Mac News Review

Mac Pro Take Apart, Mac Pro vs. Quad G5, No Virtual PC for Macintel, MacMice Updates, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.08.11

With the introduction of the Mac Pro and announcement of an Intel-based Xserve (due in October), Apple has completed its third CPU transition over its 30 year history. (The Apple I, II, and III lines were built around the 6502 CPU. Lisa and early Macs used Motorola 680x0 processors. And for the past dozen years, Apple used PowerPC chips.)

Power Max has already taken apart a Mac Pro and posted photos, and Apple has released the first security update specifically for the new computer. Early benchmarks show the four-core Mac Pro holds its own against the Power Mac G5 Quad - and beats it when running "universal" software.

On the software front, Microsoft has pulled the plug on Virtual PC development, so it will never be available for Intel-based Macs. (With Boot Camp and Parallels, there wouldn't have been much of a market for VPC.) On the accessories front, MacMice has improved its Bluetooth and USB mice.

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

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products

iPod Accessories

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

inside the Mac ProMac Pro Taken Apart

The folks at Power Max have dismantled a Mac Pro and posted photos.

Armchair Analysis: Mac Pro vs. Quad G5

Bare Feats rob-ART Morgan says:

"The much anticipated delivery of the first Intel based Mac Pro towers is at hand. We hope to have our dual-dual-core 3 GHz Mac Pro Xeon delivered by next week - which we plan to run against our 2.5 GHz Quad-Core G5 using our regular set of real world tests along with a few new ones. Meanwhile, we have some interesting information for you to ponder...."

No Virtual PC for Intel Macs

VNUnet's Tom Sanders reports:

"Apple's transition from PowerPC chips to Intel processors has not been as simple for programmers as the company promised, Microsoft suggests. The universal code behind the switch has proven costly for developers, and time-consuming as well.

"Microsoft will not develop a universal code version of its Virtual PC product to run on Intel-powered Mac systems and plans to discontinue the product.

"'We will discontinue development of Virtual PC for Mac, and we will not be creating a universal version or a version that will run on the old and new Apple machines,' Microsoft's director of product management and marketing for the Macintosh business unit, Scott Ericson, said.

"Creating a universal version of the application would take too much effort because of Virtual PC's age, Ericson said."

Security Update for Mac Pro

Security Update 2006-004 was released on August 1, and details are available via http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=304063

"Mac Pro computers ship with Mac OS X v10.4.7 Build 8K1079. Also, the existing Xserve hardware now includes Mac OS X Server v10.4.7 Build 8K1079.

"The fixes provided in Security Update 2006-004 (August 1 release) are contained in Build 8K1079, with the exception of the ones listed below for ImageIO and OpenSSH. The fixes for these issues were not fully tested in time for the manufacturing of the Mac Pro, and are being provided via this security update.

"This update is a proper subset of the full Security Update 2006-004 released on August 1. Existing systems that have already applied Security Update 2006-004 (Aug 1 release) do not need to install this update.

"Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.7 Build 8K1079, Mac OS X Server v10.4.7 Build 8K1079"

Ergotron's LX Notebook Arm Wins Prestigious Editors' Choice Award

PR: Ergotron, a global leader in computer and video display mounting equipment, is pleased to announce that they have been honored with the MacAddict Editors' Choice Award. The award, for the innovative LX Notebook Arm, appears in the August issue of MacAddict currently on newsstands.

The LX Notebook Arm enables users to rediscover the value of their notebook's display. Now anyone can lift a notebook off the desk and use the display when docked into a networked system.

The Editors' Choice Award has recognized Ergotron's LX Notebook Arm for its superior construction, sturdiness and professional appearance. MacAddict's Editors' Choice Award is identified as being the most acclaimed award the magazine offers to technology-driven companies.

"We're very pleased MacAddict has acknowledged Ergotron by awarding us with this prestigious award," said Jane Payfer, Vice President of Marketing for Ergotron. "It is particularly rewarding that Ergotron was recognized for the superior construction of the LX Notebook Arm. Innovative, high quality products offered at an exceptional value are the hallmark of Ergotron, and receiving the Editors' Choice Award is proof that we have been successful with our company goals."

Ergotron products have been improving the human interface with digital displays for over 20 years. Ergotron's portfolio of digital display mounting solutions includes wall and desk mount arms, desk stands, mobile carts, pivots and vertical lifts. With the introduction of Constant Force (CF) patented lift-and-pivot motion technology, Ergotron's products require less user effort to achieve more motion. Each Ergotron product is designed to enhance the viewing experience, reduce stress and improve productivity in today's computing and entertainment environments. Ergotron, a rapidly growing global company focused on the channel and OEM business, expects growth revenues in 2006 to approach 40%.

