Review: Moshi’s iGlaze, iVisor, ClearGuard & Muse enhance & protect the 12-inch MacBook

Dedicated accessories for Apple’s 12-inch MacBook with Retina display are still rarities at this point with the new design being different in every dimension than other MacBooks in the notebook lineup. For new MacBook owners looking to keep the $1300 and up machine in pristine condition, Moshi has a whole collection of premium accessories designed for the 12-inch MacBook. Today we’re taking a look at Moshi’s iGlaze 12, iVisor, ClearGuard & Muse 12: a lightweight hardshell case, bubble-free screen protector, ultra-thin keyboard cover, and slim fitting sleeve case for MacBook owners.

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Latest MacBook hub on Kickstarter is the neatest yet, with form-fitting design

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Ever since Apple launched the single-port 12-inch MacBook, we’ve seen a flurry of companies offering to add the missing ports back in through various adapters, hubsdocks and more. Latest to the party is Branch, a Kickstarter project whose USP is its ‘form-fitted’ shape, which is naturally available in each of the three MacBook colors.

The emphasis here is on packing the essentials into an extremely portable unit, providing USB-C pass-through, two USB 3.0 ports and one Mini Display port capable of driving a 4K monitor. The company had originally pitched with HDMI (shown above), but said that it has switched to Mini DisplayPort following feedback from Kickstarter users …  Read more

Review: Akitio’s Thunder2 Dock fits a 7-port Thunderbolt 2 hub in your favorite MacBook bag

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Up until recently, Thunderbolt 2 docks could mostly be described as “seen one, seen them all.” I’ve continued to like the idea of docks that fuse Thunderbolt 2, USB 3.0, and other peripherals together in a single Thunderbolt-to-Mac connection, but the docks I’ve seen from Belkin, Elgato, and Kanex are so similar in looks and features that they’d be hard to tell apart in a lineup. CalDigit’s dock looked very different from the rest, but functioned almost exactly the same. No Thunderbolt 2 dock has been small enough to consider “portable,” and CalDigit’s design is downright bag-defiant in shape.

That’s why it’s great to see Akitio take a different path with the $279 Thunder2 Dock (available through Amazon for $230), a Thunderbolt 2 dock with a smaller form factor and focus. Roughly as thin as a MacBook Pro and made from a nearly-matching aluminum, Thunder2 Dock manages to include seven high-speed data ports even though it’s roughly the size of a portable hard drive. Since it requires wall power, it’s not completely portable, and just like its rivals, you give up certain features to gain others. But it’s definitely the first Thunderbolt dock I’d carry around if I needed multi-device support in the field…

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Review: Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pro is a dream for media professionals and creators (Video)

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It would be silly to say that Apple’s latest iteration of the 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display is the best MacBook yet, because that’s mostly the truth with every new model. Unfortunately, you won’t find a shiny new processor setup this time around, as Apple stuck with the trusty old Haswell configuration, but there are some nice improvements here.

The good news is, there’s a bump in clock speed across the board if that matters to you and we have a new GPU setup thanks to AMD in the high-end model. Even with these modest upgrades, the MacBook Pro I purchased is a beast for content creation…

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Phil Schiller talks 16GB devices, ultra-thin design, Apple Music, and more during interview

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Apple’s SVP of marketing Phil Schiller this evening gave an interview on John Gruber’s podcast The Talk Show during which he addressed a variety of different topics. Gruber and Schiller together discussed Apple’s WWDC announcements, such as watchOS 2 and Apple Music. The two also talked about many of Apple’s decisions over the past couple of years, including the company’s obsession with making the thinnest devices possible and how on earth they still sell 16GB devices in 2015.

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OWC’s upcoming MacBook USB-C desktop dock provides 10 ports in one color-matched unit

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The 12-inch MacBook is the ultimate portable Mac, but that single USB-C port feels a lot less convenient when you want to connect to a bunch of devices at home or in the office. We covered a $79 portable hub yesterday, and now OWC has announced its $129 desktop model, available for pre-order today for delivery in October.

Available in silver, space gray and gold, to match your MacBook, the OWC USB-C Dock provides a total of 10 ports in a unit designed to remain on your desk, allowing you to instantly connect and disconnect via a single USB-C cable …  Read more

Review: Incase’s DSLR Sling and Pro Packs are durable, versatile MacBook/camera bags

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Eventually, pocket-sized cameras will compare in low-light performance to today’s large and expensive DSLRs. Although pro photographers will have moved on by then to even more powerful large cameras, the vast majority of people will see no need to carry big, heavy lenses and camera bodies around. The iPhone’s ascendance demonstrates that “eventually” is at least foreseeable, even though it’s not happening in the near term.

Serious photographers won’t be giving up their DSLRs any time soon, and in fact will be toting plenty of camera hardware — many times, along with a laptop — to any event or destination important enough to photograph properly. Over the years, I’ve learned that the “ideal bag” for my personal needs is one that can hold my camera, several lenses, and whichever MacBook I’m using. Having hunted for the ultimate carrying solution for both computer and photo gear, the best solutions I’ve found are made by Incase.

