updated 06:47 am EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
Apple-only accessory maker accessorizes your Mac
MacNN has been living with several Twelve South Mac accessories over the past week including the HoverBar, BookArc, HiRise and the BackPack 2. Each of these in their own right are interesting and useful accessories, but combined, they help to turn your Mac set up into the ultimate 'battle station.'
Users who want to use the MacBook Pro in a 'docked' position can place it closed on their desk and hooked up to an external monitor. Or, they could use Twelve South's BookArc ($50), which allows both MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina Display users to place it in a neat, upright space saving position. It also has integrated cable tidies hidden on the underside of the stand to help users keep the power cords and display cables out of the way depending on where you choose to place the BookArc. Twelve South include two rubber inserts, one for the MacBook Pro and one for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
The BookArc is a made out of a beautifully machined aluminum with a high-quality anodised aluminum finish that complements the MacBook Pro very well. Further, the rubberized inserts not only securely hold a MacBook Pro, they are also designed in a way that ensures that users will not be in position where the aluminum MacBook Pro could possibly rub against the BookArc. It has been thoughtfully designed and also looks great while also helping to declutter a workstation.
With our MacBook Pro safely cradled in the Twelve South BookArc, we raised the height of our Apple Thunderbolt display using the new Twelve South HiRise ($80). The HiRise is very easy to assemble and can do double duty by acting as a spot to store and hide an external hard drive, or personal items and other belongings. The display height can be adjusted according to the individual user's requirements, although at the lower settings, it might only fit a pocket-sized mobile external hard drive. We had it set at the highest position and were able to hide our hard drive, further cleaning up our workstation. It also works just as well with iMacs.
The front and rear panels of the HiRise are supplied with shiny screws and an Allen key, if users want to secure it. The HiRise is also magnetized and can also hold the front and rear panels in place magnetically only, if so desired. This allows users to either have easy access to the rear in case may need to pull out their hard drive in an instant, or it also allows users to lift the front on and off at will to stow away and retrieve other items as necessary. However you choose to use the HiRise, it is both well-designed and functional.
The BackPack 2 ($35) is a tray that is designed to attach to the rear of a Thunderbolt or iMac aluminum stand. It can support weights up to 3.5 pounds meaning that is a great place to store an external hard drive, helping again to free up and unclutter your desk space. MacBook Air users will also be interested note that the BackPack 2 can also stowe their ultraportable notebook out of the way, behind their Thunderbolt displays. Users can also opt to fit the BackPack 2 to the front of their Thunderbolt display or iMac stand as a shelf to keep their smartphone or other items out of the way when not being used. Two BackPack 2s can also be purchased separately and fitted, one to the front and one to the back, without one interfering with the other.
The Twelve South HoverBar ($80) for the iPad 2 and the third-gen iPad works just as well as it appears in the photos. The swiveling mechanism is solid and has no trouble supporting an iPad whether positioned above a Thunderbolt or iMac display, or on the side. Again, for power users, two can comfortably be fitted simultaneously as well, allowing for the best of both touch and traditional computing. Perhaps more than anything, it also helps to declutter your workstation, lifting an iPad off your desk as well removing an iPad dock or stand from your immediate work area.
Of all the accessories from Twelve South we have been using, this is perhaps the most fun to use. We had ours fitted so that the iPad sits suspended next to our Thunderbolt display on the side, putting in our natural line of sight. In the vertical position, it can show documents and other apps like the Pulse visual RSS reader very effectively. Easily rotated, users can then easily switch to having a video playing while you are working. The HoverBar is very well made and inspires us with a sense confidence that it will not, over time, start to weaken and lose its ability to hold an iPad firmly in position.
Overall, it is very hard to fault the Twelve South product range that we have had on hand. They are perhaps slightly on the expensive side, but conversely, they are very well made and thoughtfully designed. With an entire product range devoted to Apple users, it is clear that the company also has a very strong grasp of the aesthetics and quality that Apple users have historically been prepared to pay a premium to own. As a bonus, the packaging Twelve South use is also premium quality -- they are so nice, that Twelve South even supplies users with a list of ideas of how they can be utilized for further use after you take their accessories out of the box.
By Sanjiv Sathiah