OWC's 13-port Thunderbolt 3 Dock expands 2016 Apple MacBook Pro's connectivity
Apple's latest MacBook Pro is a connectivity nightmare. If you opt for the base 13-inch model you only get two USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports -- but when you charge it you can only use one. The pricier models do feature twice as many ports but, regardless, you still need to buy a bunch of dongles to use your existing devices with it -- or replace them with new ones.
However, if you are in the market for a new MacBook Pro your options are not as limited as they seem, as OWC just unveiled a 13-port hub -- called Thunderbolt 3 Dock -- that lets you use all of your peripherals and accessories with the new laptop. Let's take a look at what it includes.
On the rear panel, the Thunderbolt 3 Dock offers four USB 3.1 ports (sporting the standard connector), S/PDIF connector, a FireWire 800 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a mini DisplayPort. On the front you have an SD card reader (another victim of Apple's redesign), an analog In/Out connector and another USB 3.1 port with a standard connector.
As OWC says "The possibilities are endless" when it comes to what you can do with this hub. Something that will sure please power users is the fact that OWC promises dual UHD/4K monitor support, or a combination of displays using the Thunderbolt 3 port and the mini DisplayPort.
Based on the information provided by OWC, the Thunderbolt 3 Dock connects to the 2016 MacBook Pro (as well as other Thunderbolt 3-enabled devices, including Windows PCs) using a 0.5m/18-inch Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C cable, with one of its Thunderbolt 3 ports used to connect it to the laptop. It also needs an external power supply to drive all the devices that can be connected to it.
As you might imagine, this hub is not going to be cheap. MacSales.com has it listed at $279. That includes a $20.95 discount from the usual $299.95 price that it will sell for after pre-orders end. The Thunderbolt 3 Dock is not available right away, as OWC says that it will ship in February 2017. There are two color options offered, Space Gray and Silver.