Mac News Review

'Why I Won't Buy an Intel Mac', Mac Users Left Out of MS Messenger Plans, Identify Your iMac, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.07.21

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tips

Products

iPod Accessories

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Why I Will Not Buy a New (Intel) Macintosh

OSnews' Thom Holwerda says:

"Not too long ago, I sold my iBook, right after the new MacBook was announced. I planned to buy that same MacBook somewhere this summer; however, I started to doubt. I had second thoughts. Let me explain why I decided to not buy a new Mac, but instead opt for a used G4 PowerMac....

"To my dismay, I have seen Apple's hardware quality degrade over the past few years. The MacBook Pro has a whole batch of problems, of which the most important one was the for me insane amount of heat it produced; I say this out of personal experience. A recent report has indicated that the PowerMac G5, as well, seems to suffer from quite an amount of problems. To put it bluntly: my confidence in Apple supplying me with superior hardware quality has gotten seriously dented. I today no longer see Apple as superior in this aspect compared to its competitors.

"Lastly, I have seen too many negative reports concerning Apple's customer support. They seem to be very reluctant to provide support, they are slow to respond; combine this with Apple's failure to properly respond to various recurring defects, and my faith in Apple's customer support is now also dented."

Link: Why I Will Not Buy a New (Intel) Macintosh

Microsoft May Leave Mac Users Out of Messaging Plans

itWire's Stan Beer reports:

"An interesting piece of information to come out of the Microsoft and Yahoo messaging alliance is the news that Microsoft is still evaluating whether to include the Mac version of Windows Live Messenger in its interoperability plans....

"Just think about it. You're a teenage Mac user and most of your friends are Windows users. They all talk to each other at night after school using Windows Live Messenger (or MSN Messenger as it was once called).

"You can text message your friends but can't talk to them because your version of MSN Messenger doesn't support voice. You feel left out so despite the fact that you like your Mac, you ditch it for whatever price you can get on eBay and replace it with a cheap white box Windows PC."

Link: Microsoft May Leave Mac Users Out of Messaging Plans

Tips

How to Identify Your iMac

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"The ever-popular iMac line of computers has been in existence in one form or another since 1998. The computers look slightly different in different eras. Look at the pictures... to identify which generation of iMac you have.

iMacs

"In August 2004, Apple introduced the first generation of iMac G5 that used a PowerPC G5 processor. In May 2005, an enhanced, second generation iMac G5 was introduced using the same design. In September 2005, a third generation of iMac G5 was introduced with a built-in iSight camera. In January 2006, an iMac with Intel processor and integrated iSight camera was introduced.

"You can identify these various iMac models in several ways. Just use one of the methods below to help you determine which model you have."

Link: How to Identify Your iMac

Products

TuneRemote Smart Case for Apple Remote

PR: TuneRemote is a smart case for the Apple Remote which is included in MacBook, MacBook Pro, Intel iMac, Mac min, the iPod Universal Dock and iPod Hi-Fi. It is made of high quality genuine nappa leather with a smooth felt lining. The case protects your Apple Remote from dirt and scratches and at the same time allows full access to all buttons.

TuneRemote Smart CaseTuneRemote also includes the original high-quality metallic "TuneWear HOOK" as found with the "PRIE Ambassador" leather iPod case. Using the hook, you can simply attach the TuneRemote to a belt loop or bag strap and carry it around anytime, anywhere.

TuneRemote is made from smooth ultrahigh quality genuine nappa leather and incorporates vivid rosso red and brilliant white colors to give an air of luxury. TuneRemote is designed to be suitable for both casual and formal occasions.

$19.95

Link: TuneRemote Smart Case for Apple Remote

Chat 50: First Speaker Phone to Enable VOIP Voice Control on Macs

PR: ClearOne, a leader in high-end audio conferencing and the creator of the innovative Chat™ 50 personal speaker phone, and Speakables, a leading voice recognition software provider for the digital home, has announced that ClearOne's Chat 50 is the first speaker phone that allows Mac users to operate VoIP applications such as Skype and iChat by voice command, using Speakable Items (Apple's embedded speech recognition technology) and the new Speakables for Skype.

