That’s actually a big deal. For the past five years, most Mac users have lived in a world of dongles, adapters, and hubs in order to connect all of the things they need to get their work done. Now, Apple appears to have come to the realization that people would rather just plug things directly into their laptop, without needing to carry a bag full of adapters.
“Having a wide range of ports can make life a lot easier for pros,” Haldea said during the event. And, she’s right. It does. It’s one of the things that makes a MacBook Pro a “pro” laptop.
Apple, of course, says it as though it just discovered this important new truth that no one had ever talked about before. Except, the lack of ports has been the single biggest complaint about the company’s laptops for years.
Until now, you had your choice of two, or four USB-C ports, and a headphone jack. Sure, USB-C is a versatile port that allows you to connect almost anything you might need, the last thing I want to do when I show up for a meeting and need to connect to a projector is to figure out if I have the right adapter. It would be so much easier to simply connect an HDMI cable.
For a lot of my career, I’ve been a professional photographer. Taking, and then downloading, thousands of images from an SD card is a pretty common thing. Having to connect a card reader, or an adapter, is pretty inelegant, especially when MacBook Pros had these exact ports for years. I literally carry a small bag full of cables and adapters, just so I’m able to use my laptop to get work done.
If you’re making your customers work that hard, your device isn’t pro. The fact that Apple has relented is a sign of something bigger happening. It’s not so much that it’s great that the MacBook Pros now have SD card readers, HDMI, Thunderbolt 4, and MagSafe, but that Apple recognized that eliminating all functionality in the name of slim laptops isn’t the best way to meet the needs of its pro customers.
That’s why I think those five words are the biggest deal about the MacBook Pro. Apple has changed the way it thinks about its laptops in a pretty significant way. Instead of trying to make the thinnest, sleekest design-focused devices it can, its Pro laptops are suddenly “pro” again. Sure, ports don’t alone make a laptop better, but they definitely make it easier to use in everyday situations, and that’s the point.
Sometimes your customers ask you for things that make you cringe because getting rid of ports means you can make the laptop thinner or because you think it looks better to get rid of all those excess cutouts. But the real goal should be to make it better for the people who give you money.