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Seriously... it's 2009 and no way to dock a MacBook Pro...?

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
And no... I don't mean some 3rd-party solution that grotesquely clamps itself on to either side.

The word "Pro" is in the title of the product... it is also your higher-priced flagship model - you MUST know that professional power-users are going to purchase these units and plug in all SORTS of peripherals.

There REALLY SHOULD (at least in MY humble opinion) be an Apple-designed solution to users that want/need to "dock" their computers. Maybe a high-end model that has a concealed multi-pin bar on the bottom that connects with the dock... I mean honestly, between Ives and the entire Apple industrial design team, I am sure they could find an elegant solution to docking a laptop. I'd rather have one, persistent unit that I connect my ethernet, audio in/out, USB (over 6 devices and a hub), firewire drives and the occasional firewire camcorder, video out, power/charging... there's a whole host of reasons people need to keep things connected to a docking station instead of repeatedly plugging & unplugging numerous connections.

I'd love to think they already have a solution - or many - in the works... or even completed... but if that's the case, then why not implement...? Is the demand for "dockability" not high amongst Apple portable users...? I dunno. I just wish there were an elegant solution.
post #2 of 62
Thread Starter 
AHA! I'm not alone.

http://www.notebooks.com/2008/12/11/...book-pro-dock/
post #3 of 62
Apple HATES laptop docks.

In fact Apple is pretty much anti hardware unless that hardware is stategic.
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post #4 of 62
Apple sells a MacBook dock - it is the triple headed cable (mini display port, magsafe, usb) that comes with the 24" Cinema display. The only thing it is missing is firewire.

I don't think that they sell it separately yet.
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post #5 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwaver67 View Post


There REALLY SHOULD (at least in MY humble opinion) be an Apple-designed solution to users that want/need to "dock" their computers.

I agree... and whats with the non-removable optical drive???
post #6 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbwi View Post

I agree... and whats with the non-removable optical drive???

Adding a removable optical drive would ruin the anorexic nature of the laptops.
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post #7 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Adding a removable optical drive would ruin the anorexic nature of the laptops.

what about removing the optical drive all together?
post #8 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbwi View Post

what about removing the optical drive all together?

Even better, build it into the dock station.
post #9 of 62
Why is the dock needed exactly? What does it do that I don't with a USB hub and a DVI connector to my display?
post #10 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloorJack View Post

Why is the dock needed exactly? What does it do that I don't with a USB hub and a DVI connector to my display?

- Video connection
- USB connection
- FireWire Connection
- Auido in/out connection
- Power connection
- Ethernet connection

Docking would be a one-click operation.
Manual connection of 6 cables is ugly and cumbersome.

Some of us have MANY things to connect/disconnect.
post #11 of 62
I guess I hook 4 things up. Power, USB, DVI and Network. I guess it just doesn't bother me. I use a laptop stand now but I'm going to start sharing the LCD that hooked up to the Windows box on my desk. It will make more desk space and get rid of a keyboard and mouse in my office.
post #12 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloorJack View Post

Why is the dock needed exactly? What does it do that I don't with a USB hub and a DVI connector to my display?

One quick click-in-place connection and disconnection. No hunting for loose cables or moving equipment around so that you can see the connectors. If you had a true dock you wouldn't be asking the question.
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post #13 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Adding a removable optical drive would ruin the anorexic nature of the laptops.

Exactly. Remember the G3 Powerbooks with their expansion bays? Very handy (because you could have instead a floppy drive, a hard drive or a second battery) but really FAT by today's standards.
post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbwi View Post

what about removing the optical drive all together?

They already did it (Macbook Air). But no docking solutions for that either, just optional external optical drive.
post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by aresee View Post

If you had a true dock you wouldn't be asking the question.

So true. And it is not like Apple is foreign to the dock concept. Some of you here certainly remember the DuoDock, right?
post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by aresee View Post

One quick click-in-place connection and disconnection. No hunting for loose cables or moving equipment around so that you can see the connectors. If you had a true dock you wouldn't be asking the question.

My office is way too organized these days for that. There is literally a printed label on my desk that reads "laptop stand" and my cables all have velcro ties on them to keep them from slipping behind the desk.

Maybe good organization is the solution to needing a dock
post #17 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloorJack View Post

My office is way to organized these days for that. There is literally a printed label on my desk that reads "laptop stand" and my cables all have velcro ties on them to keep them from slipping behind the desk.

