One of the more common complaints about Apples new MacBook Pro announced at an event on October 27 is the machine’s lack of connectivity options. The high-end version with Touch Bar has four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports and the lower-end version has only two, leaving behind USB Gen 1 and DisplayPort connections.
Apple’s solution, as it is with the iPhone 7 and its lack of 3.5mm headphone jack, is to sell a number of different dongles to support legacy ports. That’s not necessarily the best solution for users who need to connect numerous devices using unsupported connectors, and so OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 dock with a massive 13 ports might be of particular interest.
According to OWC’s press release, the new docking solution is their most powerful ever, offering up an assortment of input and output ports that can do everything from power the new 2016 MacBook Pro to driving external displays, connecting to wired networks, and more. The convenience of plugging a notebook into a single dock and accessing external devices is a real boon for real portability, and it would appear that OWC has about as many connectivity options as a user could require.
As OWC Founder and CEO Larry O’Conner puts it, “With our critically acclaimed Thunderbolt 2 Dock and USB-C Dock, OWC defined a new standard in providing more connectivity at a time when new computers were shipping with fewer ports. The all-new Thunderbolt 3 Dock is the best expansion solution we’ve ever made, offering the incredible speed of Thunderbolt 3 technology coupled with 13 ports of connectivity, perfect for getting the most out of the new 2016 MacBook Pro.”
The 13 ports are made up of a real mix of connectivity options:
- 2 X Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gb/s)
- Two USB-C ports
- Daisy chain and power up to 5 Thunderbolt 3 devices
- 5 X USB 3.1 Gen 1
- Including two high-power USB Type-A ports for fast mobile device charging
- FireWire 800
- Gigabit Ethernet
- mini DisplayPort
- SD card reader
- Easily transfer photos and video from an SD card
- Audio combo port
- For headphones or microphones
- S/PDIF digital audio
The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is available for pre-order at MacSales.com for $280, and comes with free 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 40Gb/S USB-C cable valued at $24.95. The dock is expected to ship in February 2017. OWC also offers a Thunderbolt 2 Dock with 12 ports for around $220 and a USB-C Dock for $150 that works with any computer that uses USB-C ports.