Sonnet announces 15-port Echo Thunderbolt dock with built-in HDD/SSD & optical drive options

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The much-anticipated Belkin Thunderbolt Dock appears to be delayed once again unfortunately, missing its planned Q1 launch, despite taking pre-orders for the device in February after missing its original September launch date. While we’ve been recommending the popular Matrox Thunderbolt Docking station in the meantime, today Sonnet announced a new competitor in the space with the Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock.

The 15-port dock includes many of the ins and outs you’d expect: Two thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports, 3.5mm audio in and out (front and back), FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, and two eSATA ports. However, there are two features this 15-port Thunderbolt docking station has that most others do not: extra space to install a 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD and your choice of a built-in DVD or Blu-Ray drive:

the Echo 15 Thunderbolt dock has you covered—it includes your choice of DVD±RW drive, or Blu-ray Disc™ player (BD-ROM/8x DVD±RW). If you are a Mac user, you’ll also find that the included Blu-ray player software for OS X® is very handy, enabling you to watch Blu-ray movies on your computer or attached monitor.

The fast 6 Gb/s SATA interface supports an HDD at its maximum speeds, and an SSD at up to 380 MB/s… Best of all, the drive sits inside the Echo dock, so you don’t have to clutter your desk space with an external hard drive and its power brick and cable clutter to add more storage. Don’t feel like adding a drive yourself? Sonnet also offers the Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock equipped with a 2TB HDD, available exclusively through the Sonnet online store.

The Sonnet Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock is available to pre-order now in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico starting at $399 for a DVD drive and no built-in drive. The next model up comes with a built-in 2TB HDD for $499, while a Blu-ray drive and 2TB HDD brings it up to $549. Other options are also available through Sonnet’s website, and most models are expected to ship in Summer 2013.

Apple takes a cue from users, invents packaging that doubles as iPhone/iPad dock

A number of Apple patents and applications have been published today, one of which details an interesting new design for the packaging of iOS devices that would also double as a stand or dock of sorts. The patent application was originally filed in May 2011, but it was published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple. The image above is pretty self-explanatory, showing iPod nano-like packaging with a removable lid and base that transform into a dock or stand for the device. It appears the dock would act as a permanent solution, with the image above showing room to accommodate a charging cable as well as small parts to hold the device snugly in place.

This is actually something we’ve seen before. Although many iPhone and iPad users have no problem dropping a decent amount of money on a dock, there are no shortage of users who have come up with innovative ways to turn the current iPhone and iPad packaging into a dock and or stand for free. Below is a video, courtesy of GottaBeMobile, showing an iPad mini box being transformed into a free docking station with very little effort: Read more

Une Bobine is a flexible, hybrid stand/dock/cable for iPhone

Recently launched as a Kickstarter project, Jon Fawcett and his new company [Fuse] Chicken invented a flexible gooseneck accessory with a built-in USB cable that doubles as a shapeable stand and dock for your iPhone.

The benefits of the Une Bobine (which is French for “A coil”) are obvious from the images above— the ability to adjust your iPhone to an appropriate position in various scenarios, such as charging, while still being able to place the device at eye-level. It also holds your device in landscape mode, as you can see in the images.

Although the Kickstarter project already surpassed its funding goal of $9,800, you can preorder yours now by pledging $25. The company planned to start shipping Une Bobine roughly 45 days after reaching its funding goal, and it appears to still be on schedule.

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CES 2012: Vertical MacBook Air dock, Griffin’s Twenty amp for AirPlay, D-Link cloud routers, and more

CES 2012 officially kicks off today despite a ton of announcements from just about every major company in the days leading up to the event. We already gave you a peek at Thunderbolt enabled external drives from Western Digital, Hitachi and Seagate, and we showed you new accessories and hardware from LaCie, Belkin, and Elgato. Today, we bring you some of the newest accessories and peripherals shown off and announced in Las Vegas. Among them: A vertical dock for MacBook Air, an amp enabling Airplay playback on non-powered speakers, and a new lineup of cloud routers and cameras from Dlink.

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