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'USB-C' Reviews

Review: LG's $1500 38UC99 UltraWide Display Offers a Giant, Desk-Filling Workspace

We've already looked at LG's UltraFine 5K and 27UD88 displays as companions for Apple's latest notebooks, and today we're taking a look at another USB-C display option that brings something quite different: LG's 38UC99 curved "UltraWide" display. This is a desk-filling display in the truest sense of the term: 37.5 inches on the diagonal with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a native resolution of 3840x1600. It has fewer pixels than a true 4K or Ultra HD display, but its sheer size makes up for it in some unique ways. While the UltraFine 5K and 27UD88 displays work best at Retina or scaled resolutions, the 38UC99 uses a full 3840x1600 desktop that leaves everything on screen at just the right size to be useful. No, it's not a Retina display in this mode, but until we have 8K displays this will have to do. Even without Retina resolution, this display is impressive. The sheer size of it gives you so much flexibility in terms of your workspace. I can easily have three large windows open side-by-side with room to spare. UltraFine 5K, 38UC99, 2016 MacBook Pro (left to right) I've been testing this in a three-display setup with the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, an UltraFine 5K, and the 38UC99. It's a ridiculous amount of desktop space that I can barely fit on my desk, and the MacBook Pro with entry-level graphics runs all of it without breaking a sweat.

LG 27UD88 Review: A Well-Rounded Ultra HD Display With USB-C

A few weeks ago, we took a look at LG's new 27-inch UltraFine 5K display designed in partnership with Apple to pair with the new MacBook Pro. While it's a high-quality screen that offers a sharp, spacious, Retina desktop, the overall design has generated mixed reactions, particularly in comparison to Apple's design standards. At a standard price of $1299 and even Apple's discounted price of $974, the UltraFine 5K isn't a cheap display. Its smaller sibling, the 21.5-inch UltraFine 4K, at its temporary price of $524 might be more appealing to users who are willing to give up some pixels and a few features, but there are several other Ultra HD and 4K options on the market, some of which we rounded up in mid-November. Among these other options, one of the most popular Ultra HD (3840x2160) displays with USB-C connectivity has been LG's 27-inch 27UD88, which offers a clean design, a matte screen finish to reduce glare, and a broader array of connectivity options than the UltraFine lineup. The 27UD88's IPS display supports 99% coverage of the sRGB spectrum, 5 ms response time, and a 60 Hz refresh rate. As with the UltraFine displays, one of the major advantages of USB-C connectivity on the 27UD88 is the ability to transfer data, video, and even power over a single cable, and the 27UD88 offers up to 60 watts of power over USB-C to power a notebook computer.

Review: OWC's 'USB-C Dock' Expands MacBook Connectivity Options With Ten Ports

Since the launch of Apple's Retina MacBook last April, users have been looking for ways to expand the functionality of the single port included on the machine, a USB-C that can support a multitude of functions including power and data. Many third-party companies have begun shipping single-use dongles and small hubs for MacBook fans to be able to get full use out of their ultra-thin 12-inch notebooks. All pictures in the review are of a pre-production unit lacking proper screen printing with port designations OWC's USB-C Dock is one of the first full-featured alternatives for the MacBook. At $159.00, the 8-inch by 3.5-inch dock comes with ten ports for users to take advantage of: four USB Type-A, one USB Type-C, an SD card reader, HDMI with 4K display support, Gigabit Ethernet, an audio headphone jack, and one USB 3.1 Type-C computer link. The first thing that should be noted is that the dock requires two included cables to fully function: an external 80W power source that plugs into an outlet, and the USB-C cable that connects everything to the MacBook. Thankfully, the power adapter also charges the MacBook while it's in use; after that initial setup, most things plugged into the dock work without any added steps.

