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ATPM 9.08
August 2003



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Review: iCurve

by Christopher Turner,


Developer: Griffin Technology

Price: $40

Requirements: Any notebook computer, though it is designed specifically for a PowerBook or iBook.

Trial: None

Run, do not walk, or click, to your nearest Griffin Technology retailer and buy an iCurve. You will not regret it. Thus concludes the shortest product review in ATPM history.

Now, you don’t think our friendly neighborhood publisher is going to let me get away with that, do you?

Let’s face it, a lot of Mac users care about style. Whether it’s the curves of the hardware, the GUI of the operating system, or that one application with a little something special interface-wise, one thing that sets Mac users apart is style. The myriad offerings from Apple since Steve Jobs’ return, coupled with the promotion of Jonathan Ive, are testaments to the power of style.

So it should come as no surprise that the iCurve, from Griffin Technology, is the epitome of style for PowerBook and iBook users, as far as notebook stands go. Made from clear acrylic, with a slick, swooping style, the iCurve is designed to position your PowerBook more ergonomically for a desktop environment. As I mentioned in a previous notebook-stand review, more and more Mac users are moving to a PowerBook or iBook as their main system, but want to use a full-size keyboard and mouse, and perhaps even a larger-size monitor, when they’re not traveling about.


The iCurve blends form and function into a healthy computing environment for Mac portable users. Its open design not only allows unrestricted airflow, cutting down on how often your PowerBook’s fan might kick on, but it provides a convenient place to slide your full-size keyboard onto when you’re finished using it, clearing valuable desk space. In addition, the iCurve’s height is perfectly suited to match the PowerBook’s display with any of Apple’s LCDs, as shown in this press photo.


Personally, I don’t use an external monitor with my 15" PowerBook G4/500, but I do utilize a full-size keyboard and mouse. For me, the iCurve is the sum of style and function; I’ve received many compliments, “wows,” and a few “gee whizzes” from my co-workers as the iCurve floats my PowerBook above my desk’s surface.

Another plus I noted with the iCurve is that most external drives will easily fit between its legs. My PowerBook has only a DVD-ROM drive, so at home my LaCie CD-R sits under my iCurve for easy access when I need to load or burn a second CD.

You can type directly on your PowerBook’s keyboard while it rests on the iCurve, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re a hard typer, you may find that the iCurve bounces too much for your liking. In addition, on the iCurve, as with the Lapvantage Dome, the keyboard is really too high for long typing bouts.

When I first received my iCurve, I was a bit thrown by how easy it would be to turn. One advantage of the Lapvantage Dome is that its base rotates quite easily, allowing one to pivot the screen—in a completely wireless situation—a full 360 degrees in the horizontal plane. Never fear, however. The iCurve’s acrylic surface slides quite easily on most surfaces, so it’s not a real issue with this stand. Purists might be concerned with scratching on the bottom of the iCurve from prolonged use in this regard, but I haven’t noticed any significant markings. The iCurve ships with a pack of rubber feet that you can stick to the bottom of the stand if you prefer it to be immobile.


Griffin Technology has a proven winner in the iCurve. Heck, I like it so much, I have two! Now my PowerBook rests comfortably at an ergonomically pleasing height both at the office and at home. The iCurve supports any portable in Apple’s lineup, including the 12" and 17" PowerBooks. You can order online from Griffin or drop by your local Apple Store to pick one up.

Reader Comments (31)

Danal · August 3, 2003 - 20:01 EST #1
I really do like the looks of this product, but I'm worried the PowerBook
will slide right off the front! Is that slight little ledge enough to hold it back? I hit keyboards pretty hard when I'm working fast. Has anyone out there had problems?

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · August 4, 2003 - 01:19 EST #2
Danal - I don't own an iCurve, but I'm going to make a guess that the upper portion of the thing might be made of a stiff, rubbery-like material (albeit clear) that does a fairly good job of gripping the bottom of a PowerBook. However, Griffin's web site indicates that the it's not intended for a person to do much, if any, typing on the actual laptop when it is on the stand. Sure, you can do some light typing in a pinch, but the intent is to have an external keyboard attached to it.
Christopher Turner (ATPM Staff) · August 4, 2003 - 17:00 EST #3
There are two thin silicon pads on either arm of the iCurve that hold your PowerBook in place. I have never seen mine slide off of either of my iCurves, nor have I heard any horror stories of such happening.

Now, if those pads weren't there...

All the same, I wouldn't recommend typing on the PowerBook while it rests on the iCurve. As Lee suggests, it'll do in a pinch, but the iCurve is designed for the PowerBook to be used with an external keyboard and mouse. Besides, it sits up too high off of most surfaces to be ergonomically sound for typing on your portable while it rests on the iCurve.
Randall · August 5, 2003 - 10:36 EST #4
We here at Griffin understand your curiosity. You would not believe how many people ask us this question every day. It is one of those things that you really don't want to know the details about, but I'll tell
you anyway.

