How to maximize your MacBook trade-in

Because there are fewer MacBooks than iPhones on the market, and the laptops are more difficult to repair, buyback programs typically shortchange you when it comes to Apple computers. But there are three easy tricks that will help you maximize your profit when you trade your old MacBook for cash. (You’ll also want to choose […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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CleanMyDrive 2 offers new tools to keep your external drives in top shape

Ever noticed how filled with digital flotsam and jetsam your Mac gets? It’s even worse with external hard drives, which tend to fill up with OS X service files (with glorious names like .DS_Store or .TemporaryItems), Windows service files from when you connect to other PCs, resource forks and un-emptied files in the Trash. CleanMyDrive […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Thinner MacBook Air in 13" and 15" Sizes Coming at WWDC 2016?

Apple may be preparing to introduce a revamped MacBook Air at next year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, according to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News [Google Translate]. If Apple holds true to recent history, WWDC 2016 would be held in June, and the today’s report claims the new MacBook Air will launch in the third quarter, which corresponds to the July–September timeframe.

The new MacBook Air is said to take on a slimmer design and arrive in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, but it is unclear whether an 11-inch model will also be included. The slimmer design will be enabled by „fully redesigned“ internal components across the board, and Apple is reportedly currently working with its suppliers to develop these new components.

Apple’s notebook lineup expanded earlier this year with the addition of the new MacBook, an ultrathin machine carrying a 12-inch Retina display and utilizing ultra low voltage Intel chips for a fanless design.

Many have assumed the MacBook Air will be discontinued at some point as declining costs allow the MacBook to become Apple’s mainstream notebook offering, so a redesigned MacBook Air giving the line a new lease on life could be considered a bit of a surprise.

The addition of a 15-inch MacBook Air could hint at Apple’s vision for its future lineup, with the 12-inch MacBook occupying the ultraportable spot, the MacBook Air serving mainstream customers at 13 and 15 inches, and the MacBook Pro offering more power at those same sizes.

Economic Daily News has a hit-or-miss track record with Apple rumors, so caution should be observed with today’s claims until or unless other supporting rumors surface in the coming months.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Tag: udn.com
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Air (Caution)
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Satechi Review: Type-C USB Hub is Hit-or-Miss, Smaller Adapter is Reliable

When Apple launched the new 12-inch MacBook earlier this year, some of the first accessories for the laptop – which uses USB Type-C exclusively – were various adapters and dongles that allowed customers to expand the initially limiting capabilities of the hardware with access to traditional USB, HDMI, and SD card ports. Apple itself launched a line of expansion cables for USB Type-C devices, and now third-party accessory company Satechi has its own Type-C line of USB hubs and adapters for customers to choose from.

Satechi’s Type-C USB 3.0 3-in-1 Combo Hub

Satechi sent me two of the company’s new accessories focusing on the connectivity between USB-C devices and more traditional inputs, mainly USB 3.0. One of the accessories is a complex „Hub“ ($39.99, on sale for $34.99) with three USB 3.0 ports along with one SD and one microSD card slot, while the other is a simple dongle ($14.99) with a USB-C connector and a traditional USB-A 3.0 port. Each product comes in three different colors to match the shades of the new line of Retina MacBooks: Gunmetal (Space Gray), Gold, and Silver. Because neither dongle offers an additional USB-C port, there’s no passthrough charging feature.

Satechi’s Type-C USB Adapter

Overall, Satechi successfully mirrors Apple’s visual aesthetic with the two accessories, and although I was sent Gold accessories that didn’t exactly mesh well with my Space Gray MacBook, it seems when color-matched the new USB hubs would blend right in with their respective MacBooks.

With its most basic functions, the Satechi 3-in-1 Combo Hub provides simple USB-to-USB-C data transfer with little hassle. Once the Hub is plugged into a MacBook, a small light on the top of the accessory illuminates to confirm its activation, and users can then plug any USB 3.0 device into the accessory for access on the Retina MacBook. The Satechi Hub does accept SD cards and microSD cards but I had none on hand to test so can’t confirm their functionality first-hand.

I’d say it’s safe to assume the SD cards work as well as the USB ports on the Hub, but I ran into some noticeable issues with the accessory that may cause potential users cause for concern. First, Satechi’s accessory is oddly choosy on which USB devices it accepts to work through the Hub. With three separate USB sticks and an Apple-branded USB SuperDrive to test out, I discovered that one USB stick and the Apple SuperDrive simply didn’t work with the Hub.

When plugged into a separate computer both functioned normally, but plugged into the MacBook through the Satechi Hub, the USB drive never appeared on the MacBook. In a similar vein, the Apple USB SuperDrive repeatedly displayed caution messages reiterating the need for a separate power source to use the device, suggesting the Hub is limited in the amount of bus power it can provide. Essentially the only USB-related product I occasionally dust off is the SuperDrive, so it’s particularly disappointing that Satechi’s 3-in-1 Hub doesn’t work with it. The Hub also tends to heat up with extended use, but it didn’t appear to affect performance in my testing.

Second, the slender dongle raises some issues in its design: when plugged into the MacBook, the only anchor tethering it to the computer is the small USB-C connector. The Hub itself is just over 3.25 inches long and because of the MacBook’s design has no extra support down the length of its side on the opposite end of the USB-C adapter. Although any harm is unlikely if handled with care, it certainly feels like there is potential for damage to either the Hub or the MacBook if the combination is held or picked up awkwardly and significant torque is applied to the connection.

