Render gives first look at next-gen reversible USB Type-C cable coming in July

Back in December, the the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that a next-generation of USB connectors was under development. The new standard, dubbed “USB Type-C,” introduces a new design, a smaller overall footprint, and usability enhancements such as a symmetrical, reversible connector that doesn’t require users to worry about orientation when plugging in (much like with Apple’s Lightning connector.) It will also allow manufacturers to create thinner and sleeker product designs and scale for future USB performance standards with a transfer speed up to 10Gbps. Today we get our first look at what the cable and connectors will actually look like with a rendering courtesy of Foxconn (via TheVerge). Read more

Review: How I transformed my workspace w/ LandingZone’s MacBook Pro Dock

Think of it as an iPhone-style dock for your MacBook. At home you might have several things plugged into your MacBook’s various ports (hard drives, USB products, speakers, etc), which means disconnecting and reconnecting everything each time you leave or return with your MacBook. With LandingZone, everything gets connected to ports in the back of the dock, allowing you to simply place your MacBook in the dock and instantly connect to all your peripherals. When you leave, you can pop out your Mac and walk away in seconds without thinking twice about all the connected cables. It also packs in a 5-port USB hub, ethernet adapter, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort all while reducing cable clutter on your desk. I’ve been using the latest LandingZone Dock model for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro for a couple weeks and it has truly transformed my workspace. Read more

Upcoming app will allow you to stream all 24 seasons of The Simpsons, but only through certain cable providers

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Last year, FX sister site FXX landed the exclusive cable and video-on-demand rights to The Simpsons, and it looks like fans of the show will finally see a payoff soon. While the nearly $1 billion deal includes cable distribution rights, the big news is that FX will be launching a dedicated app that allows subscribers to stream the entire series (all 24 seasons and counting) legally from mobile devices and the web …  Read more

iOS 7 now blocking some third-party Lightning cables after earlier warning shot

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As we suspected when Apple added a warning to a pre-release version of iOS 7 that non-certified cables may not work reliably with iPhones, the launch version is actually blocking some of them from charging the phone. Certified cables contain a chip that allows them to authenticate.

We first spotted this in a Reddit post, and have since confirmed. The warning message itself is unchanged, but it’s no longer an empty threat – though as seen in comments, some non-certified cables are still working. Possibly ones that use cracked chips. The good news is that there is a workaround for others, but it’s not pretty …  Read more

Report: Apple negotiating w/ media companies for pay TV service, working on full-fledged TV set

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A new report from Quartz today offers some details on Apple’s content negotiations for a much rumored revamped Apple TV. Most of the report echoes what we’ve heard several times in the past– Apple is apparently talking with HBO, Disney, MTV and others about a new TV service. According to Quartz, it could include a pay TV service that would see Apple “essentially becoming a cable company itself,” as well as the release of a “full-fledged television set”:

One alternative being considered is that Apple could essentially become a cable company itself. Under that scenario, sources say, Apple would launch what is formally known as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor. Apple is still interested in striking deals with cable companies that would allow people to plug their cable lines into the back of the TV set, bypassing a cable box, sources say. But at least two years of negotiations haven’t progressed very far.

Sources say Apple has concluded that it doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy. It just needs enough good programming to distinguish the new product, which will try to simplify the experience of connecting internet video to the TV.

The report doesn’t offer up any details that we didn’t hear around this same time last year (and the year before that), but it appears Apple could be closer to reaching the deals it needs to launch the next-generation of Apple TV. Earlier today we reported that former Hulu SVP Pete Distad has now officially started his new role at Apple as Product Marketing VP and is thought to be leading Apple executives through negotiations with cable and media companies.  Read more

Apple to announce Time Warner Apple TV integration in the coming months, hiring Hulu SVP to negotiate deals

pete_distadAccording to reports from Bloomberg, Apple is close to reaching a deal with Time Warner to offer TV shows on Apple TV, while also apparently recruiting Hulu exec Pete Distad to lead negotiations for content:

The companies plan to announce an agreement within a few months, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The iPhone maker is also hiring Pete Distad from online-video service Hulu, where he was senior vice president in charge of marketing and distribution, to help Apple executives in negotiations with media and cable companies, two people with familiar with the matter said.

Distad is currently SVP of Marketing and Distribution at Hulu and in charge of content distribution and customer acquisition/retention on the company’s management team. According to his bio Distad’s current duties at Hulu include “subscriber acquisition and retention, paid, on-channel, and brand marketing, distribution and promotional partnerships, and content marketing.” Read more

Comcast isn’t waiting around for new Apple TV, shows off next-gen ‘X2′ TV platform & iOS apps

We didn’t get any updates to Apple TV at WWDC this week like some were hoping for, but yesterday Comcast–one of the cable companies that has been rumored to be in discussions with Apple over a new and improved Apple TV service– unveiled its next-generation cable box arriving this fall. On top of a brand new UI and platform dubbed “X2″, the company also gave us a look at its revamped iOS apps & a new controller with voice control features that will let you search by actor, show type, series, etc.