SanDisk Dual USB Drive Type-C Review: No-Hassle File Transfers for Apple's New MacBook

Known for providing a variety of storage solutions for desktop and mobile devices, SanDisk continues its trend of easy-to-use storage devices supporting multiple connector standards with its new Dual USB Drive Type-C. Taking aim at the growing use of USB-C in the tech industry, the Dual USB Drive includes connectors for both USB-A 3.0 and USB-C that allow users to transfer files between a traditional USB-supporting computer and a machine like Apple's new 12-inch Retina MacBook that uses the new USB-C standard. While similar to the company's iXpand Flash Drive line -- which pairs a USB connector with a Lightning connector for a more mobile-friendly storage solution -- the Dual USB Drive is definitely lighter and slimmer than the iXpand line. The new drive is actually part of the line of SanDisk's "Dual" USB Drives, the other two of which focus on a more Android compatible transfer process. Only coming in a 32GB option, the Dual USB Drive Type-C has plenty of storage for all kinds of files, from music and photos to documents and slideshows. I've spent the past week or so testing the Dual drive, but as with any other basic flash drive, it either works hassle-free or it doesn't. Thankfully, SanDisk's new USB-C supported solution is a breeze when it comes to data storage and transfer. The drive took essentially the entire contents of my new 12-inch MacBook and in a few seconds had successfully pasted copies of the files into its 32GB storage.

'USB-C' Articles

Nintendo Switch Acts as External Battery Pack for USB-C MacBook Pro, Parental Control App Available

The Nintendo Switch launches worldwide tomorrow, March 3, and as journalists and reviewers have had their hands on the console for the past week, news of its hardware and software features have been shared online. This week, Quartz technology reporter Mike Murphy discovered that when plugging the Nintendo Switch into a MacBook Pro through a dual USB-C cable, the Switch inexplicably acts as an external battery pack for the Apple laptop, providing charge to the MacBook instead of being charged itself. In the image, it appears that a third party USB-C cable is being used to connect the two devices (in the box, Switch only comes with a USB-C to AC adapter cable). Lol if you plug a Nintendo Switch into a new MacBook Pro, the Switch charges the laptop, not the other way around pic.twitter.com/YJhMct6fKO— Mike Murphy (@mcwm) March 1, 2017 Murphy also discovered a slight workaround: if users power down the Switch before connecting it to the MacBook, then the MacBook will charge the Switch. The Switch will also charge off of Apple's USB-C wall adapter cable bundled in recent MacBook boxes, and sold separately online. Nintendo confirmed on its website that the Switch has a non-removable 4310mAh, 3.7V Lithium-ion battery, and early FCC filings -- as well as recent pictures -- of the included AC adapter confirmed that the console draws power up to 15.0V/2.6A, equating to 39W. The non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro has a 54.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery and can draw up to 61W from a power adapter. Since much of Nintendo Switch's battery-related questions are still up in

Ming-Chi Kuo Says All 2017 iPhones Will Have Lightning Connectors With USB-C Fast Charging

All three iPhones rumored to be launched in 2017 will retain Lightning connectors with the addition of USB-C Power Delivery for faster charging, including an all-new OLED model with a larger L-shaped battery and updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. An excerpt from his latest research note obtained by MacRumors:New 2H17 models may all support fast charging. We believe all three new iPhones launching in 2H17 will support fast charging by the adoption of Type-C Power Delivery technology (while still retaining the Lightning port). A key technical challenge lies with ensuring product safety and stable data transmission during a fast charge. In order to achieve that goal, we think Apple will adopt TI's power management and Cypress's Power Delivery chip solutions for the new iPhone models. We note the OLED version may have a faster charging speed thanks to a 2-cell L shaped battery pack design.Kuo expects Apple to retain the Lightning port given it has a slightly slimmer design compared to a USB-C port, to sustain MFi Program licensing income from Lightning accessories, and because he believes USB-C's high-speed data transmission is "still a niche application" for iPhone. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro already supports USB 3.0 speeds and fast charging with a Lightning to USB-C cable, while iPhones and other devices with a Lightning connector still transfer at USB 2.0 speeds. Kuo's prediction comes just two days after The Wall Street Journal seemingly reported that at least one upcoming iPhone model would have a USB-C port

One Analyst Thinks the iPhone 8 Will Still Have a Lightning Connector With USB-C Adapter for Europe

