Back in April, we took a look at the Duet Dock, a smartly designed charging solution for iPhone and Apple Watch. The brains at Antsy Labs -- Matt and Mark McLachlan -- are back at it again, with a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the next generation. What's better than a duet? How about a Trio?
Matthew and Mark decided to make Trio a truly universal charging setup, so even if you -- for some inexplicable reason -- have a Samsung tablet and a Pebble Watch, you'd be able to charge them along with your iPhone. The idea is that you have a solid base for each of your devices that sticks solidly to your nightstand or desk with nanosuction material, add in the correct cable for charging (Lightning, micro-USB, USB-C or that crazy Apple Watch puck), and then plop in your device.
It doesn't matter if you have an iPad mini or an iPad Pro, the Solo Tablet Dock (one-third of the Trio) can handle it. Likewise, the Solo Phone Dock will be able to handle an even larger iPhone if Apple decides that the iPhone 6s Plus isn't large enough, and the Solo Watch Dock can accept your Apple Watch in nightstand mode. Even if your smartphone or tablet is wearing a case, it will most likely fit into the appropriate Solo Dock.
The solid machined aluminum used in the Trio and that nanosuction bottom material ensure that the individual components aren't going to move, even when your cat decides that the Watch is a toy (yes, I'm looking at YOU, Pippin). Antsy Labs knew that many of you would like your Trio to match your favorite device colors, so the stands are available in Matte Black, Silver, Space Gray, Gold and Rose Gold finishes.
While the Solo Watch Dock is targeted at the Apple Watch at this point, there is a stretch goal to add compatibility with other smartwatches in the future starting with the Pebble Time. The Solo Phone and Solo Watch both come with small hex keys to allow you to adjust the height of the charging cable, and there are "bumpers" to cushion the bottom of your iPhone or iPad against the aluminum dock.
The manufacturing skills demonstrated in the prototype device I received for review are amazing; the individual components are like three little sculptures with smooth machining and flawless finishes. Strong neodymium magnets are built into the pieces so that they can be "attached" to each other. Take a look at the back of the Solo Watch Dock (right), and you'll see the neatly machined channel that the cable is routed through.
Each one of the Trios comes with a Lightning and micro-USB cable; USB-C isn't being used by Apple for any device but the 12-inch MacBook, so the company is offering a custom cable holder and a USB-C cable as an optional add-on. Antsy Labs is also considering making cable management a breeze with an optional power brick with 3 USB ports that would supply all device with juice from one plug.
At this point, the Kickstarter project is about a third of the way to funding its $25,000 goal with a little over a month to go. Like many crowdfunded projects, Trio won't launch unless you -- potential backers -- put fuel in the proverbial rocket in the form of pledges. You can currently get the full trio for a pledge of $104 (suggested retail is $129). Unlike a lot of the projects on Kickstarter, Trio has a team with a proven track record behind it, and I'd be confident in predicting that backers will get their Trios on schedule in March 2016.