Products

Mighty Mouse Alternative: The Mouse BT II

PR: MacMice has announced the immediate availability of The Mouse BT II, the fourth generation version of its industry leading Bluetooth wireless mouse - USB Charging/MicroScroll/800 dpi.

MacMice says:

"It's always fun going back and improving an already amazing product. In updating our class-leading The Mouse BT we had a real challenge. With almost 3-years of continuous product improvement, the existing product was already among the best Bluetooth mice on the market. So, what did we do to make it even better?

"While manufacturing The Mouse BT we had several ideas for improvements that could not be readily incorporated into the existing design. So, we decided to make a blank-sheet effort and here is the result. Our all-new Bluetooth transceiver module is state of the art, and incorporates the range increases and power conservation benefits of the latest BT v1.2 standard. Since the number one customer request from our earlier product was to move to rechargeable batteries, we have created a mini-USB charging cradle that takes up little desk space, but makes charging the included AAA NiMH batteries quick and easy.

"Apple's use of a miniature scroll ball on their Mighty Mouse product exposed many users to a new and seemingly contradictory concept: a tiny scrolling device 'feels' more precise in usage than a larger one. However, many of these same users have learned that a sealed, embedded mini-trackball is not the perfect implementation of this idea. Our MicroScroll miniature scrollwheel delivers the precision of an ultra-small scrolling device, but without the frustrations of a tiny trackball. It uses a 10mm diameter notchless design that provides smoothly gliding, highly precise operation, and a silky smooth feel.

"'We feel that The Mouse BT II delivers the right mix of traditional functionality and modern styling elements most wanted by today's Mac and Windows Bluetooth mouse buyers,' says M.H. Peng, CEO of AllSpirit Co. Ltd., maker of the the new mouse, 'While Apple has been focusing on bending the rules of how users interact with their mouse with their 360-degree mini-scrollball and touch based '2-button' system, we have focused more on simply improving the time proven user interface elements everyone already uses and enjoys."

I haven't used a Mouse BT II yet, but based on my several years experience with Mac Mice's The Mouse Classic, which is the best conventional optical mouse I've ever used, I'm optimistic that MacMice's evolutionary approach with the Mouse BT II is a wise one.

The Mouse BT II is a Bluetooth v1.2 compliant Bluetooth wireless optical mouse with the latest in Apple-style design, with a smooth, bright white housing and traditional shape. Its Bluetooth circuitry is claimed to be the most stable and reliable in the industry on either Mac OS X or Win XP systems. It is the first product to include MacMice's MicroScroll 10mm diameter mini scrollwheel encoder that provides precise notchless fingertip control of cursor motion, and, it uses rechargeable AAA lithium batteries and a plugin mini USB charging cradle to avoid unnecessary expense on replacement batteries.

The Mouse BT II is available now for $69.99 from The MacMice website or from any of their worldwide retailers.

The Mouse II: 'The Mouse' Design Goes Laser

PR: MacMice has announced the immediate availability of The Mouse II, a completely updated laser pickup version of its highly popular The Mouse USB mouse.

"Since we first designed our The Mouse USB mouse in 2002 we have seen it become one of the most popular mice on the market for customers who appreciate the clear-over-white classic Apple styling," says M.H. Peng, CEO of AllSpirit Co. Ltd., manufacturer of MacMice input products, "Today, we are shipping an all-new update to that product that adds the state of the art laser tracking system expected by today's computer users."

The Mouse II is a USB 1,600 dpi laser pickup mouse with a classic Apple-inspired transparent shell design. It offers true 2-button plus scroll wheel plus scroll button functionality. It has a 5' long USB cable and is compatible with either Mac OS X or Win XP systems.

If you have not experienced the joys of using a modern laser pickup equipped mouse, you simply must know what you have been missing. Finally, you no longer need a mousepad; the laser pickup is sensitive and accurate enough to work on virtually any mousing surface . . . no more uncertain performance on glossy or colored table tops. The feel of precision of the 1,600 dpi resolution of this laser mechanism will make your image or video work, your drawing or graphics projects, or, your detailed document creation tasks a sheer joy.

The Classiest USB Mouse for Your Mac

Very few products gain the widespread reputation for style and quality that The Mouse has gained over the past three years. Now, with the addition of a state of the art laser pickup mechanism, it's also one serious rodent . . . arguably the very best USB mouse for the price in the world.

