The 'Book Review

Apple Pulls Flawed MacBook Update, ARM MacBooks in 2 Years?, and More 'Book News

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.11.30

News & Opinion

Rumor Roundup

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

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. Older Macs are covered in Vintage Mac News. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

Purchases made through links to and Apple's iTunes/iBook/App/Mac App Store support Low End Mac.

News & Opinion

Warning: Apple Pulls MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0

The Apple Core's David Morgenstern reports that depending upon the age of your MacBook and the version of Mac OS X installed, either Software Update or the Mac App Store may tell you to run the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0 (see The 'Book Review of Nov. 16 for more info). He suggests that you don't, noting that there continue to be reports of issues with the update - and worse, late last week Apple pulled the support page about the update as well as the download link.

"Recall time," Morgenstern says, noting that some users report issues with video memory as well as with Keychain operation.

Quick Workaround for 2010 MacBook Pro Black Screen Problem

MacFixIt's Topher Kessler notes that some older MacBook Pro models may still suffer from periodic black-screen problems, and suggests a workaround that may help.

Kessler says this bug appeared to be rooted in the handling of the dual graphics cards in MacBook Pro models from 2010, but while Apple issued a software update to address the problem, this update did not help all who were experiencing it.

Kessler suggests trying an external monitor as an alternative to a hard restart, which may restore access to video to keep working and/or restart in a proper manner with no loss of unsaved work.

Editor's note: my Late 2008 2.0 GHz unibody MacBook has only an integrated graphics processor, but is also afflicted by this or a similar bug. However, the frequency of black screens has been much lower since installing OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. cm

Rumor Roundup

ARM-based MacBooks in 2 Years?

A Seeking Alpha blog comments on recent rumors that Apple is planning to switch it's Macs from the Intel processors it's used since 2006 to the family of CPUs by ARM Holdings that it uses in its mobile devices. The author asks rhetorically whether this rumor is simply an Apple tactic to exert leverage in pricing negotiations with Intel, or a real possibility, and concludes that it's both.

The article notes that there would be substantial efficiencies and synergies realized by using just one family of processors across Apple's entire hardware lineup, including a rationalization of software development productivity around a single platform (hello, iOS/OS X convergence). However, the author deduces that what Apple really wants is lower processor prices, and a switch to ARM would open the door to multiple CPU suppliers, and argues that for technical reasons switching from Intel to ARM should be much simpler than the transition from PowerPC to Intel.

Of course that would have to be weighed against kissing good-bye the Mac's current status as the only PC that can natively run OS X, Windows, and Linux.

The author summarizes with a guess that Apple will offer a MacBook with an ARM processor by the end of 2014 or early 2015, but thinks that Apple's best strategy is to continue playing Intel against ARM and keeping them both guessing, and that can't be done on rumor alone.

Retina Display-Ready Photoshop CS6 Coming Dec. 11?

Japanese Apple watcher site Macotakara says it appears that Adobe may announce a Retina Display compatible version of Adobe Photoshop CS6 at its "Create Now Live Event" on December 11.

The report notes that a YouTube video on Adobe's website appears to show a Retina MacBook Pro running Photoshop in native Retina resolution.

Tech Trends

Q&A with Steven Chang, Asus North America President

DigiTimes' Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai note that Asustek (a.k.a. Asus) Computer's Zenbooks, Transformer tablets, and the Nexus 7 tablet it builds for Google have helped expand the company's brand recognition, raising its share in the North America notebook market from 7% in the second quarter of 2012 to 8% in the third, achieving shipment growth in the quarter despite the global economic downturn.

DigiTimes recently had a chance to talk to Asustek North America president Steven Chang about the company's status in North America and its strategy for the region.

Chang notes that Apple had the largest share in the consumer notebook market in the third quarter in North America, but was third (to HP and Dell) in total volume of laptop units shipped, with Asustek sixth-largest in the third quarter only 1 percentage point behind that of Lenovo at fifth. HP, Dell, and Apple cumulatively account for more than 50% share in North America's notebook market.

In tablets, Mr. Chang notes that, except for Apple, all brand vendors compete fiercely for market share, and Asustek has set a goal of becoming the largest Android-based tablet brand vendor by the end of 2012.

Products & Services

Phorce, the World's First Smart Bag: Never Lose Your Laptop Again

Phorce smart bagPR: Phorce is touted as the world's first smart bag, able to power all of your devices, transform into 3 separate types of bags, and connect you to your bag through an app.

The result is a sleek and attractive triple threat of a bag that can go with you wherever you might be - at the airport, at a meeting with a V.C., or riding home on your bike. And most importantly, it's a bag that will prevent you from losing your bag and all of your very valuable gadgets.

A demo video can be viewed at

Here's how Phorce does it:

  • Power: Phorce charges smartphones, tablets, iPods, cameras, speakers, headphones, and anything that is powered using a USB connection. The bag includes 3 USB connections, 2 high speed ports and 1 super high-speed port. Additionally, the Phorce for Mac can power a MacBook for up to 7 extra hours.
  • Connect: The bag comes with an Android and iOS based application that can connect a smart phone to the Phorce bag via Bluetooth. This app gauges the bag's remaining power through an intuitive onscreen graphics display. Additionally, this feature sends a notification to the phone if the bag is left behind.
  • Transform: Phorce can transform from a messenger bag, to a backpack, to a briefcase in a matter of seconds, with no additional equipment needed. The Phorce bag has a special opening that allows it to slide over the (telescopic) handles of a trolley bag. The bag is compact and lightweight at just 3.7 lb., but can transform into a bigger bag, with an expansion zipper that gives the user 240 cubic inches of extra space.

