Mac News Review

First 3 Million Mac Quarter, Skinny on Mac mini Pricing, Mac-like gOS, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.08.29

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



Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Plans to Buy Apple Products at All-time High

The National Post's Jonathan Ratner reports:

"In the weak market for consumer spending, there is a bright spot: Apple Inc. The computer and electronic device maker is attracting potential buyers like never before and is getting top marks in customer satisfaction.

"A survey of more than 4,400 people between August 4 and August 12 conducted by RBC Capital Markets and ChangeWave Research showed that 34% plan to buy a Mac laptop in the next 90 days, compared with 31% in May. Those planning to buy a Mac desktop rose to 30% from 27%. Meanwhile, 81% of those who recently bought an Apple product in the past 90 days were 'very satisfied,' while only 58% Dell Inc. buyers and 55% Hewlett-Packard Co. buyers said the same...."

Apple May Report Unprecedented 3 Million Mac Quarter

AppleInsider's Sam Oliver reports:

"The investment banking division of the Royal Bank of Canada said Thursday that Apple's back-to-school promotion is showing signs that it will drive the company to a record-smashing quarter in which sales of Macs could exceed 3 million.

Macintosh unit sales, Q3 1998 to present

"In a report to clients, analyst Mike Abramsky cited proprietary data from his firm's recent IQ/ChangeWave Panel which 'suggests that massive back-to-school Mac sales' could see the Cupertino-based company report year-over-year growth of 44 percent to 3.04 million units for the three month period ending September."

Apple Shipping 'Massive' Numbers of Macs

MacNN reports:

"Apple appears to be doing far better in terms of Mac sales than one might have expected this quarter, says RBC analyst Mike Abramsky. Based on a new technology adoption survey, Abramsky has raised his forecast of Mac shipments during Apple's fourth financial quarter from 2.8 million to 3.04. He describes Mac shipments as 'massive,' particularly in light of what he calls a 'sluggish consumer spending environment.'"

Are Macs More Expensive? The Skinny on the Mac mini

Technologizer's Harry McCracken says:

"Pity the poor Mac Mini. After being unveiled with plenty of hoopla in January 2005 as 'the most affordable Mac ever,' it departed the limelight with surprising swiftness. The glossy white micro-Mac has received only minor updates such as CPU upgrades and actually got less affordable when the base model went from $499 to $599. Last year, there were even premature reports of the Mini's imminent death, and most Mac enthusiasts didn't seem too griefstricken at the prospect of its demise.

"But the Mini lives - and even though $599 is no longer anywhere near a dirt-cheap price for a computer, it remains the cheapest Mac. It also comes in a super-small package that's still fun and distinctive. So it's the subject of my fourth excessively in-depth Mac-vs.-PC price comparison. My goal, as always, is to gauge whether you pay a 'Mac Tax' when you buy a Mini instead of a roughly comparable Windows PC."

Completely Reset to Fix MobileMe Sync Issues

MacFixIt says:

"While Apple's iSync and MobileMe syncing services work fine for many users, others have experienced a plethora of problems ranging from data not syncing to inability to access services such as the Calendar on the MobileMe website. Apple has been working to correct many of these issues, and has sent out account extensions and other incentives for users to maintain their accounts through the troubles. Many of the problems users are experiencing have various fixes, including resetting the sync history, sync services, deleting accounts and clearing specific sync data in order to retry and hope everything works properly.

"For many users the various fixes have worked, but sometimes these problems are temporary and other times nothing seems to fix the problems for some users. For users in this situation, or for users who are only getting intermittent relief from sync problems, they may wish to fully and completely reset their calendar and contacts synchronization data. This will wipe clean any contacts and calendar data on all devices except for one, and then re-propagate the data back from the one source, and hopefully bypass data inconsistencies and other glitches with the current synchronization setup that are giving the user troubles."

Grim IT Spending Indicates Rougher Times Lie Ahead, but Apple Boosts iPhone Share Among Businesses

The downturn in the US economy is far from over. ChangeWave's latest IT purchasing survey shows an even greater pullback occurring in corporate spending - both for the current quarter so far and for the next 90 days going forward.

Current Quarter

Next 90 Days

At the same time, the Apple iPhone is beginning to gain traction in the corporate marketplace even as RIM maintains a big market share lead.

