectively allows one single document to serve all," said Les Baxter, a long-time 1394 Trade Association leader and director of Baxter Enterprises, who supervised the process. "It provides one consistent document that provides everything a designer or developer needs in order to work with 1394 in any application. We assembled an experienced team of experts from consumer electronics, computer, and semiconductor companies who have worked diligently to complete this task on time."

The team dealt with errata remaining from prior specifications, and harmonized all message types, including fields that had been used in related specifications such as the 1394.1 bridging specification, and IDB-1394, which was developed as the original automotive entertainment standard. Not incorporated is work currently underway within the 1394 Trade Association working groups, including 1394 over coax and the new 1394-Automotive specification due later this summer.

Among the members of the revision team who worked with Baxter were Peter Johansson of Congruent Technologies; Dave Thompson of LSI; David Instone from Oxford Semiconductor; Richard Mourn, Quantum Parametrics; Chris Thomas from Symwave; and Will Harris and Win Maung from Texas Instruments.

IEEE and 1394 Trade Association copy editors will review the document over the summer and finalize it by mid-October or sooner.

The 1394 Trade Association is a worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement of the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) standard. The 1394 TA recently celebrated its 13th year of promoting 1394 and its one billionth 1394 port shipped. FireWire is used today in mass-market computer, entertainment, and professional products, and in a wide range of specialty applications such as music, defense, aerospace, industrial, and robotics products.

FireWire is a trademark of Apple, licensed to the 1394 Trade Association. i.Link is a trademark of Sony Corporation, licensed to the 1394 Trade Association

Tech Trends

gOS Linux: OS X-like Operating System

TechRepublic's Jack Wallen reports:

"On January 7, 2008, gOS released the beta version of Space - their latest iteration of gOS. It's different for sure. It's like OS X with an added bit of fun. gOS Space is truly a social network fan's dream come true. But what exactly makes this operating system special? Let's take a look at some of the bits that cause Space to stand out."

"While gOS is amazingly stable (for such an effects-centric operating system), it will not be able to update to the latest version of Ubuntu. Space is based on 7.10 and has the distribution upgrade disabled. Instead, the next revision of Space will be based on 8.04. Actually I am hoping it takes long enough and they have to base it on 8.10 instead (only because I have found 8.04 to be too buggy.)"

How Much Linux Can You Get for $20?

InformationWeek's Serdar Yegulalp reports:

"Most of us reading this are probably accustomed to the idea of getting Linux for the cost of an opinion about the weather - in other words, nothing. But now Ubuntu, arguably the most visible of Linux distributions, is hitting store shelves at Best Buy for the practically impulse-buy cost of $20.

"Why pay?"


Seagate Introduces World's First 1.5 TB Desktop Hard Drives

PR: Seagate has unveiled the industry's first 1.5 TB desktop hard drives to meet explosive worldwide demand for digital-content storage in home and business environments.

The debut of the Barracuda® 7200.11 1.5 TB hard drive, the eleventh generation of Seagate's flagship drive for desktop PCs, marks the single largest capacity hard drive jump in the more than half-century history of hard drives - a half-terabyte increase from the previous highest capacity of 1 TB, thanks to the capacity-boosting power of perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology.

The Barracuda 7200.11 hard drive combines proven PMR technology, components and expert manufacturing to provide 1.5 TB of reliable storage for mainstream desktop computers, workstations, desktop RAID, gaming and high-end PCs, and USB/FireWire/eSATA external storage.

Highlighting the global growth of digital content, Seagate expects to ship its two billionth hard drive within the next five years. Earlier this year Seagate shipped its one billionth hard drive since the company's inception nearly 30 years ago.

"Organizations and consumers of all kinds worldwide continue to create, share and consume digital content at levels never before seen, giving rise to new markets, new applications and demand for desktop and notebook computers with unprecedented storage capacity, performance and reliability," said Michael Wingert, Seagate executive vice president and general manager, Personal Compute Business. "Seagate is committed to powering the next generation of computing today with the planet's fastest, highest-capacity and most reliable storage solutions."

The Barracuda 7200.11 hard drive combines the capacity and speed required for today's most demanding desktop PC applications. The drive packs 1.5 TB on just four platters and its fast Serial ATA 3 Gb/second interface delivers an industry-leading sustained data rate of up to 120 MB/second for fast boot, application startup and file access. The 3.5" drive is also offered in capacities of 1 TB, 750 GB, 640 GB, 500 GB, 320 GB and 160 GB with cache options of 32 MB and 16 MB.

All Barracuda drives are backed by Seagate's leading five-year warranty.

Shipments of the Barracuda 7200.11 1.5 TB are set to begin August 2008.

OWC Expands Neptune FireWire Drive Line with 750 MB, 1 TB of Storage

Neptune External FireWire Hard DriveOther World Computing (OWC) has announced the low-cost OWC Neptune line of external FireWire hard drive solutions with a high speed of 7200 rpm and capacities up to 1 TB, double the prior highest capacity 500 GB model. OWC Neptune FireWire solutions are perfect for audio/video, gaming, music, photography, and backup (fully Apple Time-Machine Plug n' Play ready).

Neptune is the "Value Done Right" external storage drive solution, providing high-performance on a budget with the same industry leading Oxford chipset and heavy-duty power supplies available in OWC's higher-end Mercury Elite storage line. OWC uses only the best components and qualified hard drive mechanisms. Compact at 1.5" x 9" x 5.5", the drives are portable, weigh only 2.7 pounds, and boast an extremely shock resistant design for maximum data safety.

