Back in July, Belkin announced a product that got me very excited. That doesn't happen very often, but when a product is announced that solves a vexing problem for me and does so in a stylish, functional package, I get stoked. The Belkin Flip for Mac mini is everything I want it to be - on paper. Unfortunately, that's the only place it seems to exist for now: on paper.
The Flip is peripheral switch (a KVM, if you prefer) that fully supports Apple keyboards and function keys, like Eject and Volume controls - whether you're using a Mac keyboard or a PC keyboard. It sports touch-sensitive buttons and - here's the best part - it's not butt-ugly! It's actually designed to stack on top of or underneath your Mac mini. It's VGA instead of DVI, but that's not a deal breaker for me. The important thing is that it serves a valuable purpose and helps minimize ugly cable clutter in the process. My husband uses a Mac mini, along with a work-issued Toshiba notebook. I rigged him up with a Matias keyboard, a small set of "cube" speakers, an IOGEAR KVM and 19-inch LCD so that he could switch back and forth between the PC and the Mac mini with the flick of a switch. That setup is taking up valuable space on our dining room table. The cables are black and ugly and too long, as they are built-in to the KVM unit. And aside from the piles of mail and magazines that have also taken up permanent home on that table, that setup is the first thing you see when you walk into our apartment. The Belkin Flip would go a long way toward solving the visual problems with this setup - if only it actually existed!
I've been calling Belkin periodically to find out when it's expected to ship and the best answer I've gotten so far is that the product is still listed in their system as being in "concept phase." That was a few weeks ago. Where I come from, you don't mass-mail press releases for a product that's still just a mockup. Needless to say, this is a real downer for me. I want this product to be real. I need this product to be real. It would look sweet with this display perched on top of it. I want to give Belkin my $79.99!
Addendum: Right before I posted this, I checked Belkin's press release page again and it seems they've recently updated it to say that the product is expected to ship in December. Previously, it said "early Fall 2005." Perhaps my suffering will soon come to an end and I'll find a Belkin Flip in my Christmas stocking! Still, I'm tiring of this growing trend that mandates "announce early, ship late."