Maybe good organization is the solution to needing a dock

I know your response was based in humor, but I feel the need to say that a need for a solution where all peripherals remain connected to a docking station and the only quick connections you make are to dock and un-dock you laptop is not based on a lack of organization.

I am a VERY neat and organized person... but when I get a call saying "Hey, can you pop into this meeting for a few...?" and need to unplug everything (USB, FireWire, Power, CAT5, Video and power) and then come back and plug them in... it gets old REAL fast.

Besides... my Bose speakers aren't happy when I forget to "mute" them before plugging/unplugging them and so-on...

Making individual connections for every external cable is really such an early-'90s thing.
If Apple can design such incredible products as the iPod, iPhone, MacBook Air and more... then they can SURELY design a laptop with a well-designed dock.
post #18 of 62
I wondered the same thing. Apple's last foray into docked solutions, the Duo models, was actually pretty elegant. But I'm not exactly sure on why they have so much disdain for docking solutions now a days. At the moment I plug in my power, DVI, ethernet, USB and Firewire cables into my MBP every morning and would love a docking solution.

My idea is to have a very close proximity wireless solution. Imagine a pad, with a concave bevel and the footprint to match the new MBPs, and you sit the laptop on it. Under the skin of the laptop there are transmitters & receivers that won't work very far from the pad but positioned directly on top would have the same speed as a wired connection. No direct connections to wear out, and elegant enough for Apple's standards.
post #19 of 62
Apple's "dock" is wireless connectivity. Alas, it doesn't actually eliminate the desire for a dock.

Perhaps when we have wireless USB it will be better. Still though, even with 802.11n I often connect via GigE.
post #20 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

I wondered the same thing. Apple's last foray into docked solutions, the Duo models, was actually pretty elegant. But I'm not exactly sure on why they have so much disdain for docking solutions now a days.

If I had to venture a guess... it's the double-edged sword of Apple's (Jobs'? Ive's?) desire to create elegant and stunning presentations. If *WE* the end-user clutter our desks because of power-user needs, they look at that as being atypical.

They drool over the imagery of the MacBook Air just sitting there on the Anchor's news desk on tv.

I just wish they would take a slight detour outside of their desire to simplify the appearance (yet still keep the desire) and create a solution for us "real folks" that have a bazillion things to connect to our computers to get our jobs or hobbies done.

Again... this is Apple... it's in their DNA to create solutions that are aesthetically pleasing and functional. My worry is that the percentage of users that have this "need" are so low that we're not even a blip on their radar. And that is truly a shame since it was (initially) the "power users" and creative professionals that carried Apple through some dark times.

--

Let's face it... I get it... Apple has to go where the numbers are. iPods used to be FireWire ONLY. Then they allowed USB sync'ing. Then they made the change (to placate the masses of WinPC users adopting iPods) to swap the included cable from FireWire to USB... so all the PC peeps didn't have to go spend $$$ on a cable... it shifted the burden to us Mac faithful to purchase the (not included) FireWire cable. Then they drop FireWire sync'ing. And lastly... and this irks me STILL... I cannot even CHARGE a 3G iPhone over FireWire... so I have to stay with my 1st Gen iPhone so it'll work will all my chargers, my original Bose SoundDock, my (custom-installed) car cradle and interface, etc... if I go 3G... I cannot use those items.

--

But I digress... my point was/is... that Apple has to do what it needs to do to be successful and unfortunately, it seems that some of those decisions are going to upset the old-school, hard-core faithful. (me/us)
post #21 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Apple's "dock" is wireless connectivity. Alas, it doesn't actually eliminate the desire for a dock.

Perhaps when we have wireless USB it will be better. Still though, even with 802.11n I often connect via GigE.

Sure - that'll work fine when I convince my company that they should go wireless just for *me*. Every computer is hard-wired via a CAT5 cable from the desk phone. There's no Wireless USB or Wireless FireWire... nor wireless power & video... and if I'm going to still have to connect 3-5 cables... having wireless networking really is moot at that point.

Seriously... I know many of you *CAN* get away without a dock... and more-power to you! That's great if you can be happy plugging-in 2-3 cables each time... but like I said... come talk to me when you need to connect 6 or 7 things every time. It would be FANTASTIC if I just had one, elegant, attractive Apple dock that I could nest my MacBook Pro into and *snap*... it's all connected and the wires are neatly tucked/routed out of sight... no cables dangling around when not docked.

