Apple releases Lightning to VGA and HDMI video-out adapters, new 12W USB charger

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During yesterday's iPad mini event, Apple delivered on its vow to produce video-out Lightning cables compatible with its latest generation of iOS hardware. Until now, the only method of mirroring the display of an iPhone 5 or fourth-generation iPod touch required the use of AirPlay and a $99 Apple TV. But with the new HDMI and VGA video adapters (both $49), Apple is extending your options for beaming video to an external screen. Unfortunately there's no such solution for component or composite hookups, signaling that Apple has moved on from analog video connections in favor of digital standards. Don't expect cheaper alternatives anytime soon, either: rumors suggest these Apple-branded cables may be the only adapters you'll see for some time.

Yet there's another product that Apple (understandably) left out of yesterday's presentation altogether. The company has given its iPad USB power adapter a slight boost in voltage, with the charger now supplying 12 watts compared to the previous 10. That should help restore the battery of your power-hungry iPad with Retina display to full capacity a bit faster. The $19 white brick will also fill up your iPhone or iPod touch significantly quicker than the smaller chargers included with those products. The upgraded adapter comes in the box with all new fourth generation iPads and is also shipping as a standalone accessory now.

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