A few months back I made the switch from iMac to MacBook Pro + Cinema Display. Mostly for the added portability the MBP brings to the table. One problem I was presented with right out of the gate, was where to put the MBP while I was working. I have an mStand, but I don’t really need the extra screen real estate, and the size of my physical desktop pretty much nixed that approach anyway. I resorted to simply lying the MBP down on my desk, which was less than ideal. It took up a lot of space, and I found that it would get quite hot. I almost expected to see scorch marks on the desk when I picked it up after a long day working in Photoshop.

“Ohhh, What’s This?”

Then one day, while on a routine trip to the Apple Store, I noticed a lovely little box in the accessories section. It was the BookArc, from Twelve South – a perfectly designed stand for MacBooks that matches the style and elegance of the Apple hardware. The price tag was a bit steep, but I hadn’t found any other viable solutions, so I bit the bullet and returned home with a BookArc.

As soon as I had it all set up, I took a few photos, uploaded them to Flickr and mentioned my fun new accessory on Twitter. Within no time, there were piles of comments and faves on Flickr, and the tweet was re-tweeted dozens of times. It seemed people had been wanting something like this, and I happened to be the guy to “discover” it.

I’ve had my BookArc for just over 4 months now, and have nothing but good things to say about it. I have much more free space on my desktop, and my MBP runs much cooler than it did when I had it lying on the desk surface.

I guess word travels, and the Twelve South folks caught wind of my tweet. I heard from them directly, and they thanked me for spreading the word about their product, then asked if I would like to check out another of their MacBook products – the BackPack. Not one to turn down free stuff, I willingly accepted their offer. To my surprise, they sent a pair of BackPacks for me to demo. At first, I didn’t realize you could use more than one on a single Cinema Display, but indeed you can.

BackPack is a small, adjustable shelf that sits on the stand of an aluminum iMac or Apple Cinema Display. Naturally, it matches the aluminum finish and is made with the same love and attention to detail as the BookArc.

Personally, I don’t have a whole lot of use for the BackPack. I think it would be better suited in an office environment where desk space is limited, or where the back of your screen is easily visible. But it has made a great shelf for my camcorder dock, which is a big chunk of shiny black plastic. So at least it’s not in my line of sight any longer.

Want One? Take Your Pick!

Being the awesome folks they are, Twelve South have offered up a BookArc and BackPack for the taking! All that’s required is that you leave a comment letting me know which accessory you would prefer and why you want it. I’ll be picking 2 winners (1 for each accessory) at random, after 48 hours from the time of posting.

More Deliciousness

At this time, Twelve South have 2 other accessories for MacBook available. Surfacepad is a leather coat for 13″ MacBooks, and Bassjump, which was just announced last week, is a standalone sub-woofer that runs on a single USB cable.


I want the BookArc badly! My desk is cluttered and I am need of extra space, plus it would help dissipate some of the heat my MacBook Pro throws off on a daily basis. Oh, and it’s design is the hotness.

I’d be up for a BookArc. I got a mStand after I saw you had gotten one, but I’ve since moved and no longer have room for my monitor and MBP to sit side by side on my desk, much less fit the mStand. At the moment I’ve got a Mini that I use at the desk and I just use the MBP out and about, but unless that $66 Mini pans out, that’s going to be changing soon, so a BookArc could be quite useful. 🙂

Matt, that BookArc is absolutely amazing! I would love to have one for my MBP. Currently I just put it flat on the desk and it takes up too much room, but this looks like a great solution.

Also, when will you be posting your review for Assassins Creed 2? I absolutely loved it, would like to see your thoughts on it too.

I really need the extra real estate that my MacBook provides, which leaves the mStand out of my choices. The Backpack is amazing for hidden that stuff that would otherwise clutter your desk.

I’d definitely be interested in the BookArc. Looks like a lovely stand. Be great to try it out with my MBP!

I’d love the BookArc, this is excatly what I’ve been looking for, thanks for the review/competition Matt 🙂

The BookArc sure is nice to look at but I just can’t live without the extra screen real estate (if I could plugin two cinema displays into my MBP I totally would). A BackPack on the other hand would free up some room/clutter on my desk which would be nice.

Hey Matt!

Nice setup! I’m using my 15" Unibody MBP quite a lot these days, and I also have a LED Cinema Display hooked up to it. The "heat" problem sounds familiar so I’d like to go for the BookArc.

Thnx for the nice review!

I’ve got an mStand also. My desk isn’t very deep but it’s wide enough, though I rarely use both displays in favor of Spaces. I’d like the BackPack so my CF card reader doesn’t go in/out of the drawer daily.

I would love Backpack so I could hide my external HD, yet still have it connected to my iMac. Perfect!

A BookArc would be awesome to have.. I normally just prop mine on top of a pile of books with a gap underneath it to aid cooling but it’s far from ideal and actually takes more space than just having the MB on the desk.. but like you said, it gets so hot it’s unbelievable and has got to be some sort of fire hazard..

I’d love to give the Backpack a try as well. Would be really nice to get all these external hard drives up off my desk and out of site behind my iMac.

BackPack would be most handy as I’m OCD about being tidy so not seeing crap is most appealing!

Having that kind of power but making it portable is definitely something I’m striving for also. The arc looks pretty decent to make it a more pleasant environment.

That Backpack looks sweet! Man I wish I had one of them 😉 wink wink.. My Wife has a iMac and a bunch of junk on her desk and it would really de-cluttered her desk.

Hi Matt,

Love the BookArc. I’ve been looking for something like this for quite some time.

Keep up the good work 🙂

While I don’t have a Cinema Display, I would love a book arc to go next to my current display, would definitely free up some room for the piles of University notes that seem to accumulate.