One can dream.
post #22 of 62
I hate having side cables sticking out of my MBP. At least on the new one they are all one the same side but on this last gen MBP I have power and sound on one side and everything else on the other side. I kinda wish all the ports were in the back.
post #23 of 62
One should keep checking the website below. They make docking stations for MacBook Pros and MacBooks. Currently there isn't a way to dock the new uni-body MacBook or MacBook Pro. Thats why I say keep checking back. I'm sure they're working on one.

BookEndz

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post #24 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

One should keep checking the website below. They make docking stations for MacBook Pros and MacBooks. Currently there isn't a way to dock the new uni-body MacBook or MacBook Pro. Thats why I say keep checking back. I'm sure they're working on one.

BookEndz

As i originally mentioned... I am aware that some 3rd-party solutions exist, but they are far from elegant and the fundamental flaws are in Apple's lack of an integrated solution. One that does not require awkward clamp-like appendages that connect with each port.

I would be happy with a 3rd-party solution if Apple would at least put all the ports in ONE PLACE.
post #25 of 62
I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.....

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post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.....

What cake...? The need for an Apple-designed and Apple-branded solution is what's being discussed. Not just "any old dock". Have you looked at those Frankenstein Monster-esque solutions...? Granted, they are doing the best with what's made by Apple, but they are still hideous and enormous.

Those 3rd part products are band-aids... built out of necessity because of a lack of consideration from Apple regarding dockability.

I truly think Apple could easily "solve" this issue if the need were large enough. I just don't think there are enough high-end users that need as much connectivity to peripherals. For those that DO need it, Apple is probably okay with letting other companies "solve" that issue. Which is an unfortunate result for those that want an elegant solution.

Kudos to BookEndz... but they're just plain awkward and unattractive.
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post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwaver67 View Post

- Video connection
- USB connection
- FireWire Connection
- Auido in/out connection
- Power connection
- Ethernet connection

Docking would be a one-click operation.
Manual connection of 6 cables is ugly and cumbersome.

Some of us have MANY things to connect/disconnect.

Wait i dont get it. Whats the point of buying something seperate if its already in the macbook itself, just buy a usb hub?
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post #28 of 62
You'll notice that the latest iterations of Apple's laptops put all the ports on one side, so at the very least a third party dock solution just got a lot easier. Magsafe and mini displayport make those connectors easier to deal with, as well.

Also, there's no reason to imagine that such a solution need be grotesque or of any less quality than something Apple might have made. If someone makes something nice, why would there be a "need" for Apple to do it?
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post #29 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomasthetug View Post

Wait i dont get it. Whats the point of buying something seperate if its already in the macbook itself, just buy a usb hub?

Not sure what you're saying. A USB hub will only help with the USB peripherals. Did you not see the list of other things needed to be connected for some of us "Pro" users...?

- Video connection: For MULTIPLE displays
- USB connection: For a host of USB peripherals and dongles/keys
- FireWire Connection: For high-speed drive and backup as well as VidCap
- Auido in/out connection: Self explanatory
- Power connection: Self explanatory
- Ethernet connection: As explained earlier, not *everyone* has WiFi at work. Some of us have hard-wired CAT5

What is "in" the MacBook Pro that would negate the use of all-6 of those ports being connected?


And to addabox re: "You'll notice that the latest iterations of Apple's laptops put all the ports on one side, so at the very least a third party dock solution just got a lot easier. Magsafe and mini displayport make those connectors easier to deal with, as well.

Also, there's no reason to imagine that such a solution need be grotesque or of any less quality than something Apple might have made. If someone makes something nice, why would there be a "need" for Apple to do it?
"

I agree having the ports all on one-side will make it easier (as said above) but regarding grotesque... I am not assuming anything. So far everything I've seen (and there's not much out there) is really bulky, awkward looking and overall unattractive because of how they are trying to reverse-engineer a solution.

Again - my point is... Apple could simply make/provide a universal Multi-Pin port somewhere on the machine; side, bottom back, wherever... allowing themselves or a 3rd-party to make a simple solution for docking. That's all.

