Millions of iPad owners are trying to make their tablets work better for real professional work by adding keyboards, special cases and other accessories, many of which were on display at the recent Macworld Expo in San Francisco. However, in the back of the Moscone Hall was an excellent former-Kickstarter project that can make a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro (or other clamshell-style laptop) a more ergonomic system on the desktop and when used on the road.
The stand is called the Roost and was invented by engineer James Olander. Lorca Hanns, one of the organizers of the BMUGWest User Group in San Francisco, insisted that I check the Roost out and I was not disappointed. The device weighs only 6.5oz and folds down to the size of a fat ruler, or slide rule if you know what that is (1" x 1.5" x 13"). Yet, the Roost can support the largest MacBook Pro safely and securely (Olander says that it can support more than 132lbs, which is more than most desktop computers).
Olander told me that this is due to the carbon-fiber material used to make the stand: lightweight but strong. The Roost really lifts the MacBook's screen up to the level of my eyes, making for much more ergonomic experience. The tips at the top of its "arms" fit into the fold of the MacBook Pro's screen and base and are able to hold it securely.
Even before the iPad was released, I posted on what a great business proposition it would be for mobile collaboration. But I have found that capability is on the iPad is really for just one other person, maybe in a stretch, two. However, it's common to share a laptop video or presentation with a larger group. There's no doubt in my mind that the Roost would improve the sight- lines when the MacBook's screen was being shared with a group, the height really would improve collaboration.
I took advantage of the Expo pricing to purchase one for myself — the usual price is $80 for one of the colored models. It fits all MacBook Air and MacBook Pros except for the 11-inch MacBook Air, which is too small to have its base rest on the stand. There's a fitting guide for popular PC laptops as well.