The ZenDock concept is simple: by replicating ports away from your computer, it corrals your cables safely out of sight, replacing them with a single aluminum brick that attaches/detaches easily from the side of your MacBook Pro or MBP with Retina display. It’s not really a docking station in the traditional sense, it’s more of a hyper-intelligent cable manager that simplifies the chore of attaching all your peripherals to your MacBook.
Off My Desk!
Both ZenDock models are designed to remove cord clutter from your desk. They achieve this goal by providing a single cable to connect the ZenDock itself from your computer to a base unit, which replicates/expands the ports available. You plug all your peripherals into the base, safely out of sight somewhere, then simply plug in the one ZenDock to the side of your MacBook when you get to your desk. The base unit comes with both rubber grippy feet and screw mounts, so you can place it conveniently out of sight (and with it the rat’s nest of cables you still need for your Mac).
The ZenDock’s construction is designed to take up as little space as possible. It multiplies some of the ports so you can connect all your devices and still have free USB ports, speaker/mic ports, and card readers at your disposal without unplugging your regular gear. The dock unit plugged into the side of your MacBook provides a single point of connection, so attaching/detaching your external devices (monitor, speakers, etc.) is easy.
The ZenDock gives you more flexibility than a traditional dock because it doesn’t use/cover all of your MacBook’s ports. The ZenDock Pro plugs into your MacBook’s power, Ethernet, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and one USB port. On the Pro’s base you’ll find an Ethernet, FireWire, Mini Display Port, three USB ports, and speaker/mic connections (that’s four more than you lost on the MacBook).
The ZenDock Retina covers just the power, both Thunderbolt, and one USB ports, while the Retina base provides a Mini Display Port, Thunderbolt passthrough (it’s over on the left hand side of the device), three USB ports, and a speaker/mic connection.
Although the ZenDock Kickstarter campaign has already more than doubled its goal, there are still pledge gifts available. You can get your name integrated into the marketing materials starting at just $5, or go up to the $139 level if you want one of the first ZenDock production units (that represents a savings of $40 off the planned retail). The company has stated the initial production run will only consist of enough units to satisfy the Kickstarter pledge demands, so if you can’t wait to get your hands on one you’ll need to pledge. Also, check out the project video on the Kickstarter page for more details on the design process.