“The latest rumors of a new 12-inch MacBook Air model describe an ultra-thin laptop that drops nearly all of its physical ports for a single audio jack and USB 3.1 Type-C connector, features that were first revealed last April and further detailed in specifications documents released by Intel, with significant contributions by Apple, in September,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for AppleInsider.
“There are some real tradeoffs in getting rid of today’s MagSafe, dual USB ports, SD Card slot and Thunderbolt. However, as brisk sales of iPads have demonstrated, most buyers care more about price and utility (including mobility) than they do about hooking a light, thin mobile device up to a RAID array, an external HD display or even multiple USB peripherals,” Dilger writes. “With AirPrint, AirPlay, AirDrop, Bluetooth, iCloud and other wireless networking features, wired ports are becoming less and less necessary, particularly as 802.11ac WiFi wireless speeds begin to compete with USB cables.”
“WiFi is currently no match for Thunderbolt in either displays or for connectivity with external high speed devices. However, Apple and Intel have worked together to develop both Thunderbolt and the latest USB 3.1 specification. Details in the latest USB spec indicate that Apple does indeed plan to use the new, smaller Type-C port to replace other ports, reaping exterior space and internal volume savings and reducing confusion for users,” Dilger writes. “Part of what makes that possible is that USB 3.1 is designed to support much faster data speeds than existing USB (while remaining backwardly compatible with existing devices): starting at 5Gbps (Gen1) and eventually reaching 10Gbps (Gen2). That’s achieved over 8 conductors via faster clock timing and more efficient data signaling.”
Dilger writes, “In addition to being faster, USB 3.1 also introduces a new 12-pin Type-C port design, with significant input from Apple engineers (there are 18 Apple employees listed as contributions in the specification, more than any other computer maker and three times as many as Samsung).”
Tons more in the full article here.
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