Apple Launches USB-C Charge Cable Replacement Program for Retina MacBook

Apple today launched a worldwide replacement program for the USB-C charge cables that were shipped with the 12-inch Retina MacBook through June of 2015, as these cables can fail „due to a design issue.“

According to Apple, affected cables may cause the MacBook to not charge or to charge intermittently when it is connected to a power adapter. Cables with the issue can be identified by their labeling, which reads „Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.“ Redesigned cables have the same text, but also include a serial number.

Apple is providing new, redesigned USB-C charge cables to MacBook owners with faulty cables at no cost. In addition to cables that shipped with the MacBook, the replacement program also includes faulty cables that were sold as standalone accessories.

Customers who supplied a valid mailing address when registering their product or purchasing it through the Apple Online Store will receive their new cables automatically, while other eligible MacBook owners can contact Apple Support, find an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or visit an Apple retail store to get their cables replaced. Affected USB-C charge cables can be replaced under this program until June 8, 2018.

The Retina MacBook first went on sale in April of 2015, so the problematic cables were sold for approximately two months before a redesigned version was released.

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Apple Launches USB-C Charge Cable Replacement Program for Retina MacBook

Where is Apple’s 5K Thunderbolt Display?

It is approaching five years since Apple began shipping the Thunderbolt Display in September 2011, leading many to wonder when the monitor will receive a long-anticipated update, if ever.

Apple could have refreshed the Thunderbolt Display with USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2 and a tapered iMac-style design as early as 2013, but it has chosen not to do that. The company continues to sell the 2011 27″ model with USB 2.0 and first-generation Thunderbolt ports for $999.

So, what has been the holdup? The answer likely lies in supply chain considerations and connectivity.

4K Thunderbolt Display

Many have been long hoping that Apple would release a 4K Thunderbolt Display, considering that the latest Macs, and most models refreshed since late 2013, can be used with at least one 4K display.

But, typically, standalone Apple displays have shared the same screens as iMacs. Since Apple skipped over a 4K 27″ iMac, Apple would have to source a separate screen to release a 4K Thunderbolt Display, and the product may be too niche for that to be worthwhile.

Meanwhile, with Thunderbolt 3 rolling out this year, it seems unlikely that Apple will bother with a refreshed non-4K Thunderbolt Display in the interim. So, as time goes on, the more likely possibility is that Apple will eventually release a much improved 5K Thunderbolt Display.

5K Thunderbolt Display

5K displays have an incredible 14.7 million pixels, resulting in sharper and crisper images, but they remain expensive. 5K models from Dell and HP retail for between $1,649 and $1,999, while Apple’s all-in-one 5K iMac starts at $1,799, but cannot be used in target display mode.

Apple already sells a 27″ Retina 5K iMac, and its screen could be the basis for a corresponding 5K Thunderbolt Display. The display could share the same 5,120×2,880 resolution, USB Type-C ports for connecting Thunderbolt 3 peripherals and possibly an ultra-thin design like the newest iMacs. But no current Macs could drive such a 5K display over a single cable.

Apple won’t release the first Macs with Intel’s new Skylake chips and Thunderbolt 3 support until later in 2016, and only those models will be able to drive a 5K display at 60Hz over one cable. While that makes a 5K Thunderbolt Display a possibility in 2016, Apple has good reason to wait until at least 2017.

Intel’s Skylake processors, launching in early 2016, and Kaby Lake processors, expected to launch in the first half of 2017, will not be able to drive a 5K Thunderbolt Display over Single-Stream Transport (SST). The underlying issue is that both processor lineups lack support for DisplayPort 1.3. Instead, the display would sync two channels over Multi-Stream Transport (MST), which can cause some performance issues. That means Apple may wait until at least Cannon Lake chipset (which promise SST 5K support) in the second half of 2017, before releasing a 5K Thunderbolt Display.

Because external displays are a relatively small market for Apple, it’s possible Apple never plans to introduce an updated Thunderbolt Display. If a new model is in the company’s plans, Apple will likely wait to introduce a 5K display until 2017 when most Macs can easily support it in order to maximize supply chain efficiency.

If you are interested in exploring third-party 4K displays, read our 4K and 5K Display Buyer’s Guide for Macs.