The survey of 1,947 respondents involved with IT spending in their organization was conducted August 11-21.

gOS: Mac-like Linux for the Windows Crowd

The Register's Scott Gilbertson reports:

"What's free, looks like Mac OS X, just works and is actually Linux? The answer is gOS, which recently launched a new beta that builds on the distro's initial success and adds new tools like integrated Google Gadgets for Linux.

"When it launched onto the scene late last year, gOS (which stands for good OS) made quite a splash for getting Linux into the US retail giant Walmart. Through a partnership with PC manufacturer Everex, gOS brought Linux to your parents' generation via Walmart.

"But chances are, if they picked up a gOS equipped machine, Mom and Dad would have no idea they were running Linux. Like the Xandros distro that Asus packages with the Eee PC, gOS doesn't trumpet its open source credentials or advertise its infinite customization options. It just works."


SteelSeries iron.lady Siberia Full-Size Headset

iron.lady Siberia Full-Size HeadsetPR: The leading manufacturer of innovative professional gaming gear, SteelSeries, today announced the release of the SteelSeries iron.lady Siberia Full-size Headset in Pink. The pink headset was designed for today's growing female gamer contingent and will be used by the women's team previously known as Les Seules, now a part of the leading E-Sports organization, Meet Your Makers.

Women currently make up 40 percent of the gaming population, and females over 18 are playing almost twice as much as males under 17, according to the Entertainment Software Association's "2008 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry".1

As a cornerstone for competitive female electronic sports, SteelSeries iron.lady is a unique and popular gaming event held in China, gathering the top female professional Warcraft 3 delegates from across Asia in order to battle against each other for the ultimate title of "Super iron lady." With a 2008 audience of more than 3.7 million people in China alone, SteelSeries iron.lady represents and signifies the strength, determination and ability of female gamers to compete at a professional level.

iron.lady Siberia Full-Size HeadsetMeet Your Makers is represented in 24 different countries, including some of the best players in Warcraft III, DotA, Counter-Strike, Starcraft: Broodwar, FIFA and Call of Duty 4, creating one of the largest combined team/community sites in the world. The MYM.CS team will be using the SteelSeries iron.lady Siberia Full-size Headset during Counter-Strike competitions at the Electronic Sports World Cup.

"Female gamers are having a significant impact on the gaming industry and are influencing how we design our products," said Bruce Hawver, CEO of SteelSeries. "We're excited to introduce our professional gaming products to the growing female audience and players. Whether they chose to use our signature black and white products or chose to distinguish themselves with pink, gamers know that SteelSeries designs the best tools to compete with to win."

The SteelSeries iron.lady Siberia Full-size Headset was developed in cooperation with professional gamers to ensure that the soundscape, specifications and comfort is suitable for long gaming sessions. The headset is also designed for multi-functionality. Apart from using the headset for PC-gaming, this product has been designed so gamers can use it with their favorite MP3-player, handheld gaming device or practically any other kind of portable digital device.

The SteelSeries iron.lady Siberia Full-size Headset, with an MSRP of $79.99 , will be shipped in Q4 2008 and will be available from, NewEgg,, and other resellers.

  1. The Entertainment Software Association

Aluratek Tornado Plus External Hard Drives with RFID Security Key Data Encryption

PR: Aluratek, Inc. has announced the availability of its new Tornado Plus line of external hard drives featuring built-in radio frequency identification (RFID) security key data encryption, lightning fast transfer speeds and storage capacities of up to 1 TB.

Tornado Plus External Hard Drive"As consumers continue to embrace a truly digital lifestyle, keeping that digital content backed up and secure is becoming more important than ever," says Aluratek's John Wolikow, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "Our new RFID Security Key Encrypted Hard Drive backs up all of your important files and keeps them ultra-secure. A swipe of the RFID security key by the external hard drive encrypts the data so that it cannot be accessed without the unique RFID key swipe a second time to unlock it. Two RFID security keys ship with each external drive."

Aluratek's Tornado Plus RFID USB 2.0 External Hard Drives come in capacities from 160 GB to 1 TB in two different sizes (2.5"/3.5"). Data transfers are quick and easy across a high-speed USB 2.0 connection that can reach transfer rates of up to 480 Mbps. The devices are compatible with Microsoft(R) Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista™ and Macintosh OS X 10.3 and above.

