PlugBug USB Charger Piggybacks On MagSafe Adapter

Even Apple’s formidable legal team might have trouble shutting down the Plug Bug

I can hear you. “What?” you say, “Another damn power adapter? What’s wrong with you, Sorrel?” But before you nod off, give me a second. This power adapter is very, very clever.

It’s called the PlugBug, and it charges both your iPad and your MacBook at the same time. That sounds easy, but the problem is that Apple won’t let anyone else make MagSafe adapters. So TwelveSouth, the company behind the PlugBug, didn’t even bother to make this part of the charger. Instead, the little red unit replaces the removable two-prong adapter unit on your existing MacBook power brick.

Ingenious, right? I have always liked Apple’s chargers because it’s so easy to swap in the correct set of prongs when you travel, but this makes it even more useful, especially at trade shows like CES where plug-space can be hard to come by.

The PlugBug can also work as a standalone 10-watt USB charger, and comes with its own cover so the innards aren’t exposed while you use it.

The PlugBug is available now, for $35.

PlugBug product page [TwelveSouth via Chris Herbert]

Not so ultimate Ultrabook: MacBook Air KIRF features mini-HDMI port, 3.5 hour battery life

Hey, who wiped the MacBook Air logo off? Nah, we’re kidding — it’s a KIRF. Sure, Apple’s svelte 13-incher may have a duo of USB ports and an SD card slot, but this rig adds in a 3-in-1 card reader and an odd, combo RJ45 / VGA jack (which we assume needs an adapter). For good measure, you’ll also find a mini-HDMI output, although, with 3.5 hours of battery life it may prove problematic for getting through a 1080p movie marathon without nearby power. The alloy-encased lappy has a 1.86GHz Intel Atom N2800 CPU with a GMA3600 integrated GPU, 2GB of RAM, a 32GB SSD and a 13.3-inch LED display sporting a ho-hum resolution (for a 13-incher) of 1366 x 768, just like the 11-inch MacBook Air. Amazingly, this knock-off weighs merely .01 kilograms more than its real counterpart at 1.36 kgs (about three pounds), while being only 0.1 cm thicker. Giz-China expects this Ultrabook-wannabe by Shenzhen Technology Ltd to land on Chinese shelves sometime in November for about $471. Cue Apple’s lawyers in 3… 2…

Not so ultimate Ultrabook: MacBook Air KIRF features mini-HDMI port, 3.5 hour battery life originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 29 Oct 2011 18:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Giz-China  |  sourceShanzhaiben (translated)  | Email this | Comments

Twelve South BassJump 2 USB Subwoofer now available, further bumps your Mac’s thump (update)

At a glance, one could confuse Twelve South’s BassJump 2 for a 2011 Mac Mini — don’t be fooled though, this USB subwoofer aims for sound that’s anything but. Much like the original BassJump, this guy’s aimed at aiding MacBook speakers by adding extra low end boost, and employing proprietary software to keep it in all in check. Improving on the original, however, the BassJump 2 pumps out eight extra decibels of volume and comes with “remastered software,” notably featuring iMac and Thunderbolt Display support. If it piques your fancy, the BassJump 2 is now available for about $70 — much like a pair of utilitarian Grado headphones (or similar), but we digress. Full press release past the break.

Update: For clarification, the BassJump 2 is physically identical the first. According to Twelve South, its updated software is the key new feature and can be downloaded for free if you already own a BassJump.

[Thanks, Brendan]

Continue reading Twelve South BassJump 2 USB Subwoofer now available, further bumps your Mac’s thump (update)

Twelve South BassJump 2 USB Subwoofer now available, further bumps your Mac’s thump (update) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 26 Oct 2011 03:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceTwelve South  | Email this | Comments

Apple MacBook Pro (late 2011) line-up gets processor and graphics boost

If you meander on down to the Apple store this morning, you’ll spot some nice little spec bumps to the MacBook Pro range — without any increase to the prices. For a start, you can now splash out on a faster AMD Radeon HD 6770M discrete GPU with your 15-inch or 17-inch lappie. Even better, there are some CPU improvements to be had: the 13-incher gets the option of a 2.8GHz Core i7 or a 2.4GHz Core i5 dual-core processor, instead of the previous entry-level 2.3GHz i5 (and it also gets its HDD notched up to a minimum 500GB, or max 750GB). The 15-incher now goes up to a quad-core 2.4GHz i7 — the same speedy processor that comes in the updated 17-inch variant. Oh, the cost/benefit dilemmas.

