Docking stations for MacBooks?

drmike

macrumors member
Original poster
May 17, 2006
77
0
California
Some PC laptops have the option of connecting to a docking station. Does the MacBook have anything similar (forgive me if this question seems naive; I'm a veteran PC user and honestly don't know what options there are for Mac laptops :) )?

The reason I ask is that I've been going back and forth between keeping my MacBook or exchanging it for an iMac. If I keep the MacBook, it might be nice to connect it to an external display, an external keyboard, and a mouse. But having to connect and dis-connect the display, keyboard, and mouse constantly can be inconvenient (and could wear out the USB and DVI jacks).

So is there an easy, convenient way of being able to connect all these peripherals to the MacBook? Does Apple (or someone else) make something similar to a docking station?
 

7on

macrumors 601
Nov 9, 2003
4,940
0
Dress Rosa
Well the MacBook uses a Mini DVI plug for an external monitor and as long as as you keep the mini to DVI plug onto the monitor cable, unplugging from the macbook is quite quick and doesn't need to be unscrewed. USB hub simplifies the usb mouse+keyboard a bit.

A company called "BookEndz" used to make docks but I don't know what they're up to today. Used them with my TiBook.
 

Mord

macrumors G4
Aug 24, 2003
10,090
21
UK
other companies make such deviced but none are yet available for the macbook, it's like a slot in thing in the side that allows you to not have to unplug and plug all the cables.
 

Abulia

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2004
1,786
1
Kushiel's Scion
Has Apple ever done docking stations for any of their laptops? This would seem like a necessity to try to penetrate the business market.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
Abulia said:
Has Apple ever done docking stations for any of their laptops?
Yes.
The last REAL docking station (that I remember) for Apple laptops was part of the DuoDock package. Life ended for it in 1995.

Docks never really made a comeback for Mac laptops. So, docking stations really never took off with the PowerBooks. BookEndz were not well received because they didn't work very well. Bad connections and whatnot. Complaints. Poor sales.

There's currently nothing out there for MacBooks. They are simply too new. Like 14 days old. Nothing for MBPs either (AFAIK).
 

drmike

macrumors member
Original poster
May 17, 2006
77
0
California
Thanks for the replies, everybody. It's interesting to learn that docking stations never really caught on with Macs. I checked out the Bookendz site, but I didn't see anything for the MacBook. Now that I think about it more, the MacBooks and MacBook Pros don't have port replicators, which many PC laptops have (or used to have) -- probably one reason why companies like Bookendz made makeshift docking stations.

On the other hand, given that the MacBook, as yellow says, is new, perhaps something might appear in the future.

7on said:
USB hub simplifies the usb mouse+keyboard a bit.
That's a good idea. It would at least free up one USB port (otherwise I'd have both occupied by a mouse and a keyboard).

One other thought comes to mind -- I could go with a BlueTooth mouse and keyboard, right? And, if so, can both BlueTooth devices be used at the same time?
 

Danksi

macrumors 68000
Oct 3, 2005
1,554
0
Nelson, BC. Canada
You used to be able to get USB docking 'blocks' for PC Laptops. Basically a single USB connection, provided a small brick with USB, Keyboard, Mouse, monitor, parallel printer type connections.
 

h0e0h

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2004
761
0
West Monroe, Louisiana
not really sure how well a docking station would work though... what if you have a flash drive/iPod plugged into the docking station, theoretically you're supposed to eject the removable before you remove it, so just 'undocking' it could "damage" your removable. IMO that's the reason a majority of docking stations didn't fly... an iCurve, MiniDVI-VGA, and USB Hub work for me, I just have to remember to eject my charging iPod, as good as a dock would.
 

slffl

macrumors 65816
Mar 5, 2003
1,303
4
Seattle, WA
3 1/2 years ago when I got my 17" PB I thought it was going to be inconvenient to connect and disconnect peripherals everyday. However, it doesn't bother me at all. I do it twice a day, 5 days a week, and the ports are fine.
 

m-dogg

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2004
1,338
0
Connecticut
drmike said:
One other thought comes to mind -- I could go with a BlueTooth mouse and keyboard, right? And, if so, can both BlueTooth devices be used at the same time?
Yes, you can use a bluetooth keyboard & mouse at the same time (I am right now :) )
 

drmike

macrumors member
Original poster
May 17, 2006
77
0
California
Thanks for the additional replies everyone. Danksi, a docking block is an interesting idea (as a side note, it's interesting to remember how prevalent parallel ports used to be; now they're not very common at all, except on some PC desktops -- though my current Deskjet printer has a parallel port connection :) ).

h0e0h, you make a good point. I hadn't even thought about the iCurve (I take it that's the stand for propping up a Mac laptop?). Maybe something like that with an external monitor and keyboard would work for me.

And slffl thanks for your input -- I suspect that having to connect and dis-connect seems more troublesome than it actually is. If the ports last, that's even better (I think I was worried because I once had a PC laptop that gave me trouble because of all the connecting and dis-connecting I did with peripherals).

Well, all this feedback helps. Maybe not having a dock isn't so bad -- I was just curious to know if such a thing was easily available or common with Macs. I think a USB hub would probably be sufficient.
 

drmike

macrumors member
Original poster
May 17, 2006
77
0
California
m-dogg said:
Yes, you can use a bluetooth keyboard & mouse at the same time (I am right now :) )
Thanks m-doog. That's awesome. Good to know they'll work simultaneously. Wireless is the way to go.
 

Yoursh

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2006
326
0
MN
I have a 12" ibook and use this. I leave my keyboard/mouse attached to it so when I want to hook up my laptop all I need to do is plug in my external monitor adapter and one usb cord.(I don't use external speakers) I turn on the fans if the ibook gets a little hot. I've found it's a good alternative since no official dock is available.
 

drmike

macrumors member
Original poster
May 17, 2006
77
0
California
Yoursh said:
I have a 12" ibook and use this. I leave my keyboard/mouse attached to it so when I want to hook up my laptop all I need to do is plug in my external monitor adapter and one usb cord.(I don't use external speakers) I turn on the fans if the ibook gets a little hot. I've found it's a good alternative since no official dock is available.
Thanks for the info. I'm going spend some time reading up on that hub. It might come in pretty handy. I've got a number of options now -- and I think all of them would be pretty good substitutes for a conventional docking station.

Thanks.