LaCie’s anticipated Thunderbolt-equipped Little Big Disk arrives at the Apple Store, along with Thunderbolt updates

Since Apple and Intel’s joint announcement of the Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology, one of the most anticipated products to make use of the technology has been the Thunderbolt-compatible Little Big Disk from LaCie. The drive – which comes in both HDD and SSD flavors – was announced all the way back in February for a “summer” launch, and is now finally arriving at Apple Stores in both the United States and internationally. LaCie’s description of Thunderbolt and why it is important for a product like the Little Big Disk:

This new high-speed cable technology connects computers and electronic devices together like never before. Thunderbolt technology supports two 10Gb/s bi-directional channels from a single port, the fastest data connection available on a personal computer. At 10Gb/s, a full-length HD movie can be transferred in less than 30 seconds.

Since the drive carries two ports, it can be daisy chained. The drives have already arrived at Apple Stores, which suggest immediate availability, and we are expecting an official announcement from LaCie in the coming days. The hard disk drive variant with 1TB of storage will reportedly cost $399.

Update: here they are.

Apple also announced Thunderbolt updates, another firmware update and a software update for Snow Leopard…

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Amazon selling lots of iContraband

Remember that cool iHub USB device that was briefly selling on M.I.C. Gadget, but then was pulled by Apple’s lawyers? It is back, and at a place you’ll probably feel a bit more familiar with: Amazon. Amazon has a few sellers selling that iHub again for prices (white, black) as low as $12.40. Interestingly, Amazon is fulfilling these orders (free shipping) which indicates that they might be complicit.

The iHub isn’t the only Apple branded device making its way through Amazon’s fulfillment centers. the iAccessory Store has a new look “silver” iHub for $9 (black too) and some questionable iPhone HDD enclosures as well as external speakers that bear the Apple logo.

An unboxing video from Nowhereelse.fr of the iHDD and iAudio below:

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Apple outlines some limitations of Thunderbolt displays

Following the first shipments of Apple’s new 27-inch Thunderbolt Display, a new support document reveals some limitations regarding multiple display support that we weren’t exactly expecting.

Nearly every current Mac model is able to support two Thunderbolt displays. The exceptions are the 13-inch MacBook Air (mid 2011), which only supports one, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro which supports two, but disables the device’s main display to do so. Also of note, the $800 Mac mini can support three Thunderbolt displays thanks to the AMD graphics and its HDMI port.

One other somewhat surprising limitation of the new displays is the inability to daisy chain a Mini DisplayPort screen off the new Thunderbolt display. The support document explains:
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First Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt Cinema Displays begin arriving (photos)

Apple’s 27-inch Thunderbolt Cinema Displays have begun arriving to customer’s homes. The display looks virtually identical to the previous generation of the giant 27-inch Cinema Display from Apple, and includes USB ports, a Thunderbolt port, a FireWire 800 port, and an Ethernet port.

More photos courtesy of reader Scott are after the break.

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Thunderbolt Displays now shipping to end users

…in New Zealand anyway.  One 9to5Mac reader said that the Thunderbolt Display he ordered on August 17th was now en route to his home.  If anyone else has a shipping display let us know in the comments or at tips@9to5mac.com.

What’s perhaps most interesting about this shipment information is that these displays aren’t shipping directly from China as most Apple products do. They are shipping from a holding spot in Australia (below) perhaps indicating that the wait on these displays isn’t because of hardware, but in fact software, which, incidentally was updated last night on Thunderbolt MacBook Pros and Mac Minis.

Belkin unveils new Thunderbolt Express Dock at IDF

Belkin took a little bit of time today at IDF to show off their new Thunderbolt Express Dock that provides a selection of ports that mirror the new 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display, sans the $999 price point.

The accessory sports three USB ports, a Thunderbolt port, Firewire 800 port, and Gigabit Ethernet. Perhaps the dock could use some more of that Apple “mimimalism” – we’re sensing some wasted space being used here.

There is no word on pricing or availability as of yet, and Daily Tech reminds us we might still have to cough up $50 for a Thunderbolt cable. We’ll keep you updated when the device is officially announced. More Thunderbolt accessories here, another image after the break.
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Peripherals aplenty as Apple preps to ship its Thunderbolt Display

Usually, when a brand new industry standard debuts on Macs, there’s a period of shortage before compatible devices begin trickling in. Thunderbolt is no different. Intel partnered with Apple on Thunderbolt earlier this year and it took Apple several months to update its notebooks, iMac and Mac mini families with Thunderbolt I/O. The offering of supported peripherals was initially limited to Apple’s $49 Thunderbolt cable, LaCie and Promise RAIDs, Matrox gearBlackMagic’s solution for field video editing and a couple other devices.