The Tornado Plus external hard drives are now available at CDW,,, PC Connection, Provantage, NewEgg, and other select resellers for prices ranging from $119 for the portable 2.5" 160 GB version to $249 for the 1 TB 3.5" desktop version.

Bell Aliant First to Launch Apple Desktop Computer and Internet Package in North America

Bell Aliant, Atlantic Canada's largest information and communications technology provider, and the largest (or only in some parts) dialup and DSL Internet Service Provider serving Nova Scotia, has announced that it is expanding its relationship with Apple to add the iMac to the Aliant Computer Purchase Program lineup. Aliant is the first company to launch an Apple desktop computer and Internet package in North America. Back in May the company added an Apple notebook - the MacBook - to the Aliant Computer Purchase Program, becoming the first North American service provider to launch an Internet package with an Apple notebook.

iMac/Internet ComboApple doesn't have a prominent marketing presence in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, where I live. There are no Apple Stores - indeed the nearest one of those is two provinces and some 900 road miles west in Montreal. There are fewer than half a dozen (that I'm aware of) storefront Apple Authorized Resellers serving Nova Scotia's population of roughly 950,000, plus a number of university computer stores selling to education customers.

The Aliant Computer Purchase Program, introduced in 2005 with PC computers only and a first for the telecommunications industry, was designed to connect more Atlantic Canadians (Aliant, a subsidiary of Canadian telecommunications and broadcasting conglomerate BCE Inc., serves all four Atlantic Canadian provinces - New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador - as well as Nova Scotia) with online technology by combining Internet services and computers together for one monthly package price on the same bill. The Aliant Computer Purchase Program gives customers a convenient way to purchase a laptop or desktop and also connect with Internet access in one, no-hassle package.

"Over the past several years we've been helping our customers get online with the latest computers," says Joe Mosher, vice-president of residential marketing for Aliant. "Value, choice and convenience are very important to our customers and Apple's popular desktop computer - the iMac - should prove to be another great option for our Atlantic Canadian customers."

The iMac Aliant will sell comes complete with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB of memory, and a 250 GB hard drive. iMac features include a built-in iSight camera (for video chatting on the go), iLife '08 (iMac's photo, movie, music and web suite of programs), Front Row (iMac's media centre), and a large glossy 20-inch widescreen display for as low as $52/month in an Aliant Value Package.

The MacBook Aliant offers is the base model with a 2.1 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Penryn Processor, 1 GB of memory and a 120 GB hard drive, and is available now for Aliant Internet customers starting at $47/month over 36 months. You can even add an AppleCare Protection plan for an extra $8 a month over 36 months.

Aliant's package includes a MacBook computer and your choice of Internet service, or add the computer to an existing Internet Value Package - broadband where available or dialup - with monthly payments added to the customer's Aliant bill.


VueScan 8.4.82 Now Supports over 1200 Scanners

PR: Hamrick Software, the developer of VueScan, the world's most widely used scanning software, has released its latest version 8.4.82 - which now supports over 1200 scanners and 24 languages.

"Our goal is to make VueScan the universal scanning application. We now support 1200 scanners on Windows, 750 on Mac OS X and 580 scanners on Linux. A single 5 Mbyte download supports all these scanners, in 24 different languages." says Ed Hamrick, President of Hamrick Software.

"Our next goal is to add more advanced scanning features, such as scanning multiple photos placed randomly on a scanner (auto image segmentation) and integrating Google's Optical Character Recognition (OCR) code. All of these advanced scanning features will work with all of the 1200 supported scanners, in all 24 languages, on all three operating systems - a truly universal scanning application."

VueScan is available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. VueScan offers a full range of advanced features; including options for scanning faded slides and prints and automatically adjusting images to optimum color balance that reduces the need to manually do it in Photoshop. It includes built-in IT8 color calibration of scanners, producing colors that look true to life, batch scanning and other advanced and powerful scanning and productivity features, including PDF output.

For a detailed listing of VueScan features, see

VueScan is available in two editions, Standard Edition ($39.95) and Professional Edition ($79.95). The Professional Edition adds unlimited free upgrades, advanced IT8 color calibration and support for raw scan files. Multi-user licenses are available. A fully functional, trial copy of VueScan can be downloaded from

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