The 'Book Review

Why No USB 3.0 on Laptops?, 2011 MacBook Air Wish List, Wear Leveling Demystified, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.05.09

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

News & Opinion

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Why Don't Laptops Have USB 3.0?

Cnet's Brooke Crothers says he's been asking himself a lot lately why his laptop doesn't have USB 3.0, observing that there should be a USB 3.0 port on his 2010 MacBook Air, but there isn't - and it's not necessarily Apple's fault, since none of his Windows laptops have USB 3.0 ports either. Nor, for that matter do, the the laptops purchased recently by his business acquaintances.

So what's the holdup? Crothers says he finds the various explanations and excuses made by industry spokespersons lame, noting that they don't change the fact that devices he uses demand a faster USB interface - now (or in fact yesterday), and that Intel/Apple's Thunderbolt, as promising as it sounds, does nothing for consumers today.

In the end, Crothers points the finger at Intel, since its chipsets power the bulk of the worlds PCs, and those chipsets don't yet support USB 3.0.

Editor's note: I can identify, having been on a Late 2008 Unibody MacBook for the last two-plus years that has no high-speed I/O interface at all. Sorry, but USB 2.0 is a poor excuse for one. cm

O'Grady's Wish List for the 2011 MacBook Air

ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady says he uses his 11" MacBook Air almost as much as his workhorse 15" MacBook Pro, and he's been waiting for a next-generation model to replace it, widely rumored to be coming in June with Intel Sandy Bridge Core "i" processor silicon and Thunderbolt I/O support. In addition to the Core "i" CPU and Thunderbolt upgrades, which in my estimation are a given, the two other items on his MacBook Air wish list are:

  1. A backlit keyboard.
  2. Upgradable, socketed RAM

New iMac or 17" MacBook Pro: Which Is Right for You?

Laptop Mag's Kenneth Butler says that with Apple having added its for now exclusive Thunderbolt I/O ports to its latest iMac models, many users will be trying to choose between buying the stationary performance of an all-in-one desktop or the limited portability of a 17" MacBook Pro that also supports Thunderbolt.

He's posted spec comparisons to help you figure that out.

Apple Working on Fix for SATA 6 Gbps Bug in 2011 MacBook Pro

Hardmac's Lionel report that there's good news for folks who've been waiting for Apple to fix the SATA 6 Gbps bug on the 2011 MacBook Pro. Hardmac has been tenaciously covering this story, and Lionel links to the editor of the Mac Performance Guide announcing that after several discussions with Apple, the company asked him to send back his 17" MacBook Pro with his SATA 6 Gbps SSD inside to be tested by Apple engineers. He received a new MacBook Pro, and Apple reimbursed him for the cost of the SSD. He reports that the replacement runs without any problem with a SATA 6 Gbps SSD.

How to Replace Your MacBook Air SSD with OWC's Aura Pro Express

Ars Technica's Chris Foresman has posted an illustrated tutorial article on replacing the original, Toshiba-sourced, SSD flash memory drive in Apple's Late 2010 MacBook Air models with Other World Computing's Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD, which uses faster SandForce controllers.

Finding a Protective Shell for a MacBook Pro

Blogger and sometime PC switcher David Allison says:

"When I packaged up my old MacBook Pro for my daughter, I did a quick wipe down of the machine and found that though it was three years old it had very little visible wear and tear. The keyboard and palm rest areas were in perfect shape, and there were no dents in the aluminum case. Though the white power supply and cords were a bit dirty, a quick wipe down with a damp cloth had them looking like new.

"About the only thing that made the machine look used was the outside of the case. As I had slipped it into my bag or carried it in my hand, objects like my watch band had rubbed against it and put a series of small scratches all over the outer shell. They were purely cosmetic but annoying nonetheless.

"I'm determined to treat this new MacBook Pro with a little more care, and as a result started searching around for a protective shell case for it...."

SSD Wear Leveling Demystified

Storage Switzerland analyst George Crump writing for InformationWeek's says:

"Solid state storage brings high performance to the enterprise through memory-based, zero-latent storage. It also brings with it new terms that may be confusing. One of those is wear leveling. Most solid state storage vendors have controllers on the memory that handle wear leveling for you, but the reason to understand wear leveling is so that you understand how it impacts the performance of the storage systems you are purchasing."

Editor's note: This is the clearest and most concise explanation of this issue I've seen yet. cm

Products & Services

InvisibleShield for 13" 2006-2009 MacBook

PR: Features:

  • Military grade patented material engineered for your 13" 2006-2009 MacBook (white or black)
  • Unique properties provide self-healing qualities
  • Helps reduce the appearance of fingerprint smudges and smears
  • Includes free lifetime replacement warranty for the life of your device
  • Trusted worldwide with over 17 million invisible Shields sold
  • 45 day money back guarantee

Zagg's InvisibleShield is an exceptionally clear and virtually indestructible film that will protect your MacBook or other supported Apple device from unsightly scratches. The exclusive, patented film - with nano-memory technology - covers and shields your device, keeping it as pristine as the day you took it out of the box. It's so tough that ZAGG backs it with a lifetime guarantee, so, if it ever does wear or scratch, they will replace it for free, for the life of your device.

InvisibleSHIELD Skin for MacBookThe precision precut InvisibleShield applies directly to your MacBook or other device, providing tough, durable protection. The InvisibleShield technology has its origins in the military, where it was used to protect high-speed helicopter blades from dust, dirt and debris.

Now you can utilize that same powerful technology to protect your device. If you ever need to remove the InvisibleShield, no problem; it comes off clean and leaves no sticky residue.

Nano-Memory Technology

The authentic InvisibleShield film features Zagg's proprietary Nano-Memory technology, which is visible as a very subtle texture in the surface of the film. This superior component of the InvisibleShield offers five main competitive benefits:

  • Durability - Self-healing properties offer unbelievable resistance to scratches and damage, and will extend the life of your device
  • Coverage - Greater pliability and flexibility allows the InvisibleShield designs to cover the corners and curves of your device better than the competition.
  • Ease of Install - The improved pliability also facilitates easier installation
  • Drop Resistant - Improved grip makes it easier to hang onto your expensive gadgets
  • Glare Reduction - The InvisibleShield gives your device a slight "orange peel" finish that breaks up glare and reduces finger print smudges, while still creating high res screen viewing clarity.

Lifetime Replacement Guarantee

The Lifetime Replacement Guarantee is simply what it says: If your InvisibleShield ever becomes scratched, torn, or damaged while protecting your device, ZAGG offers you a free InvisibleShield replacement for as long as you own your device.

45-day Money Back Guarantee

Your purchase is backed by Zagg's 45 Day Money-Back Guarantee. If you're not completely satisfied with your ZAGG product, you can return it within 45 days of your purchase date for a 100% refund.

MacBook Full Body Maximum Coverage sells for $54.99

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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