iPad mini 6 redesign might usher in USB-C, smaller Apple Pencil

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iPad mini 6 could be the redesign so many people have been hoping for.
The iPad mini 6 will reportedly be revamped to add features from the iPad Pro and Air series.
Photo: RendersbyIan/ Front Page Tech

A significantly redesigned iPad mini 6 could drop its Lightning port in favor of USB-C, according to a new unconfirmed report. And a smaller Apple Pencil could be produced for it.

The tablet already drew quite a bit of attention because it’s expected to offer a nearly edge-to-edge screen, dumping the hefty bezels in the current version.

Diagnose your charging woes with Plugable’s tiny power meter [Review]

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Plugable USBC-VAmeter review
The Plugable USBC-VAmeter tests the quality of the connections between your computers and chargers and other peripherals.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Your MacBook isn’t charging right and you can’t figure it where the problem is? Plugable’s USBC-VAmeter can help. Connect it to the power cable running to your Mac, iPad or iPhone to see the voltage, wattage and amperage.

I’m no electrical engineer, but I tested this miniature power meter. I found it both useful and kind of fun.

Plugable’s USBC-Vameter diagnoses your charging woes

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Plugable USBC-Vameter diagnoses your charging woes
Is your iPhone charger working like it’s supposed to? Find out with the USBC-Vameter.
Photo: Plugable

Plugable’s USBC-Vameter voltage and amperage meter shows how much power is moving through a USB-C connection. It helps users see what’s happening when their devices are charging… or not charging.

On Tuesday, Plugable released a new version of the tiny multi-meter with an easier-to-read OLED screen and other improvements.

Why a portless iPhone would be a nightmare

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Apple, please don’t saddle us with a portless iPhone. This wouldn't be better.
This wouldn't be better.
Photo illustration: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A reliable source says Apple is considering stripping the Lightning port from future iPhone models and replacing it with … nothing. Hopefully, it’s not too late to stop this terrible, terrible idea.

A portless iPhone is possible. And there are even a few advantages. But the significant drawbacks make the idea something that should be dropped like a burning bag of poo.

Plugable ‌USB-C hub‌‌ ‌connects 7 accessories, won‘t strain your wallet

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Plugable USB-C 7-in-1 Hub works with MacBook or iPad Pro
The Plugable USB-C 7-in-1 Hub easily connects an HDMI monitor to a MacBook, and much more.
Photo: Plugable

Plugable decided to stand out in the crowded market for USB-C multiport adapters with a low-price offering. On Tuesday, it unveiled a 7-in-1 Hub that comes in at a significantly lower cost than many of its rivals.

Even so, it can connect to multiple legacy USB-A accessories, a external monitor and removable memory cards.

Thunderbolt 4 brings only incremental advances over Thunderbolt 3 [UPDATED]

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Thunderbolt 4 coming later in 2020
Apple and Intel developed Thunderbolt, and a new version debuts later in 2020.
Photo: Intel

Intel unveiled the specs for Thunderbolt 4 on Wednesday without bringing dramatic changes to this connectivity standard built into most Macs. Still, any computer running the new version has to offer an upgraded set of specifications, including the ability to handle a pair of 4K monitors.

Update: Apple promised to build Thunderbolt 4 into future Macs. “We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon,” an Apple spokesperson told The Verge.

Samsung credit-card size SSD holds up to 2TB [Review]

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Samsung T7 review
The Samsung T7 isn’t much bigger than an Apple Card but still holds 2 terabytes of data.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Samsung T7 holds an amazing amount of data considering its svelte design. This Solid State Drive isn’t much bigger than a business card but holds up to 2TB. And it can be passed around between multiple computers — it’s compatible with Mac and iPad Pro, as well a wide variety of other devices.

I loaded up this recently-released SSD with a variety of files and put it through some real-world testing. Here’s how it stood up.

Easily add speedy Ethernet to your Mac with this inexpensive adapter [Review]

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Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter review
Enjoy the reliability of Ethernet with this simple USB-C adapter for your Mac or iPad Pro.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adding Ethernet to your MacBook or iPad Pro is as simple as attaching the Plugable USB-C to Ethernet Adapter. This cuts your dependence on WiFi, instead bringing the security, reliability and speed of a wired connection.

I tested this very affordable and portable accessory, and bring you the results in this hands-on review.

Next iPad Air could ditch Lightning for USB-C connector

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2020 iPad Air Concept with Apple Pencil 2
This proposed 2020 iPad Air concept is mostly a scaled-down iPad Pro.
Photo: svetapple.sk

The fourth-generation iPad Air will reportedly come with a USB-C connector instead of the Lightning connector of previous models, claims a Mac Otakara report, citing sources in the Chinese supply chain.

USB-C is a data and charging port that first landed on iPad with the iPad Pro in 2018. However, since then it has remained only on that series of iPads, rather than being adopted for other models. That could be about to change, however. At least, kind of.