What stops the laptop from sliding off the stand? We experimented with a variety of substances that are, shall we say, sticky. The same thing that lets a caterpillar climb a window was used at first, but then we ran out of caterpillars. Then we tried the stuff that a frog uses to stick bugs to its tongue. This worked great until the Federal Government informed us that the frogs in question were endangered and protected. We experimented with suction cups and magnets, to no avail. Then we found the perfect substance--the belly fur of a Northern Australian
Hairy Nosed Wombat. These guys cling to Eucalyptus trees like you would not believe. We shave these little buggers' bellies twice a year (it grows slow) and use it in a special formula that we form into small strips of material that we call "friction pads." These are then placed on our iCurve to prevent the laptop from slipping off the stand.

OK, in reality we use a product called Bump-on that is resistant to slippage. It will secure the laptop to the stand. As a bonus to those who are worrisome, we include a set of clear rubber half moon "bumps" or "stops" that will further inhibit the sliding of the laptop. You place these on the end of the iCurve arms, if you like.

I hope this helps explain. Best regards.

Griffin Team
Conrad · August 12, 2003 - 10:45 EST #5
I'm one of the people who wrote to Griffin asking about slipping before I bought one. I wrote to them on April 1 and got the Wombat reply...and that was good enough for me! *grin*

I bought the stand and have never had my 12" slip, even while typing and bouncing on it directly.

It's an absolutely wonderful stand. I only wish they shipped invisible cables with it. The look is somewhat spoiled by all the junk I've got coming out of the side of the 'book.

A side point, it looks lovely with the 12", but when we tried my friend's 17" on it, the stand seemed to disappear and the Mac appears to float. Very different, but still wonderful (and still no slip).
Rob · August 12, 2003 - 14:09 EST #6
I have had an iCurve with my 12.1" iBook for about 6 months now and I definitely agree with the review. It's a classy product that measures up to the high standard of design set by Apple's products.
Bob · August 19, 2003 - 03:16 EST #7
I like the iCurve. We're a multi-iCurve household (three, with another coming).

They aren't all the same. None of the reviews tell you that, and Griffin doesn't either.

Here are some photos of the differences.

Also, the photo that ATPM used was a promotional photo from Griffin. The real ones have writing and non-slip pads on them, which may have reduced some of the comments here.
Dennis · August 20, 2003 - 19:58 EST #8
Now I know all about the wombat stickiness. I'm not worried about sliding PowerBooks any more. But will my PowerBook eventually warp and buckle without anything to support it in the middle?

Yes, I am a little obsessive and paranoid (bad combo).

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · August 20, 2003 - 21:07 EST #9
Dennis - your PowerBook will most certainly not warp and buckle.
Dennis · August 22, 2003 - 18:07 EST #10
Thanks, Lee. You're right, of course. I got my iCurve today and my PowerBook isn't at all bending. The stand looks great and does all the good things everyone above says it does. The lowest price I've seen in the UK is at, just in case anyone's interested.

Malcolm Davis · January 26, 2004 - 12:48 EST #11
I'm looking to buy an iCurve, not to support a laptop, but to support a small MIDI keyboard - specifically a Nord Modular or Modular G2 synthesizer. I need to add an 'extra level' to my desk, so that I can slide another keyboard above a large 88 note music workstation. If the iCurve can manage the size (473mm (w) x 264mm (d) and 10.36lb weight for a Nord Modular, then it will be an ideal solution for my needs. Alternatively I could use two iCurves if I get a Nord G2 modular. The debate on how secure a laptop is on the stand is also very relevant to my needs.

J.K.B. · February 22, 2004 - 17:52 EST #12
I've had an iCurve for a few months now. It's been marvelous, until I found my PowerBook on the floor one morning. It has started to slide off. :-(
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 22, 2004 - 19:24 EST #13
J.K.B. - that's probably why I didn't end up buying one. I'd bet the makers of this thing don't necessarily intend to have a laptop left on it for long periods of time.

I'm a bigger fan of the Podium CoolPad. It doesn't raise your screen up as high as the iCurve, but it's more portable and I promise your laptop won't slide off.
Christopher Turner (ATPM Staff) · February 22, 2004 - 19:51 EST #14

Have you contacted Griffin? They may send you replacement pads for the top of the iCurve. It's worth checking out.
Corvera · February 27, 2004 - 01:32 EST #15
I just bought an iCurve (it hasn't arrived yet) and I also have the Apple wireless mouse. I'm not planning to have an external keyboard. I intend to type directly on the PowerBook. What do you guys recommend? I'm also concerned about finding my 'Book on the floor.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · February 27, 2004 - 02:50 EST #16
Corvera - I am almost certain you will find that the height of the iCurve is too great to be able to comfortably type on the built-in keyboard. The iCurve isn't exactly intended for direct typing—rather to just raise the display to a more comfortable viewing angle while using an external keyboard at the proper height.