The bag I’ve used actively for the last three years is Incase’s DSLR Sling Pack ($90, above left), and incredibly, it looks virtually identical today to when I first started using it. The DSLR Sling Pack is perfect for 11″ MacBook Airs and 12″ MacBooks, plus a big camera body with three lenses. But since my 13″ MacBook Pro barely fits inside its zippered compartment, I’ve been struggling with whether to replace the bag. That’s why I’m checking out two larger models today: the DSLR Pro Sling Pack ($170, middle), and traditional DSLR Pro Pack ($150, right). They’re large enough for up to 15″ MacBook Pros and have more room for DSLR gear, as well. Which is right for you?…

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USB-C likely to be used across the future MacBook range as Intel integrates with Thunderbolt

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The USB-C port first introduced by Apple in the new 12-inch MacBook looks likely to be used across the MacBook range as Intel has adopted the standard for Thunderbolt 3.

Thunderbolt was developed to simultaneously support the fastest data and most video bandwidth available on a single cable, while also supplying power. Then recently the USB group introduced the USB-C connector, which is small, reversible, fast, supplies power, and allows other I/O in addition to USB to run on it, maximizing its potential. So in the biggest advancement since its inception, Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps, fulfilling its promise, creating one compact port that does it all. 

Apple was an early adopter of the Thunderbolt standard, which allowed a single port to be used for both high-speed data transfer and DisplayPort monitor connections. Intel’s integration of the two standards would allow Apple to replace the Thunderbolt port in the MacBook Pro range while still maintaining full compatibility with existing peripherals …  Read more

Review: Incase’s Reform Sling Pack is a perfect fit for the 12-inch MacBook

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For the right task, Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook is both an ultra thin notebook and a powerful machine considering its size. Following my initial evaluation in April, I’ve been using it for work almost exclusively (aside from my podcasting setup for Happy Hour, which doesn’t benefit from being portable).

Similarly, the newly released Incase Reform Collection Sling Pack hides a surprising amount of use in a small and ergonomic profile. Typical of Incase’s bags and carrying cases, Sling Pack sports a trendy design fit for your Apple gear and accessories with cleverly placed stash pockets found throughout. Unlike previous products from Incase (and anyone else for that matter), Sling Pack is made of a new eco-friendly material…

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Get exclusive access to Incase’s killer new bags + a free power pack and giveaway entry!

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Update: Giveaway winners!! Shoot me an email (jordan@9to5mac.com) with your shipping info using the same email you used to enter. Congrats!

Reform Backpack bundle – Keith Jones

Reform Action Camera Pack bundle – Randy Fang

Reform Sling bundle – Robert a Stine III

Incase has always been one of our favorite brands selling bags for Apple and camera gear. You’ve likely seen their bags in Apple stores and on Apple’s online store. But for the new REFORM collection launching next month, 9to5Mac readers get access before anyone else.

Starting today, 9to5Mac readers only can purchase the bag before they’ve launched to the public and have their order ship before the launch date next month. All orders of the new Incase bags during our exclusive presale event using promo code “9to5Mac” will also get a free Portable Power 2500 battery pack worth $50.

In addition, you’ll also be automatically entered into a giveaway to win an Incase bag full of accessories for your Apple devices (details below).  Read more

The Best Mac Accessories and Upgrades

Over the past six months, I’ve published quite a few tutorials to help Mac users improve the performance of older computers, as well as some great guides to the best Mac accessories across a variety of categories. Today, I’m tying them all together in this handy, one-stop roundup of the best Mac accessories and upgrades.

This guide walks you through everything: in one place, you can learn about the best Mac hard drives, RAM upgrades, docks, keyboards, trackpads, stands, bags, and travel accessories out there. And you can also get free apps to improve your Mac’s storage and responsiveness, find plain English explanations of your Mac’s technical specs, and learn about the little security screws Apple uses to tamper-proof its machines. There’s a lot inside, so you may want to bookmark this piece for future reference!…

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Opinion: Should AAPL stockholders be worried about Jony Ive’s more backseat role?

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The Apple world this morning seems divided between those who seemingly haven’t grasped the implications of Apple’s ‘promotion’ of Jony Ive, merely taking Cook’s memo at face value, and those switching into full-on ‘Apple is doomed’ mode. The reality is, I think, a little more nuanced.

It seems pretty clear that this move is, as Seth outlined earlier, about Ive taking more of a backseat role – and especially being able to spend a lot more time back in England. Apple’s decision to announce the news on a day when the US markets were closed was obviously not coincidence.

Apple didn’t want to see a knee-jerk panic reaction on Wall Street setting its stock diving. But is there reason to panic? Or is it all much ado about nothing? Or something between the two … ?  Read more