Phorce is being launched through Kickstarter, with a $150,000 goal to release the product internationally. Campaign details at

Phorce is designed to be the ultimate bag for the mobile age, able to hold lots of stuff in its minimalist design. It can also power all your devices - even MacBooks, communicate with your smartphone, and transform from a messenger bag into a backpack, or briefcase.

Phorce smart bagPhorce can charge up to 3 USB-devices simultaneously - smartphones, tablets, iPods, GoPro and other cameras, smart watches, portable speakers, noise-canceling headphones, and thousands of other devices. And on top of charging all your other gear, Phorce for Mac can also power a MacBook for up to a claimed seven extra hours.

Serious Mobile Power

Thanks to its integrated lightweight battery pack, Phorce is claimed to be powerful enough to charge an iPhone 5 over eight times, a Galaxy S3 about six times, or an iPad Mini 2.5 times, and the developers say that if they reach $750K they'll increase battery capacity by 10% - without adding weight - by using battery cells with a very high energy density. You'll have enough power to keep your phone charged for almost 2 weeks without having to plug it into the wall.

Bluetooth & App

Phorce connects and communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth. The Phorce app (iOS & Android) shows you exactly how much power your bag has left and what you can do with it. Intuitive graphics display the exact number of times Phorce can still charge your devices, like your phone. You can also ask Phorce to send you notifications, for example a reminder to charge Phorce when its battery's running low.

Loss Prevention

Losing your bag means losing a lot of valuable possessions: your laptop, tablet, keys, money, your personal files & documents, and -of course- your bag. Whether you forget your bag when rushing out the door in the morning, leaving a restaurant or coffee shop, getting off a plane, metro, or train, or out of a taxi - you'll receive a notification on your phone as soon as Phorce is outside of your range, so you can quickly run back and rescue it from the evil clutches of your arch nemesis.

Transform - 3 Bags: Messenger. Backpack. Briefcase. As Easy As 1-2-3

Phorce smart bagPhorce can adjust itself to your needs, thanks to its unique construction and strap system. Phorce can transform from a messenger bag, to a backpack, or briefcase in a matter of seconds. Transforming Phorce requires no additional components, and can be done on the go, in a matter of seconds.

Full 360° Expansion

Need to bring a lot of stuff? Phorce has a 360° expansion zipper you can quickly create over 240 cubic inches (4000 cm3) of extra space. Why choose between a compact bag and one that holds a lot of stuff, when you can have both?

A Frequent Flyer's Best Friend

An especially designed opening on its back allows you to slide Phorce over the telescopic handles of your trolley, so you can enjoy hands-and-shoulders-free travel. Phorce also has a direct-access laptop pocket to quickly remove and insert your MacBook or laptop, making security checks less of a hassle. Keep your phone charged for over a week without bringing a wall charger or travel adapter. With mobile power for all your devices, multiple carrying modes, and expandability.

Advanced Materials

With its cable management system and dedicated pockets for all your devices, Phorce keeps your gear organized. Its A4-sized front pocket and spacious main compartment are perfect for bringing along paper, pens, magazines, books, water bottles, and lots of other stuff.


Magnetic black suede handles, rich padding for your shoulders & back, and anti-slip shoulder straps make Phorce very comfortable to carry - even for long periods of time.

Phorce is constructed out of a durable, water-resistant, custom-coated fabric, and features waterproof zippers to keep your gear dry. Impact-resistant padding protects your devices against shocks and bumps.

No More Fingerprints

Phorce's laptop compartment, tablet, and smartphone pockets are lined with a special fabric that automatically cleans your devices. Its also very smooth, making it easy to insert or remove your devices. That means hassle-free device access, and fingerprint-free displays.

Despite all its features and technology, Phorce's weight is comparable to other premium bags at just 3.7 lb. (1.7 kg).

Phorce for USB or Phorce for Mac?

Phorce comes in 2 versions: Phorce for USB and Phorce for Mac. Both bags have the complete Phorce feature set, wireless technology, and the same powerful lightweight battery. However, while Phorce for USB can charge phones, tablets, cameras, and thousands of other USB-devices on the go, Phorce for Mac can also power MacBooks.

Phorce for USB is great for tablet users and Windows laptop users, or for MacBook users who don't need extra power for their MacBooks. It keeps all your other devices charged and fits most Windows laptops up to 14-inches, such as the 14" HP Envy, and all MacBooks up to the 15" MacBook Pro. Phorce for Mac is great for MacBook users who -besides keeping all their other gear charged- would like to be able to use their MacBooks for hours longer without plugging into the wall.

Phorce comes in four colors: black, red, dark green, and "voter's choice" which you'll get to vote on as a backer. You'll have four great colors to choose from.

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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