MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Automatic Adapter or Get a 20% Discount

Automatic has partnered with us for our next giveaway, graciously offering one Automatic Adapter that provides information about your car's status and performance and your driving habits via a companion app. The Automatic adapter was first announced in early 2013 with recent updates last year bringing a second-generation adapter with additional functionality and the release of an SDK and App Gallery to allow other apps to use data gathered by the adapter. The Automatic Adapter retails for $99.95

The Automatic Adapter connects to a car via its ODB-II diagnostic port, which is found on most newer cars sold in the US since 1996 (Automatic offers a car compatibility checker on its site). The Adapter gathers information on mileage, gas consumption, and driving performance by analyzing braking and acceleration. It can also check engine warning codes and provide information on what's wrong. If a collision is detected through the Adapter’s accelerometer, a Crash Alert is triggered and emergency services can be contacted automatically via the paired smartphone (this feature is available in the US only).

In addition to its own free companion iPhone app [Direct Link] (an Android app is also available), the Automatic Adapter can share its information with other apps in its App Gallery, which includes apps that track mileage for business expense purposes to smart home and fitness applications. For example, a Nest smart thermostat can be triggered to adjust the temperature at home based on your car’s location so it automatically warms or cools as you leave or arrive.

To enter to win the Automatic Adapter, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter your email address. Your email address will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and coordinate the delivery of the Adapter. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest will run from today (January 15) at 12:00 pm Pacific time through 12:00 pm Pacific time on January 22. The winner will be chosen randomly on January 22 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address. The prize will be shipped to the winner for free.

Automatic is also offering a discount code to MacRumors readers that will take 20% off all purchases made at the company’s online store. MacRumors readers can enter code macrumors20 at checkout to receive the discount.

Tags: Automatic, giveaway
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‘MOS Pack’ Backpack Features a Built-In Power Strip for Hassle-Free Charging of All Your Devices

The MOS Pack, available now on Kickstarter, is a backpack that includes a built-in power strip and cable management system that allows all of the devices inside to be charged by a single power cord without taking anything out of the backpack.

Ideal for travel, the MOS Pack can hold charging cables for a MacBook, an iPad, and an iPhone all at once, with each one plugging into an included MOS Reach power strip. The MOS Reach includes two USB charging ports for iOS devices (or other USB-powered electronics) and a standard port that can accommodate a MacBook’s Power Adapter.

Cords are cleverly routed through cable management sleeves to keep them organized and out of sight, and the small power strip is concealed at the bottom of the backpack and kept in place with magnets. The MOS Pack includes a padded laptop sleeve, a tablet sleeve, an iPhone pocket, a waterproof water bottle pocket, a passport pocket, a hard glasses case, and slots for pens and pencils.

The MOS team has produced and shipped several other products via Kickstarter, including the original MOS Magnetic Organization System, the MOS Spring, and the MOS Reach, establishing itself as a reliable manufacturer.

The MOS Pack can be pre-ordered via Kickstarter for an early bird pledge of $120. When the early bird units have sold out, the price will be $140. MOS plans to begin shipping backpacks in March of 2016.

Tags: Kickstarter, MOS, MOS Pack
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New USB-C Batteries to Charge Retina MacBooks at Full Speed

Apple’s Retina MacBook uses a brand new USB-C connector for power, which means that it’s able to be charged by external USB battery packs much like an iPhone or an iPad. But because of its higher 29 watt power requirements, there aren’t any current battery packs that pump out enough power to charge the MacBook at full speed. Instead, most USB battery packs used with the MacBook today just keep the battery steady, without adding additional power. That’s set to change, however, as companies are starting to debut accessories and battery packs that will let the Retina MacBook charge at its full 29 watt rate.

As of today, Hyper, known for its line of external battery packs designed for Apple’s notebooks, is launching a Indiegogo project for the HyperJuice Magic Box. Available in two varieties, the Magic Box is an adapter that allows the 12-inch Retina MacBook to be charged at a full 29W speed using HyperJuice battery packs, or up to 12W using regular USB battery packs.

The 29W Magic Box adapter cable, which converts the DC output of a HyperJuice battery pack to a USB-C connection, uses a smart IC to enable „fast and safe“ 29W charging, refilling the MacBook’s battery just as its 29W Power Adapter would. The 12W Magic Box is a USB to USB-C adapter that will let any existing USB battery pack work with the new MacBook, but it won’t be as powerful as a HyperJuice battery pack paired with the 29W adapter.

If you need faster charging at the same 29W speed as the original Apple USB-C Power Adapter, use Magic Box 29W adapter together with HyperJuice batteries. Only HyperJuice can safely and efficiently provide up to 29W (or even 100W) power via USB-C. This is something that regular USB battery packs cannot do.

The 29W Magic Box will be available for $35 while the 12W version is available for $25. Both can be ordered through Hyper’s Indiegogo page, which also includes other purchasing options for Magic Box and external battery back combos at discounted prices, plus options that will make HyperJuice battery packs compatible with both MagSafe-based Macs and the Retina MacBook.