The Wall Street Journal today reported that at least one upcoming iPhone model will include a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector. If the report is accurate, a single USB-C cable could be used to charge the so-called iPhone 8, 12-inch MacBook, or the latest MacBook Pro models.People familiar with Apple’s plans said the iPhone releases this year would include two models with the traditional LCDs and a third one with the OLED screen. They said Apple would introduce other updates including a USB-C port for the power cord and other peripheral devices instead of the company’s original Lightning connector.That's not a rumor we've heard previously, but The Wall Street Journal is a reputable source that often accurately predicts Apple's plans. Nevertheless, the move towards USB-C has yet to be substantiated by other credible sources, and Apple changing the charging port on iPhones for the second time in five years, after switching from the 30-pin Dock Connector to Lightning connector in 2012, would certainly be a controversial decision. At least one analyst is not convinced that Apple will ditch Lightning on its next iPhones, but he does believe USB-C will be in the mix. Barclays managing director Blayne Curtis told MacRumors that he expects the iPhone 8 to keep its Lightning connector, while he believes that Apple will sell a Lightning to USB-C adapter in European countries to adhere to the European Commission's "one mobile phone charger for all" campaign. This adapter could be similar to Apple's female-to-male Lightning to Micro-USB adapter, which

LG and Dell to Showcase Latest USB-C Displays for New MacBook Pro at CES This Week

CES 2017 kicks off in Las Vegas this week, and a handful of USB-C displays compatible with the new MacBook Pro will be unveiled at the show. USB-C displays display up to 4K video, transfer data, and charge the new MacBook Pro over a single cable connected between the display and notebook. Dell today introduced the S2718D Ultrathin Monitor, a 27-inch IPS display which it claims is the "world"s overall thinnest monitor" with HDR10 support for vibrant colors. The display has a glossy finish with Dell's ultra-thin InfinityEdge bezels, but its base is bulkier than average to accommodate for the internal components. Dell's new S2718D display is indeed very thin (Image: Engadget) While the display is indeed very thin, its other specs fall short of some existing USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 displays on the market. It is not 4K, for instance, but rather Quad HD with a resolution of 2,560×1,440 for 108 PPI. And while it covers over 99% of the sRGB color gamut, it does not support the wider DCI-P3 color gamut. The display has a 60Hz refresh rate, peak brightness of 400 nits, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 6ms response time, and 178⁰ wide viewing angle, per Tom's Hardware. It can connect to a new MacBook Pro or 12-inch MacBook over a single cable, but with only 45W of power delivery. There is also one HDMI 2.0 port and an audio line out. The S2718D Ultrathin Monitor will start at a rather expensive $700 on Dell.com, with U.S. availability expected on March 23. LG will be showcasing more attractive options at CES this week, including the 32UD99, a new 32-inch IPS display with HDR10

Apple Extends Discounts on USB-C Adapters and Accessories Until March 31

Last month, Apple dropped the price on all of its USB-C adapters and accessories by $6 to $20 until December 31. Today, it has extended that discount until March 31, 2017 for many of the products. A full list of prices on the adapters in the United States is below: - USB-C to USB Adapter - Was $19, now $9 - Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter - Was $49, now $29 - USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter - Was $69, now $49 - USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter - Was $69, now $49 - USB-C to Lightning Cable (1m) - Was $25, now $19 - USB-C to Lightning Cable (2m) - Was $35, now $29 The discounts may please customers who have been dissatisfied with the high price of the MacBook Pro, coupled with the need to buy a wide range of adapters to use the new notebook with older peripherals. Apple:"We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition. We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem. Through the end of the year, we are reducing prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals we sell, as well as the prices on Apple's USB-C adapters and cables."Apple similarly extended its discount on the now-available LG UltraFine 5K Display until March 31.

HP Launches 4K ENVY Display With USB-C for New MacBook Pro

HP today launched its 27-inch ENVY display with 4K Ultra HD resolution and a built-in USB-C port for charging the new MacBook Pro, 12-inch MacBook, or most other USB-C devices at up to 60 watts over a single cable. The IPS LED-backlit display features a clean design with a micro-edge bezel, matte black rear panel, and a thin aluminum stand. The base can be detached for VESA wall or arm mounting, but a bracket is not included. The display has a 60Hz refresh rate and supports AMD FreeSync, designed to eliminate stuttering and tearing in games and videos by locking the refresh rate to the framerate of the graphics card. Tech specs: • 27-inch IPS LED display with ultra-wide 178° angle viewing • 4K Ultra HD resolution (3,840×2,160 pixels) • 16:9 aspect ratio with 142 PPI • 60Hz refresh rate • 99% sRGB color gamut • Typical brightness of 350 cd/m2 • Built-in ports: 1 USB-C, 1 DisplayPort 1.2, 1 HDMI 2.0, 1 HDMI 1.4 • USB-C Power Delivery up to 60 watts • AMD FreeSync • VESA mounting Included in the box: • A/C power cable • USB-C cable • DisplayPort cable • HDMI cable HP's new ENVY 27 Display is available on HP.com and at select retailers in the United States for $499 starting today. The price point is about $200 cheaper than some competing USB-C displays, such as the LG 27UD88 and Lenovo ThinkVision X1, but features and connectivity vary. One display that may be a better buy in the near term is LG's and Apple's new UltraFine 4K display. While it has a smaller 21.5-inch screen, the UltraFine has "Cinema" 4K resolution (4,096×2,304), built-in speakers,

