Six 'must-have' MacBook Pro accessories (summer-2013 update)

Six 'must-have' MacBook Pro accessories (summer-2013 update)

Summary: I've had my MacBook Pro for over six months, and here is a list of must-have accessories that I have bought (and carry around with me) to augment my new system.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple
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  • Introduction

    Switching from a PC to a Mac notebook has meant buying a handful of new accessories for the system. When I initially purchased the new notebook I published details of the initial crop of accessories I'd purchased to accompany it. But, as you might imagine, these have changed over time.

    Here is an updated list of 'must-have' accessories that I have bought to augment my MacBook Pro system.

    Image source: Apple.

  • SKB iSeries 1813-5 waterproof laptop case

    While I initially made use a G-Form sleeve to protect my MacBook Pro, it had two shortcomings. First, I couldn't pack any accessories in with the notebook, and secondly, while it offered a great deal or protection, I didn't feel that it offered enough, especially when I was taking my MacBook Pro with me on the road. Yes, it was fine for short trips to coffee shops and on-site, but anything more than that was a worry.

    I've now augmented the G-Form sleeve with an SKB iSeries 1813-5 hard waterproof laptop case. This Mil-Spec, TSA-approved lockable case can take a notebook up to 17-inches, and has space in the lid and underneath the notebook for stuff. I have ripped out the leather divider supplied to give me more space, as we as added more foam to the underneath to life the notebook platform up to give me more space since the MacBook Pro is so thin, and these modifications allow me to carry a whole host of accessories, from external hard drives to power supplies.

    Great case, highly recommended.

    Price: $199.99.

    Image source: SKB.

  • Twelve South PlugBug

    I love my gadgets, but more gadgets means more chargers, which in turn means having to have more wall outlets.

    The Twelve South PlugBug solves this problem by combining the MacBook Pro charger with a 2.1A USB charger. The output of the USB charger is powerful enough to charge an iPad, which means having to carry one less wall wart.

    The only problem I've had with the PlugBug is that the plastic seam broke open after a few weeks. While I was able to fix this with a little adhesive, it is a little disconcerting to have electrified internals exposed.

    Fantastic idea, could do with being a little more robust.

    Price: $34.99.

    Image source: Twelve South.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple

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18 comments
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  • The irony of mbp accessories

    According to you and Matt and James, the mbp is an accessory to your ipads after swearing that the ipad could do 100% of what anyone ever needed to do for work.

    Now your accessories need accessories.

    Too funny, you just can't make this stuff up.
    toddbottom3
    • ?

      Press the call button and nurse will bring you another sedative and, hopefully, tighten the straps.
      Henry 3 Dogg
  • Accessories need accessories?

    Confused by what you mean.

    The case is a case. That's not really adding any accessory to any other accessory. The plug bug attaches to the power supply which is already included with the system. In any case, that's a third-party item. The usb ethernet dongle, hard drive, and dvd drive are direct connecting peripherals - no need for another "accessory" to be present in order to use.. The time capsule is a completely optional product - and also doesn't require any other "accessory" to be in place before it will work.

    Which of these items are "accessories" for "accessories"? I can use all of them without and dependance on any other accessory being utilized. Also, why is this so funny that you can't make this stuff up - and who mentioned anything about iPads?

    Totally confused as to your point.
    lawryll@...
    • AKH is a huge proponent of the post-PC meme

      AKH, Matt, and James are trying to sell the story goes that the PC is dead because the ipad can do everything you need. This is because they have an irrational hatred for all things Microsoft.

      Since the ipad can do everything, the mbp is actually an accessory to the ipad.

      Since this story is about mbp accessories, it is actually a story about the accessories to the accessories for the ipad.

      Too funny, you just can't make this stuff up.
      toddbottom3
      • Or, alternately

        as tech writers they're gear lovers, with a bad case of gear acquisition syndrome... a more likely explanation.
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
        • Expensive fix

          I think tech writers have "acquisition syndrome" because then they have another angle for their writing. I've often wondered if their companies actually buy these devices for them to write about. If not, acquisition syndrome, seems like a very expensive habit.
          fdhealy4
      • That's not what I'm getting out of this story...

        So,

        Let me get this straight. You are claiming that 3 tech writers are collaborating together. 3 tech writers that are desperate for the iPad to succeed. Being clever folk, they are making articles about MacBook Pro accessories in order to pursue their pro-iPad movement. You are also claiming that once you buy a tablet device, suddenly all your laptop peripherals are now "accessories" to the new tablet device (or were you just referring to iPad-based tablets?).

        Again, I'm confused about your angle here. Did anyone mention an iPad in this story? Where is the conspiracy? Why do you keep on insisting that, for example, a DVD drive is now an "iPad" accessory...since the iPad can't even use it?