Apple MacBook Pro (late 2011) line-up gets processor and graphics boost originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 06:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceApple  | Email this | Comments

Pee-ew! MacBook Air Factory Stench Could Cause Shipment Delays

Shipments of MacBook Airs could be slowed a bit due to a factory closure in eastern China. That in itself isn’t all that newsworthy. It’s the reason for the closure: The factory is really, really smelly.

Local residents complained to local authorities of a “strange odor” coming from Catcher Technology’s factory, so it was partially closed, Wall Street Journal reports.

The factory is a supplier for the aluminum casing of Apple’s MacBook Air, as well as casings for iPods and iPod shuffles, and some HTC smartphones. Catcher and the more popularly known Foxconn factory are two of the world’s largest producers of metal casings for electronics.

“Shipments to our customers will inevitably be affected,” Catcher President Allen Horng said of the malodorous situation.

The plant won’t be able to resume normal operation until the government has inspected the facilities, so the closure could continue through October or November. The factory closure is mostly bad news for Catcher, but could delay shipments of MacBook Airs and HTC devices.

Catcher customers were advised to “make adjustments to their (casings) procurement.” Hopefully they responded with, “That stinks.”

via The Giz

mLogic mDock extends your MacBook ports, steals your Thunder(bolt)

If you’re trying to make a name for yourself in the incredibly crowded portable storage space, you can innovate and create something totally awesome, or you can do this. The mDock from mLogic is an external hard drive, port extender and port blocker all rolled into one pricey coffin-like chamber of fail. $219 will net you an eternal resting place for 500 gigs of data, while $299 ups the ante to an entire terabyte. Plus, with a pair of front-facing USB ports, you can add a third-party portable storage yokel for the less-than-princely sum of 50 bucks. If you haven’t already gathered, the mDock is designed for mMacbook Pros, but there’s also the iMac-mountable mBack (curiously not the iBack), designed with Apple’s familiar desktop flavor in mind. That variant is slightly more affordable, with pricing ranging from $169 for 1TB to $349 for 3TB, but you’ll forgo the dock-like USB hub and headphone jack. There’s no word on when to expect these life-changing devices in stores, but it’s never too early to dust off the mChair iChair and park yourself on 5th Ave.

Update: As pointed out by many in the comments most ports that are blocked by the mDock are replicated on the silver brick, including the Magsafe. The only restriction appears to be a lack of pass-through for Thunderbolt, but you do get a mini DisplayPort for hooking up external monitors. We’ve added one more pic after the break.

Continue reading mLogic mDock extends your MacBook ports, steals your Thunder(bolt)

mLogic mDock extends your MacBook ports, steals your Thunder(bolt) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 10 Sep 2011 09:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Slashgear  |  sourcemLogic  | Email this | Comments

Engadget’s back to school guide 2011: laptops

Welcome to Engadget’s Back to School guide! We know that this time of year can be pretty annoying and stressful for everyone, so we’re here to help out with the heartbreaking process of gadget buying for the school-aged crowd. Today we’re getting down to the very important business of helping you sift through laptops, and you can always head to the Back to School hub to see the rest of the product guides as they’re added throughout the month. Be sure to keep checking back — at the end of the month we’ll be giving away a ton of the gear featured in our guides — and hit up the hub page right here!

Ah, laptops. Some of us received our first notebooks the summer before college if not later. But times have changed and we’re sure for many of the kids reading this freshman year is just an excuse to upgrade from the clunkers that carried them through high school. Either way, this one’s pretty much mandatory — unless you’re a serious gamer who insists on a desktop GPU for marathon sessions of CoD: Black Ops, you’re going to need a laptop for pounding out last-minute term papers in the library, taking notes in class and posting incriminating photos on Facebook. The problem is, the market’s overrun with laptops that purport to be just perfect for the back to school set. They can’t all be worth your money, though, so we whittled the list down to a handful of choices for each budget — and if you’re lucky you’ll get your very own HP Pavilion dm1z for the pretty price of, well, nothing. Simply leave a comment below to be entered to win, and check out our giveaway page for more details. So wipe off the glasses, grab your clicker, and get ready to jump past the break for a top-level overview of this year’s picks for back to school.