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Display Buyer's Guide for New MacBook Pro

Apple's new MacBook Pro models feature between two and four Thunderbolt 3 ports that carry power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA over a single cable, creating one standard for connecting most accessories and peripherals. Thunderbolt 3 uses the same connector type as USB-C, also called Type-C, meaning the new MacBook Pros are compatible with a growing lineup of USB-C external displays. USB-C displays can display up to 4K video, transfer data, and charge the new MacBook Pro at up to 60W over a single cable connected between the display and notebook. LG's new UltraFine 5K display, meanwhile, uses Thunderbolt 3 to display 5K video and fully charge the new MacBook Pro at up to 85W. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar can drive dual 5K displays, while the 13-inch model can drive one 5K display. LG launched its UltraFine 4K and 5K displays in partnership with Apple, which exited the standalone display business after discontinuing its Thunderbolt Display earlier this year. The first USB-C displays from other manufacturers were released just this year, so the current selection remains limited. MacRumors has rounded up most of the options available from LG, ASUS, Acer, and Lenovo below. LG 27UD88 Display size: 27-inch Display resolution: Ultra HD (3,840×2,160 pixels) PPI: 163 Display technology: IPS LED Aspect ratio: 16:9 Refresh rate: 60Hz Color gamut: sRGB (over 99%) Brightness: 350 cd/m2 Ports: 1 input USB-C, 2 USB 3.0, 2 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort 1.2 Cables included: USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB, HDMI, DisplayPort Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to

Thunderbolt 3/USB-C Adapters, Cables, and Hubs for New MacBook Pro

In line with the 12-inch MacBook, Apple has removed all ports on the new MacBook Pro beyond two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Thunderbolt 3 carries power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA over a single USB-C port, creating one standard for connecting most accessories and peripherals. The issue for now, however, is not all devices are equipped with USB-C ports. Apple's very own iOS devices, for example, use a proprietary Lightning port instead. More USB-C accessories will inevitably be released over the coming months and years, but in the meantime, many new MacBook Pro users will need to purchase at least one dongle or hub to use the notebook with their current setup. Own an iPhone? You need a new cable. Own a Thunderbolt Display? You need an adapter. Below, we have rounded up some of the USB-C adapters and cables available from Apple and third-party accessory makers. Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 1/2 Adapter — $49 This adapter can be used to connect the new MacBook Pro to Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 peripherals. Examples include Apple's discontinued Thunderbolt Display and older Thunderbolt external storage drives. The adapter can also be used to connect the new MacBook Pro to Apple's Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter. Tip: Belkin sells a direct USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter for $34.95. The adapter is bidirectional, so it can be used reversely to connect new Thunderbolt 3 devices to an older Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port. USB-C Charge Cable — $25 Have

HDMI Announces USB-C to HDMI Cables for 4K Displays and TVs

The licensing group behind the HDMI interface has introduced a new HDMI Alternate Mode that will allow for USB-C devices like the 12-inch MacBook, smartphones, and tablets to connect to HDMI-enabled 4K displays and TVs over a single cable, with no adapters or dongles required. The new specification will lead to the release of simple HDMI to USB-C cables that support the full range of HDMI 1.4b features, including 3D, Ethernet, and CEC. Connecting an HDMI-enabled 4K display or TV to a 12-inch MacBook currently requires using Apple's $79 USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. Thunderbolt remains the more popular I/O protocol for connecting 4K displays and TVs to Macs, since existing models are unable to drive 4K displays or TVs at 60Hz over HDMI by default. HDMI-enabled 4K displays and TVs connected to a 12-inch MacBook via adapter, for example, only support a 30Hz refresh rate. In addition to the 12-inch MacBook, Apple is rumored to release updated MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models featuring USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 as early as October. Those notebooks would support HDMI to USB-C cables, providing Mac users with another option for connecting 4K displays and