        It's not an "accessories to the accessories" at all. That makes no sense. That would be like saying a Surface RT owner who has a laptop, by default all those peripherals are for the Surface now. The Surface makes "accessories of accessories". Huh? Same thing for Android, suddenly all your other computer parts become "accessories" to the new Nexus? Is there something special about the iPad that makes laptop devices "accessories", but doesn't affect other tablets so that they don't become accessories?

        Totally missing your point here.
        lawryll@...
        • Don't mind him

          He's an anti-Apple troll who writes the same garbage all the time. He doesn't seem to understand that just because someone occasionally needs to use a DVD drive or Ethernet port doesn't mean that he or she needs to carry it around all the time. I bought my first MacBook Air over 5 years ago and have used the SuperDrive maybe 25-30 times. The other 2000-some odd days I carried my notebook with me I was glad i didn't need to lug around all the other equipment I didn't need.
          KPOM1
      • ?

        No, the Windows PC is dead because Microsoft is incapable of working out what it's customer base want, and delivering it.

        The Windows PC is dead, not because Windows 8 and the Surface represent dysfunctional change for the sake of change that doesn't increase what many people can do with a PC, but does cripple most people from doing what they could do before to do. No, that's true, but it's not why the Windows PC is dead.

        The Windows PC is dead because Microsoft couldn't see how bad what they were releasing was, and so will continue to release things that are equally bad.

        The only good thing Microsoft have released in the last decade was Windows 7, and that is actually a pretty minor incremental upgrade from Windows 2000 SP4
        Henry 3 Dogg
        • I'd put it differently

          Apple is doing relatively well, because the Mac OS is a Linux variant. It runs on Intel (MBP) and ARM (iPad) processors.
          Microsoft have sold an OS for Intel desktops - now they need to compete on handhelds. Where their opponents are giving away the OS. Their solution: to bundle Win8 with ARM hardware.
          Ignoring everyone who already owns a smart phone / tablet / Beaglebone / Raspberry Pi / ARM development board has not gone well.
          alan_r_cam
    • Re: Totally confused as to your point.

      Not to be confused. toddbottom3 spits on anything Apple. Just ignore the troll.
      danbi
      • Just ignore posts with an "irrational hatred"

        .
        Smalahove
  • Non-specific Title

    Many of these accessories are only specific to the retina display version of the MBP. My (non-retina) MBP gets on quite happily without a thunderbolt the ethernet converter or an external DVD drive.
    DJL64
    • Dangerous!

      As well as that, having a plastic seam on a charger break and repairing it with glue just sounds dangerous. Many house fires are caused by chargers overheating (not just third party chargers). Besides if it broke within a few weeks, why not just ask for a replacement!
      DJL64
  • you got more money than sense, mate :))

    1. A laptop case for that amount of money? Are you telling me there aren't laptop cases about that offer the same protection for less? (unless, of course, you plan on taking it for a swim);

    2. Wireless TM Capsule? Totally unnecessary. A second of your 2TB external hard drives would do the job just as well. A Wireless version is just for the lazy who can't be bothered to plug it in:)

    3. Apple superdrive? What's the point? My Samsung one is just as thin, cost half the price and will work in any machine. Not only will the Apple one not work in a PC but it won't even work in an Apple computer that originally shipped with a Superdrive. So it would be useless on my Mac Mini where the drive has died (and there's no point spending about £150 on a replacement for a 5 year old machine).
    pianoman1962
  • PC is still breathing

    Personal Choice, aka PC allows any thinking user to get what's "needed" and use it. The critics point to the money being spent as if they're doing you a favor by watching your budget and looking out for your welfare. Thanks, but no thanks, stay out of my fantasies and let me spend my money on whatever personal crap I choose. If you really want to help the world, tell Balmer to step aside and let MS get on with it. So much talent, so small a view.
    trm1945
  • Ahh the irony....

    So, now you have a huge case, and about a thousand dollars of clutter just so you can have the capability of a full sized laptop ... Am I the only one who finds this very amusing? *laughing*
    Kieron Seymour-Howell
  • Thin is OK, But....

    I like my MBP i7 WITH the Gigabit port and CDrom drive. If people want thin, then buy a dang MAC book Air Jeez!.

    Here;'s where I see the gears grinding in the heads of the marketing folks at Apple...'Let's take away things from the MBP so we can sell them back to the user' ... What a novel idea! Smells of Microshaft!!! maybe some of those M/$ marketing rebels went to work for Apple...

    Paul Bounds
    Houston, TX

    In one of my previous Posts, I still would line up and purchase an iPad with OSX installed, ASAP!!!
    pbounds