MagSafe returns for USB-C, handy popup displays and more [Crowdfund Roundup]

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Help turn these awesome ideas into reality!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You can find some incredible new gadgets on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that often go unnoticed. We’re rounding up some of the best every week to help them get the funding they need to become a reality.

This week, MagSafe makes a comeback for the new generation of USB-C devices, we have an insanely useful popup display you can take just about anywhere, the “world’s most intuitive smart stylus,” and more.

PhoneSuit Introduces External Fuel Tanks in Lightning, 30-Pin and Android Flavors [CES 2013]

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LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – We’re always a bit stumped at how PhoneSuit is able to stuff so much battery in to their batteries. Their new Flex line is another great example; those little battery logs above each contain 2600 mAh of juice, which is more than any iPhone battery case I can think of. And that’s not even the coolest thing about them.

PowerSkin Unveils Next-Generation Battery Cases For iPhone 5 [CES 2013]

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PowerSkin has used CES 2013 to introduce its next generation of battery cases for the iPhone 5. There are three in total, all of which are equipped with Lightning connectors and designed to provide your smartphone with portable power while you’re on the go, ensuring you never run out of battery life before you get home to your charger. Meet the PowerSkin Pro, the PowerSkin Hybrid, and the PowerSkin Battery Case below.

Apple Now Selling Lightning To Micro USB Adapter For Europe

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How much?!?!
How much?!?!

Following the unveiling of the iPhone 5 and a new family of iPods on Wednesday, Apple has begun selling a new Lightning to Micro USB adapter for customers in Europe. As its name suggests, the adaptor allows users to charge and sync their new iOS device using a Micro USB cable — in compliance with the rules laid out by European Commission.

The Future Of Apple’s Dock Connector [Feature]

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If this was good enough for the iPod shuffle, why isn't it good enough for the iPhone 5?

In 2006, Apple released an iPod that, to this day, is unique amongst all of the iPods it sells in that it didn’t come with a standard Dock Connector: the iPod shuffle.

In order to save space in a design that was built from the ground up to be as tiny as possible, Apple jettisoned the traditional 30-Pin Dock Connector in the second-gen shuffle in favor of a clever implementation of USB that plugged in right through the 3.5mm audio jack.

For the last six years, Apple has favored this implementation of USB syncing and charging in its line of iPod shuffles, even as every other model of iPhone, iPod or iPad shipped with a much bulkier 30-Pin Apple Dock Connector.

As rumors have heated up that Apple will abandon the 30-Pin Dock Connector in the next iPhone for a slimmer 19-Pin Connector, a natural question to ask is, “why?” If Apple just wants to save space in the next iPhone, why not just adopt the time-tested iPod shuffle’s approach, which is about the most efficient and elegant implementation of USB ever designed?

The answer’s simple: while the iPod shuffle’s USB design is ingenious at syncing and charging, it’s really crappy at everything else that the 30-Pin Dock Connector is designed to do. But what does the 30-Pin Dock Connector do, why doesn’t Apple just use USB like most of its competitors, and why is 19-Pin — not 30 — the way to go?

Apple Needs Two Engineers To Redesign Your New iPhone’s Dock Connector

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Expect your next iPhone's dock to be at least half the size of this one.
Who wants a whole this big in the bottom of their iPhone?

A pair of new job listings on Apple’s website confirm that the company is seeking two engineers to overhaul the existing 30-pin dock connector currently employed by its iOS devices. The listings strengthen rumors Apple will introduce a new dock connector with its sixth-generation iPhone later this year, that will be significantly smaller than its predecessor.