Following Intel’s release of the Thunderbolt development kit, more companies are announcing Thunderbolt-ready products. By the way, 9to5Mac, MacRumors and other publications received tips that Apple began shipping its new $999 Apple Thunderbolt Display to stores. Now, among the upcoming Thunderbolt gadgets, Magma’s ExpressBox 3T, seen in the above image, caught our attention. Basically a three-slot expansion chassis allowing any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac to connect to PCIe 2.0 cards, the box also lets you power up your MacBook Air’s integrate Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with any PCIe graphics cards, useful if you’re going to do some serious video-related work or play latest games on your Air. The accessory is to be demoed at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum which runs September 13 – 15 in San Francisco.

Magma joins Sonnet, which also unveiled a similar Thunderbolt box last month. The $150 Sonnet ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt adapter accepts ExpressCard peripherals and also expands your Air’s connectivity with eSATA, USB 3, Firewire 800, Gigabit Ethernet and SDXC and CF cards. More product highlights after the break…

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Seagate announces industry’s first 4TB hard drive

We’re big fans of the Seagate GoFlex series of hard drives and, as of this evening, Seagate has pushed the size limit to an impressive 4TB on a single physical disk.

Currently the 4TB disk is only available in the form factor to the right for a significant $249 price tag. Obviously, the added density drives will filter down into other form factors including bare drives and RAID arrays in the coming weeks and months.

Seagate’ GoFlex enclosure got a facelift as well but alas, no Thunderbolt action for a few more months according to the press release.

As for the USB Desktop version pictured, we’re looking to get our hands on one for a review as soon as possible.  It is available for pre-order now for $229 at Amazon.

Full press release below:
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Wacom introduces Inkling tablet for sketchy people

Earlier today, Wacom introduced  its Inkling digital sketch pen for those who want to simultaneously draw on paper and on the computer.

The Inkling digital sketch pen captures a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its ballpoint tip on any sketchbook or standard piece of paper. Designed for rough concepting and creative brainstorming, Inkling is ideal for the front end of the creative process. Later, refine your work on your computer using an Intuos4 tablet or Cintiq interactive pen display.

In addition to capturing your sketch, stroke by stroke, Inkling allows you to create layers in digital files while you sketch on paper. Digital files are transferred to your computer using the Inkling Sketch Manager software, and later, exported to applications such as Adobe® Photoshop® and Illustrator®. Files can also be opened with the included Inkling Sketch Manager software to edit, delete, add layers or change file formats.

It’s a designer’s version  the livescribe pens which are mostly for note-taking.  It will be available in the middle of the month for $199. Read more

Add SATA2, Firewire or Gig Ethernet to your new MacBook Air with Sonnet Thunderbolt ExpressCard adapter

If you aren’t interested in the $1000 Apple Thunderbolt display but still want to add some speedy data transfer to your new MacBook Air, Sonnet has a pretty good solution.  Shipping in October, Sonnet’s Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter
[ECHO-E34] will set you back $150 but give you access via ExpressCard to the faster data transfers including eSATA, USB 3, Firewire 800, Gig Ethernet or even speedier access to SDXC and CF cards.

There will be more of these “Thunderbolt docks” coming before the holidays.

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Really, Sony?

Reader Elaine sends us this scene from a Costco

So I imagine there is a marketing meeting at the Sony Bravia offices a few months ago where they are brainstorming new ways to market this 46″ TV.

Someone steps up and says Apple is about to release a new OS and all of their boxes are going to have this ‘Galaxy Swirl’ thing on the cover.  Perhaps we can confuse a few people into thinking this is Apple/type/quality products.

Sure, its a different angle and view, but it is pretty clear what the intention was.  While this is probably legal and will certainly fool a certain part of the population, those who follow tech have to feel a little sorry for the once-great Sony, which is rapidly turning into an also-ran knock-off artist.

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Chinese maker pulls the glowing Apple logo trick with the iSD Card Reader

Remember the iHub, a four-port USB port that set itself apart with the cool-looking, glowing Apple logo – until Cupertino outlawed them? Apparently someone in China was inspired enough with the iHub and walked away concluding this must be the way to roll with everything. Check out a Chinese SD card reader in the below clip. We actually love its miniaturized all-white design with round corners and the advert certainly looks business, if we disregard the too obvious focus on the many close-ups of the glowing Apple logo. The iSD Card Reader is interesting because it lets the 11-inch MacBook Air owners accept SD and SDHC memory cards via USB as the notebook lacks an SD card slot. It can be yours for $9.90 over at the K.O. Gadget store. And while you’re there, make sure to check out their obnoxious white iPhone 4 air cooler. And what’s with the “Apple and 7 Pioneers” article (mark 00:13)

another video below

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