Since installing Snow Leopard, a large number of MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have noticed a problem with the computer frequently displaying a "Service Battery" warning in the battery system menu. This also seems to be coupled with relatively short battery life, either with the battery discharging rapidly or with the computer going to sleep but still reporting high percentage of charge left in the battery. As of OS 10.6.2, affected users are still experiencing the problem.… Read more
As more consumers use their laptops as a secondary (and sometimes, primary) home entertainment center where they listen to music, play games, and watch TV and movies, they're often lacking one thing: a quality sound system. The average set of laptop speakers isn't designed to amplify home-theater-quality audio and some machines make it almost impossible to watch video without headphones. If you've ever tried watching Hulu on a MacBook, you know exactly what we're talking about.
The new $80 Logitech Lapdesk N700 wants to break through that sound barrier. In addition to a cooling fan and … Read more
There have been periodic reports of people having problems with items on the desktop disappearing, particularly on MacBook computers that have been connected to external displays. When this happens, the computer will remain responsive, but the desktop will be blank.… Read more
While many have been fixated on when Apple will announce a new tablet product, The Wall Street Journal says it has found out when the device will actually be available to customers.
Sources have told the Journal that a 10- or 11-inch touch-screen tablet computer will begin shipping in March. Another source says that there are at least two different finishes for the device that Apple is either still deciding on or perhaps planning to charge different prices for each.
Though there's been a lot of speculation about the tablet, there are no confirmed details yet. Industry observers are anticipating a late January announcement (… Read more
Our Weekly Utilities Update report is a list of all the updates for many Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. While utilities can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our main focus in this column is to bring you those that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems.… Read more
How will Apple redesign the ultraslim, seminal MacBook Air that launched dozens of me-too ultraportable laptops? Only Apple knows. But here are some gratuitous musings anyway.
In a previous post, I said I wouldn't hazard any guesses on what Apple may do with the MacBook Air. And I won't. That doesn't stop me from looking at the most recent ultrathin laptop competition to see where Apple might be able to improve the design that turns two years old in January.
Enclosure: This will be a tough act to follow. The original design was good enough that Apple didn't change it for gen 2--aka Rev. B--of the Air. And the aluminum enclosure was a trendsetter, which all MacBook Pros (and other PC makers) eventually copied.
But that doesn't mean the Air is perfect. The razor-thin slab of aluminum provides little room for ports and connectors. (Apple's implementation is a flip-out set of USB, Mini DisplayPort, audio ports that retract back into the body.)
A design modification that the Dell Adamo uses (some say retrogressed to) was putting the ports on the back (behind the screen). This allows Dell to offer a fuller array of connectors.
Hewlett-Packard, for its part, went another route: it just made its Envy 13 slightly thicker (at 0.8 inches) than the Air, allowing a couple more connectors (a second USB port and an SD card slot). HP also molded the base of the Envy in magnesium, which makes it lighter, according to HP.
Then there's just-announced Dell Adamo XPS. This is even thinner than the MacBook Air and puts the CPU-complex-plus-circuit-board (aka motherboard) behind the screen, not underneath the keyboard--standard design practice for all laptops.
Of course, there's the recurring rumor that Apple is looking at different materials to make it even lighter while maintaining its famous sturdiness. This could potentially be a combination of aluminum and something like carbon fiber. (Though, as stated above, HP claims that magnesium is the way to go.)
Other possibilities: make one model bigger (wider), a la the Dell Latitude Z, which offers a 16-inch 1600x900 WLED Display and at its thickest point is only 0.79 inches.
Or make it smaller. The Sony Vaio X is a great example of how light (1.6 pounds) and thin (0.55 inches) a premium laptop (technically it's a Netbook) can be.
Tablet? There is the remote possibility that a version of the Air becomes a tablet. And that would mean potentially a new enclosure and new silicon.
Graphics:. The second feature I'll touch on is graphics. A good graphics chip is tough to squeeze into ultrathin designs and this a major feature that set the Air apart from other slim designs,… Read more