Seen @ Macworld is Appletell’s column highlighting our experiences at the recent Macworld / iWorld Expo. Appletell stopped by several booths that featured interesting products; some were longtime pillars of Macworld with updates to established products, many were new companies showing innovative and exciting product for the first time, and a few featured accessories, apps, and products we didn’t even know we needed before we hit the Moscone West show floor. Here we feature buzz from the show floor and details of our conversations with the makers, inventors, and companies whose products were on display. Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld / iWorld 2013.
Henge Docks’ products impressed showgoers and Macworld alike, earning a Best in Show award and keeping quite a crowd throughout the event. The entire concept of Henge Docks grew out of frustration with the repetitiveness of continuously plugging and unplugging a MacBook Pro into a home theater system (like most docking stations, it’s really a matter of convenience), but also out of the aesthetic-busting reality that a MacBook with a tangle of protruding cables isn’t very sexy. To truly solve the problem, Henge’s docks need to look just as good as the computers they hold, and in this respect the company does not disappoint.
Like a Druish Princess
Henge Docks take their name from the vertical standing stones of Stonehenge, and it’s absolutely appropriate; Henge had a circular podium of docked Macs arranged at their booth, and the only thing missing were some Genuis druids chanting OS X version names.
Since Apple puts the majority of MacBook ports on one side of the machine, all the cables are stowed neatly under the dock, which means you simply slip your MacBook/MacBook Pro/MacBook Air in and your devices are automatically connected. The Air is an exception, as its MagSafe connector is not located on the same side as the other ports, so you do still have to plug in the power cable separately. The only drawback to the Henge setup for non-Retina MacBook Pros is the fact that the dock does block the SD card reader, so you’ll need to undock to connect a card.
These docks range from $55-$75.
Retina MacBook Pro owners looking for a Henge Dock don’t get the standard vertical treatment, as Apple was forced to split the ports along both edges of the laptop’s design. Instead, Henge has created a really nifty horizontal dock that includes a tray for holding your laptop. Once aligned in this tray, the Dock’s motorized port connectors slide into place, connecting all your MacBook’s ports (SD Card included), and expanding them. The Dock takes the computer’s existing connectors and provides connectivity for six USB 3.0 devices, three monitors (plus the MacBook makes four monitors), two audio devices, FireWire 800, Ethernet, and an SD Card. There will also be a version for MacBook Air, as well, and this dock should be available by the third quarter of this year at $250 base, $350 with Thunderbolt ports.
Also on display at Macworld was the Henge Gravitas dock for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. The Gravitas is a machined aluminum cylinder weighing in at a hefty one kilogram, so not only does it stay put, it allows you to use your docked device without the risk of tipping it over. This is especially useful in second screen scenarios where your iPad or iPad mini serves as a second device for getting work done or staying in touch. Interchangeable inserts let you swap out the iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, or iPod Touch (there are even speaker passthroughs!), while power, data, and audio ports are located around back. The Gravitas will be available in the second quarter of this year in both 3o-pin Dock and Lightning flavors at $70.
Moving in New Circles
Given Henge’s roots as a design to help clean up your Mac-as-home-theater clutter, the Clique keyboard+magic trackpad dock makes sense as a remote control. Essentially a frame for holding your Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse together, the Clique lets you dock these two devices so it’s easier to surf your MacBook from across the room, and there’s no need to fumble two devices in your lap. Better yet, the Clique provides a rigid surface under the Magic Trackpad, allowing its click functionality to work equally well on a table or in your lap. Currently available in a right-hand version, a left-hand version will be available soon; both are $25.