Just because *YOU* (and that's a collective *you* in general to anyone) may not need a dock solution, some of us DO.
post #30 of 62
Some ports are very delicate and have fragile pins. The less plugging/unplugging the better. A dock would allow for some ports to have much less strain put on them. The dock pins themselves (depending on the design) are more robust.
post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightwaver67 View Post

Not sure what you're saying. A USB hub will only help with the USB peripherals. Did you not see the list of other things needed to be connected for some of us "Pro" users...?
- Video connection: For MULTIPLE displays
- USB connection: For a host of USB peripherals and dongles/keys
- FireWire Connection: For high-speed drive and backup as well as VidCap
- Auido in/out connection: Self explanatory
- Power connection: Self explanatory
- Ethernet connection: As explained earlier, not *everyone* has WiFi at work. Some of us have hard-wired CAT5
What is "in" the MacBook Pro that would negate the use of all-6 of those ports being connected?
And to addabox re: "You'll notice that the latest iterations of Apple's laptops put all the ports on one side, so at the very least a third party dock solution just got a lot easier. Magsafe and mini displayport make those connectors easier to deal with, as well.
Also, there's no reason to imagine that such a solution need be grotesque or of any less quality than something Apple might have made. If someone makes something nice, why would there be a "need" for Apple to do it?
"
I agree having the ports all on one-side will make it easier (as said above) but regarding grotesque... I am not assuming anything. So far everything I've seen (and there's not much out there) is really bulky, awkward looking and overall unattractive because of how they are trying to reverse-engineer a solution.
Again - my point is... Apple could simply make/provide a universal Multi-Pin port somewhere on the machine; side, bottom back, wherever... allowing themselves or a 3rd-party to make a simple solution for docking. That's all.
Just because *YOU* (and that's a collective *you* in general to anyone) may not need a dock solution, some of us DO.

Ah, ok. Everyone made it sound like all they needed was more usb, good point. But docks are ugly and make everything look bad in my opinion that is...
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post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomasthetug View Post

Ah, ok. Everyone made it sound like all they needed was more usb, good point. But docks are ugly and make everything look bad in my opinion that is...

The work arounds for the MacBooks, yes. But not so bad when the laptop was designed to use a special docking connector.
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post #33 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomasthetug View Post

Ah, ok. Everyone made it sound like all they needed was more usb, good point. But docks are ugly and make everything look bad in my opinion that is...

Yes, most 3rd-party docks ARE unattractive because they are trying to solve the problem by using the EXISTING port layout on whichever laptop they're designing for... again, this was all mentioned above. That's the whole point of my post (rant), is that Apple really COULD (should?) provide an elegant solution for notebook users that have multiple physical connections to make.

Until Apple comes up with an Apple-designed multi-pin port... 3rd party designers have to deal with what they're dealt. So, that means big, bulky clamp-on style docks that on occasion need to connect to both sides of the laptop.

Granted, this isn't keeping me up at night. I'm not losing sleep over this, but it WOULD make me (and quite a few others) a VERY happy person.
post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Finlayson View Post

What cake...? The need for an Apple-designed and Apple-branded solution is what's being discussed. Not just "any old dock". Have you looked at those Frankenstein Monster-esque solutions...? Granted, they are doing the best with what's made by Apple, but they are still hideous and enormous.

Those 3rd part products are band-aids... built out of necessity because of a lack of consideration from Apple regarding dockability.

I truly think Apple could easily "solve" this issue if the need were large enough. I just don't think there are enough high-end users that need as much connectivity to peripherals. For those that DO need it, Apple is probably okay with letting other companies "solve" that issue. Which is an unfortunate result for those that want an elegant solution.

Kudos to BookEndz... but they're just plain awkward and unattractive.

Docks are so 1990's...

Like you said, there isn't enough demand for Apple to give a damn. It simply isn't a major issue for the vast majority of Mac notebook users.

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post #35 of 62
Guys, it is because Apple targets these laptops as consumer machines. This is the main reason why it has not made much progress into Corporates. All corporates uses crap PCs but with very nice docks that actually works very well.
The old days of the DualDock were to some extend a fairly reasonable entry into the Corporate, unless the proliferation of MS apps on Windows pretty much outlawed macs before the OSX days.

So unless Apple changes its target market segment, we are stuck with nice laptops without docks.
PS: In my Corporate laptop,I broke two HPs laptops but the dock seemed to survive the serious abuse.
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post #36 of 62
MacBook Pros are supposed to be "docked" with an Apple LCD Display. This has been true with Apple Pro laptops for many years.

You buy a Cinema Display, plug your keyboard into it (plug your mouse into your keyboard) and plug any other always-needed-while-docked peripheral into the display's other USB port (or FireWire port).

Then when you arrive at your desk, you "dock" by connecting a whopping 2 cables (the display connector and USB connector).

I use my 17" PowerBook G4 1.67GHz with a 23" Cinema Display every day and plugging in two cords is not anywhere near an inconvenience. (I also keep a second charger at my desk, so I actually plug in three cords when I'm going to be "docked" for a while).

