Why Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook Air can abandon almost all ports

“While rumors of a 12-inch MacBook Air have been merrily percolating these last few months, the most interesting aspect of Apple’s upcoming redesign turns out not to be the size after all,” Brian Barrett reports for Gizmodo. “It’s the apparent abandonment of ports.”

“Where there was once (on the 13-inch MBA) a home for a MagSafe connector, Thunderbolt, SDXC card slot, a headphone jack, and two USB 3.0 ports, the 12-inch MBA has a lone USB Type-C (a reversible version that can also be used for charging) port and an obligatory headphone jack,” Barrett reports. “Instead of hardware connectivity, presumably, you’ll be expected to use a smorgasbord of cloud and wireless connectivity.”

“This seems dramatic, but should it actually come to pass it’s also perfectly fine and good and probably foreshadowed. Apple spent the last year introducing features specifically designed to let you circumvent wires altogether,” Barrett reports. “Handoff, to let you move seamlessly between computer and phone. iCloud Drive, for cloud-based file storage. AirDrop, which has been around even longer, to let you share files among Apple devices with ease. It’s already entirely possible to go weeks without having to hook up your MBA to anything besides the wall.”

“So, sure, sounds good. Except! Except,” Barrett reports. “While on paper the transition to a nearly portless world seems perfectly fine, there’s nothing in Apple’s recent history that suggests it’s ready to put so much weight on its cloud and software offerings.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Lately, when it comes to software and services, Apple needs to do better.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple’s next major Mac revealed: Meet the radically new 12-inch MacBook Air – January 6, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

37 Comments

  1. I found the performance and connectivity of recent MBA good enough for my medium duty photo editing on the road.

    I don’t think this will suffice.

    I guess this will push MBA back into more of a boutique/niche position, and less mainstream. And push more people into MB Pro’s.

  2. Wow. These opinions are reminiscent of the noise made when Apple introduced the iMac with no 3.5″ disc drive or when they stopped using FireWire or when they introduced Macs without optical drives or when they discontinued the iPod mini. Everybody pretty much agreed Apple was doomed.
    DOOMED.

    1. firewire was/is so awesome. I don’t trust the NSA cloud, and my neighbour (possible professional hacker) is very sneaky at spoofing even my own hidden wireless network (I hear you can get an android app to do that). Apple’s faith in wireless misplaced may be, as is their faith in big government contracts (which probably comes with NSA meddling).

    2. It’s not a matter of Apple being DOOMED or not.
      It’s a matter of having too little ports.

      Not being able to charge and use an external drive at the same time? That’s moronic.

  3. As long as apple products have glare-ey glass cover, i will not but one. I have 200 mac minis at my office but will never have an iMac, for this reason. Samsung monitors for me.

  4. Ugh. I want a laptop with at least 2 USB ports, and thunderbolt and the memory card reader. I don’t want yet another frigging cable type to worry about forgetting. And I never thought I’d say this, but I think it’s thin enough. Give it more battery and put the normal ports on it.

        1. The Macbook Pro is about as thick as the standard USB and thunderbolt ports on its side. It’s clearly the right form factor, if you want both versatility and portability in a laptop. Can you explain how the Macbok Pro could be more portable, without sacrificing its versatility?

          1. I have the 15″ rMBP and 11″ MBA, huge difference in weight and portability. I also have a full sized iPad. If I had to make a decision between the MBA and iPad, I’d drop the portless iPad like a hot coal. That’s the whole problem with iOS devices, you have to jump through hoops (a.k.a. Spend lots of money) to get around the lack of ports. I don’t need another money sink just to save a few tenths of an inch and a few ounces.

            When WiFi gets as fast as USB 3.0, or better yet Thunderbolt 2, then we’ll have the speeds to make portless operation viable, until then it’ll just be a hardship.

    1. If this is a semi-accurate render of the new MBA it may well be the “iPad pro”, where we’re not supposed to think of it as a Macbook Air that’s *lost* a bunch of ports, but an iPad that’s *gained* 2 inches of screen, a keyboard (detachable?), and a USB-Type C port.

    2. It’s a new USB standard that will ultimately replace (hopefully) the horrid mess of multiple USB interconnects, so it’s possible to see a future with only one cable required.
      Apple were the first to adopt USB, drop floppy discs, and everyone whined about it; same thing here.

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