Grove , a company based in Portland, Oregon, has announced they are expanding their line of bamboo-based goodies for your Apple product. They already have a variety of iPhone and iPad cases, so it was really just a question of time before they found a way to coordinate your iThings with your laptop. In a TUAW exclusive, I get to tell you all about The New Grove Thing: Bamboo Backs!
Designed to fit the top of your unibody laptop be it 11, 13, 15, or 17 inches, they are super thin bamboo panels (only .035" thick!) with adhesive on the back to stick it to your machine. As an added bonus, you can get one with a cutout in the center so when your computer is on, the glowing Apple logo lights up the shape of your choice. Now, if you and nine (or more) of your friends or coworkers all want the same logo, you can get in touch with Grove and have them do a nice custom cutout of a corporate logo or other particular design.
I've seen these in person, and my initial impressions are all favorable. I saw one applied and removed and it pops off flawlessly. They really are thin, and they look really nice once installed. I also got to see a few of the logos in person and they are all wonderful (my favorites: the globe, the command symbol, and the @ sign). As a Portland company, they are obligated to put a bird on it, and even have a variety to choose from. Priced at $29 each, they are also easy to get your hands on without throwing your budget into complete disarray.
Truly, the curve and the aluminum of the current generation of Apple laptops are beautiful, but there's something about the old school/analog vibe of the bamboo backs that really pleases me. I got to tour Grove's facilities, and since everything they make comes from the same building as their offices, I got to see the magic happen from the milling to the lasers to the hand finished packaging (the smell of the wood and the oil finishing is so very nice). It's all done in one place and while they could outsource it, the founders told me they aren't interested since this way they can keep a close eye on every single piece of the process and make sure everything they ship out meets their standards. Plus it makes it easier to whip up a physical version of an idea if all your materials are already in house. And let's be honest, it's got to be fun to work across the room from two laser cutters!
I have included the intro video below. Which design would you get?
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (early 2015)
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display (mid 2014)