While Apple’s soft lines, white plastics and overall contemporary look are probably responsible for luring in just as many customers as its trademark operating system, there’s no denying that the popularity of its designs can get a little tiresome. For those who have embraced Mac hardware, but want something a little more refined and individualistic to carry around, not many options really exist, besides cheesy cases and sleeves.
Designer David Munk Bogballe has made an effort to change that with his own take on the classic MacBook, dubbed the Workstation. By reworking the MacBook’s exterior with fine materials more suited to furniture showrooms than the mobile computing world, Bogballe has created a factory-massaged notebook that bears little resemblance to the plastic-framed device it starts out life as.
Rather than the symmetrical base and lid that make the MacBook look like a split-in-half slab of white plastic when closed, the Workstation gets a unique asymmetric design, with a flat top that spills over the sides of its base like a deck. This actually increases the exterior dimensions of the notebook significantly (width leaps by over an inch and a half), producing generous margins around both the screen and keyboard, but also some extra bulk.
The old lines of the MacBook partially shine through in the base of the Workstation, where round corners remain, but they are largely hidden by the angular deck Bogballe has laid over the top. Both the screen and keyboard share this enlarged, perfectly flat plane. Its flatness has even been exaggerated with a seamless, single-piece keyboard that sits flush with its surroundings.
Image Courtesy of Munk Bogballe
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Workstation’s design lies in Bogballe’s choice of materials, which rival what you might expect to find used as trim in a Maserati or Aston Martin. Both the screen lid and bezel surrounding the keyboard are solid aluminum, which has been anodized for durability and feel. The leather base is formed from premium European aniline leather, a material so fine, Bogballe claims, that only five percent of rawhides are suitable for producing it.
The penalty for these materials, besides their obvious cost, comes in the form of extra weight. Bogballe’s workstation weighs in at a whopping 6.9 pounds, nearly two more than the original 5-pound MacBook. Of course, if you’re realistically shopping for a Workstation, a personal caddy to lug it around for you might not be out of the question, either.
Despite the effort put into setting the Workstation apart from an ordinary Apple, underneath that aluminum-and-leather skin, the Workstation is still all MacBook – although a version that’s been loaded out with all the performance hardware Apple offers. The processor, for instance, is a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, the fastest available in a MacBook, and memory has been doubled from 2GB in a standard machine to 4GB.
Other hardware specs include a 160GB hard drive (surprisingly, not the largest Apple offers) an 8x SuperDrive, and Intel’s GMA X3100 integrated graphics processor. Of course, all the standard Apple extras, including a built-in webcam, microphone and stereo speakers, also migrate over to the Workstation.
Exclusivity doesn’t come cheap, and in the case of the Workstation, it rings up for a daunting £3,500 ($6,839.70 USD). While thousands more than a functionally equivalent MacBook, the Workstation’s styling sets it apart in a way cheap silicon skins and plastic cases can’t even approach, making it quite a unique product for those who can afford it. More information on the Workstation, including a full photo gallery, can be found at Munk Bogballe.