This may be a niche feature, but I was doing some thinking about the way the architecture is set up for the expansion card configurations. Depending on the stiffness of the connection rail (how resistant or compliant it is to accidentally bending the USB-C outlet), there’s nothing conceptually there stopping development of a dock, either by framework itself or by the community. It looks like the expansion cards plug directly into the mainboard, which means that on ALL framework devices that share mainboard layout, the plugs should be equally spaced, and alignment will be consistent across SKUs. A dock could therefore clip into at minimum two of the USB-C expansion card slots, regardless of the exact model or diy shell of the laptop in question.
Formfactor-wise, this would look in my mind like a long bar that spans the width of two USB-C connections, with a secure way to clip into two modified usb expansion cards (Depending on whether bandwidth is shared between mainboard usb-c ports, the data connection could be made to one or both of the expansion card slots. Spanning both slots might only be advantageous for rigidity). The exterior side of this hypothetical dock could be populated with a slew of frequently used ports for connecting to a home station, something like two USB-A, gigabit (or higher?) ethernet, monitor ports, and an extra slot(s) for an expansion card of the user’s choice - all no longer limited internally by the small size of an expansion card. Any PC that shares USB-C spacing with the mainboard would theoretically be compatible with the dock, and it would allow for high-use low-portability peripherals to be plugged in at the desk only when the user needs them, solving one of the worries regarding limited I/O present on the current offering.
Of course the question comes up to me of, “Why bother? USB-C Hubs are a thing!” - I can’t answer that from a market demand perspective, but from a technical standpoint a “true” dock would be more rigid, meaning that a slimmer dock could be semi-permanently attached to the PC as an I/O expansion “deck”, or a beefier dock (think traditional enterprise solutions) could incorporate useful features like built-in storage, quieter/higher output fan, cooling standoff distance for airflow, or any variety of potential feature improvements over the original form factor not traditionally viable with a standard hub. To me that makes it an interesting idea to explore.
I’m envisioning this as a project that could either be driven by Framework or by the community - my knowledge on circuit design is limited, but I am a mechanical engineer by trade and could probably figure out the physical layout and enclosure side pretty readily if this were to be a DIY-style project. First though I’d be interested in seeing if there is more interest from the community for this idea.