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CES

Hands-on: Inside Henge Docks' motorized horizontal MacBook Pro docking station

At its stand at CES, Apple-centric accessory maker Henge Docks offered AppleInsider an inside look at its upcoming Horizontal MacBook Pro Dock, revealing a motorized interface and circuit boards feeding a plethora of ports.




Henge Docks aims to create a hassle-free docking experience with the forthcoming Horizontal Dock made for 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros, incorporating an electric attachment mechanism that plugs in power, audio, USB, HDMI, SD card and Thunderbolt with the press of a button.

Seen with its rear cover removed, the Horizontal Dock channels a Retina MacBook Pro's headphone jack, two Thunderbolt ports, two USB ports, one HDMI port and SD card slot through two main circuit boards located just below the metal baseplate. The feeds are broken out around back to a total of 13 expansion ports, including two audio ports, an SD card slot, Ethernet, HDMI, separate chainable Thunderbolt 2/ Mini DisplayPort ports and a whopping six USB 3.0 ports.




Underneath the circuit boards is a gear train powered by a small electric motor that, when activated by a large illuminated button, extends and retracts plugs into and out of their assigned ports. Built-in sensors monitor plug insertion and intelligently back off if the host MacBook Pro is incorrectly positioned in the dock's tray. An emergency release latch is also included to remove the plugs manually if something fails.

The horizontal MacBook Pro docking station runs can be preordered now for $399 and will ship in April. For an additional $50, customers can sign up for an early adopter program to receive a unit from the first production run embellished with a special edition baseplate.