Neptune key features include:

  • Cool Blue Activity Indicator LED!
  • Super quiet fanless operation
  • Fully Suitable for Audio/Video Applications '
  • US / International 90 ~ 240v
  • AutoSwitching
  • Neptune External FireWire Hard DriveAll cables included
  • ProSoft Engineering Data Backup for Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later
  • NovaStor NovaBACKUP for Windows 2000 or later
  • Custom Oxford 1394A Performance FireWire Bridge
  • (2) 6 Pin FW400 ports
  • 7200 rpm drive mechanism
  • Up to a 32 MB Data Buffer
  • Shock Resistant Design
  • Data Rates of over 40 Megs per Second
  • Compact Size: 1.5" x 9" x 5.5", stands vertically or lays flat
  • Intech Hard Disk SpeedTools Utilities (For Mac OS 8.6 - X only)
  • One Year OWC Solution Warranty

OWC Neptune External Hard Drive Pricing:

  • 80 GB 7200 rpm with 8 MB data buffer: $84.99
  • 160 GB 7200 rpm with 8 MB data buffer: $92.99
  • 250 GB 7200 rpm with 8 MB data buffer: $99.95
  • 320 GB 7200 rpm with 16 MB data buffer: $109.99
  • 500 GB 7200 rpm with 16 MB data buffer: $124.99
  • 750 GB 7200 rpm with 32 MB data buffer
  • NEW MODEL: $169.99 1.0 TB 7200 rpm with 32 MB data buffer NEW MODEL: $229.99

"Brought to the market as a topnotch product at an unbeatable value, OWC Neptune storage solutions are the absolute best bet for any Mac or PC user looking for high performance on a budget without sacrificing quality when additional external storage is needed," said Larry O'Connor, President and CEO, OWC.

OWC Neptune FireWire drives feature a custom Oxford bridge solution, two six-pin FireWire 400 (1394a) ports for convenient Plug 'n Play usability, a 7200 rpm drive mechanism, up to 32 MB data buffer and data transfer rates of up to 400 Mbps. All drives come pre-initialized with shareware/freeware/public domain software and include a FireWire cable, Intech HD SpeedTools (Mac), Prosoft DataBackup III (Mac OS X), and NovaStor NovaBackup (Windows). In addition to a one-year limited warranty, the premium hard drive mechanisms are further covered by an additional 4 year replacement warranty.

The OWC Neptune external hard drive solution is available immediately.

New Belkin N+ Wireless Router Lets You Attach a Storage Device to Share and Back Up Files

Belkin N+ Wireless RouterPR: Belkin introduces its new N+ Wireless Router and N+ Wireless USB Adapter. Featuring a USB port on the back, the N+ Wireless Router lets you connect a storage device, which allows multiple computers to easily access documents, videos, and photos on the storage drive over a secure wireless network. Four Gigabit ports provide the bandwidth and speed needed for media applications like streaming music and video.

Ease-of-Use Features:

  • Intuitive icons on the front panel turn from blue to amber to alert you of a problem in your network.
  • WiFi Protected Setup™ (WPS) security button on the front panel provide easy setup.
  • Clearly labeled ports on the back of the Router make setup as simple as possible.


  • Available in October 2008 in the US with launches in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia to follow

N+ Wireless Router (F5D8235-4), $119.99

  • USB port to attach storage devices to your network
  • Gigabit ports for enhanced wired speeds
  • WPS security with the push of a button
  • LEDs on front panel display network throughput speeds
  • Slim, vertical design takes up minimal space on your desktop while optimizing wireless performance
  • Mac OS and Windows OS support
  • WiFi N draft 2.0-certified
  • Power-save mode and Energy Star power supply

N+ Wireless USB Adapter (F5D8055), $99.99

  • Provides optimal range and distance
  • WPS security with the push of a button

Belkin Revamps Wireless Router Design with New Sleek, Vertical Form

PR: Belkin International, Inc., launches a new vertical design for its line of wireless routers, which includes the G, G+ MIMO, N, and N+. Intended to take up minimal desktop space, the new vertical enclosures offer enhanced usability with simple details like labels on the rear ports. Easy-to-understand icons on the front panel turn to amber to alert you of problems in your network.

Belkin's new wireless routersSetting the standard with intuitive usability, Belkin's innovative designs began with the N1 Wireless Router, boasting a sleek black finish with blue iconic status LEDs. The N1 Vision Wireless Router features the same black appearance, clean lines, and a network-status LCD. The N+ is a natural progression of the two routers, combining some of the same popular elements such as the blue status LEDs and speedometer.

The new design is visually pleasing and technically advantageous. The shape allows for better airflow to keep the Wireless Router cool, enhancing performance. The antennae are situated atop the Router to supply and maintain a strong wireless signal.


  • Available in October 2008 in the US with launches in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia to follow

N+ Wireless Router (F5D8235-4), $119.99

  • USB port to attach storage devices to your network
  • Gigabit ports for enhanced wired speeds
  • High-speed wireless connection
  • WiFi Protected Setup™ (WPS) security with the push of a button
  • LEDs on front panel display network throughput speeds
  • Ideal for: file sharing, streaming high-definition video, online gaming, VoIP phone calls, and telecommuting

N Wireless Router (F5D8236-4), $79.99

  • High-speed wireless connection
  • WPS security with the push of a button
  • Easy troubleshooting with indicator icons on the front panel
  • Ideal for: streaming high-definition video, online gaming, VoIP phone calls, and telecommuting

G+ MIMO Wireless Router (F5D9231-4), $59.99

  • Better wireless performance than basic G
  • WPS security with the push of a button
  • Easy troubleshooting with indicator icons on the front panel
  • Ideal for: streaming music and videos from the Web, file sharing, and transferring photos

G Wireless Router (F5D7234-4), $39.99

  • Simple wireless connectivity for the home or office
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Ideal for: surfing the Web, emailing, and instant messaging

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