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Microsoft Allowing OneDrive Users on Free Tier to Keep 15GB Free Storage and Camera Roll Bonus

In November, Microsoft made the controversial decision to reduce its unlimited OneDrive storage to 1TB for Office 365 Home, Personal and University subscribers early next year. OneDrive’s free storage will also be reduced from 15GB to 5GB, and the 15GB camera roll bonus will be discontinued.

Microsoft’s decision was poorly received by OneDrive customers, who created an online petition called „give us back our storage“ with over 70,000 votes. The backlash has prompted the company to apologize and introduce a new offer for OneDrive customers to keep their 15GB free storage and 15GB camera roll bonus.

Microsoft Group Program Manager Douglas Pearce (via The Verge):

In November we made a business decision to reduce storage limits for OneDrive. Since then, we’ve heard clearly from our Windows and OneDrive fans about the frustration and disappointment we have caused. We realize the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologize to the community. […]

In addition, for our biggest fans who have been loyal advocates for OneDrive, we are adding a new offer that lets you keep your existing 15 GB of free storage when the changes happen next year. If you also have the 15 GB camera roll bonus, you’ll be able to keep that as well. From now until the end of January, you can sign up to keep your storage at the link below.

OneDrive users who sign up by January 31, 2016 will be able to keep their 15GB of free storage and 15GB camera roll bonus, even after Microsoft reduces its free storage tier to 5GB next year. OneDrive customers using more than 5GB of free storage will also receive a free Office 365 Personal subscription with 1TB storage for 12 months.

Microsoft is not backing down from its larger plans to discontinue unlimited storage, a decision it made because a small number of users exceeded 75 TB storage, or 14,000 times the average, by „backing up multiple PCs and and storing entire movie collections and DVR recordings.“ The changes take place in early 2016.

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Product Hunt App for iOS Updated With ‘Popular’ Feed, Podcast Player and Live Chats

Popular product discovery site Product Hunt is today updating its iOS app, adding new features to bring it in line with the Product Hunt web experience. The Product Hunt site itself was updated with a more visual look a few weeks ago, which is now coming to the Product Hunt app.

Moving beyond tech, the app now offers an „Explore All Categories“ option that lets users see products that are trending in categories like books, games, and podcasts. There’s also a new „Popular“ feed that surfaces a range of content including products and collections, organizing it into an Instagram-style visual layout.

Product Hunt for iOS is gaining Live chats, letting users view, subscribe to, and participate in the Live chats hosted on the site. Upcoming chats will be conducted with people like Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever and Braintree founder Bryan Johnson.

It’s now possible to listen to podcasts posted and upvoted by the Product Hunt community directly within the Product Hunt iOS app, thanks to a new built-in podcast player, and users can also follow and create curated collections of products, games, books, and more, directly within the app. The app’s search tools are also being expanded with Apple Spotlight integration, and it offers support for 3D Touch with Home screen Quick Actions for searching, accessing live chats, viewing the popular feed, and more.

For those unfamiliar with Product Hunt, it’s a community-based website that lets people post and discuss new and interesting products. While it originally focused on technology-oriented products, it has expanded to encompass other categories like books, games, and podcasts.

Product Hunt can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Speed test puts every iPad ever made under the gun

The iPad lineup has seen a ton of changes since Apple introduced its first tablet in 2010. Not only have the form factors evolved ever so slightly, but the internal components have pushed the product line from a cool reading/gaming device into a powerhouse machine that can replace your laptop. To see just how much […]

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


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Speed test puts every iPad ever made under the gun

Trump’s dream: Bring Apple manufacturing back to U.S.

Donald Trump has said that his “real dream” is for Apple, along with other U.S. companies, to bring their manufacturing back to the United States. Trump made the comments during an interview to promote his new book, Crippled America. “We think of Apple as an American company,” Trump said. “But they make their product in […]

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


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Trump’s dream: Bring Apple manufacturing back to U.S.

Study examines Apple Watch quitters and their quibbles

If you bought an Apple Watch that now collects dust on your dresser, you are not alone. Web-based research firm Wristly, which found a 97 percent user satisfaction rate among early adopters, took equal interest in the unhappy 3 percent. What it found from 340 former Apple Watch users could provide valuable insights for Cupertino […]

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


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Study examines Apple Watch quitters and their quibbles