Apple to Release New MacBook Pro and Air as Early as October, AMD iMacs and 5K Display With LG Also in Works

Apple is planning to refresh its Mac lineup, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, as early as October, according to Bloomberg. The report also claims Apple is working on a standalone 5K display in partnership with LG Electronics, while it plans to update iMac models with an option for new graphics chips from AMD. The report reiterates that the new MacBook Pro will be thinner and include an OLED-based touchscreen strip along the top of the flatter keyboard, which will present functions that dynamically fit the current task or application, as well as integrate Touch ID to enable users to quickly log in using their fingerprint.For example, if a user is on their desktop, the screen will show a virtual representation of the standard function row, which includes brightness and media controls. When in an application, the virtual row will show options specific to the task at hand, but volume controls and a switch to show the default functions will always be present.Apple has reportedly named the feature "Dynamic Function Row" internally, but its official name may differ when announced. The tweaked MacBook Air models, meanwhile, are said to include multipurpose USB-C ports, which makes the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 a possibility. No other details were shared about the planned MacBook Air and iMac refreshes. Apple's plans to work with LG on a standalone 5K display surface two months after it discontinued the five-year-old Thunderbolt Display. It remains unclear if the monitor will be based upon the Retina 5K iMac, and it is also unclear if the report's broad late

Woz Laments No Headphone Jack on iPhone 7, Sees USB-C as Future of Audio

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has predicted a consumer backlash if Apple drops the headphone jack in the upcoming iPhone 7 in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and accessory connectivity. "If it's missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that's going to tick off a lot of people," claimed Woz, speaking to The Australian Financial Review. "I would not use Bluetooth – I don't like wireless," he said. "I have cars where you can plug in the music, or go through Bluetooth, and Bluetooth just sounds so flat for the same music." With Apple widely expected to drop the headphone jack in next month's iPhone 7, rumors indicate the company will include Lightning-equipped EarPods in the box, as well as a Lightning-to-jack adapter to allow users like Woz to connect their existing wired earphones to the device. "Mine have custom ear implants, they fit in so comfortably, I can sleep on them and everything. And they only come out with one kind of jack, so I'll have to go through the adapter," he said. Asked what would have to change for him to consider using wireless in the future, Woz added: "If there's a Bluetooth 2 that has higher bandwidth and better quality, that sounds like real music, I would use it. But we'll see." Bluetooth 5, announced in June, is expected to be faster, with longer range and a higher transfer rate, but when the standard will be ready for adoption remains unclear. While the consensus is that Apple will remove the headphone jack in favor of Lightning, Intel continues to position USB-C as the open standard of the

Intel Touts USB-C as Future of Digital Audio as Apple Set to Ditch Headphone Jack

While the consensus is that Apple will remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on new iPhones unveiled next month, in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and accessory connectivity, Intel continues to position USB-C as the open standard of the future for digital audio. At IDF 2016 this week, CNET reports that Intel architect Brad Saunders addressed the USB Type-C Digital Audio specification due this quarter, noting that its improved power management for USB headphones and other new features "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio." Apple has adopted USB-C on the 12-inch MacBook, but new iPhones are expected to retain the proprietary Lightning connector in lieu of the open standard. USB-C, meanwhile, continues to see wider adoption in popular Android-based smartphones like Google's Nexus 6P and Samsung's Galaxy Note 7. Apple has equipped its mobile devices with proprietary connectors for over a decade, including the 30-pin dock connector used for iPhone, iPad, and iPod models between 2003 and 2012. Apple's notebooks, beyond the 12-inch MacBook, are also equipped with a proprietary MagSafe connector for charging. For that reason, it is likely that Apple will continue to favor Lightning over USB-C for at least the foreseeable

