The 'Book Review

Post-PC Era? Maybe. Mobile Era? Definitely

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.10.07

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

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Post-PC Era? Maybe, but We're Definitely in the Mobile Era

ZDNet's James Kendrick says the post-PC era may or may not be coming, but there is no question that the mobile era is here, noting that few subjects get people riled up like that of "the post-PC era" Steve Jobs proclaimed as being ushered in by the iPad.

He notes that many folks are in no hurry to give up real computers for the slate or gadgets of other forms [hear!, hear! cm] and get downright testy if you tell them they must.

Kendrick agrees that traditional computers aren't going away any time soon, so he thinks a better term for the we time we're experiencing is "the mobile era," which he observes is firmly established, noting that it's not so much the form of the device that makes up the post-PC era - it's the way we use them, and that factor knocking the old tethered PC from shopping lists of millions, and beginning to replace the standard computer away from the workplace.

MacBook Air Creaking? Check for Loose Screws

Apple's pentalobe screwheadAn OS X Daily contributor reports that his/her 11" MacBook Air has been creaking a lot lately when picked up, and the noise, which has gradually increased, was traced to loose screws. pentalobe screwheadThe obvious solution is to simply tighten the screws, but Apple has made that customarily simple task difficult by it's employment of screws with nonstandard heads, the dreaded "pentalobe", which defeats your average household screwdriver from working either to tighten or loosen the fasteners.

Consequently, if you want to perform tasks from screw-tightening maintenance to warranty-voiding case opening, you'll need to buy a pentalobe screwdriver, available from Amazon.com for $5.95.

Incidentally, the pentalobe fasteners were the main reason iFixit awarded the 11" MacBook Air a miserable 4 out of 10 repairability score in its teardown evaluation of that model.

Installing an OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 3G SSD in a 2008 MacBook Pro

PCWeenies' Krishna has posted an illustrated tutorial on how he installed a OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 3G SSD in his 2008 (pre-unibody) MacBook Pro.

Krishna says he has owned Wallstreet and Pismo PowerBooks, which were succeeded by first generation Intel MacBook Pros - 2006 and 2008 models. Among these machines he rates the early 2008 MBP as easily the best of the bunch, but its Hitachi 250 GB 5400 RPM hard drive was getting a little long in the tooth. Nevertheless, he wasn't ready to part with it, and opted instead for some hot-rodding, installing a 115 GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 3G SSD, and buying a OWC On-the-Go Pro enclosure for the pulled 5400 RPM hard drive and installed the SSD with the help of iFixit's teardown guide.

Krishna notes that getting into the guts of the early 2008 MacBook Pro involves unscrewing some 30 odd similarly sized, but different, teeny, tiny screws, and his strategy was to affix tape to secure the screws next to the appropriate step on the printed-out Guide docs, and says The OWC toolkit he bought with the drive came in very handy.

Part 2, The Surgery, covers extraction of the old stock 5400 RPM Hitachi hard drive and shoehorning in the replacement 115 GB OWC SSD, noting that the latter step was the most frustrating part of the whole procedure. It's doable, but requires extra patience, and after which he says reassembly was almost anticlimactic, taking approximately 10 minutes.

As for installing Lion on the new SSD (part 3), "You would think installing Lion on a fresh solid state drive would be easy, and in my case, you would be wrong."

Apple Developing a Hybrid Drive System of Its Own

Patently Apple says:

"On September 29, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a next generation Hybrid Drive that includes both a hard drive and Flash. Intel will be pushing their Smart Response hybrid drive systems for consumer systems in 2012 and Apple's patent would indicate that they intend to have their own solution for future hardware."

Tech Trends

Ultrabooks vs. Tablets: Tablet Demise Greatly Exaggerated

The Register's Tony Smith riffs on widespread commentary, mostly sourced from a DigiTimes article, predicting that tablet sales will be hammered next year by Ultrabooks.

That prognostication is primarily attributed to Acer VP Scott Lin, hardly a disinterested and unbiased observer being as Acer's Aspire S3 Ultrabook was released in Taiwan the day before the DigiTimes article appeared.

Lin suggests (reasonably) that Ultrabooks won't start to hit their stride until early next year. Smith notes that Intel has announced that second-gen Ultrabooks based in its new "Ivy Bridge" CPU family will be available then offering better performance and battery life than first-gen models, and that Lin anticipates Ultrabooks accounting for 30% of global notebook sales by the end of 2012, mirroring Intel's projections.

However, he also believes Ultrabooks will eat into tablet sales, which Smith agrees that they may very well do, but observes that Acer has an interest in promoting that view, what with the drubbing that Apple's iPad has laid on it and rival PC makers.

Aluminum Alloy Ultrabook Chassis Likely in Short Supply Through 2012

DigiTimes' Aaron Lee and Steve Shen report that supply of aluminum alloy chassis for ultrabooks may fall short of demand in 2012, as most ultrabook models launched by the various Windows PC vendors will come with the metal chassis. They note that capacities at metal chassis makers including Catcher Technology and Foxconn Technology have been fully booked to the end of 2011, according to industry sources.

Ultrabook models already announced include Acer's Aspire S3, Lenovo's IdeaPad U300s, Toshiba's Portegé Z830 and Asustek's forthcoming UX-series lineup, all of which will be available with metal chassis, Lee and Shen's sources noted. For example, Acer purchases chassis from Catcher, while Asustek buys them from China-based BYD.

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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