Continue reading Engadget’s back to school guide 2011: laptops

Engadget’s back to school guide 2011: laptops originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 26 Aug 2011 12:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |   | Email this | Comments

Apple Patent Cleverly Hides Antenna in Your Keyboard

Apple’s keen on eliminating antenna woes in its products, even ones you may not even realize had antennas in the first place.

A new patent win for the Cupertino, California, giant illustrates a method for integrating a cellular antenna into MacBook and iMac keyboards, specifically by placing antennas under some keyboard keys.

According to Patently Apple, this is Apple’s fourth cellular-based MacBook related patent over the past year and the second to deal with disguising the cellular antenna itself. Could we be seeing a 3G or 4G-capable MacBook in the future?

The design and positioning of an antenna in a device is an important issue Apple is fully aware of.

Last summer, users discovered that the iPhone 4’s reception significantly dropped when they would touch one of its antenna bands.

In the past, MacBook Pro owners have had difficulty getting Bluetooth accessories, like the Magic Mouse, to play because of the Bluetooth antenna positioning in the notebook.

Recently, a 2007 MacBook Pro prototype with a Mag-safe-style rabbit-ear 3G antenna was racking up big bucks on eBay before the auction was pulled.

In the patent, the antenna is hidden under a few keyboard keys to improve its reception and transmission efficiencies.

When a user is not pressing the key, the antenna’s resonating element is about as far from the conductive metal housing as possible. So, ideally, the antenna would be positioned under a key that’s not used very often, like a Print Screen key (which the patent singles out despite the fact that Apple keyboards typically don’t even have a Print Screen key).

According to the diagrams, individual antennas would be placed under multiple keys and the device would use real-time information to decide which antenna is the best one to use. For instance, it could choose one that has a stronger signal than the others.

The patent doesn’t specify what kind of antenna would be placed on the keyboard. It could be Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or it could be used for cellular communication or for data services (3G or 4G reception). The type of wireless signal the antenna would receive or transmit would depend on the configuration of the antenna.

So it could be that in iMac keyboards, the antennas would improve reception with Bluetooth peripherals, while in the MacBook keyboard, it would be used for Wi-Fi or cellular services. Then you wouldn’t even need to use your iPhone as a hotspot when you’re on the road.

Image: Patently Apple

Apple pico projector patent application makes shared workspaces fun again

Really, there’s nothing new in Apple’s patent flirtation with the world of projection, but the latest application does take things to a whole new level, with pico projectors connected to the iPhone, iPad and MacBook. Cupertino’s “Projected Display Shared Workspaces” patent application details a utopian universe wherein tiny projectors are connected to Apple products, with communication links across devices that allow for the sharing of image data between projected displays in the aforementioned “shared workspaces.” Oh, and included cameras let the user interact with the displays via gestures, Wii-style, which puts our old projector shadow puppet shows to shame.

Apple pico projector patent application makes shared workspaces fun again originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 11 Aug 2011 16:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Unwired View  |  sourceUSPTO  | Email this | Comments

Acer’s Aspire 3951 leaks with MacBook Air-like specs, available in October?

It looks like Acer may be dropping down to the lightweight laptop division, now that images of its so-called Aspire 3951 have leaked out of Vietnam. An ostensible rival to the recently refreshed MacBook Air, the 13.3-inch 3951 reportedly boasts a similarly slim design, measuring 13mm thick and weighing less than 1.4 kilograms (about three pounds). According to Sohoa, the aluminum-cased device is powered by a second generation Intel Core processor, features an optional 160GB SSD, and offers more than six hours of battery life, along with Bluetooth 4.0 support. Much like the Air, this Aspire can purportedly boot up pretty fast, as well, rousing from sleep mode in just 1.7 seconds. It’s rumored that Acer will release this new line in October within the curiously affordable price range between $770 and $960, but we’ll have to wait and see whether that actually comes to fruition. In the meantime, you can check out an extra image of the Aspire 3951 below, or hit the source link for the full collection.

[Thanks, @tranquochuyvn]

Update: Oddly enough, it appears that we’ve caught a glimpse of this exact same laptop before, except it was portrayed by M.I.C. Gadget as a Thunderbolt MacBook Air leak. Perhaps the folks received some bad intel, be it intentional or not.

Continue reading Acer’s Aspire 3951 leaks with MacBook Air-like specs, available in October?

Acer’s Aspire 3951 leaks with MacBook Air-like specs, available in October? originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 09 Aug 2011 07:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceSohoa (Translated)  | Email this | Comments