MacBook Air With USB-C Again Rumored, Launch Timeframe Unclear

Last month, Japanese blog Mac Otakara reported that Apple plans to announce new MacBook Air models featuring USB-C ports based on the Thunderbolt 3 protocol by the end of June, and begin shipping the notebooks to retailers in August. It is now seven weeks later, however, and the rumor has yet to materialize. But if a new report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes is to believed, Apple still has plans to release a new MacBook Air with USB-C ports after all. The report does not provide a launch timeframe for the updated notebooks, but the secondary rumor suggests Mac Otakara may have been off on timing only.Currently, Apple has decided to adopt the USB Type-C interface for its MacBook Air, while Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are upgrading one of their notebooks' regular USB port to the Type-C. Lenovo, Acer and Dell are still evaluating the option.DigiTimes previously reported that Apple will begin shipping new "ultra-thin" 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks at the end of the second quarter, which ended in late June. The report said the new MacBooks would "share a design similar to the existing 12-inch MacBook" and be "thinner than [the] existing MacBook Air." DigiTimes also previously reported that Apple plans to release new ultra-thin MacBooks with metal injection molded hinges in the second half of 2016. The website is not always an accurate source of Apple's upcoming product plans, but it has well-connected supply chain sources that have proven reliable at times in the past. Apple's entire Mac lineup, beyond the 2016 12-inch MacBook, has stagnated. Apple has

Kanex Launches GoPower USB-C Battery Pack for MacBook

Kanex has introduced a new GoPower rechargeable 15,000 mAh USB-C battery pack capable of delivering one full charge to the 12-inch Retina MacBook. The slim aluminum battery pack also has a traditional USB port that can provide multiple charges to iPhones, iPads, and other USB devices. USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables are included for charging the GoPower itself. A four-LED status indicator lets users know the power level of the battery pack based on 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent, and 100 percent intervals. Kanex has also included a built-in circuit protection board with priority charging detection technology that enables pass-through charging to plugged in devices when the battery pack itself is plugged into a power source. The battery pack's USB-C output is 5V at 3 Amps, while its USB output is 5V at 2.4 Amps. GoPower retails for $99.95 on Amazon and Kanex's website.

Intel Wants to Replace 3.5mm Headphone Jack With USB-C Audio

Intel this week announced plans to usher in the adoption of an audio USB Type-C connector that would replace the standard 3.5 millimeter analog jack and eventually be capable of digital audio transmission (via Anandtech). The plans were announced during the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) in Shenzhen, China, where the semiconductor manufacturer set out its project to develop USB Type-C Digital Audio. Intel remained vague about the digital conversion, but set out broad aims to update the USB Audio Device 2.0 protocol specifications to include up-to-date audio features, while simplifying discovery and improving power management, with plans to release the revised specification in the second quarter this year. Intel hopes that the improved USB-C audio specification would eventually amount to a standardized connector replacement and eliminate the traditional audio jack from laptops, smartphones and tablets, eventually ushering in a transition to fully digital audio. From a consumer perspective, this could mean higher-quality audio output, more remote control possibilities on headsets, potential biometric health data tracking (such as in-ear heart-rate monitoring), and supplied power for features like active noise-cancelling without the need for dedicated batteries. The news comes amid iPhone 7 rumors suggesting Apple is also looking to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on its future mobile devices, however speculation gravitates towards Apple replacing it with a proprietary Lightning port capable of transmitting audio. With no headphone jack, wired headphones would

Griffin’s $40 BreakSafe Power Cable Brings MagSafe to the 12-Inch MacBook Starting April 25

Griffin Technology has announced that its BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable for the 12-inch Retina MacBook, including the new Early 2016 model introduced earlier this week, will start shipping on Monday, April 25. BreakSafe is a magnetic breakaway power cable for USB-C laptops such as the 12-inch MacBook which, unlike the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, does not feature Apple's proprietary MagSafe technology first introduced in 2006. The cable, originally announced at CES 2016, has a quick-release magnetic connector that plugs into the 12-inch MacBook's USB-C port and safely disconnects from the rest of the cable when under stress or strain, such as tripping over the power cord. BreakSafe's magnetic connector is 12.8mm deep, while the USB-C cable is six feet (1.8m) long. The cable, compatible with USB Power Delivery and rated up to 60 watts, is for charging power only and does not support data and video. BreakSafe can be ordered now for $39.99 on Griffin's website ahead of April 25

CalDigit Announces New Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Storage Devices