Editor's note: I wouldn't dispute that claim. The original MacMice The Mouse that I've been using for several years is the smoothest and most comfortable conventional mouse that I've encountered, and I find it easier on my arm and wrist than some "ergonomic" mice I've tried. The laser pickup should make it even better. cm

The Mouse II is shipping now and can be bought for $29.99 from the MacMice website or from any of their worldwide retailers.

Clunk Click Introduces Online Mac Backup Service

PR: An online data backup service for Mac OS X users is being launched by data backup provider Clunk Click, giving a simple, safe, and affordable method of protecting the precious contents of hard drives

OnLine Pro for Macintosh OS X automatically backs up data to secure offsite data centres via the Internet each day, meaning Mac OS X users can recover lost data at any time from any Internet connected computer.

The lack of choice in backing up data held on Macs has been a headache for some time. Users have frequently been forced to back up to external hard drives, CDs, or tape systems. These methods have left Mac users vulnerable to data loss through hard drive failure, fire, theft, or damage to the backup medium itself. They also present problems with data encryption and offsite storage.

With Clunk Click, Mac users never need worry about losing their data again.

Clunk Click managing director, Paul Roberts, explains: "Mac users have been frustrated by the lack of choice in protecting their data. We now offer a secure service that will simplify the backup process, giving mirrored offsite backup and storage without the need for additional hardware or backup media. This presents a huge advantage for Mac users over current methods."

The benefits of OnLine Pro for Macintosh OS X are particularly critical for business users, as data loss can have a catastrophic effect. According to Gartner, 80% of businesses that suffer a major data loss or failure for more than 24 hours close within a year.

Roberts adds: "Our service is essential for Mac users on the move. Laptop theft is rife and on the increase. Every day we receive calls from people whose laptops have been stolen. They are often devastated as not only have they lost their laptop but all their data too. All my staff have backup accounts with Clunk Click - we wouldn't be without it."

OnLine Pro for Macintosh OS X is user friendly: Following a simple software download, users select which files to backup and what time they want the daily backup to occur. Their data is automatically encrypted and transmitted each day to mirrored offsite date centres.

Further information and a free 10 day trial of OnLine Pro for Macintosh OS X can be found online or by calling Clunk Click on 08700 503200.

New Server Rack for Xserve Previews at WWDC

PR: GizMac Accessories LLC, designer and manufacturer of noise reduction server rack enclosures, previews their soon to be released 25U XRackPro2 server rack with Apple's new Xserve line at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).

GizMac's 25U noise reduction server rack was chosen by Apple to house, display and silence the new Xserve product line that is being shown at the WWDC this week. Several clusters of the newest Apple Xserve servers were unveiled to the developer community through the use of the XRackPro 25U server rack from GizMac.

"The 25U XRackPro2 server rack is a great addition to our family of noise reduction enclosures," says Ken Vitto, Director of Marketing for GizMac Accessories, "We are excited that Apple chose to show the world the new Xserve server while displayed in our soon to be released 25U server rack."

XRackPro2 25U noise reduction server rack is a unique solution for rackmount Apple Xserve servers and Xserve RAID storage. Supporting Xserve peripherals such as: tape and disk backup, networking, battery backup and other rackmount systems can also be installed inside the 25U XRackPro2 enclosure. Although the XRackPro2 server rack was designed primarily for rackmount equipment, the height of the 25U XRackPro2 will also allow some vertically standing non-rackmount equipment to fit inside the rackmount enclosure. By reducing noise levels of Apple's Xserve solutions, the 25U XRackPro2 rackmount enclosure allows Xserve servers and RAID systems to be placed in areas that require low noise.

Post production in film, video and audio editing; television, cable and radio broadcasting; Scientific, printing and education or any other environment that requires low noise will benefit from the GizMac noise reduction rackmount enclosure cabinet. Pricing for the 25U XRackPro2 server rack mount cabinet is $2,199 US retail, further information can be found on the GizMac XRackPro website.

iPod Accessories

iPod Cover Features Macintosh 128K

PR: We're going old school here!

This special edition cover shows the original Macintosh and is made with a screen printed reinforced fabric, foam padding, black lining, and a clear plastic casing.

Covers may be slightly different due to the nature of the fabric patterns. iPod covers will be shipped within 7-14 days.

Models for

  • mini
  • photo
  • nano
  • video

$30-$35

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For more deals on current, recently discontinued, and older notebooks, see our MacBook deals, 15" MacBook Pro deals, 17" 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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