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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3TB Western Digital Elements USB Hard Drive (Factory Refurb): $100

From 9to5toys.com:

MacMall via eBay Daily Deal offers the factory-refurbished Western Digital Elements 3TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive, model no. WDBAAU0030HBK-NESN, for $99.99 with free shipping. That’s $0.03/GB, $20 below our mention of a new unit from three days ago, and the lowest total price we’ve seen for this drive. (It’s $18 below the current price low for a new unit.) This drive uses GreenPower technology to reduce power consumption by up to 30%.

A Western Digital warranty applies; however, MacMall does not mention the length of this warranty on the product page.

Toshiba Canvio 750GB Portable USB Hard Drive: $58 + free shipping

Toshiba Canvio 750GB Portable USB Hard Drive

From 9to5Toys (RSS)(Twitter):


Beach Camera via eBay Daily Deal offers the Toshiba Canvio 3.0 Plus 750GB USB 2.0 Portable 2.5″ External Hard Drive, model no. E05A075PBU2XK, for $57.99. With free shipping, that’s $0.08/GB, $7 under our December mention, and the best total price we’ve seen for any 750GB portable drive. (It’s a current price low by $17.) It runs at 5400 rpm and features an 8MB cache. Deal ends September 1 at 3:25 pm ET. Read more

New Apple hardware: What you need to know


The old Cinema Display (left) had three USB ports on the back and required a cable with separate power, USB and Mini DisplayPort connections. The new Thunderbolt  display (right) adds Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt, all fed to a computer via a single Thunderbolt cable (in addition to three USB ports, built-in microphone and FaceTime HD camera).

We take it you’re still digesting the new hardware Apple has released this morning. Before you grab that credit card, here are some observations you may wanna take into consideration.

MacBook Airs

• Built-in FaceTime camera has not been upgraded to high-definition. As a result, you are not able to FaceTime in HD with people who use the latest iMacs or MacBook Pros, which sport a FaceTime HD camera

•Based on the description from Apple  “And because we place the flash chips directly on the logic board, they take up much less space — about 90 percent less, in fact.” , it sounds like the SSD is probably no longer upgradable via OWC and others (thanks commenter)

• Just as previous, RAM is soldered directly on the motherboard so configure your machine carefully because you won’t be able to upgrade RAM yourself later
• Just like with the previous generation, the 11.6-incher lacks an SD card slot found on the 13-inch model
• Last year’s models got a significant discount today 

• New Airs sport Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility versus Bluetooth 3.0 in the previous generation, which gives you low-energy wireless Bluetooth transfer within a short range of up to 50 meters, per this Wikipedia article
New MacBook Airs can use Firewire and Gig Ethernet! If you hook up your new MacBook Air to that latest Apple Thunderbolt Display, you will enjoy the ultimate simplicity because a single Thunderbolt cable is all you need to charge your notebook and transfer data from your monitor’s Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, an additional Thunderbolt port, three USB ports, a FaceTime HD camera, 2.1 stereo sound and a built-in microphone.  Perhaps Apple will release a Thunderbolt to GigE, Firewire, etc. standalone adapter.

• On the Thunderbolt Displays, the old MagSafe would have been a better match, because the new one has to be bent around (see the image below) for MacBook Pros

• Additionally, On MacBook Airs, the Thunderbolt port and MagSafe are on opposite sides of the keyboard meaning that cable is going to Y-Out behind the computer.

The new Thunderbolt Display comes with a new MagSafe adapter, which has to be bent around the computer rather than going straight on, like the old MafSafe adapter could have

Mac Minis:

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Review: Western Digital My Book Studio 3TB

There’s not much to say about the new Western Digital My Book Studio 3TB hard drive.  It looks quite nice and would go nicely with a Mac Pro or any aluminum Mac. The new MyBook Studio, unlike the previous My Book LX models, doesn’t have the LED display which showed free space and other nice specs without the need to dig it up from the connected computer.  It does, however, have a quiet, cool running green hard drive with a fan-less enclosure. But the $150/$200/$250 for 1TB/2TB/3TB models, it isn’t going to hit 9to5toys.com anytime soon.

