Some non-tablet announcements we’d love to see from Apple

If Steve Jobs and company are paying attention, we’ve got a handful of requests for the upcoming Apple press event. I know we’re all very excited about the mythical, but still unconfirmed, Apple tablet, but there are some other Mac products that could use a little attention as well.

The MacBook line of laptops is a big part of the company’s product mix, and while we’re not going off the reservation by saying we’re generally very fond of the current generation of systems, there are still a few missing features that should be filled in.

So, Steve, if in the midst of announcing the all-powerful uber-slate, you could find a few minutes to address a handful of MacBook issues, we’d sure appreciate it.

New Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs
We’re not saying that any laptop without Intel’s new mainstream CPUs is ready for the recycling bin, but now would be an ideal time to update the processors inside the entire line, to take advantage of the improved power efficiency and other advantages of the new Core i-series chips.

SD Card slots across the board
Even a $299 Netbook has one of these useful little media card readers. And finally, after years of gentle ribbing from us and others, Apple added an SD card reader to the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models. But, it’s still not on the most popular MacBook, the $999 base model.

Blu-ray drives
For a high-end laptop with plenty of media cred, it’s a bit awkward for MacBooks to not at least offer the option of adding a Blu-ray drive. It’s clearly not a cost issue, as expensive SSD options have been available from Apple for some time. At this point, many high-end PCs in the MacBook’s price range include a Blu-ray drive by default

Mobile broadband options
With the sheer number of Mac laptops we see at coffee shops and airports, having an always-on internet connection seems like another natural fit. It’s widely available as a built-in option from most PC makers, and newer antenna hardware can work with more than one carrier. Sure, using a USB key antenna is always an option, but why mess up that sleek Apple silhouette?
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Acer debuts green, biodegradable notebooks

Acer is getting greener, at least according to Greenpeace.

Acer Notebook

Acer Notebook

The computer maker unveiled two new notebooks on Friday that have already received kudos from the international environmental group. The Acer Aspire 3811TZ and Aspire 3811TZG are designed to be energy efficient, recyclable, and biodegradable, thereby winning high marks from Greenpeace, which rates PCs and other electronics for their environmental friendliness.

As part of its green initiatives, Acer said it built the two new Aspires to be free of PVCs (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants).

PVC is a cheap but durable plastic that has been criticized by Greenpeace for not being biodegradable and for emitting toxic substances into the environment. BFRs are chemicals added to plastics to make them more flame resistance, but these have also been accused of leeching into the environment. Their use in products for babies and children has especially concerned many groups. With the exception of the power cables, all components for both Aspires are free of these toxins.

“The chemical characteristics of PVC and BFRs may generate toxic substances like dioxins and furans at products’ end-of-life, therefore, the reduction of PVC and BFRs in Acer products will help protect our environment from being poisoned by electronics goods,” Acer said in a statement.

The new Aspires are also designed to cut energy use–both models can save up to 40 percent of the energy consumption of traditional notebooks, providing more than 8 hours of battery life, said Acer. Further, the company designed the units to be easily recycled. With more modular parts than in traditional notebooks, users can also extend the life of the Apires by replacing certain components.
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