Details on Apple’s upcoming Lightning port specs for third-party accessories

Apple-Lightning port-01

We previously told you that Apple will be licensing its female Lightning port to third-party accessoriesfollowing an announcement to Made for iPhone licensees late last year. Since then, the company has released specs for the Lightning port that details exactly what Apple hopes to achieve by opening it up to third-parties, including how it could improve accessories. Read more

Seagate and LaCie debut fashionable/wireless hard drives for iOS and Mac ahead of 2015 CES

Mirror_UseCase_Cord_PenOn

Seagate and its LaCie subsidiary have announced five new hard drives just ahead of this week’s 2015 CES, including two new iOS-compatible wireless models and three new Mac-only disks. All except one will be available in January from the company’s web sites.

For iOS, the 500GB Seagate Wireless ($130) is an economical and portable, battery-powered hard disk designed to compete with G-Technology’s G-Connect and Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless. Just under 4″ on each side and less than an inch thick, Seagate’s version is designed to look fun, with your choice of green, blue, gray, red, or white matte housings, and uses integrated Wi-Fi to connect with iOS devices and Macs for media playback as well as Android/Windows/Chrome. It runs for nine hours between charges and can connect to 3 devices simultaneously.

Seagate Seven ($100) is a Mac-only alternative that promises to be the world’s thinnest portable hard drive. Made from 100% stainless steel, the enclosure is only 7mm thick and includes a USB 3.0 cable for connecting to a computer, giving up wireless in order to achieve its small size. In a break from traditionally boxy or rounded hard drives, Seven is actually slim enough to let you see the contours of the traditional hard disk mechanism inside. Three additional drives are discussed below…

Read more

Review: Hyper’s iStick, the first USB drive w/ integrated Lightning connector

iStick-Hyper-01

While most of my content goes straight to the cloud these days and is usually easily accessible to move around, download or stream from any of my devices, I still found myself getting a lot of use out of Hyper’s new iStick. It’s one of the first made-for-iPhone USB flash drives that also includes an integrated Lightning connector to easily transfer content to and from the device to others. Hyper’s companion app is what makes the experience more than just storage, however… Read more

Hyper launches the first Made-for-iPhone/iPad USB flash drive w/ built-in Lightning connector

iStick-MFi-cover

Hyper— we’ve reviewed some of its MacBook batteries and iPhone accessories in the past— is today announcing the first Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod touch (MFi) flash drive that includes a built-in Lightning connector. Unfortunately you can’t get your hands on one just yet, but you can preorder through a funding campaign the company just launched on Kickstarter.

Hyper told us it’s been working on the product for over two years and just recently got approval from Apple: “As expected, Apple had many concerns for iOS storage products like the iStick. We actually started MFi application for this product more than 2 years ago. It was definitely not an easy process but we managed to address all of Apple’s concerns and finally just got MFi approval.”

Read more

Review: Satechi’s 4, 7, & 10 port USB hubs compared

DSC_1416

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a number of Satechi’s USB hubs in my effort to combat my growing need to wire in more stuff to my Mac’s 4 USB ports. While wireless is often more convenient and downright necessary on laptops to have a good experience, I still enjoy the speed and reliability of a wired connection on my desktop setup. To have a completely ergonomic experience and avoid plugging and unplugging things, a USB hub of some sort is definitely needed. The challenge to buying the right hub for your needs is deciphering how each hub differs; it’s not just limited to the number of ports available…

Read more

Render gives first look at next-gen reversible USB Type-C cable coming in July

Back in December, the the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that a next-generation of USB connectors was under development. The new standard, dubbed “USB Type-C,” introduces a new design, a smaller overall footprint, and usability enhancements such as a symmetrical, reversible connector that doesn’t require users to worry about orientation when plugging in (much like with Apple’s Lightning connector.) It will also allow manufacturers to create thinner and sleeker product designs and scale for future USB performance standards with a transfer speed up to 10Gbps. Today we get our first look at what the cable and connectors will actually look like with a rendering courtesy of Foxconn (via TheVerge). Read more

Opinion: Is Thunderbolt doomed to be the new Firewire, or can the new Mac Pro save it?

thunderbolt

I’m a huge fan of Thunderbolt. A single wire carrying both DisplayPort and high-speed PCIe data is an incredibly elegant approach to minimising cable clutter even if you don’t need the blistering speed, especially when you can use an Apple Thunderbolt Display as a hub for your USB devices.