In fact, the same 3TB Western Digital Internal Green Drive resides in a USB-only package for only $130.  Because this is a green drive, the extra speed that Firewire provides isn’t as noticeable as with a high performance drive.  See speed tests and more images below. Read more

Review: Seagate GoFlex Satellite 500GB ‘Wi-NAS’

Update: October 26th: Seagate just released a firmware update

The Post PC age is upon us and we’ve now got new iOS devices in all shapes and sizes in our homes.  But getting and sharing media to all of these many devices starts to become a chore, especially when on the go.  One solution is moving media into an Internet-connected NAS or the (i)Cloud.

Unfortunately, pulling that data down to your iDevice when you are on the go, especially high quality video, can be an expensive burden on your wireless data plan.  Just a few movies can put you over your monthly data limit.  And that’s where you have a speedy Internet connection that can handle a full screen movie.  And what do you do when there is no signal (camping?) at all?

Seagate thinks they have a solution to this problem with their new $200 Goflex Satellite 500GB hard drive.  Read on for the full review:

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Time Capsules accept user 3TB drives?

Apple last week bumped up its Time Capsule wireless backup appliance to 2TB and 3TB models, priced the same $299 and $499, respectively. In addition, Apple appears to be now using consumer public drives from Western Digital (bumped up from Hitachi Deskstar drives). That, plus the $499 price point puts the new 3TB Time Capsule pretty much out of reach on price-conscious buyers. In fact, you’re better off, as we explained, hooking up an external USB drive to your 1TB Time Capsule.

But if you hate the clutter and yearn for a sealed, elegant solution with only one plug, you needn’t pony up $200 extra for a 3TB Time Capsule: It would seem that the wireless gizmo accepts 3TB internal drives, if properly partitioned. According to a HardMac reader:

I personally installed a 3 TB WD Caviar Green 3To (by chance!), when it came out 5 months ago, in a 1 TB Time Capsule that I bought around that time as well. I formatted it with Airport Utility to have the 3 partitions that are necessary for Time Machine and it was immediately recognized as a 3 TB disk. I’ve been using it ever since without any problem.

One caveat…

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Why buying the 3TB Time Capsule is crazypants

We know Apple charges a premium on storage.  That’s why many people buy RAM and HDD/SSD storage for their Macs from third party retailers, saving lots of money.   With iOS devices, however, Apple is able to keep out third party upgrades because the devices are sealed shut.  That’s why a device with 16GB costs $100 less than a device with 32GB of RAM, which in turn costs $100 less than a device with 64GB of flash storage.  Apple buys Flash for less than anyone else on earth but mere mortals can get storage for a fraction of what Apple charges.

So here’s this Time Capsule thing.

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 $299 for 2TB.  To upgrade to a 3TB drive, you’ll need $200 more.  How absurd is this?  The difference between a 2TB and 3TB drive is like $40.

Not only is this beyond the call of the “Mac Tax” but it is crazy easy to get around.  For an extra $150 (Still $50 less than the 3TB model) you can buy a perfectly good 3TB USB Seagate or Western Digital hard drive from Amazon.  Then just plug it into the back of the 2TB model and you have 5TB of addressable space.    You’ve been able to use USB drives since 2008 as Time Machine backups or Network Attached Storage.

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Of course it is nice to have the drive in a convenient little package with only one plug, but for $200, only getting an extra TB seems a little absurd.   Read more

"iPad3,1" and "iPad3,2." make an appearance in iOS 5

TUAW notes that inside the USB device profiles of iOS 5 are profiles for two never before seen devices called “iPad3,1″ and “iPad3,2.”  Obviosuly Apple is going to be making more iPads in the future and devices often show up in these profiles many months before they are delivered.  However, there was some speculation earlier this year that an enhanced iPad 2 or iPad 3 with a Retina display would be released in time for the holidays.

Most analysts currently estimate that the next version of the iPad will hit at the beginning of next year so.

Interestingly, TUAW notes that there are no new iPod touches listed.  Touches usually are released in the Fall, but with no new iPhone hardware announced or released at WWDC, Apple’s traditional hardware release schedule has been put in question.   Read more