Western Digital begins shipment of their Thunderbolt Duo Drives (WDBUPB0040JSL-NESN and WDBUPB0060JSL-NESN)

We first profiled the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo at CES in January and noted the extraordinary speed of the drives, especially when daisy chained (above find 780MB/s read, 600+MB/s write). Today, Macrumors notes that Western Digital is making the drives available for $599 (4TB) and $699 (6TB).  While those prices are steep, they fall in line with new Thunderbolt parts across the line.

We’ve reviewed the much slower Firewire/USB Western Digital Studio 6TB drives and came away impressed. Those retail for around $430 currently ($270 less than the Thunderbolt version) but use energy efficient (read: slower) internal drives and slower Firewire 800 connectivity options.

Notably B&H Photo and Video is selling the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo already with $50 discounts (6TB – $649, 4TB- $549) and tax only in New York but without solid shipping dates. Read more

Former Broadcom GM Mobile Platforms says we’ll see 802.11ac on PCs and access points later this year

Giving a talk at Gerson Lehrman Group’s G+ community, the former EVP & FM of Mobile Platforms at Broadcom Scott Bibaud offered the above explanation about the benefits 802.11ac would bring to all devices. We have discussed Gigabit Wi-Fi before, but we did not really get a handle on when the new Wi-Fi standard would be hitting technology we now use. Apple is usually an early adopter of such technologies, but it is not likely—as you can hear above— that Apple’s next round of products will include this feature. Just think Airports and Macs at the end of this year, and iPad 4 /iPhone 6.

Read more

The MacBook Air Samsung SSD is about to get twice as fast

I had a chance to meet with Samsung Storage solutions at CES 2012 this week and got the low down on its new OEM SSDs that Apple tends to buy in large numbers.  Samsung and Toshiba are the OEMs that provide the SSDs in MacBook Airs.  Samsung’s 470 OEM SSD product is noticeably faster than the Toshiba model that Apple also puts in otherwise identical MacBook Airs.  We have talked about the speed difference before and how Air-buyers often will pay a premium for the faster Samsung drives.

Well, the speed difference is about to get even more noticeable. Samsung told me that it sold out of the 470 series OEM SSDs late last year and the company only makes a much faster variety: the 830 series.

How fast is the 830 Series controller/chips?  I had a chance to speed test the popular 2.5-inch 830 model late last year when it debuted.  Typical speeds were over 400MB/s write and 500MB/s reads (below, left).  That is almost twice as fast as the current MacBook Air SSD from Samsung (below, right), which itself is significantly faster than Toshiba’s SSD.

Samsung stopped short of announcing it is shipping the 830s to Apple, but the company confirmed it ran out of 470s a while ago and all of its SSD customers were receiving the updated 830 series. Samsung also confirmed that Apple is still a customer.

Today I ventured to the Las Vegas Apple Store to check the speeds of the MacBook Airs.  I checked a new 128GB MacBook Air right out of the box which had the same “APPLE SSD SM128C” listed in System Profiler as my year-old Air.  I checked the speed and it is indeed the old disk (same as above, right), which means the new Samsung SSDs haven not hit stores —at least here anyway.

Theoretically, a few things could happen at this point…

Read more

Apple’s head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak spotted roaming the show floor at CES

While Apple does not have a booth or keynote at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company is on the show floor scouting the competition. PaidContent’s Tom Krazit spotted Apple’s head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak at Sony’s booth. Joswiak talked to PaidContent, with a grin on his face, and said he was on location to see “How other companies present their products at events such as CES, from things like booth layout and aesthetics to which products are highlighted within a company’s booth.” Interesting.

It is worth noting that Apple has not participated in a trade show since MacWorld 2009, where the company announced iWork ’09, new MacBook Pros, and more. In recent years, Apple has stuck to announcing new products at its own events.

Roaming the floor does not seem like the only thing Apple is doing at CES. At 9to5Mac, we have been independently contacted through email by someone who seems to be seeking information on Apple competitors, including information on what 9to5Mac thinks about the technology being showcased at CES. The contact also wanted to know specifics on how journalists viewed companies’ product marketing practices. This probe certainly sounds similar to Mr. Joswiak’s recent activities on the show floor, right?

Read more

CES 2012 craze: Waterproofing your iThings without a case

Waterproofing your iPhone the old-school way has a major downside to it knowing the majority of water-resistant cases add bulk to your device and are downright ugly. At this year’s CES, companies that have solved this problem somewhat effectively are attracting attention from big media and attendees. Liquipel tackled the issue with an oleophobic-like coating that, well, repels water. The nano-sized coating is barely visible to the naked eye and it keeps electronics working even when submerged into a bucket of water, as seen in the clip above. The catch? You need to send your device to Liquipel to apply the coating for you at a $59 value. Check out the video above: It may look like a hoax, but it is the real deal. Another company employs a similar technique, as witnessed in the below clip.

Read more

CES 2012: Intel fakes ‘live’ Ultrabook demo, mulls massive advertising campaign to push MacBook Air-killers [UPDATE 2x]

UPDATE 1: As several commenters pointed out, it’s probably meant as a gag as Intel executive at one point joked about driving one handed and then without hands at all. The distinction remains unclear though due to audio not being clear enough. Nevertheless, the question remains: Why run the thing through backstage and not give a real-life demo?

UPDATE 2: Acknowledging “the confusion”, the publication followed-up with hands-on video showing F1 2011 running in real-time on the exact same system that Mooley Eden had been using to run the pre-recorded VLC video demo. Find it included at the article bottom, below the fold.

It looks like chip giant Intel has gone too far by attempting to have prospective buyers sold on Ultrabooks. Bright Side of News* editor Anshel Sag caught Intel’s Mooley Eden cheating during yesterday’s press conference at the CES show in Las Vegas. Mooley can be seen in the below video fake-driving a commonplace racing game by Codemasters called F1 2011.

In reality —and you can see it briefly at the beginning of the clip— he simply played back a video file using VLC media player and proceeded to fool the audience into believing they were witnessing a live demonstration of the graphical capabilities of the Ivy Bridge platform that powers forthcoming Ultrabook notebooks.

This prompted the author to dub the unbelievable move a display as “a gross distrust of their own demo.”  Intel promised a massive advertising campaign to help push MacBook Air-like notebooks that have been struggling to steal the limelight of Apple’s machine.


Read more