Dongle-tangling: Use dark chaotic forces and never lose your headphone adapter again

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Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how headphone cables always get tangled? In the past, I have put a cable down carefully, and picked it up just moments later, and the wires have already tied themselves into knots. And you know what else is super-annoying? Apple’s stupid USB-C and Lightning headphone adapters, the kind that you have to use if you want to plug headphones or cables recent into iPads and iPhones.

But what if there was a way to take both these annoyances, and combine them into something … slightly less annoying?!? That would be amazing, obviously. Today we will see how to use the powerful dark force of tangling to stop you from losing your headphone jack dongles.

This $10 dongle changed how I use my iPad

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USB-C adapter
Anker’s little dongle is super handy.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The latest iPad Pro comes with a proper USB port, in the shape of USB-C. Now, as long as you can find the right cable or adapter, you can plug in pretty much anything short of a printer, and it will work as expected.

But you still need to find the right cable, or resort to a USB hub (none of which are really designed to work well with a tablet). In the past, that meant buying lots of USB-C to microUSB, USB-C to miniUSB, USB-C to USB-B cables, and so on.

If only I’d discovered this USB-C adapter first.

2020 iPhone to sport smaller notch, bigger 5G antennas

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2020-iPhone-antenna
Our first look at the 2020 iPhone?
Photo: Ben Geskin

Apple reportedly is working on a number of big design changes for the 2020 iPhone lineup. It wants to shrink the notch (finally!) and add wider antenna bands that will support 5G connectivity.

The company is said to be testing a number of prototype designs — all of which feature smaller notches. Apple also is planning for a future without Lightning connectivity.

OWC’s USB-C multiport hub is built like a tank [Review]

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OWC USB-C Travel Dock with iPad Pro
The OWC USB-C Travel Dock adds multiple ports to an iPad Pro or MacBook.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The OWC USB-C Travel Dock has five ports to extend the capabilities of your MacBook or iPad Pro, including HDMI and dual USB-A. Wrapped around these is a casing of aluminum and plastic thick enough to stand up to the kind of punishment many of us subject our gear to. Yet it still looks professional.

We used this multiport hub on several business trips. Here’s how it came through.

4 reasons I’m disappointed with the iPhone 11 [Opinion]

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iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are excellent, but there’s still room for improvement.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

There’s a lot to like in the new iPhone 11 series, but there are reasons to be disappointed, too. Some features that should be a part of any handset released in 2019 are missing, and a few rumored improvements didn’t appear.

Here are four ways the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models fell short of the mark.

Anker’s ultra-slim charger is just right for your iPad [Review]

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Anker PowerPort Atom III
The Anker PowerPort Atom III is minuscule for a 30W charger.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Wall chargers made with gallium nitride (GaN) transistors can be considerably smaller than ones that use silicon instead. An outstanding case in point is the Anker PowerPort Atom III Slim, which is tiny but can still put out 30W to quickly power up an iPad Pro or even a MacBook.

We tested this svelte USB-C battery charger in the field. Read on to see how well it lives up to its promise.

USB4 enables hubs with multiple USB-C ports

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A Thunderbolt 3 cable is also a USB4 cable.
If the specs for USB4 are familiar, that’s because they’re built on the Thunderbolt 3 standard already in most Macs.
Photo: Caldigit

Today’s USB-C hubs include multiple USB-A ports, but can’t add additional USB-C ports. This will change when USB4 gets widely implemented, which just took a big step forward with the specifications for this standard being finalized.

And users should welcome an increase to 40Gbps data transfer speeds, too.

This year’s iPhone could come with a USB-C charger

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iPad 2018 USB-C charger cable
Apple introduced the USB-C charger with last year's iPad Pro.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple will drop the 5W charger that comes with the iPhone and instead ship the iPhone 11 with a USB-C charger.

That’s according to a tweet from ChargerLAB, which claims to have an inside line on Apple’s plans, via the supply chain.

Apple’s USB-C AV dongle gets a 4K HDR upgrade

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Apple-USB-AV-dongle
It's finally fit for 2019.
Photo: Apple

Apple this week upgraded its official USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to support 4K HDR video at up to 60Hz.

The newest model, numbered A2119, boasts HDMI 2.0 connectivity. That means you can enjoy HDR10 and Dolby Vision content when outputting video from a compatible Mac or iPad Pro.