It’s hard to choose between the two, but I prefer BookArc as it solves a problem I’ve been dealing with for quite some time now.

I don’t exactly live in the biggest house, so any type of extra room is a blessing. Most of my free time is spent at my desk, and as anyone knows, that small slab of desktop holds virtually everything important to me. It can be both annoying and frustrating to figure out where to put the MPB when I’m also trying to find room for a textbook, notes, and a coffee. There have been times where my coffee has almost ended up on my MBP…but I’m sure we’ve all been there.

Also, the BookArc does a great job of blending the system into its surroundings. I’ve noticed that people become very "alive" when they see a MBP, and they want to sit down and play around with it. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but it does hold a lot of personal information, work files, etc., so it isn’t exactly a toy. I think having it setup with the BookArc would eliminate that problem as I’m pretty sure most people wouldn’t even notice the MBP at all.

Hey Matt,

looks like a great comp.

The BookArc i think would be great on my desk. I too myself have the macbookpro and this would be great to use with it. And would definitely free up some desk space!!

Good luck to everyone and keep on reading 🙂

Hi Matt,
I’m moving to Canada in less than 1 month and have to leave my iMac behind in Ireland (for now anyway). I bought a Mac Book Pro so that I’ll still be able to work from my new home over there but between visa fees, airfare and the expense of relocating, not to mention that Christmas is only around the corner, I can’t afford to buy anything more – so, I would absolutely love to win the BookArc so that I can set up my laptop with a new screen in my new home.

Thanks for considering me (and thanks for highlighing some really nice Mac products & accessories there from Twelve South!)
– Niamh.

Both accessories look sweet. I wish someone would make something like the BookArc for non-Macs 😉

BookArc as well as BackPack are pretty neat additions to you mac 🙂 I would prefer the BackPack, since my MacBook is opened up all the time and used as a second sreen =)

All these shots of your workspace have done nothing but inspire me to finally get moving on my home office. I just moved with my fiancee and this is the first time we’ve got a true office space. A BookArc would definitely help save some space!

I’ve had my eye on a BookArc for a while! That would be an awesome (free) Christmas gift to myself!

I would love to get my paws on a BookArc. I have been meaning to purchase one for a little while (ever since I saw yours in action), but just haven’t had the extra cash. Small desk real-estate, and even smaller extra funds (thanks a lot, UofT!). Plus, it wouldn’t be difficult to get it to me! 😉 Your setup looks awesome.

I would love a bookarc to save me some space on my desk as it looks awesome and has to be cool if Matt has one : P

That BassJump looks unreal, I’ll be adding that to the christmas list! haha

I’d love a BookArc, as I use my macbook with my TV and we all know there isn’t much room beside our TVs… will get it off the carpet 🙂

I’ve looked high and low in Taiwan for the BackPack and can’t seem to find it.

Would kill for one!

A BookArc would be perfect for me, for the same reason as most people: heat. I don’t want to pick up my MBP after use and have it melt through my hands!

Hey, firstly nice setup 🙂

I would find the BackPack very useful for my collection of Western Digital Passport Drives to stack onto nicely and out of the way.


I’d love a BookArc, since starting Uni my desk is full of design and code books and they have to fight for space with my MacBook! Please Help!

They both look great, but I would get most use from a backpack, firstly it would just make me look cool but secondly my workspave is overun and it’s likely that one day I may not escape from my desk at work! 🙂

The BookArc is a great innovation. It’s a step up from the Elevator: I definitely prefer closed MBP operation when using a monitor. I’d love to get a BookArc.

Actually, I’d prefer the star wars posters (including the frames) with the BookArc coming in second place.

That’s a cool giveaway, congrats!

I’d be glad to get a copy of the dark Imperial theme which i like a lot but ran out of $$$ to buy it due to long time health issues. Awesome work, congratulations again.


Wow. I was so sold on the arc until I saw they added the bassjump. Now I am torn!! Since I have to pick, I guess I’ll go with…the bassjump! Thanks to Matt and Twelve South.

Oh wait. I misunderstood that last bit. Had to re-read. Matt, if the bassjump isn’t being given away, then my entry is for the arc. Thanks again.

That is a crazy sexy setup, Matt. I’ve been looking at grabbing one of the BookArcs for awhile, actually, so I’ll jump at an opportunity to win one of those.

I’ve always considered getting a BookArc. I have a fairly small desk with a large display on it so clamshelling my MBP would provide me that extra bit of desk real estate that I need. The brushed aluminum combined with the shape make this a product that looks like it was engineered by Apple themselves.

I’d love a BackPack! Would make a gorgeously crafted holder for my iPod at work. Would fit nicely on my iMac and hide my iPod’s annoying little white wire 🙂

I’d be up for the backpack.

Why? I struggle to keep a neat desk, and I recently just purchased an external HDD as a time machine for my mac. It’s great, but it takes up a bit of space. It would be nice to just stick it on the back of my iMac and have the little bit of extra space.

My father would be a great candidate for the BookArc as he is a recent convert to the macbook pro and also leaves it on the desk where it takes up room and runs excessively hot. He is exceedingly tough to shop for and this would be a real welcome surprise for him at Christmas.

Would love the BookArc, I have the exact same issue with real estate, but unfortunately living in South Africa, we do not get the cool accessories.

Hey Matt, would love the BookArc. It’d make a killer solution for my (VERY) limited "desk" space (my usual working surface being a small dining room table).

I’d love the bookarc! The MBP on a normal laptop stand effectively takes half of my desk already.

I’d love the backpack to hide my external hard drive that is an annoying red color. I’d love to hide it!

Thanks to everyone who entered! I’m closing comments now and will be emailing the winners shortly.