Mac Peripherals

CES 2012 And USB 3.0 For Mac - The Road Ahead

The 2012 CES Consumer Electronics Show opens in Las Vegas this week - And MacWorld Expo 2012 follows up at the end of the month. Many of the things announced and displayed at CES give a hint to where Apple technology will be leaning in the year ahead. I'm betting USB 3.0 will finally make it to the Mac - and take it's rightful place alongside the ThunderBolt ports Apple's been implementing across their computer line.
USB 3.0 Mac
SuperSpeed USB 3.0 is a technological inevitability that will find its place on billions of computers and consumer electronic devices by the end of the decade. But it's mass adoption has largely been stalled-out by heel-dragging on the part of Intel and Apple. Although hundreds of USB3 hard drives and peripherals are already available, without direct logic-board support for built-in USB3 ports, the market has struggled for years to attain critical mass. But that's about to change with Intel's upcoming Ivy-Bridge chipset with direct onboard support for USB 3.0 in the chipset. We'll see both Macs and Windows PC with USB3 ports as standard equipment on nearly all new mid and high-end computers by year's end.

5GBps USB 3.0 offers up to 10 times the bandwidth of the aging USB 2.0 specification. But it's benefits go beyond that with battery-saving power modes for more efficiency in portable devices, more milliamps to self-power hungrier USB gadgets, and most importantly - it preserves backward compatibility with legacy USB 1.1 and 2.0 peripherals. Low-Speed, High-Speed, Super-Speed can all share a USB 3.0 port or hub, and co-exist with their bandwidth differences peacefully.

For more demanding needs we'll have 10GBps ThunderBolt accessories to handle truly data-intensive computing scenarios, especially in the enterprise and professional audio and video production environments. However technically superior ThunderBolt may be, it will still be dwarfed by what the average Mac computer user wants and needs: Cheap, familiar, faster and backward compatible gadget technology. And that's exactly what SuperSpeed USB 3.0 is going to deliver in the months ahead.

Best Mac Accessories : 2011 Computer Add-On Trends

An interesting year is ahead for Mac gizmo freaks as some new tech trends are emerging in the Apple peripherals arena. Demand for wireless Bluetooth accessories has blown through the roof thanks to millions of iPads, iPhones and recent iPod Touch models. Of note: Hands-Free / Bluetooth speaker systems - and wireless BT keyboards for iPad in particular.

Apple recently upgraded the built-in iSight to HD on recent MacBooks. For others, 720p high-resolution HD webcams for Mac models like the mini and Macintosh Pro meet the needs of those who want better clarity and resolution in their online video-chat experience.

With so much downloadable online content - plus home DVR capable set-top boxes - There seems to be slightly less interest in computer TV Tuners for Mac as many simply nab or buy their content elsewhere these days rather than capture and export the content themselves.

The quest for better audio is driving more discerning ears to higher quality laptop audio and the best desktop computer speakers and headsets they can find - Especially for MacBook owners frustrated by the tiny built-in speakers.

TimeMachine has made backing up your Mac a no-brainer. But as our photo, music and video libraries explode - USB 2.0 and FireWire are both showing their age as woefully slow ways to copy or transfer a ton of data. Intel and Apple's new ThunderBolt port - and the inevitible arrival of USB 3.0 SuperSpeed promises to change our notion of truly High-Speed interfaces. External hard drive manufacturers are already switching to the backward compatible USB3 interface - so keep USB 3.0 on your tech radar. It is the future of USB - and will ship in numbers that will dwarf ThunderBolt adoption in comparison.

Solid-State flash memory SSD drives - Perhaps the single best upgrade or Build-To-Order option you'll ever experience - aren't just for MacBook Air's anymore. Once you SSD, you'll never go back to the truly pokey and horribly unreliable spinning patter mechanical hard drive.

Printers have evolved greatly in the past year: HP in particular with it's touchscreen E-PRINTERS and adding AirPrint compatibility for wireless iPad - iPhone printing. And auto-duplexing printers are more common and affordable than ever - making the most of BOTH sides of a sheet of paper. We've come a long way, baby.

All in all the best Mac accessories you'll want to own just keep getting better. And at ever more affordable prices.