The combination of the Chat 50 and Speakables gives Mac users unprecedented flexibility and control, particularly in the Mac Digital Home environment. These products enable simple control of VoIP applications without the need to access the keyboard, mouse, or even view the screen. In addition, the advanced audio processing technologies of the Chat 50 deliver full-duplex audio and full echo cancellation, which gives Mac users even greater choice and flexibility. For example, users can continue to listen to iTunes or watch TV with the sound output through their main speakers, while using Skype.

"The Chat 50 personal speaker phone is the perfect addition to the Mac Digital Home," says Deborah Quinlan, president of Speakables. "In our testing, the Chat 50 emerged as a clear standout as the only speaker phone product on the market we have found to be compatible with both Apple's embedded speech recognition technology and VoIP applications, such as iChat and Skype."

"In combination with voice control, the Chat 50 extends the speaker phone from an office/home office productivity device to a 'must-have' for the Mac Digital Home," adds Kurt Olsen, director of product marketing at ClearOne. "The ability to control popular applications like Skype and iChat by voice makes it unnecessary to even be in view of a monitor screen.

This is important not only for those wanting to make use of VoIP in relaxed areas of the home, but especially in cases where Macs are connected to big-screen TVs, since the user doesn't have to switch from TV mode to computer mode to see their computer screen."

"Advanced automatic level controls on the microphone of the Chat 50 give it some of the best pickup performance of any microphone designed for computers. This superior pickup allows for great accuracy in speech recognition; it also makes the Chat 50 a perfect fit for other microphone applications, such as recording podcasts," continued Olsen.

The Chat 50 is available at leading resellers such as MacMall, PC Mall, PC Warehouse, and CDW. Speakables software solutions are available online, including free trial versions.

Link: Speakables

iPod Accessories

H2O Audio Waterproof Housing for iPod shuffle

PR: H2O Audio, the leading provider of waterproof housings and headphones for Apple iPod and other MP3 players, announced today that it has begun shipping its new patented H2O Audio for iPod shuffle waterproof housing. H2O Audio for iPod shuffle is the latest addition to the company's proven and globally popular line of adventure sport and outdoor recreation accessories for iPod and MP3 music players.

H2O Audio Waterproof Housing"Apple introduced the iPod shuffle to provide an economical music player available to everyone. According to recent statistics in Mac Observer, the Apple iPod shuffle owns 58% of the flash player market," said Kristian Rauhala, CEO of H2O Audio. "We created our shuffle housing to compliment Apple's mission of providing a product that features great functionality, low cost, compact size, and durability."

The new H2O Audio for iPod shuffle features patented engineering and design and provides economical waterproof and impact resistant protection regardless of outdoor conditions or recreational environments.

H2O Audio for iPod shuffle features include:

  • Waterproof housing for Apple iPod shuffle players, secure to 10 ft. (3m)
  • Patented easy-access control pad function
  • Impact protection
  • Water, dust, sand and snow safe
  • Compatible with standard headphones
  • Compatible with H2O Audio patented waterproof headphones
  • Secure armband for carefree mobility

The new H2O Audio for iPod shuffle housing provides unique full-function control that gives users ready access to all of the Shuffle's proprietary command functions even when fully submerged in water.

MSRP for the H2O Audio for iPod shuffle housing is $39.95. H2O Audio products and accessories for Apple iPods and MP3 players are available at local surf/wake/swim stores, B+H photo, Swimoutlet.com, Swimlocker.com, Buywake.com, and other retailers and dealers globally, as well as from the H2O Audio eStore at:

* H2O Audio Headphones are sold separately for $39.95.

Link: H2O Audio

Software

MouseZoom X Speeds Your Cursor

MouseZoom is a Mac OS X Cocoa pref pane which speeds up your mouse cursor movement in Mac OS X. I've been using it for years, and I love it. Apple's fastest mouse speed is never quick enough for me, especially on larger resolution screens.

As of version 2.0, the speed is set "live" without having to log out before it takes effect. To do this, MouseZoom uses the same method as Apple's mouse panel.

New in version 2.2: Intel Compatible version released

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.1 or later.

System support: PPC/Intel

Free

Link: MouseZoom X 2.2

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For more deals on current, recently discontinued, and older notebooks, see our MacBook deals, MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" aluminum PowerBook G4 deals, 17" PowerBook G4 deals, titanium PowerBook G4 deals, iBook G4 deals, PowerBook G3 deals, and iBook G3 deals.

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