Thunderbolt Stories August 27, 2014

Apple seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 build 13F24 to developers

Apple has released yet another beta build of the upcoming OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 update. The current build number on today’s release is 13F24, while the previously build released to developers for testing came in at 13F18. Apple continues to ask developers to test USB, USB Smart Cards, Safari, Graphics, and Thunderbolt integration with 10.9.5. The update is available for developers running the previous 10.9.5 seed via Software Update in the Mac App Store.

Thunderbolt Stories July 1, 2014

Apple introduces official $49 Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter, connects with Kensington locks

Apple has quietly introduced an official solution for users seeking to lock their 2013 Mac Pro to a stationary desk or other item. The $49 adapter attaches to the rear of the Mac Pro without any additional tools or instruction and can connect to a series of different Kensington locking mechanisms (via MacRumors). Here are the accessory’s highlights from Apple:

  • Enables Mac Pro (Late 2013) to be physically secured with a compatible lock (sold separately)
  • Attaches to Mac Pro without tools or enclosure modification
  • With a third-party lock attached, prevents Mac Pro from being opened, protecting internal components
  • Compatible with most standard Kensington or similar lock products

Earlier this year, third-party solutions with a more advanced setup process began hitting the Mac Pro accessory marketplace. This new Apple adapter marks the second first-party accessory optimized for the new Mac Pro design. Alongside the computer’s launch, Apple released black Thunderbolt cables to match the exterior color of the computer.

Customers interested in the new lock adapter will have the easiest time purchasing it from the Apple Online Store, which is currently showing shipment times of 24 hours. Apple’s stores, according to Apple’s ship to store tool, are not yet stocking the adapter.

Thunderbolt Stories June 13, 2014

Ever since the Mac Pro was released in December, we’ve faced an onslaught of 4k displays. We reviewed Seiki’s budget offering last year, and while we liked it overall, it did have more than its fair share of set backs. For instance, you could only use the full 4k resolution at 30Hz, which meant that there would be noticeable lag when using the display as a monitor. Despite the low refresh rate, the display was still a great deal at its then $450 price point (now down to $390) and truly got us excited for the potential of 4k. At CES this year, we also saw a variety of 4k displays, some of which were priced for budget-minded customers, and some of which were high-end. Noticeably missing from CES, however, was Apple’s frenemy supplier/competitor Samsung.

Samsung, at the end of May, unveiled its take on an affordable 4k display. Samsung’s U28D590D is a 28-inch 4k monitor that supports full 4k resolution at 60Hz via a DisplayPort 1.2 connection. There are also two HDMI ports, but they’ll only do 4k at 30Hz, like the Seiki. The big selling point of the Samsung monitor, aside from doing 4k at 60Hz, is that it costs just $646 on Amazon. This puts it far below any currently available 4k monitor with 60Hz capabilities. I purchased the Samsung U28D590D on Amazon while it was priced at $666 and have been using it as my primary display for the past week. How does it compare to the Seiki? Is 4k all it’s hyped up to be? Let’s discuss.

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Thunderbolt Stories June 10, 2014

Apple issues MacBook Air EFI update to repair power, Thunderbolt/USB-related bugs

A day after it released an SMC update to address MacBook Air battery issues, Apple has issued an EFI update for the same mid-2013 and early-2014 models to address various other issues:

This update is recommended for MacBook Air (mid 2013 and early 2014) models.

This update improves reliability when waking from sleep and when booting while certain USB and Thunderbolt devices are connected.

This update also addresses a rare memory issue that may cause the system to randomly reboot, and an issue where the system may not properly sleep the built-in display when an external display is connected while running Windows using Boot Camp.

The update can be downloaded directly from Apple’s support website or it can be found via the Software Update tab in the Mac App Store.

Thunderbolt Stories April 28, 2014

Earlier today we reported that Apple would release new MacBook Air models this week, likely tomorrow, and that the refresh would likely focus on improved Intel Haswell processors. A source has just sent in the above image that confirms this refresh will revolve around new chipsets…

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Thunderbolt Stories April 21, 2014

Apple Thunderbolt cable (electrical 001)

A new set of leaked tech specs for the third-generation version of Intel’s Thunderbolt technology appearing on VRZone today indicate that “Alpine Ridge” controller will allow double the bandwidth (up to 40 Gbps, versus the current 20), cut the system’s power consumption in half, and even feature a new type of connector that would enable the charging the host computer through the Thunderbolt port at up to 100 watts—enough to easily handle the 85W required for the 15″ MacBook Pro (via MacRumors).

Of course, as we saw with Apple’s switch to the Lightning plug on iOS devices, changing the connector that operates a large number of accessories isn’t exactly a popular idea with the general public, despite the benefits of doing so. As with any such change, adapters will allow  existing products to maintain compatibilty with the new connection.

See the leaked specs and read more below…

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