Hyper’s existing HyperJuice battery packs can also be ordered from the Hyper website, with prices that range from $169.95 to $449.95. Ranging from 16,000 mAh to 61,000 mAh, the HyperJuice external batteries can add anywhere from 14 to 53 additional hours of battery life to a MacBook.

In the near future, there will also be other USB-C external battery pack options for the MacBook. At the end of this month, Maximas will introduce a crowdfunding campaign for the XTRON, a 13,400 mAh power bank (for 8 hours of extra battery life) designed specifically for USB-C devices like the MacBook.

The XTRON external battery pack, coming soon from Maximas
It includes 4.2A USB charging ports that are compatible with both USB-C and USB-A so it can be used to charge multiple types of devices simultaneously, and though it’s 13,400 mAh, it’s able to fit in the palm of a hand. It will be available for $69 when the Indiegogo project launches.

Another company previously announced a similar product, the Reach Go battery pack. The Reach Go’s original specs claim to have 15,000 mAh, offer two standard USB ports, and a single USB-C port, and cost $99. This battery has also not yet shipped, but the website claims an October, 2015 arrival.



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Microsoft’s One Day Only Sale brings discounts to Surface, Lumia, Band, Xbox games and more

Microsoft is offering discounts today on many of its own devices – such as a Lumia 640 for $69.99 off-contract – and those of its partners, including savings of hundreds of dollars on Windows PCs. Read more…

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Video Review: The SVALT D’s Built-In Fan Sets it Apart From Other MacBook Docks

The Svalt D is a MacBook dock with a unique feature – a built in cooling fan that’s designed to keep a MacBook’s temperature down when used in clamshell mode with an external monitor. Keeping the MacBook cool helps prevent processor throttling due to the high temperatures a MacBook is subjected to when in clamshell mode.

We went hands-on with the Svalt D to test the claims that it reduces temperature and speeds up performance, and we were impressed with how it worked.

Made up of a two-pound block of aluminum, the Svalt D is an attractive, sturdy stand that matches well with Apple’s line of MacBooks. The Svalt D houses a small stand that moves air through a MacBook, and thanks to an adjustable rubber foot, it’s compatible with all of Apple’s notebooks.

To test the Svalt D, we exported two different videos from a MacBook, with and without the dock. Without using the dock, exporting a video took 15 minutes and caused the temperature of the MacBook to rise to 121 degrees Fahrenheit. With the stand, our video exported in 14 minutes and the stand kept the MacBook at 105 degrees Fahrenheit, a 16 degree difference.

Our one complaint about the Svalt D concerned the two modes of the fan. There’s a normal mode and a silent mode, but switching between them requires using a special standalone cable, which is a bit of a hassle and an extra expense. Luckily, both modes are relatively quiet and don’t make as much noise as a MacBook fan, but the silent mode is definitely a better choice for users who want the quietest possible performance.

In our opinion, the Svalt D is a solid dock that lives up to its claims, keeping your MacBook cool when it’s used with an external monitor. The Svalt D is available in Silver and Black and can be purchased from the Svalt D website for $149.95. The Silence Adapter is available for $8.95.

Note: MacRumors received no compensation for this review.



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‘Znaps’ Adds MagSafe-Style Connectivity to Your Lightning Cables

Znaps is a new Kickstarter project that aims to make connecting a Lightning cable to your iPhone or iPad as simple as connecting a MagSafe charger to your MacBook. Znaps consists of a connector that plugs into the Lightning port on your iOS device, and an adapter for your Lightning cable that lets it connect to the port magnetically.

With the Znaps Connector and Adapter, a Lightning cable can snap onto your device using magnets, making it quicker to connect and charge an iPad or iPhone. There’s also a version for devices that use Micro-USB.

Let’s make charging easier! ZNAPS is a simple yet perfect solution to prevent frayed charging cables, tripping over cable resulting in smashed phones, pointless fiddling to plug in cable in the dark, water damage through charging outlet, and more! This innovative magnetic charging adapter will make your life just a bit more convenient.

Znaps is small enough that it will work with a wide variety of custom iPhone cases that leave the Lightning port exposed, and as the project’s creators point out, it can cut down on the hassle of fumbling to get a Lightning cable plugged into an iPhone or an iPad.

Znaps works for both charging and syncing, and a small LED light on the adapter will light up when a device is being charged. The magnetic field it uses is „negligibly small“ according to the project’s creators, and will not cause damage to the internal components of the iPhone. It also does not enhance or impede charging times.

A Znaps Connector and Adapter for Lightning or Micro-USB can be obtained for a pledge of $11 Canadian, or just under $9. There are also several other tiers available at different price points for purchasing multiple Znaps.

Znaps are projected to ship in late November of 2015, but as most of us have experienced on Kickstarter, there are projects that miss shipping estimates by months, especially when orders exceed expectations, so prospective purchasers should keep that in mind when backing this project.



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