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This $69 Dongle Could Fix Apple’s AirPower And I/O Problems

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A product shot of the Miizer Hub simultaneously charging the iPhone X and the Apple Watch.

Apple’s hardware has been generating as much negative press as positive in the past few months. While the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram feature—which recently launched in Hong Kong—is deservedly praised, the Wall Street Journal wrote a scathing, and amusing, takedown of the MacBook laptops’ terrible keyboards, for which Apple was forced to issue an apology.

Being the largest and most influential tech brand in the world will invite more scrutiny than usual, I suppose, but the recent abrupt cancellation of the long-announced AirPower wireless charging mat is a major black mark for a company that prides itself on innovation.

Personally speaking, I never cared much for the AirPower charging mat, whose only benefit over regular wireless charging pads is that it can top up the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. And though I, too, find the MacBook Pro’s keyboards frustrating to use, my bigger gripe with Apple’s laptops is the lack of ports other than USB-C, which forces every user into something the tech industry have dubbed “dongle hell.”

I edit a lot of videos for work, and every time I need to transfer video files from a memory card to a MacBook, I need to plug in a card reader dongle. And if I want to pair a mouse with the MacBook? I’ll need a dongle for that, too, because most mice on the market have not made the switch to USB-C. Then, when I want to back up my videos to an external hard drive, guess what? Yes, another dongle.

A Shenzhen startup named Miizer is hoping to alleviate that problem to some degree with its all-in-one dongle, simply named the Hub. Not only does it offer virtually all the I/O connectivity one would need for personal computing, it also doubles as a wireless charging base that can charge smartphones and the Apple Watch at the same time.

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The Hub has two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports.

It still can’t charge the AirPods, but other than that, the Miizer Hub does the same thing as the failed AirPower.

I recently tested a pre-production unit of the dongle, and found that it works as advertised. It’s worth noting that the entire gadget is a bit chunkier than usual dongles, shaped almost like the original iPhone but double in thickness.

But that extra bulk is put to good use because the Miizer Hub offers more ports and features than any dongle I’ve seen before. In terms of ports, it has two USB-C ports that handles power and data transfer, two traditional USB-A ports, slots for Micro SD and standard SD memory cards, an ethernet port; and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The dongle is mostly made of plastic, except for the glass top plate off which devices will charge wirelessly. The Miizer Hub can also recharge devices the traditional way via an interchangeable charging head.

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The interchangeable charging head connects via pogo pins, but the different heads (lightning, USB-C, Micro-USB) are sold separately.

Ben Sin

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The Hub can output to 4K monitors.

From my testing, all the ports worked well. I was able to transfer 4K video files from a MicroSD card to my laptop at peak speed, and the HDMI port can output to external monitors at 4K resolution at 30Hz.

As a wireless charging station, I find the overall canvas a bit small to charge even one phone, let alone a phone and the Apple Watch, but with some juggling, it is possible. Ultimately, I would much rather just top up my phones with a wired cable as the wireless charging speed, at 10W, is a bit slow and my phone kept slipping off the Miizer Hub’s small surface. Topping up the Apple Watch is no problem, however, as the small battery negates the need for faster speeds and the Watch itself is small enough to sit comfortably on the Hub.

This dongle is best used for laptops lacking in crucial ports, most notably the MacBooks, but will work with any USB-C device. For example, when plugged into a recent Huawei smartphone, it does activate Huawei’s desktop mode. This means that if I also plug in an HDMI cable to a TV or an external monitor, I can use a Huawei device as a desktop computer. Though I’d also need an external keyboard and a mouse, which makes the entire set-up more clunky than just using a laptop.

Still, the Miizer Hub, which has been successfully backed on Indiegogo and selling at $69 a piece, does offer a solution for those suffering from Apple’s dongle and cancelled AirPower problems.

 

I’ve started a YouTube channel in an effort to provide multi-media coverage of gadgets I come across. If you’re interested, please subscribe.

