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The Pipeline: Pundits dish on MacBooks, XM Inno and Treo 700p

Welcome back to The Pipeline, a weekly feature where we dig through the mainstream media and see what the pundits, prognosticators and and pencil pushers have been discussing over the past week.

Unlike some recent weeks, there was no single tech story that dominated the mainstream media this week. Yes, most journos dutifully covered Apple's two big events -- the launch of the MacBook and the opening of the company's New York store -- but Apple didn't get the same sort of monolithic coverage that, say, the Samsung Q1 garnered a couple of weeks ago. In fact, one of the few mainstream media MacBook reviews we came across this week was written not by The New York Times' David Pogue or The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, but by blogger Glenn Fleishman, slumming it in his day job at the Seattle Times. Fleishman praised the new non-laptop for its upgradability, iSight camera and ability to add a second display, but pointed out that its integrated graphics make it a less-than-ideal choice for anyone doing video-intensive work -- which we assume is part of Apple's plan to find a way to get at least some consumers to pay $2,000 and up for the MacBook Pro, with its ATI Radeon X1600 GPU.

Elsewhere, Walt Mossberg had a timely review of the Pioneer Inno -- timely, of course, because the product is now the subject of a lawsuit by the RIAA over its ability to save tunes from XM radio for timeshifting purposes. He found the Inno's "reception problems" to be a "killer flaw," pointing out that he had a hard time getting a clear signal in Washington, DC, a low-rise city that is home to XM's HQ. Mossberg also found the device's software confusing and frustrating, and said that the Inno was the kind of product unlikely to appeal to anyone other than "hardcore XM fans." Alas, we somehow doubt this will stop the RIAA from trying to sue it out of existence.

In The New York Times, David Pogue checked out the Treo 700p, and declared it "a communicator with immense power." Comparing it to the 700w, Pogue said that the Palm OS version's software is "a help instead of a hindrance." While we have to admit to something of an affinity for the Palm OS , we can't help but think that Pogue's review is a little of an apples-and-oranges job. A better comparison would be between the Treo 650 and the 700p, given that both run the same OS, and the latter is essentially an upgrade to the former. Based on such a comparison, we'd agree with Pogue's pleasure at having EV-DO built in, and being able to use DUN out of the box, features that could make this a worthy upgrade if you're a Palm OS fan and want high-speed access. However, we're still frustrated by the lack of WiFi, and can't help but notice that Palm OS 5.4 is starting to feel a little old. But until an ALP-based Palm shows up (or we break down and learn to love WinMo -- which is becoming more likely with each passing day), this will have to do.