5 Essential Mac Accessories

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The new MacBook is undoubtedly one of the lightest portable computers on the market.  However, the thin design comes at a price– it can’t pack everything in like a desktop computer. The MacBook Air and the newly announced MacBook provide minimal connectivity options to accommodate the light design. All is not lost– external adapters can extend the use of available ports. You can create an mobile working platform by adding a few accessories. These accessories are essential for the professional on the go, allowing you to carry an entire office in your backpack.

Apple tries to beat other hardware manufacturers to the punch on new-and-upcoming technology standards. However, the rest of the world cannot always keep up the pace. For example, the newest Macbook is one of the fist computers to have a USB 3.1 port included. Most people don’t have a USB 3.1 cable, and they’ll need to buy one to keep up with Apple. This guide will help you stay productive in a world of dwindling USB connections and missing optical drives.

Apple USB SuperDrive

SuperDriveDiscs are going the way of the past as the world moves towards digital distribution. Nevertheless, there are times when we need an optical drive to play a CD or DVD. The latest MacBook Pro ditched the built-in optical drive in favor of a slimmer design.

The Apple USB SuperDrive provides a convenient external option. You can play discs and burn CDs as if Apple never removed the drive. It connects through a USB 2.0 port (unfortunately you’ll need a USB 3.1 adapter if you’re using the new MacBook) and doesn’t need any additional power. Give it a look if you need to work with CDs.

Check out the SuperDrive here.

Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Port

Apple removed the Ethernet port on the new MacBook as Wi-Fi is becoming the de-facto internet connectivity standard. The issue here is that WiFi can be spotty at times, and you might need an unbroken internet connection while doing serious work at home.

Apple’s Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Port adapter plugs into your MacBook Pro’s thunderbolt port and allows you to hardwire yourself onto the internet. Ethernet connections are more reliable than WiFi connections, as you’re getting data straight from the source instead of over-the-air.

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Check out the adapter here.

PlugBug

The standard Macbook “power brick” is uncharacteristically large and unwieldy for an Apple product. However, computer accessory company Twelve South wants to change this standard and make the Macbook charger a bit more useful.

PlugBug is a nifty device that allows you to charge your Mac alongside other USB devices. It is a simple adapter that adds a usb 2.0 plug to the power brick, allowing you to charge your phone at the same time as your computer.

The ability to charge two devices simultaneously makes it incredibly handy as you don’t have to use a USB port on your Mac to charge your iPad or iPhone. USB ports are becoming more and more scarce as the march for thinner devices continues. Freeing up one of your ports can be a lifesaver when working with multiple USB devices.

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Free up your USB ports with PlugBug.

ZenDock

Do messy cables on your work desk annoy you? Connecting several external devices to your laptop can turn your desk space into a tangled mess of cords. ZenDock is a compact cable management utility that helps clear up the clutter.

ZenDock provides a Mini DisplayPort connection, Speaker and Microphone jacks, Firewire, Ethernet and USB ports all in one dock. You connect the device to the ports on your laptop and then hide the dock somewhere else behind your desk.

ZenDock

 

ZenDock allows for a presentable workspace. However, it can’t guarantee that there won’t be a nest of cables behind the desk. That’s up to you.

LandingZone

Laptop docks add a great deal of expandability to your workstation. They allow for many more USB ports and let you attach multiple displays to your laptop. Once you’re done, unplug your laptop and you can leave your peripherals right where you need them.

LandingZone is one of the best Macbook accessories on the market. Connecting your laptop to the dock transforms your computer into a productivity powerhouse.

The LandingZone 2.0 PRO offers 4 USB 3.0 pass-through ports, a Mini DisplayPort connection, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Kensington Security Lock. They have models for all Macbook Pro and Macbook Air models since 2012, as listed on their website.

The security lock ensures no one else can undock your Mac when you are away from your desk. LandingZone allows for a very productive workstation that doesn’t sacrifice the portability of your laptop.

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About the Author
Divya Palaniappan is an engineer and an avid techie who considers information worthless unless verified. When she isn't wracking her brain over machines she loves spending time in her garden.

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