Comcast-X2-02While showing off a new slick UI with recommendations and brand new, customizable guide views, the company also showed off integration with apps such as Pandora, Rotten Tomatoes, and zeebox for ratings. Within the new apps section (shown at 16:40), we see integration with Facebook, Pandora, Instagram, Xfinity Home apps, and much more.

An interesting aspect of the presentation, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts noted that the company sees the new open platform as being an open architecture that would allow for a “family of boxes” and a family of personalized remotes. We’re not sure if that means the company has plans to integrate third-party hardware with its platform, like an Apple TV for example, but it’s clear Comcast has no plans on completely getting rid of its own cable box anytime soon. It also doesn’t look like Comcast is waiting around for Apple to revamp its TV service with apps and voice control, and we also got a quick look at the new X2 experience running on an iPad and iPhone (pictured right). Read more

iLoveHandles launches ‘Trunk’, a flexible Lightning cable that holds your iPhone vertically

iLoveHandles, a company that makes unique iOS device accessories (Facet and Pinhead come to mind), today announced availability of its latest one of a kind offering for iPhone.

TRUNK-coffeeDubbed the “Trunk,” the company has created a short, flexible Lightning cable that is strong enough to hold up an iPhone vertically when charging in the wall or elsewhere. We’ve seen similar dock solutions before that are married with wall adapters, but Trunk makes it easy to prop up your iPhone no matter where you are.

iLoveHandles, which is currently selling the cable for $19.95 through its website, shows in the images above a couple of the situations Trunk might come in handy. This is definitely a product we can see using in the car while using a maps app to navigate, and we hope to bring a full hands-on review of Trunk soon. Read more

An à la carte Apple TV concept integrates Siri, FaceTime, and cable/satellite providers (Gallery)

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A member of The Verge forums, going by the name of “Knowledge”, posted the Apple TV concept below that envisions a future Apple TV OS where users could tap into multiple content sources from cable/satellite providers, local devices, and elsewhere. It would also integrate Siri (and Facetime) for scheduling recordings, changing channels, etc., and a unified search of all content.

Unified search looks for content in library, app store, iTunes, and TV Guide. Also brings the ability to use Siri for scheduling recordings, setting reminders, changing channels, playing music, playing video from library, opening an app, finds content available for purchase in iTunes, etc etc.

The full gallery is below: Read more

iFixit tears down the new MacBook Pro’s Retina display, an ‘engineering marvel’

They first took apart the new Retina MacBook Pro and called it the “least repairable laptop” ever, but today our friends at iFixit took apart the device’s most impressive new component: its Retina Display. Here is what they found:

The Retina display is an engineering marvel. Its LCD is essentially the entire display assembly. Rather than sandwich an LCD panel between a back case and a piece of glass in front, Apple used the aluminum case itself as the frame for the LCD panel and used the LCD as the front glass. They’ve managed to pack five times as many pixels as the last model in a display that’s actually a fraction of a millimeter thinner. And since there’s no front glass, glare is much less of an issue.

The major downside to the design noted in the report: the LCD is not replaceable. It is attached to the entire assembly, so this means you will likely have to replace the entire assembly if something goes wrong. It also noted that getting into the display is quite difficult, claiming, “Obliterating the front panel of the display was the only way to get it out.” Some highlights:

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Une Bobine is a flexible, hybrid stand/dock/cable for iPhone

Recently launched as a Kickstarter project, Jon Fawcett and his new company [Fuse] Chicken invented a flexible gooseneck accessory with a built-in USB cable that doubles as a shapeable stand and dock for your iPhone.

The benefits of the Une Bobine (which is French for “A coil”) are obvious from the images above— the ability to adjust your iPhone to an appropriate position in various scenarios, such as charging, while still being able to place the device at eye-level. It also holds your device in landscape mode, as you can see in the images.

Although the Kickstarter project already surpassed its funding goal of $9,800, you can preorder yours now by pledging $25. The company planned to start shipping Une Bobine roughly 45 days after reaching its funding goal, and it appears to still be on schedule.

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HDMI.org: Your Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable is “unlicensed and should not be sold”

TechRadar is reporting that HDMI.org, the group that oversees the HDMI spec has informed them that MiniDisplayPort->HDMI cables are illegal and shouldn’t be sold. All of them.

Last week that it was rumoured that hundreds of thousands of Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cables are to be recalled because HDMI Org has deemed the cable system to be out of HDMI spec.The DisplayPort system is used primarily by Apple in its Mac range, but there’s a number of other manufacturers who use the port – including Toshiba.HDMI Org has exclusively contacted TechRadar about the situation and confirmed that any cable that has a DP male connector on one end and an HDMI male connector is unlicensed and should not be on sale.

Apparently at issue is that the “HDMI specification defines an HDMI cable as having only HDMI connectors on the ends. Anything else is not a licensed use of the specification and therefore, not allowed.”

Insane.

So for the record this is not OK (get them while supplies last):

What is OK, is these little dongles, which are actually pretty popular (we like the Kanex!)

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What is making HDMI.org so batsh!t insane?  As you can see, you still need to buy a licensed ($$$) HDMI cable to use the adapter below whereas the top adapter bypasses the licensing issue altogether…or at least it did until today.

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