Stuff I Love: The BookArc

I have way too many computers—it's a sickness—but the one I use most is my 15-inch MacBook Pro. No, it's not some wafer-thin little lightweight machine. It's not some tiny netbook. In fact, it's a pain in the neck (literally) to carry this thing around in airports on trips. But I lug it everywhere. Call me crazy, but I think it's worth it. I even take it to the office, where I hook it to a big no-name 28-inch monitor that I bought online for $280.

It's a great setup, and it's a bargain compared with what you'd pay for an Apple Cinema Display or the 27-inch iMac. The problem is you've now got a big laptop sitting on your desk taking up space.

Here's where the $49 BookArc comes in handy—I just take the MacBook Pro and stand it up on end and stick it into the BookArc, and my desk is clear. Wonderful. It's a ridiculously simple idea. And it fits well with a configuration that Apple is touting as an ideal solution for a home or home-office user: you buy a cool little MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, which you can take on the road with you; but at home you hook it to a Cinema Display and you have an awesome desktop system.

Maybe you'd chafe at the idea of paying $49 for something that just holds your laptop up sideways. But, hey, if you're a Mac person, you're used to paying a little bit more for things. In fact, you probably like it. Because it makes you feel special.

Also, I like the guys who make BookArc. It's a tiny company in Charleston, S.C., called Twelve South, and when I say tiny, I mean it's one guy, his wife, and two employees. Like, really tiny. The founder, Andrew Green, used to work at a company that makes iPod accessories. Earlier this year he decided to strike out on his own and to make nothing but Mac accessories.

"Mostly it was just because of my own passion for the Mac platform," Green says. "There are all these new users coming over to the Mac, and they're coming from the iPod, where they're used to this huge $1 billion ecosystem of accessories. But in the Mac world all they have are me-too products—stuff for the PC that has been painted white. I thought that was all kind of wrong. The Mac deserves accessories worthy of the Mac."

In addition to the BookArc, Twelve South makes a $29 shelf called BackPack that hooks onto the back of an iMac and gives you a good place to stash away your external hard drives. You do have an external hard drive for doing Time Machine backups, right? You can also use it to stow your iPhone or iPod. And just out last week: an $80 portable subwoofer for your Mac, called BassJump, that blends with the speakers in the back of your Mac to give more oomph to your tunes. If you're a Mac fanatic, it's worth taking an interest in what these guys are doing.