And here you were thinking this thing had vanished into the never-ending Lairs of Vaporwareville. Lucky for you, the gents and gals over at FastMac have been hard at work caving to the also never-ending list of demands from the UL and various other safety agencies. That means that the utterly brilliant U-Socket is indeed still on track for mass production, but it'll be slightly redesigned and stacked with a few bonus features by the time it hits the market. According to an update sent out to loyal pre-orderers (which can be seen in full after the break), the USB sockets have been relocated as a compliance measure, but now, they're of the SuperSpeed variety. Each one is also capable of 10W power (read: iPad-friendly) and it also smokes the EPA's Energy Star requirements. The modifications have pushed the expected ship date back to October, and the original $9.95 price has been bumped up to $19.95 -- though the company is quick to point out that each one is made in the US of A, and those who got in early will have their orders honored. An extra Hamilton for USB 3.0 and 10W charging? We're still as sold as ever.
Letter from FastMac regarding U-Socket status:
Thank you for pre-ordering the TruePower U-Socket. The response to our pre-announcement of this product has been overwhelming, as has been the numerous industry awards we have won for it :-)
I wanted to email you to give you a progress update on our development. As you know, we have been working with the UL/ Safety Agencies to get this product certified and approved for sale in the US & Canada. They have asked us to make a number of changes, starting with a new look: see http://fastmac.com/usocket
In addition to relocating the USB connectors, the safety boards have also requested some other internal changes which will make the U-Socket safer & easier to manufacture. Since we were asked to redesign the U-Socket, we've gone back to the drawing board and rebuilt the product from the ground up to incorporate the following additional features:
a) USB 3.0
b) 10W Charging support so you can charge 1 iPad at full speed or 2 iPads @ half speed. This also means you can charge 2 iPhones at the same speed as Apple's AC adapter.
c) Energy Star- U-Socket meets and beats the EPA's Energy Star requirements by more than 10x their minimum when compared to the energy savings achieved by a typical Energy-Star compliant AC Adapter FYI, only 2 mobile phone manufacturers (Nokia & Samsung) make Energy-Star compliant AC adapters.
d) TruePower Technology- custom 'TruePower' energy efficient AC/DV converter and power management ICs
e) Custom UL-approved transformers that are smaller than even those found inside Apple's impossibly-small iPhone AC Adapter
All of these modifications/ upgrades will result in a reschedule of the shipping date to October end at the latest.
We apologize for the delay and understand that the new shipping date may alter your buying decision. We are committed to providing the safest, most compatible & highest quality products and this delay is necessary to comply with those goals. Should you wish to cancel your order, please let us know; please bear in mind that your current order guarantees you the price of $9.95 whereas later orders will be billed at $19.95 per U-Socket.
Thank you again for supporting FastMac and the U-Socket product line. As you know, we are one of the few, if only, accessory manufacturers left in the United States. You'll be glad to know that the U-Socket is not only designed in California, it is also built in California in our very own factory right here in San Francisco. We sincerely appreciate your support and look forward to contacting you within 2 months with a firmer ship date.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.