Hands-on with Twelve South's GhostStand for MacBook

Apple-only accessory design shop Twelve South announced the new GhostStand for MacBook (US$34.99) last week, and TUAW received one of the sleek, clear polycarbonate stands soon afterward for review. The GhostStand is a perfect accompaniment to a MacBook and external keyboard, lifting the laptop up to an ergonomically superior level.

The GhostStand is packaged in Twelve South's classy traditional "gift box" and upon opening, you're greeted with the view of the two clear pieces that make up the X-shaped stand. In case you're wondering about the name, the stand is inspired by designer Phillipe Starck's Ghost Chair, a clear polycarbonate chair that seems to almost disappear from sight. Much in the same way, the GhostStand just "gets out of the way." The MacBook (any model) seems, from a distance, to be just floating in air.

The GhostStand requires one-time assembly; what you put together, Twelve South suggests "let no man put asunder." The two pieces are carefully machined with some pretty tight tolerances and assembly requires that one piece slides inside the other, then two slots align. It takes a little bit of force, and taking it apart again might cause issues.

When we first ran the news about the release of the GhostStand, one of our bloggers asked what kept the MacBook from just sliding off. Good question! It turns out that on the angled top surface, there are thin aluminum strips lined with silicone that are machined into place. Similar strips are located on the bottom of the pieces as well so that the GhostStand doesn't slide on hard surfaces.

I usually split out the design and functionality pieces of my reviews, but in the case of the GhostStand, the two are intricately linked. This stand is a perfect example of architect Louis Sullivan's credo that "Form follows function." The function: hold a MacBook above a desk or table where it can be viewed more easily and used with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse/trackpad. The form: an incredibly sturdy, yet almost invisible X of plastic. The open X design allows cooling air to flow all around the MacBook, perfect for older devices that had a tendency to overheat on occasion.

To see the GhostStand in action, be sure to check out the gallery above. Twelve South has definitely done it again with a MacBook accessory that's beautiful, functional and very reasonably priced.