Ten One Design Blockhead: A surprisingly intelligent plug accessory

Ten One Design Blockhead (left). Photo by Steve Sande

Ten One Design Blockhead (left). Photo by Steve Sande

There's always been a design problem with most MacBook AC adapters: when you just use the adapter and unfold the prongs to plug it into the wall socket, the adapter sticks straight out, making it difficult to plug into sockets located behind furniture. Sure, you could always use the extension cord included with a lot of MacBooks -- you just pull off the "duck head" piece with the plugs, and plug the extension cord in -- but who wants to carry that long extension cord everywhere? This problem has a good solution now in the form of the Ten One Design Blockhead (US$19.95 or $34.94 for two). 


The idea of Blockhead is simple; it replaces the duck head on your standard Apple AC adapter with one that has the prongs at a 90° angle. What that means is that when the adapter is plugged into the wall with Blockhead installed, the entire assembly sits flat against the wall instead of sticking out.

Photo illustration by Steve Sande

Photo illustration by Steve Sande

This has two immediate benefits. First, Blockhead allows users to plug into those outlets that are squeezed behind furniture. But I think the second benefit is even more useful -- Blockhead brings the center of gravity of the entire AC adapter closer to the wall, placing less torque on the assembly so that it's less likely that the adapter will unplug itself.

The latter IS a problem; over the years with various Apple MacBook adapters, I've watched as the weight of the adapter slowly pulled the plug out of the wall. That usually seemed to happen at airports with well-used and "loose" sockets... when I most needed to get a charge on a MacBook.

One final design note: I like the blue color used on Blockhead.


Even a blockhead can install a Blockhead. It takes about ten seconds to unplug the factory duck head and replace it with Blockhead. Once that's done, get to work. Plug it into your favorite wall socket and life is good.

Blockhead works not only with all MacBook chargers, but it also works with any 10W or 12W iPad charger as well. I even got it to work with an old Apple AirPort Express Wi-Fi router, which used the same duck head design. 

As Ten One Design points out, using Blockhead on a standard 60W power adapter plug means that the adapter only sticks out 1.2 inches. Plug it in the "usual" way, and it sticks out 3.8 inches. 


Why the heck didn't Apple design the original power adapter duck head this way? As is typical from Ten One Design, Blockhead takes a design problem and turns it into a smart solution. Sure, $19.95 might seem like a lot for a piece of plastic, but it's money well spent.

There's only one issue with Blockhead - even if you order one today, you won't get your Blockhead until at least June 3. Why? Well, when the word initially got out about Blockhead in March, it ended up just about everywhere online. That resulted in the first production run lasting only two weeks... Ten One revised its production numbers, and that second manufacturing run should last longer.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★