New Metal MacBook Gear from Power Support | iLounge Backstage

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New Metal MacBook Gear from Power Support

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2007
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Though Japan’s Power Support is best known around iLounge for its iPod accessories, we’ve been checking out (and mostly loving) the company’s Mac laptop and desktop accessories for years. Like the best Mac third-party developers, Power Support relies heavily upon cut and sculpted metal for its products, which makes them a better aesthetic match for high-end Macs, and users with bigger wallets.

Today, we’ve been playing with two new and notable MacBook/MacBook Pro items, one of which is already available in the United States, and the other one’s coming soon. First is the highly useful but currently Japan-only Notebook Holder - not its final name - shown above. Then there’s the Tilt Tray, now available in the United States, and shown below. Why are these so interesting? Answers and pictures can be found by clicking on Read More.

Why would we possibly be excited about an aluminum holder for our MacBooks? The answer to this is simple: it looks great alongside Apple’s less expensive Cinema Displays. This little item, currently sold overseas under the semi-translated Japanese name Notebook PC Bachi Holder, comes in a box with a bunch of foam pads. You attach the pads to the bottom of the stand for stability, and the inside of the stand to keep your MacBook scratch-free. If necessary - it wasn’t for the MacBook Pro shown above - you then loosen the screws on the bottom, adjust the sides to accommodate the width of your laptop, and re-tighten the screws.

Voila. The stand holds your MacBook in a position that consumes comparatively little space on a desk, ideal for connecting something like the 23” Cinema Display we picked up today. In this orientation, we have full access to the MacBook’s card slot, audio, and a USB port, with the DVI, second USB, and FireWire ports all in the back for connection to the monitor. The Apple logo gets to stand out, along with most of the unit’s aluminum body. Obviously, use with lower-end MacBooks will reveal their plastic but otherwise similar features.

Power Support’s Notebook Holder should be coming to the U.S. in the near future, but if you’re jonesing for one now, look to the company’s Japanese site or importers. They sell in Japan for 3,680 Yen, or around $31.

Tilt Tray is a different animal altogether. It’s sold in separate sizes for the MacBook ($50) and MacBook Pro ($55), and basically does two things: it dissipates heat and tilts your MacBook on a slight angle for typing. When I read the name in Japanese on Power Support’s Japanese web site, I thought the name was Chill Tray, to emphasize the cooling effect, but the tilting part is apparently what the company’s focusing on.

Like the Notebook Holder, you’ll need to do a little assembly when you take Tilt Tray out of the box. A suede-like anti-scratch protector is already installed on all four inner sides of the Tray, along with four sets of Velcro-like “Magic Tape” stickers. But you’ll have to install ten included circular pads yourself to aid in heat dissipation, a process that takes a few minutes and mightn’t be totally obvious to those who can’t figure out the pictures on the Japanese-language instruction sheet.

Once the process is done, putting your MacBook in the tray is really simple. If you want to attach the Magic Tape to your computer so that the Tray stays attached all the time, you can; otherwise, it’ll come off whenever you pick up the MacBook. It adds little weight or size to the MacBook’s profile, and doesn’t interfere with the ports, as shown here.

But is it really necessary? You make the call. If you’re using the MacBook on a desk and want a bit more heat dissipation, it might be worth the $50-55 to you, especially if you’re using a Core Duo MacBook/Pro rather than the cooler Core 2 Duo units. For our purposes, it’s a bit less exciting than the Notebook Holder, and we wish the pads were pre-installed prior to purchase, but it’s still nicely made and worthy of Backstage attention.

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Comments

1

i was under the impression that closing the computer put it to sleep no matter what, meaning you couldn’t actually use it even if it was attached to an external monitor. at least, this is how my powerbook works, did they change it with the macbook pros?

Posted by andrew on April 8, 2007 at 12:48 PM (PDT)

2

Andrew:

How to use your PowerBook G4 or MacBook Pro with the display closed

If you use an external display or projector with any MacBook Pro or PowerBook G4 and a USB mouse or keyboard, you can close the display and still use the computer. Here’s how.
(If you want to do the same thing with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, see this article.)

Make sure the computer is plugged in to an outlet using the AC power adapter.
Connect a USB keyboard and mouse to your computer.
Connect the Apple video (VGA or DVI) adapter that came with your computer to the appropriate port on the external display or projector and turn the display or projector on.
With the computer turned on and your keyboard or mouse connected, connect the other end of the adapter to the video output port on your MacBook Pro or PowerBook G4.
Once your computer’s Desktop appears on the external display, close the computer’s lid.
Once the lid is closed, wake the computer up by either clicking your mouse button or by pressing a key on your keyboard.
You should now be able to use your MacBook Pro or PowerBook G4 as you normally would, using your USB keyboard or mouse.
To disconnect your MacBook Pro or PowerBook G4 from the display after use:

When you’re finished using your MacBook Pro, MacBook, or PowerBook in closed-lid mode, the internal display will not function when you open the lid until you have properly disconnected the external display. To properly disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep and disconnect the display cable from the computer. Open the lid and the computer reactivates the internal display.

Some DVI displays, including Apple’s aluminium-framed DVI displays, can be unplugged without putting the computer to sleep. If you aren’t sure whether your display supports this feature, put your computer to sleep before unplugging the display.

Posted by K. Pilkington on April 8, 2007 at 3:58 PM (PDT)

3

I am hesitant to use the Macbook Pro closed.  I would be afraid of screen burn, or other such LCD-related damage, since quite a bit of the MBP’s heat escapes through the keyboard.  Has anyone had any experience to the contrary, particularly with Core 2 Duo MBPs?  If this is an old problem that has been rectified, I might be willing to try it.

Posted by screen-burn-hater on April 10, 2007 at 12:04 PM (PDT)

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