OWC Launches New USB-C Travel Dock Suitable for MacBooks

OWC has launched a new USB-C travel dock suitable for Apple's latest MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.


The dock connects to a Mac or PC with a single USB-C cable and provides access to the following five ports:
  • 2× USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 1× USB-C port for power
  • 1× HDMI 2.0 port
  • 1× SD card reader

The USB-C port provides up to 60W of pass-through charging, while the HDMI 2.0 port can drive a 4K display at 30Hz.

The compact-sized dock is available on MacSales.com in MacBook-like Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray for $49.99 in the United States.

It's also available on Amazon in select colors.

Tags: USB-C, dock, OWC

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Upcoming USB 3.2 Specification Will Double Data Rates Using Existing Cables

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, comprising Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and other companies, today introduced an upcoming USB 3.2 specification, which will eventually replace the existing USB 3.1 specification upon release.

An incremental update, USB 3.2 is designed to define multi-lane operation for USB 3.2 hosts and devices. USB Type-C cables already support multi-lane operation, and with USB 3.2, hosts and devices can be created as multi-lane solutions, allowing for either two lanes of 5Gb/s or two lanes of 10Gb/s operation.


With support for two lanes of 10Gb/s transfer speeds, performance is essentially doubled over existing USB-C cables.

As an example, the USB Promoter Group says a USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will be capable of 2GB/sec data transfer performance over a USB-C cable certified for USB SuperSpeed 10Gb/s USB 3.1, while also remaining backwards compatible with earlier USB devices.
"When we introduced USB Type-C to the market, we intended to assure that USB Type-C cables and connectors certified for SuperSpeed USB or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps would, as produced, support higher performance USB as newer generations of USB 3.0 were developed," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. "The USB 3.2 update delivers the next level of performance."
Along with two-lane operation, USB 3.2 continues to use SuperSpeed USB layer data rates and encoding techniques and will introduce a minor update to hub specifications for seamless transitions between single and two-lane operation.

More information about USB 3.2 will be unveiled at USB Developer Days 2017 later this year.

Tags: USB-C, USB 3.2

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iPhone 8 Expected to Include Faster 10W USB-C Wall Charger

Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said the widely rumored 5.8-inch iPhone with an OLED display will feature a Lightning connector with USB-C Power Delivery that enables fast charging capabilities.

"iPhone 8" mockup by Benjamin Geskin for iDrop News

Lending credence to that rumor, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis today in a research note said the so-called "iPhone 8" will come bundled with a 10W power adapter with a USB-C connector and an integrated USB-C Power Delivery chip.

Curtis said the USB-C Power Delivery chips built into both the iPhone and 10W power adapter will be supplied by Cypress Semiconductor. The research note suggests it'll be the same CYPD2104 chip used in the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

An excerpt from the Barclays research note distributed to clients, obtained by MacRumors and edited slightly for clarity:
We believe that in the iPhone 8, Apple likely includes Cypress Semiconductor's USB-C Power Delivery chip in the phone and an additional chip within the power brick in box (likely a new 10W, which would use a more integrated solution with Cypress Power Delivery).
Like the new 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the so-called "iPhone 8" would be capable of fast charging with a Lightning to USB-C cable connected to the new 10W power adapter or Apple's 29W USB-C power adapter for MacBook.

Apple will presumably include a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box if it's going in this direction, possibly instead of the traditional Lightning to USB cable. Apple could also opt to include a female USB-C to male USB-A adapter in the box.

Apple's current 5W Power Adapter for iPhone and 12W Power Adapter for iPad both have slower USB-A ports.

Given the "iPhone 8" is expected to have around a 2,700 mAh L-shaped two-cell battery pack, faster charging would be a welcomed addition. The device is also widely rumored to feature wireless charging.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: Barclays, USB-C, Lightning

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LG’s 32-Inch ‘4K’ Wide Color USB-C Display Now Available for $999

LG's new 32UD99 display is now available to order for $999 from retailers such as Amazon and B&H Photo Video, as noted by AnandTech.


The 31.5-inch IPS LED display features Ultra HD resolution of 3,840×2,160 pixels, which is often marketed as 4K, support for 95% of the DCI-P3 wide color gamut, and a USB-C input for single-cable connectivity with a 12-inch MacBook or 2016 MacBook Pro. It also supports HDR10 and AMD FreeSync.

A complete rundown of the LG 32UD99 display's tech specs:
  • 31.5-inch
  • 4K Ultra HD resolution (3,840×2,160 pixels)
  • 140 PPI
  • IPS LED
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 5ms response time
  • DCI-P3 wide color gamut (95%)
  • 550 nits peak brightness
  • Ports: USB-C input, DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0a ports, and two USB 3.0 ports
  • Up to ~60W power delivery to MacBook Pro
  • Other features: HDR10, AMD FreeSync, dual 10W speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack, narrow bezel design with pivoting and height adjustable stand

Here's how LG's UltraFine 5K Display, now $1,299.95, stacks up:
  • 27-inch
  • 5K resolution (5,120×2,880 pixels)
  • 217 PPI
  • IPS LED
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 12-14ms response time
  • DCI-P3 wide color gamut (99%)
  • 500 nits peak brightness
  • Ports: Thunderbolt 3 input and three USB-C 3.1 ports
  • Up to 85W power delivery to MacBook Pro
  • Other features: Built-in 1080p camera, dual 5W speakers, microphone, Thunderbolt 3 cable included, adjustable and VESA compatible stand
LG's 32UD99 arguably looks nicer than the UltraFine 5K, while its larger screen, HDR10, and AMD FreeSync support are attractive features for gamers. But, for $300 less, you are getting Ultra HD resolution instead of 5K, USB-C instead of Thunderbolt 3, no webcam, lower power delivery, and slightly less coverage of the P3 color gamut.

