For a while, it seemed like things were getting easier. If we wanted to dock our laptops, we had Bluetooth mice and keyboards. Wireless! Amazing! But what about that Thunderbolt monitor? What about plugging in that iPad? Even in the mighty year of 2013, we still live in a world of too many wires and too few plugs.
The MacDock is a Kickstarter-based solution. It’s a MacBook dock that aims to make your plugs a bit more manageable and beautiful at the same time.
"We tried to create a product which contrasts the least with Apple’s iconic design," explains Co-Creator Kai Sapper. "So we consider our solution to be something that Apple should have offered its customers a long time ago."
One end is a Mini DisplayPort/USB 3 extender. It’s like a hub for anything you could want to plug in (other than your Thunderbolt monitor, which isn’t part of the deal). The other end is a somewhat ingenious two-pronged plug that fits into both of your MacBook’s corresponding ports at the same time. This plug is a small detail, to be sure, but it also means that two wires become one wire, and you won’t be flipping plugs upside down again and again, guessing how the ends fit.
"Since the beginning, we wanted to create an elegant yet simple solution for a cluttered workspace," Sapper writes. "We had to go through many design concepts to seamlessly integrate our product with the MacBook. Hence it was a big challenge to achieve a design which fits Dieter Rams’s aphorism ‘the least design is the best design.’"
But when asked what the biggest challenge of the project was, Kai’s brother, Jan, adds that creating any Kickstarter campaign comes with an array of constantly shifting challenges over time—meaning, it becomes impossible to say.
"Every stage has its own difficulty," he says. "For example, today’s challenge is to get the word out and get people to know about the MacDock. But a few months ago the biggest challenge was getting quotes from manufacturers to find out if our product is feasible in the market, while our developers worked on the basic technical configuration. It is a fascinating process."
That "fascinating" process has been known to blindside young companies, crippling them with success. But so far, the MacDock seems to be on track. No doubt, it may help that Kai and Jan, the sons of Richard Sapper, simply have it in their blood. Just don’t mention the irony that, while Richard redefined portable PCs with the ThinkPad, Kai and Jan have just given up and taken to Macs.
If you’d like to pre-order a MacDock of your own, they start at about $60.