If you plan to use the PowerBook's own keyboard, you should consider something like the CoolPad instead.
JKB · March 25, 2004 - 06:01 EST #17
I spoke to those nice people at Griffin. The pads become a little greasy with normal use, and lose their grip. Washing the icurve in a little soap and water has magically returned all the grip. The powerbook stays fast and I am very happy.
The icurve is great, and if this happens to you you know what to do. Touch the pads, if they don't grip your sliding finger, give them a little wash!
Matthew S. Schwartz · April 28, 2005 - 13:20 EST #18
JKB -- great to hear. But did your powerbook suffer any damage in the fall? Griffin should either fix that or make it very clear in the instructions that the product must be cleaned regularly to prevent slippage. Otherwise they may find themselves facing lawsuits.
Frank Lai · April 29, 2005 - 16:54 EST #19
Hey everyone. I just bought an iCurve for my 12.1" iBook, and the directions state, "[f]rom time to time, it may be necessary to clean these pads. You can do this by wiping them with a damp, lint-free cloth. Be sure to let them dry thoroughly before placing your laptop back on the iCurve."

Greg Schubert · August 11, 2005 - 22:45 EST #20
Hey guys. I currently use my iBook with an external keyboard and mouse. I also use my iBook as my main system which i keep plugged in all the time. Because of this, I have removed the battery until I am ready to take it around. Now here's my question, will the iCurve work with the missing battery? I'm not sure if anybody else removes the battery as I do, but I don't think it's that hard to take it out to see what happens. Thanks guys.

ATPM Staff · August 12, 2005 - 00:17 EST #21
Depends on if you have a clamshell or a white iBook. The clamshells' batteries were in the back handle, weren't they? So it should be fine. The newer iBooks, though....not sure. They might be a smidge tippy on that once side without the battery.

I think the real question here is, why do you remove the battery? I don't believe there's any real benefit in doing so, especially since laptop batteries do drain even when not in use. Leaving it in will trickle-charge it back up when it drains below 95% if the power is still plugged in. For batteries that aren't brand new, that may take place every one or two weeks.
Dave Thompson · November 10, 2005 - 08:40 EST #22
i have an icurve and have had no slippage problems (just wipe the non-stick pads every now and again). More worrying is the fact that my boss is onto her 3rd as the other two have mysteriously snapped in exactly the same place (3in up from the left leg when viewed from the front). She has a separate keyboard and mouse so pressure is not an issue.
Anyone had the same problem?
Brian Fidler · December 19, 2005 - 03:40 EST #23
I have 2 iCurves. The one at home has started slipping so I'll try cleaning the pads to see if that solves the problem. Other than that they are really great both in function and aesthetically.
David · December 19, 2005 - 14:35 EST #24
I own a griffin icurve and a 15" powerbook. After 2 years of use, the powerbook started sliding off the icurve. I thought it was defective, then did some googling and found this forum. I washed the icurve with soap as directed, and now it is working just fine again.

Thanks for the tip.
Jack · January 27, 2006 - 15:05 EST #25
I just had the same experience as David. PB slipped after 2 years but the iCurve is now fine after a little soap and water.
Mike · February 10, 2006 - 10:06 EST #26
Googled my way here after my PowerBook started slipping off the iCurve at night. I'll try cleaning the pads. Thanks for the informative comments, guys.
danay · March 19, 2006 - 07:57 EST #27
Hi I am replying to danals question. Yes i have had problems with this. I bought it recently and when i am typing very fast, which i do as i am a secretary, it slides down the front. to be honest if i had have known this i wouldnt have purchased it. I regret my decesion to buy it and i wouldn't waste my money if i were you! Love Danay
JKB · March 19, 2006 - 08:21 EST #28
2 years on, and it's still great. Griffin suggested the cleaning if there was slipping, and done once it has never done it again. The grippers at the front prevent any forward slip anyhow.
Surely typing on such an elevated keyboard is one sure way to get repetitive strain! I personally still think that this is a great thing to have.
ISK · August 21, 2006 - 17:40 EST #29
I have had bad slippage without ever typing on the powerbook when it is on the icurve. I will try the soap and water treatment but it's a little disappointing that this happens after 1 year only.
Herb · November 26, 2007 - 16:00 EST #30
My two year old iCurve either came with small stress fractures or developed them during very gentle home use. Several days ago one broke through without provocation, my iCurve collapsed, and my laptop fell to the table. Because I have owned the iCurve more than one year, they will do nothing about it. Not even offer a discount on their new stand, the Elevator, which is basically aluminum with a lucite bar across the front of the base. They stress its sturdiness. And they have discontinued the iCurve. Be careful with Griffin...
April · September 10, 2008 - 21:31 EST #31
Mine did not come with about slippage. Anyone have this experience and know where I can get them? It's been awhile since I bought it and just saw them on my friends icurve, that is how I knew I needed them. HELP!

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