Satechi’s cheaper, smaller counterpart for the Hub is arguably a better accessory for users who need only a simple 1-to-1 device. I tested it out with the same USB sticks and USB SuperDrive, and everything worked without hassle. Apple’s USB SuperDrive never gave a single error message as it did during my time with the Hub.

It’s a smaller device, far more easily susceptible to loss (similar to SanDisk’s Dual USB Drive), but at a low-entry price and economical functionality, it’s arguably a better investment. Its only real downfall is that due to its small footprint, any leverage needed to remove a USB stick from its port will nearly always require users to first remove the entire adapter from the MacBook.

Satechi’s 3-in-1 Hub is a bit more difficult to recommend. Although the two devices are meant for different people and purposes – the Hub aimed at someone needing more connectivity, the simple dongle at more of a casual user – there are just too many issues with the design and hit-or-miss execution of the Hub to recommend the $39.99 device even to those in need of its three USB ports.

On the other hand, the $14.99 Satechi dongle is one of the lowest cost USB to USB-C devices on the market, and functions as advertised. It also comes in about $5 under Apple’s $19.99 version of the accessory, which is a bit longer with a slender white cable connecting the USB-C end with a USB port. Anyone in need of basic USB-to-USB-C adaptability, and who wants to save a little extra money, would do well to look into Satechi’s simpler Type-C USB Adapter.

Both of Satechi’s accessories are available to purchase from the company’s official website, although a few of the Hubs (Gold and Gunmetal) are currently unavailable.

Related Roundup: Retina MacBook
Tag: Satechi
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook (Neutral)
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iPad tops Best Buy survey of most desired tech gifts

Want the new iPad or MacBook for Christmas? You’re not alone. Big box store Best Buy found the iPad the most desired tech gift this holiday season, according to a survey of 2,000 people. The MacBook came in third behind the Bose QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones. Of the 15 tech items listed, the Apple Watch […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Hands-On With Twelve South’s New Universal BookArc for MacBooks

Twelve South today unveiled an all new design for its popular BookArc, introducing a revamped version that’s compatible with all current Apple MacBook models, including the 12-inch Retina MacBook, the Retina MacBook Pro, the non-Retina MacBook, and the MacBook Air.

The BookArc, for those unfamiliar with the product, is designed to hold a MacBook while it’s being used in clamshell mode when connected to an external display, keyboard, and mouse for an organized desktop setup. A vertical docking station like the BookArc can keep a MacBook in clamshell mode out of the way and cooler than it would be when flat on a desk.

Twelve South’s new BookArc has the same general arc shape as previous BookArcs, but it ships with several silicone inserts that can be swapped out to fit different MacBooks. Taking out a silicone insert takes just a few seconds, and while putting one in is a bit tricker, it’s a painless process that should allow people with multiple MacBooks to switch between inserts with ease.

An insert that fits both the Retina MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air ships with the BookArc, and inside the packaging, there are additional inserts sized for the thicker non-Retina MacBook Pro and the thinner 12-inch Retina MacBook. Customers who previously owned a BookArc for the Retina MacBook Pro will be familiar with the different inserts, as that model also came with inserts to fit different MacBooks.

With the insert for the MacBook Air and the Retina MacBook Pro, my Retina MacBook Pro fit snugly inside the BookArc. For MacBooks that are used with a case, Twelve South says sizing up to a larger insert, such as the one for the non-Retina MacBook, is a solution if the standard insert doesn’t fit.

The BookArc is milled from an aluminum that will match the Retina MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air, and the Silver MacBook. There aren’t, unfortunately, models available in Space Gray and Gold to match other 12-inch MacBooks. It has a slightly different finish than the first BookArc, and it has a shiny chamfered edge that Twelve South says was put in place to match the new mirrored Apple logo on the 12-inch MacBook.

Compared to the original BookArc, the new BookArc is shorter and more compact, so it’s going to take up less room on a desk. It’s also got square feet instead of rounded feet, and the rectangular cutout between the two feet is designed to hold cords in place and keep them from slipping off of a desk. Prior versions of the BookArc had a silicone hook for this purpose, but the new model does away with that with this simpler solution that can corral more cords. At the bottom of the BookArc, there are silicone pads to keep it secure on a flat surface.

Overall, the new BookArc has a much cleaner, sleeker look than the original BookArc models. I tested the new BookArc with a Retina MacBook Pro and I was impressed with how little space it took up on my desk while still getting my MacBook out of the way. In fact, I was surprised at the small box it came in – the BookArc is quite light, weighing in at only 0.35 pounds. Size wise, it measures in at 2.2 inches high, 3.6 inches wide, and 8.74 inches long.

While the BookArc is designed to hold MacBooks, it can also be used as a stand for any rectangular object. It holds the iPad mini, the iPad Air 2, the Apple Wireless Keyboard, journals, books, and more, so it can still serve a purpose on a desk even when it’s not being used with a MacBook.

Bottom Line

If you use a MacBook in clamshell mode, the Twelve South BookArc is well worth checking out. Its simple, unobtrusive design allows it to blend in to any office or room, and it frees up a lot of space on a desk by letting a MacBook sit vertically.

For people who already own a BookArc, there’s no real need to upgrade unless you have multiple MacBooks, but going forward, the new BookArc is a fantastic change because it’ll be compatible with more Apple products for a longer period of time.

A BookArc purchased today will likely work with MacBook models for several years to come, as Twelve South will be able to simply provide new inserts if there are significant design changes.

How to Buy

The BookArc for MacBook is available from the Twelve South website for $49.99.



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