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. Yet another stupid rumor. Thunderbolt is also the video port and almost every peripheral under the sun plugs into USB to either charge or run. ITunes even has trouble syncing over WiFi and not everyone has a time capsule for backups or even cares that much for Time Machine to use it for backups. And then we can get into the security issues caused by going completely wireless. As I said, just another stupid rumor.

  2. I remember reading somewhere that little bits of information, especially about radical changes, are disseminated slowly to see what people think of it, before the final product is released. This looks like one of those slow deliberate leaks.

    Musicians may not find the lack of hard wired connectivity appealing. And as Steve showed once during one of his classic presentations, a room filled with wifi tethering can lead to some unfortunate consequences.

    The more people on MDN say “wow, revolutionary etc.,” the greater the chance that we will see this product. Not so sure that’s a good thing.

  3. I just don’t get the panic. People, these are rumors! Anyway, the MBA is supposed to be light and portable, so if you need all those other ports, there will be adapters that let you connect power, video, multiple USB, Ethernet etc. to whatever ports are ultimately designed into the device. This way, you carry with you only what you need. Please, don’t worry- they’re not idiots and they’ve been doing this for a LONG time…

    1. Assuming this might be true, let’s hope Apple will provide a nice little connect-a-thon dongle with this, providing normal USB, thunderbolt, and ethernet connections. Please, Apple, not a bunch of separate items….

  4. I’m skeptical about this. Seems like they would not give up on MagSafe for power. That and one thunderbolt port. They are smaller and more versatile. You could plug in an adapter if you need a USB port (becoming more rare these days) or you could plug into a dock and get a full suite of ports. You could plug into a monitor and get usb and other ports out. Seems more versatile and reliable than what is described here.

    1. Have you seen the Thunderbolt adapters available? They’re about 10 times the cost of a USB hub, the size of a portable hard drive and use an external power brick.

      Apple is infamous for dropping ports and dropping like floppy and optical drives, but the ports have always been replaced by better ones and the dropped hardware always were available as external devices which require ports. A thunderbolt spinning disk HDD with NO daisy chain connector is easily $100 more than a similar sized USB drive and runs at the same speed.

      Until WiFi is fast, secure and reliable enough the situation may change, but currently Apple can’t even figure out how to get the OS to recognize my iPhone in order to sync reliably more than 20% of the time.

      Portlesss computers are inevitable, just not anytime soon.

  5. I have an iPad and need to use an apple accessory to get pictures from my camera SD card onto it. And its a pain in the ass to keep track of its whereabouts. It has taken such a long time to get SD card readers built in to Macs lets not abandon portable usability for the sake of 0.2mm in one direction or another.

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