We’ve seen all kinds of docking stations for Apple’s vast array of devices over the years, but perhaps nothing quite as cleverly designed as the LandingZone for MacBook Air. The docking solution was spotted at this year’s Macworld|iWorld conference and really stood out thanks to the sheer ease and versatility of it.
Designed by a former Apple engineer along with a few entrepreneurs, the LandingZone is essentially a highly compact dock (only being slightly wider than the MacBook itself) that adds a bunch of extra ports to your MacBook Air when used at the desktop, giving the ability to connect up an external monitor, wired Ethernet and up to four USB 2.0 devices. The inventive makers have also designed it in a way that allows it to perfectly align itself with a MagSafe power adapter so that it can be charged/powered while docked.
To mount the MacBook Air to the dock, you simply set the rear of it onto the dock and slide its lever over. This inserts two small modules on each end into the USB and Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt ports and then you’re ready to roll.
When it’s time to go mobile, you simply slide the lever back over and pick up the MacBook. This means no unplugging/plugging of cables/adapters and just all round a pretty nifty, streamlined idea we think. And yes, it will be offered in two versions to suit both the 11″ and 13″ MacBook Airs.
While it’s been said that the LandingZone would soon start shipping to Kickstarter investors who have pledged money to get the device into mass production, there is one setback for now (well, two actually – it’s said to come in at a steep $199 upon release); and there’s no Thunderbolt support. The current design is physically compatible with the latest Thunderbolt-equipped models, but the signal can’t be passed through to the rear Mini DisplayPort. It’s been said the main reason this was not included is due to the typical delays we see when trying to obtain licensing for new Thunderbolt equipped products from Intel.
Should they get that approved down the road, we could well be seeing another variant of the LandingZone with no limitations, including the likes of Gigabit Ethernet and perhaps some FireWire ports for further good measure.
KitGuru says: Portability on the move meets versatility at the desk? Roll it in with Thunderbolt and a more realistic price point and it’s a thumbs up.