30-second smartphone charge demonstrated using biological semiconductors

I’d find this video hard to believe were it not for its credentials. The WSJ reports that StoreDot, the start-up behind the technology, has its background in the Nanotechnology department of Tel Aviv University, and it’s been demonstrated at Microsoft’s Think Next conference.

Ultra-fast battery charging has been seen before, but using special (and not very portable) battery technology. This system charges batteries compact enough for smartphones. It’s demonstrated here with a Samsung Galaxy S3, but the company says that it plans to make versions for other phones, which will could certainly include the iPhone …  Read more

When is Apple going to release a Retina MacBook Air? More signs point to ‘soon’

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Following a forum post from a Chinese website, Digitimes is reporting that Apple will indeed ship a brand new MacBook Air with Retina display in the second half of this year.

The Digitimes article offers no specifics on what the new MacBook Air will feature, aside from the Retina display. A forum poster (who has a track record of accuracy) from last week said that the new model of laptop would feature a fan-less design in an even thinner form factor than the current MacBook Airs’ enclosure.

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Review: $90 Kanex SimpleDock is a beautiful USB 3/Gigabit Ethernet Mac dock, without expensive Thunderbolt

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We’ve reviewed a fair bit of Thunderbolt docks for Mac here and one thing remains constant: The starting prices range well over $200 (Belkin’s a deal at $150) and that’s before you buy an expensive $30 Thunderbolt cable. The question is: Do you really need Thunderbolt to have a quality/usable dock for your MacBook? Can you get almost all of what you need just from USB 3?

Kanex sent me their $90 USB 3 SimpleDock a few months ago and I’ve put it through its paces ever since.  The first thing you’ll notice out of the box is that it is made extremely well, looks very ‘Apple’ and is substantial in weight. It doesn’t move when you plug in devices because of that weight and a rubberized bottom. On top, all you’ll see is a space that coincidentally fits an iPhone perfectly with a charger cable hole through the bottom. Around back, you’ll find 3 USB 3 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port as well as a 10W high powered ‘Charge-only’ port.

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So you are getting 3 products in one here: An iOS device quick charger, a USB3->Gigabit Ethernet adapter and 3 port USB 3 hub. The question is: Is the SimpleDock worth the $90?

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Rumor: 12-inch Retina MacBook/Air updates coming soon without fan or mechanical trackpad button

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A forum poster with a reputable history on WeiPhone.com [Google translate] (via MacRumors) claims to have information about an upcoming MacBook/Air refresh. According to this source, the new model will sport a 12-inch design close to the current 11.6-inch model, but will feature significant internal differences.

The updated MacBook will reportedly not have a fan, will feature a Retina display, and redesigned trackpad. This new trackpad will ditch the mechanical button that has been in the multi-touch trackpads since they first debuted. Instead, the new Air will use only tap gestures for clicking but may feature some tactile feedback to simulate a click.

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TwelveSouth announces new hand-finished ‘Rutledge BookBook’ case for MacBooks

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TwelveSouth, the company behind the popular BookBook series of cases for Apple devices that we’ve reviewed several times in the past, today announced a brand new option for MacBook users. The new “Rutledge BookBook” for MacBook is the first new product in the BookBook lineup in almost three years and the company says it’s also its most unique yet.

While the overall look of the case is much the same as BookBooks that came before it, TwelveSouth says the Rutledge case features a new process of finishing the leather by hand that makes it look even more like an authentic old book. It also makes every Rutledge BookBook unique: Read more

RIP Mac optical drives? Rumor suggests Apple to drop last non-Retina MacBook Pro this year

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DigiTimes is claiming that Apple will cease production of the non-Retina version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro this year as it prepares to launch refreshed Retina models toward the end of the year.

Apple is expected to stop production of the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the second half of 2014 and will replace the product line with thinner models equipped with a Retina display. Meanwhile, Intel will offer second-generation ultrabooks in the fourth quarter of 2014, pushing the notebook industry further into the ultra-thin era, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers …  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

Jimmy Fallon scrambles to hide his MacBook during Bill Gates interview (Video)

Bill Gates stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night to talk about his various charitable endeavours and to promote the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual letter published today. Despite the serious subject matter, Jimmy still managed to squeeze in a few laughs including apologizing for the MacBook and Apple keyboard and mouse that sit on his desk each night before removing them for the rest of the interview.

And then there was this: Read more

‘Name Your Own Price’ Mac Bundle: Snagit Screencapture, Flux 4, Boom, Mac X Video Converter, Elite Keylogger Pro, more

From 9to5toys.com:

Screenshot 2014-01-21 17.45.24

(also don’t forget the Parallels Bundle!)

Stack Social is running another ‘Name your own price bundle’ with some solid offerings starting at $1 and an email address (Update: Now over $3 and rising!). The price goes up as people buy it so it is best to get in early.

The bundle includes:

If you are feeling generous, 10% of all sales go to a charity of you choice – so get in early, and get on the leaderboard (which qualifies you to enter a drawing for a MacBook Air). Read more

Mac Pro shipping estimates slip into March as supply fails to catch up with demand

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Shipping estimates for the Mac Pro have slipped from February to March in many countries, suggesting that Apple has made no progress in reducing lead times from around six weeks. U.S. shipping estimates so far remain in February.

Launched last month to rave reviews, the all-new design has been praised for its upgradability, in sharp contrast to the MacBook range. However, it appears that Apple’s desire to keep its promise of a late 2013 launch date, made at WWDC, led to a repetition of the previous year’s iMac shortages …  Read more

Best Buy offering 16GB iPhone 5s for $125, 5c for free on all carriers for a limited time

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Best Buy just sent over word that it will be holding a special New Year’s sale this weekend on a number of products including significant discounts on iPhones. The retailer is dropping the cost of the 16GB iPhone 5s down to $124.99 from its usual $199 and the 16GB iPhone 5c will be available to pick up for free, both available through all major carriers. The sale lasts through Jan. 4 both in-store and online, and the prices for the discounted iPhones are already available through at least Best Buy onlineRead more

Opinion: Will Apple return to a single MacBook range next year?

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Photo: anandtech.com

I guess you could call me something of a fanboy where Apple laptops are concerned. I bought the very first one, the Macintosh Portable, in 1989 (and actually still have it tucked away in a cupboard even now). This was followed by a series of PowerBooks before the MacBooks came along, and I currently have both a MacBook Pro 17 and MacBook Air 11.

The split between the Air and Pro ranges made sense for a whole bunch of reasons up to now. The Air has performed two important roles for Apple. First, the cachet of producing the world’s slimmest notebook further boosted Apple’s style credentials. Even today, after it lost the slimmest notebook crown and has seen the wedge design copied by others, it remains a style icon, getting admiring glances every time you pull it out in a coffee shop …  Read more