I also admire clever tech. The reason you can daisy-chain up to six separate devices is because Thunderbolt automatically multiplexes and de-multiplexes the signals as needed. Thunderbolt 2 takes this approach one step further, combining two 10Gbit/s channels into a single 20Gbit/s connection, with the the Thunderbolt controller again doing all the work. It’s impressive stuff.

A fast, clever technology developed by Intel and enthusiastically marketed by Apple ought to stand a fighting chance at mass-market adoption. Sadly, there’s so far not much sign of this happening. It’s all looking rather reminiscent of Firewire …  Read more

Apple to support third-party USB power plug trade-ins beyond U.S. & China

Image via Flickr

Last week, we reported that Apple, will soon kickoff a trade-in-program for third-party or counterfeit USB power adapters in its retail stores and select authorized resellers. The program will allow anyone with an unofficial USB power adapter for iOS Devices to exchange that adapter for an Apple-built unit at a discounted price of $10 dollars. The program comes in response to a couple of controversial situations in which people in China reportedly passed away or became injured due to faulty, counterfeit charging adapters…

Read more

Thunderbolt’s future looks even more precarious as 10Gbps Superspeed USB announced

Photo: notebookcheck.com

Photo: notebookcheck.com

Our concern that widespread adoption of USB 3 might leave Thunderbolt out in the cold now looks even more likely as the USB 3.1 – aka Superspeed USB – specification has been announced. This allows USB transfers of up to 10Gbps, the same speed as the original Thunderbolt standard.

Thunderbolt is technically superior to USB 3 – combining PCIe, DisplayPort and power signals into a single cable – and the recently announced Thunderbolt 2 version (which will debut in the new Mac Pro) doubles throughput to a blistering 20Gbps. And Thunderbolt can deliver that bandwidth to more than one device at a time. But technical superiority alone is no guarantee of success, as the history of Betamax or Firewire demonstrates …  Read more

Kanex adds 3 USB ports and Gigabit Ethernet to your MacBook with pocket-sized DualRole

We have played with and enjoyed a few products from Kanex in the past, and today the company showed off its latest USB 3.0 charging solution at Macworld with the DualRole. The product is a super lightweight and very portable bus-powered USB3 hub that packs three extra USB 3 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet adapter. That means you’ll be able to add a Gigabit Ethernet adapter to your Retina MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and have an extra three USB ports on hand.

9to5Mac went hands-on with the DualRole today during Macworld, and we definitely want one for ourselves. Anyone who travels knows how nice it is to connect via Ethernet when hotel Wi-Fi gets sketchy, and it’s certainly nice to be able to carry around an additional three USB 3.0 ports in your pocket at the same time. DualRole also provided an optional 5V power adapter to offer a little extra power to the USB ports, and the built-in cable tucks away nicely when not in use. DualRole is selling for $69 through the Kanex website, but it should also land next to the company’s lineup of other solid products on Amazon shortly.

Read more

Eton shows off new lineup of ‘Rukus’ solar powered Bluetooth speakers, 5000 mAh solar battery pack

Eton-Solar-CES-2013

Eton, a company known for its hand-cranked, turbine-powered radios and audio accessories, today announced a few interesting new solar powered products for iOS devices. The new lineup includes the Rugged Rukus, and the Rukus XL (pictured above), two new solar-powered Bluetooth speakers, both of which include the ability to charge devices through a built-in USB port and more. For those familiar with Eton’s already available Rukus Solar speaker, the new models are essentially its bigger and smaller siblings, but definitely left us impressed at the CES Unveiled event… Read more

Review: NYNE’s NB-250 rubberized Bluetooth speaker, ultimate portability meets superior sound quality

NYNE-NB-250-02

California-based audio accessory maker NYNE is getting ready to show off its latest line of bluetooth speakers, docks, and home audio products at CES next week, but for the past month I’ve already had the chance to play with one of its latest creations- the NB-250 water-resistant Bluetooth speaker.

There is a ton of competition among Bluetooth speaker manufacturers, but a couple have been able to make their way to the top of the majority of recommendation lists, including our own. NYNE’s main competition in my eyes is Logitech and Jawbone, two well-known accessory makers with high-quality, sub $150 bluetooth speaker products on the market. After having hands on time with both the $140 Jambox from Jawbone and the $99 UE Boombox from Logitech, NYNE’s NB-250 does have a few things going for it. First is design…
Read more