The new Apple Display even makes this simpler with the inclusion of a charging cable for the unibodies.

If you want the old school IBM ThinkPad bulky docking station, you need to buy a Windows laptop, as you will never see a first party solution and any third party solutions will be highly inelegant..
post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

MacBook Pros are supposed to be "docked" with an Apple LCD Display. This has been true with Apple Pro laptops for many years.

You buy a Cinema Display, plug your keyboard into it (plug your mouse into your keyboard) and plug any other always-needed-while-docked peripheral into the display's other USB port (or FireWire port).

Then when you arrive at your desk, you "dock" by connecting a whopping 2 cables (the display connector and USB connector).

I use my 17" PowerBook G4 1.67GHz with a 23" Cinema Display every day and plugging in two cords is not anywhere near an inconvenience. (I also keep a second charger at my desk, so I actually plug in three cords when I'm going to be "docked" for a while).

The new Apple Display even makes this simpler with the inclusion of a charging cable for the unibodies.

If you want the old school IBM ThinkPad bulky docking station, you need to buy a Windows laptop, as you will never see a first party solution and any third party solutions will be highly inelegant..


This is a bit heavy on the kool-aid. We're asking for a Dock that doesn't require that we buy a $900 LCD monitor. I know Apple's approach to docking but connecting two cables is still more work for less return than sliding your laptop into a holder and touching no cables.
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post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

This is a bit heavy on the kool-aid. We're asking for a Dock that doesn't require that we buy a $900 LCD monitor. I know Apple's approach to docking but connecting two cables is still more work for less return than sliding your laptop into a holder and touching no cables.

Even if you didn't buy an Apple LCD Monitor, you can pick up a used VGA monitor and get an adaptor for all I care, but we're still talking about plugging in one monitor cable and (at the most) a downstream USB cable from a powered USB hub (that has your keyboard, external drive, etc. plugged into it). Big whoop. If you need a structure, get an iCurve.

Docking stations are inelegant. Look at IBM's offerings throughout the late 1990s:

The Under dock:
Little plastic doors on the laptop's underbelly that expose ports to snap onto a dock. Material can get into those ports via the docking station topside connectors and damage the laptop. The little plastic doors can break. An overly aggressive user decides one day that he doesn't have the time to press an eject button and damages the dock and/or the laptop. The underdock gets hot as the laptop radiates heat, causing thermal issues.

The dock-behind/spine dock:
Docks via snapping into the back spine of the laptop. Did you push it in all the way? Will opening the laptop lid slightly eject the laptop? Will the heat vents on the back dissipate heat enough?

I supported laptops in educational and newspaper environments and let me tell you, docking stations break laptops and the docking stations themselves just aren't worth it.

That's why you don't see one.
post #39 of 62
That's a weird experience. In the last 5 jobs I worked at docks were used extensively on the PC laptops. Laptops broke before docks did. Everyone likes them. At the agency I am now, we have one exec that won't go back to a MacBook Pro because he loves his Dell dock. If Apple made a dock, sans the elaborate connectors some PCs have, it would sell like gangbusters.
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

Docking stations are inelegant.

Says you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

The Under dock:
Little plastic doors on the laptop's underbelly that expose ports to snap onto a dock. Material can get into those ports via the docking station topside connectors and damage the laptop. The little plastic doors can break.

Guess what. All the ports on a Mac are exposed anyways. This is a non issue and any engineer worth his salt can over come this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

An overly aggressive user decides one day that he doesn't have the time to press an eject button and damages the dock and/or the laptop.

The employer has other issues than broken laptops if this happens. What's preventing this person from throwing the laptop across the office? Or what if the employee, on his MBP, decides he 'doesn't have the time' to properly disengage the ethernet connector? I see that far more often. Or unscrew the DVI/VGA connector?
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

The underdock gets hot as the laptop radiates heat, causing thermal issues.

Better get rid of desks and tables too. I hear people put laptops on those too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

The dock-behind/spine dock:
Docks via snapping into the back spine of the laptop. Did you push it in all the way? Will opening the laptop lid slightly eject the laptop? Will the heat vents on the back dissipate heat enough?

I guess if the laptop maker is too stupid to not foresee these issues, they shouldn't be making docks for their computers.

In the end, I actually agree with you. Apple won't make a dock for the laptops especially if only 25% of the people would get one. It's just a shame because if anyone could make a great docking solution, it's Apple.\
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