Today at the 2016 NAB Show, CalDigit announced four new storage products utilizing the latest Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Type-C technologies. The first is the CalDigit T8, a Thunderbolt 3 RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and JBOD storage solution with 8-bays offering capacities up to 48TB with 3.5” HDDs and 8TB with SSDs. The device's dual Thunderbolt 3 ports deliver up to 40Gb/s bandwidth, while dual USB-C ports work with Type-C computers like the 12-inch Retina MacBook. The new T8 features speeds of up to 1440MB/s with SSDs, two fans for cooling and a full-size DisplayPort connector on the back of the unit that enables users to connect a 4K monitor at 60Hz to the storage device. CalDigit has not released pricing for the T8 yet, but it will be available in late 2016. The second is the CalDigit U6, a 6-bay USB 3.1 Type-C RAID 0, 5, 6, 10 and JBOD storage solution that features USB 3.1 for up to 10Gb/s throughput. Like the T8, the U6 has a USB-C connector that is compatible with any PC, Mac, or Chrome computer with Type-C ports. The U6 will start at $1,399 MSRP for the 12TB version in late 2016. Likewise, the CalDigit AV Pro 2 is a new single-drive storage solution featuring USB 3.1 Type-C for connectivity with the 12-inch Retina MacBook and other Type-C computers. The successor to the original AV Pro features capacities up to 6TB and 1TB with SSDs, and speeds of up to 200MB/s with 3.5” HDDs or 430MB/s with SSDs. Meanwhile, the T4 RAID will be upgraded with Thunderbolt 3 later in 2016. Pricing for the AV Pro 2 and T4 RAID has not been announced. Apple is widely

Seagate Launches First USB-Powered Desktop Hard Drive

Seagate today announced the launch of the Innov8, which it claims to be the world's first desktop-class external hard drive that does not need to be plugged into a power outlet. The HDD is compatible with the Retina MacBook and other USB-C notebooks. Innov8 is an 8TB hard drive powered by a single USB-C cable, eliminating the need for a dedicated power source or adapter. The achievement was possible through USB 3.1 advancements and Seagate's new Ignition Boost Technology. Seagate was the recipient of a 2016 Red Dot design award for the Innov8, which features an aluminum enclosure that can be placed horizontally or vertically on a desk. Innov8 will be available in April for $349 through Seagate, Amazon, and select resellers. 200GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage is

Amazon Bans Sale of Potentially Dangerous USB-C Cables

Amazon has tightened restrictions on the sale of USB-C cables and adapters on its online store in an effort to protect customers from risky substandard products (via The Verge). The online retailer added non-compliant USB-C cables to its list of prohibited items, following a flood of potentially damaging third-party cables onto the market. The new note on Amazon's page of undesirables prohibits "any USB-C™ (or USB Type-C™) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by 'USB Implementers Forum Inc.'" The update was spotted by Google engineer Benson Leung, who has been testing USB-C cables sold by Amazon in an effort to highlight the risks of non-compliant products. Leung was spurred into action after a USB-C charging cable he bought destroyed a Chromebook Pixel he was working on in compatibility tests. Apple introduced the USB-C standard to its Mac range with the release of the 12-inch Retina MacBook. The new standard allows charging, data transfer, and video over a single connector. As a result, USB-C cables are capable of carrying a lot more power than traditional USB connectors, making faulty units a risk to computers and power supplies, and potentially a fire hazard. Apple states in a support document that the 12-inch MacBook will charge from USB-C power adapters not manufactured by Apple if they adhere to the USB Power Delivery specification. Based on Leung's extensive testing, 30 percent of third-party USB-C cables currently available do not meet USB-IF standards. Apple's USB-C ports are designed to shut down if a

Apple Offers Lightning to USB-C Cable for Fast-Charging 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Apple has introduced a Lightning to USB-C Cable to its online accessory store that lets users connect their iPhone, iPad, or iPod with Lightning connector to a computer’s USB-C port for syncing and charging. Significantly, the cable can be used with an Apple 29W USB-C Power Adapter to take advantage of the fast charging feature on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but not the brand new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which lacks the fast-charge capability. The new adapter will be a welcome option for iPhone and iPad owners who also own a 12-inch MacBook, which uses a 29W USB-C Power Adapter. The cable comes in 1-meter and 2-meter lengths, costing $25 and $35 respectively, and both are shipping immediately. Apple’s 29w USB-C Power Adapter is separately available for $49.