You thought it was vaporware. We did too. But the FastMac U-Socket, a combination AC and USB outlet, just went up for pre-order.
If you need a refresher, it's basically a wall-mounted power point with two three-prong AC slots for plugging in your home electronics. Unlike regular receptacles, however, it comes with two extra connectors for USB gadgets, so you don't have to turn on a PC when all you've got is a USB charger in tow. With one, replenishing power with a USB cable becomes as straightforward as a regular wall-wart.
The current FastMac U-Socket has been slightly redesigned. Instead of the two USB ports on either side of the original prototype, they've been moved to one side to make sure they remain accessible even with two bulky AC plugs stuck in. Maximum USB output is 5V each, making it ideal for most handheld home electronics (and painfully slow for larger ones, such as the iPad).
According to the company, it can stand in as a replacement for any existing wall outlet. It avoids wasteful consumption too, with the ports only drawing power when an external device is connected.
Shipping for the FastMac U-Socket is expected before the end of June, pending final safety approval. Price is $19.95 if you order now; it goes up to $29.95 upon actual release.