This week we look at docking stations for the MacBook. Docks let you stow your laptop out of the way. With its lid closed, and yet still use its brain to power a monitor and hook up to a mouse and keyboard.
Some docks are simple dumb stands, others offer hookups that the modern MacBook lacks, like HDMI and Ethernet ports.
Some materials have integrity. Consider aluminum, Jony Ive’s material of choice, and then compare it to plastic. Under the skin, plastic feels wholly artificial, a lump of congealed and polished chemicals; in feel and smell, there’s something unnatural and slightly impure about it. But aluminum feels clean. It has texture. It isn’t just a facade: It is true to itself, right on down through.
BookArc möd by Twelve South Category: Stands Works With: Any MacBook Price: $80
Another material with integrity is wood. It is true to itself, from the veneer to the grain. It has texture. It is clean. And it has history. Wood actually picks up the oils from your hands, and develops a patina. And because of its innate qualities, wood pairs exquisitely with Jony Ive’s chosen material of integrity: aluminum.
Which brings us to Twelve South’s latest product, the BookArc möd. An organic, well-crafted version of the accessory maker’s popular BookArc stand, it is a laptop dock that offers every bit as much integrity as the MacBook it is meant to house… both different and complementary at once.
Twelve South is at it again with the new Rutledge BookBook, a hand-finished leather creation that marks the company’s first MacBook case in three years. The Rutledge is designed for both MacBook Air display sizes, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and both Retina MacBook Pro display sizes.
As laptop speakers go, those built into Apple’s MacBooks aren’t bad — particularly if you have a MacBook Pro. But they can be so much better. Plug Twelve South’s BassJump 2 into one of your USB ports and you have a mini sound-system that dramatically improves your MacBook’s audio performance.
BassJump 2 by Twelve South Category: Audio Works With: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro Price: $69.99
Whether you’re listening to music, watching a movie, or just enjoying a podcast, the BassJump 2 subwoofer gives you significantly richer and fuller sound that you won’t believe is coming from your MacBook. There’s no need for expensive external speakers that take up too much room in your bag, or headphones that limit the experience to just one person.
The BassJump 2 is priced at $69.99, and Twelve South calls it “an essential road tool for listening to and editing tracks on the tour bus, hotel room or anyplace else your music takes you.” Now, I’m no musician or music producer — but I definitely agree.
The fine folks at Twelve South have brought the popular SurfacePad case to the iPad mini. The cover is made from Napa leather, and it bends to form a viewing stand or typing wedge.
One of the coolest design aspects of the new SurfacePad is how the iPad mini is held in place when upright. Instead of resting the iPad in little leather notches like most bendable cases, the edges of the iPad are secured by invisible magnets.
Sure, those don’t all go together, but Twelve South’s new iPad Air and iPad mini stand looks like nothing you’ve seen before. It might as well find a place in a kitchen drawer, next to all the Pampered Chef gizmos you’ve got in there.
This new iPad stand — made for the iPad Air and iPad mini — is foldable, easy to use, and just plain sweet looking.
It’s not a folding case like Twelve South’s iconic BookBook, but rather a sleeve that your iPhone slips into that has a large hole in its front for your display, and a little pocket in its back for your credit cards.
It’s an ideal alternative for those who like to keep things simple and don’t want to have to deal with flappy front covers when using their smartphone. It makes everything easy to get to, and it doesn’t cover up any buttons, ports, or speakers.
The Wall St fits both iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s (there’s another version for iPhone 5c, too), and it’s available in a number of pretty colors, including brown, blue, orange, and red. It costs $34.95, so let’s find out whether it’s worth it.
Today Twelve South unveiled its new BookBook Travel Journal for the iPad, a leather-bound traveling case that has the vintage look Twelve South is known for. While the outside has the appearance of an old book, the inside of the case allows for storing headphones, cables, and other accessories.
Twelve South, the maker of the BookBook and other fine case and accessories, has debuted a versatile MacBook stand called the GhostStand. The transparent apparatus suspends any MacBook model, and the name implies that you’re not supposed to even know it’s there.
An iPhone or iPad dock is a very nice thing to have for keeping one’s desktop regimented and tidy, but they have drawbacks.
HiRise by Twelve South Category: Docks / Stands Works With: iPad, iPhone Price: $35
For one, a dock that you buy for one generation of iPhone might not work if Apple changes the handset design in the next generation. In addition, iPhone and iPad docks tend not to be cross-compatible, so if you have a dock that fits your iPhone, you usually can’t force an iPad into it, and vice versa. And then, of course, there’s the case problem. Docks and cases tend not to play well together, but most of us like to use a case to protect our devices. That means we usually go without a dock.
Twelve South’s latest product, the HiRise for iPhone and iPad mini, is a combination dock and stand that very cleverly finds a way around all of these problems. We love using it, but putting it together? That’s another story.