Read our Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Display Buyer's Guide for other options.


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Western Digital Reveals ‘G-Drive USB-C’ With High-Capacity Storage and MacBook Charging Capabilities

Western Digital today announced the newest addition to its G-Technology brand "G-Drive," called the G-Drive UBS-C. The company said that the new device was designed with power users and creative enthusiasts in mind, allowing them access to high-capacity storage and charging on the MacBook Pro through the USB-C port.

The G-Drive USB-C is available in 4TB, 8TB, and 10TB capacities so users can store HD videos, photos, music, backups, and more on the device, which is also Time Machine compatible. The drive also supports traditional USB 3.0 connections, and ships with a USB-C to USB-A cable to make it backwards compatible with systems that include USB-A connectors. A USB-C to USB-C cable is also included.

Western Digital's new drive has a transfer rate of up to 195 MB/s, and in terms of charging the company said that the G-Drive USB-C provides up to 45 watts of USB Power Delivery. The drive is compatible with Thunderbolt 3 as well.
“The addition of the G-DRIVE USB-C external drive provides tech enthusiasts a single-cable high capacity, high quality storage solution that meets their individual creative needs,” said Mike Williams, vice president of Advanced Technologies, Western Digital. “The G-DRIVE USB-C ensures pros can work seamlessly with the latest computers, and with a USB-C port and support for USB Power Delivery, it allows a user’s charging capability to be more efficient without having to worry about connecting yet another cable to their computer for charging.”
Users can pre-order the G-Drive USB-C for $199.95 at 4TB, $349.95 at 8TB, and $499.95 at 10TB beginning today. Western Digital said that the drive will be available this quarter through G-Technology resellers around the world.


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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.
Continue reading Review: LG’s $1500 38UC99 UltraWide Display Offers a Giant, Desk-Filling Workspace

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).



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 the air in the time before launch, it remains unclear why the console would not automatically leech charge off the larger MacBook Pro. As game designer Bennett Foddy pointed out on Twitter, the connection between the Switch and MacBook Pro isn't inherently buggy or wrong, but it's easy to think that the MacBook Pro (battery life ~10 hours) would naturally provide power to the Switch (battery life 2.5-6.5 hours), like it does to iPhones and iPads.

In related Nintendo Switch and Apple news, Nintendo today launched its Nintendo Switch Parental Control app for iOS devices on the App Store [Direct Link]. The app will let parents remotely control the content of the games their kids play, as well as for how long, and even be able to restrict certain ESRB ratings and online features.


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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 its release 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.
The Wall Street Journal has historically been a reliable source for iPhone rumors, so there is a good chance the report is true.

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 would likely be similar to Apple's female-to-male Lightning to Micro-USB adapter, which allows an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with a Lightning connector to charge and sync with a micro USB cable. Apple sold a similar 30-pin Dock Connector to Micro-USB adapter in Europe to adhere to EU policy.

Many consumers have advocated for Apple to ditch its proprietary Lightning connector in favor of USB-C, which has become a standard feature on several Android smartphones, notebooks, and other devices. Whether it is an all-out USB-C port or yet another adapter remains to be seen, but it seems that Apple might be listening.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: USB-C, Lightning

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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.

lg_27ud88
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.
Continue reading LG 27UD88 Review: A Well-Rounded Ultra HD Display With USB-C

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-27-ultrathin
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 support and 4K Ultra HD resolution of 3,840×2,160 for 137 PPI. In addition to HDR, the 32UD99 covers over 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut for wider and more immersive colors.

lg-monitor-32ud99
The 32UD99 can connect to the new MacBook Pro or 12-inch MacBook over a single cable, but LG did not specify the wattage for pass-through charging. The display also features built-in speakers with "Rich Bass" technology and a "True Color Pro" setting for "color reproduction accuracy unmatched in the industry," according to LG.

While it does not have USB-C input, LG will also be showcasing the 34-inch 21:9 UltraWide Mobile+ Monitor at CES 2017. The new 34UM79M model is "the world's first Chromecast-enabled multimedia monitor," enabling users to stream movies, music, games, and more from mobile devices directly to the monitor.

Also on display in Las Vegas alongside LG's UltraFine 4K and 5K displays will be its new 34-inch 21:9 UltraWide gaming monitor. The 34UC99 model is equipped with AMD's FreeSync technology, 1ms Motion Blur Reduction, Dynamic Action Sync, Black Stabilizer, and other gamer-friendly features. No word yet on USB-C input.

LG did not confirm pricing or availability, but those details should become known once CES gets underway later this week.

Dell's and LG's new USB-C displays provide new MacBook Pro owners with a couple of additional choices after Apple discontinued its Thunderbolt Display. LG's UltraFine 5K Display remains one of the best options, but those looking for alternatives should read our USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Display Buyer's Guide.

Related Roundup: Displays
Tags: LG, USB-C, 4K displays, Dell, CES 2017

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