I’m a Chinese-American journalist in Hong Kong, covering consumer tech in Asia. Before focusing on this exciting beat, I was a general culture writer and editor with byl…

Source: This $69 Dongle Could Fix Apple’s AirPower And I/O Problems

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Apple $1 Trillion: Can Your Company Do The Same – Tom Taulli

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hat are some of the factors that make it possible to create a trillion dollar company? What are the lessons from Apple?

Here’s a look:

#1 – Build An Ecosystem

Tien Tzuo, who is the co-founder and CEO of Zuora, recently took his company public. The shares have since gained 117%.

However, before launching Zuora, Tien was one of the early employees of Salesforce.com. “One day I got a call from Marc Benioff,” he said. “He asked if I wanted to meet Steve Jobs.”

But there was a problem: Tien was on vacation in Italy and it would be nearly impossible to make the meeting.

“So this turned out to be my only opportunity to meet Steve,” said Tien. “But Marc gave me a run down of the meeting and the main takeaway was that Salesforce.com needed to create a platform to build cloud apps. This would mean having strong barriers to entry because of the network effects. A platform would also allow Salesforce.com to quickly gain footholds in many market categories, without taking on large expenses.”

The result was that the company wasted little time in creating a platform, called the AppExchange. It would prove to be a critical factor for the success of Salesforce.com, which now has a market value of over $100 billion.

#2 – Obsess About The Customer

With a small amount of outside capital, Eric Yuan has turned his company, Zoom (which is a cloud-based conferencing system), into a powerhouse. Keep in mind that he has been able to fight large rivals like Cisco.

According to him:  “Reaching a trillion-dollar valuation requires a customer-first focus and a long-term commitment to running your business independently—it took Apple 42 years to get there.  Don’t get distracted by competitors who are willing to compromise on the customer experience for short-term gain.

You need to stay true to your personal vision to create a better product and the industry’s best customer experience–even if you have to make decisions that are less profitable in the short-term, such as by pivoting on a product road map or letting an unhappy customer out of their contract. In the end, a happy customer is the best investment you can make in your business because word of mouth will make or break any company in a competitive industry.”

#3 – Be Unconventional

Data analytics is a crowded market. But for Frank Bien, this is fine. His company, Looker, has been gaining traction in the industry because of its unique technology infrastructure that has been built from the ground up. There are currently over 1,400 customers, with big names like Cigna.

As for his take on Apple:  “My advice to entrepreneurs that want to create the next trillion-dollar company is don’t think about a trillion-dollar valuation.  Think about what you can do to create something useful, something that will turn customers into champions and that will inspire employees to do the impossible. For us at Looker, we figured out how to do the opposite of the conventional – even though people said it wouldn’t work. When you know you’ve got something special, ignore the haters, and the people who say what you want to do is impossible.

I remember how skeptical people were that Apple, a computer-maker, could make a successful phone. Apple knew better. And they didn’t stop there – they figured out how to keep delivering value to customers through new apps and services and devices so that the phone became less and less important. They created super advocates who are extremely loyal to the brand. That’s key. So do the opposite. Make stuff that works and that people love. Keep creating value. That’s pretty much the formula for success.”

#4 – Go Big

Nir Polak is the co-founder and CEO of Exabeam, which is a next generation SIEM (Security information and event management) company. He recently snagged a $50 million investment that was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Some of Exabeam’s customers include Levi Strauss & Co, ADP, Hulu and Safeway.

And regarding his view on Apple:  “To build a trillion dollar company, first start with a really big market.  In the case of Apple, perhaps the biggest of those was the smartphone market, which is measured in the hundreds of billions. Then you need to disrupt that market – build an amazing product that’s radically different and performs better.

Like an intuitive user interface that responds to gestures. And then, you need to delight customers to the point where they not only love your product, but tell everyone they meet how much they love it and spread the word for you. There’s no better marketing than happy users.”

 

 

 

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