With new USB connector, no more wrong-way-up cables

The group behind the USB standard has begun work on a new connector that's designed to fix a two-decade-old problem: it can be hard to tell which way is up.

The Type-C connector will make Universal Serial Bus more like Apple's Lightning connector, which is used on newer iPads and iPhones. With it, customers don't have to make sure the connector is flipped upside-down compared to the port.

USB is burdened by a variety of different connectors today, meaning that customers often must have the right cable to plug in the right camera, external hard drive, phone, … Read more

Foxconn might soon lose the 'conn' -- report

Hon Hai Precision Industry is considering chopping the part of its business that gave Foxconn its name.

Hon Hai is planning to spin off its Network Interconnection Business Group next month, Reuters reported Thursday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. The business group makes connectors and cables for the PC industry, but due to the recent downturn in the PC market, has become a big of a drain on Hon Hai's otherwise strong operation.

At one time, the connector business was such an integral component in Hon Hai's business that it helped form its … Read more

Turn an iPod Touch, iPhone into a numeric pad for your iMac or MacBook

If you have a new iMac you probably don't have a numeric pad on your keyboard. NumPad Connector for Mac is the application that solves this problem, connecting your iMac to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and transforming them into a wireless numeric keypad.

The application costs $2.99, while the connector that you'll need for the iMac is free. NumPad Connector for Mac is a small application that you install on your device and then connect to your MacBook or to the Bluetooth wireless keyboard of your iMac. In order to do so, you have to … Read more

Sync Mac media files with Windows Phone 7

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Connector is a slick app that syncs media files between your Mac and your Windows Phone 7 device or Zune. Windows Phone 7 Connector installs quickly and has a nice interface that shows your media files by category, as well as giving a schematic of the connected Windows Phone 7 device's capacity and disk usage.

The Windows Phone 7 Connector interface is really simple to use and will feel remarkably familiar to any iTunes user. Select the files you want to sync (pretty much any non-DRM media file) and click the Sync button. The … Read more

iExpander iPhone case adds SD, extra battery, 30-pin connector

If you glance at your iPhone wish list, you may see things like longer battery life, expandable SD memory, a better flash, and an old school 30-pin connector for your shiny new iPhone 5. You can have all those things if you're willing to pledge $75 to the iExpander project on Kickstarter.

The iExpander is a jack-of-all-trades case that crams a whole lot into a relatively small size. You're still going to add 6.3mm of chunk to your sleek phone, but the trade-off is pretty tempting.

Let's start with the flashy stuff. The case has an ultrathin CAP-XX supercapacitor that powers an LED flash that can make a big difference in the quality of your low-light photos. … Read more

Linksys ships its first 802.11ac router and media bridge

Linksys today announced the availability of its latest Smart Wi-Fi router, the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro router (model EA6500). This is the company's first router to support the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.

The new router is to compete with similar routers from other networking vendors, such as the Netgear R6300, the D-Link DIR-865L, and the Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H.… Read more

The 404 1,133: Where we put the Apple iPhone 5 on a pedestal (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Check out Scott Stein's comprehensive review of the Apple iPhone 5.

- Scott writes about the 5 things that surprised him about the iPhone 5.

- Apple delivers iOS 6, available for download now.

- First Look video of Apple's new Maps application.

- How to control your privacy settings on iOS 6.

- Apple Lightning Adapter adds life to your old gear.

- Sony unveils super slim PlayStation 3.

- … Read more

Apple's Lightning connector and you: What you should know

What is the new Lightning connector? Unveiled at the press conference announcing the iPhone 5 and 2012 iPod lineup, the proprietary Lightning connector replaces the 30-pin connector found on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod since 2003. Like the 30-pin connector, the Lightning connector is used for charging the device as well as syncing content and data and audio and video output. The new devices come with a USB 2.0-to-Lightning cable.

How is it different from the 30-pin connector? It's 80 percent smaller yet sturdier, and it's reversible, so you don't have to worry about which side … Read more

iPhone dock extender solves the problem of bulky cases

All the hullabaloo over the iPhone 5's new dock connector reminds me of a problem I had long before Apple's Lightning struck.

See, my iPhone 4S lives inside a case just bulky enough that it won't fit in most docks. Consequently, I can't easily charge my phone or listen to music via one of the many speaker docks scattered around my house. I'd have to take the iPhone out of the case every time, and that's way too big a hassle.

So, what, am I supposed to switch to a smaller case? Or go … Read more

Using social media to track public's reaction to iPhone 5

As the good and the bad gets hashed out over blogs and on news sources in the aftermath of Apple's highly-anticipated debut of the iPhone 5 today, it's interesting to take a look and see what was the public's reaction on social media when the device was released.

The start-up Taykey produced this data-rich infographic on iPhone 5 reactions from around the Web today. In gathering the data, Taykey monitored 50,000 user-generated online sources, like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, and blogs. With this data, it analyzed trends and conversations to create the graphic that measures both … Read more