Apple’s reality distortion field made USB-C cool

“Remember when USB-C was a bad word?” Nate Swanner writes SlashGear. “It wasn’t long after the original 12-inch MacBook landed that we began our love-hate relationship with USB-C. It was universal, which is great, but without the lineup of our favorite ports on the MacBook, many started to consider life a dongled hell.”

Swanner write, “With the new MacBooks Pro, Apple did its best to change all of that, and its famed reality distortion field helped assuage much of our contempt for USB-C.”

“Pay close attention, and you’ll notice that the term USB-C was muttered only once during Apple’s MacBook unveiling,” Swanner reports. “Instead, Apple turned the term ‘USB-C’ into ‘Thunderbolt 3,’ which is much more alluring and magical. We tend to think of Thunderbolt as a high-end data transfer port capable of ungodly things — mostly because it’s really that good.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The flood of accessories will come and the dongles will go into the drawer forevermore.


  1. And seriously…how much are people really plugging things into their notebook computers these days?

    Still, though, if Apple had been smart, they would have included a USB to USB-C adapter with the new Macbooks and MacBook Pros, just as they included a Lightening headphone adapter with the iPhone 7s. Making a statement like, “Since we know people still have legacy USB devices, we have included an adapter to make this transition easier for our customers” would have engendered a lot of good will.

    1. No, Tim Cook made cool paying hundreds of dollars more for adapters, on top of paying an extra 30% markup, for a stripped down, underpowered Macbook Plus with 2 ports, and a Macbook Amateur with 4 ports.

      This rape cannot be justified even by the most ardent Apple fanboy. Cook has finally been exposed for exactly who he is and specifically what he has been doing since he took over, making billions off adapters and intentionally using them to complicate Apple product usability and take financial advantage of consumers.

  2. “Remember when USB-A was still current?”

    “Remember when USB 2.0 and 3.0 was still current?”

    “Remember when Firewire was still current?”

    “Remember when Magsafe was a good idea?”

    Nope! Didn’t need a reality distortion field for any of that. Just looked around at reality.

    Didn’t see any USB-C however.



    1. Ah… the HTML parser ate my comments 🙂 .

      Here we go again then…

      “Remember when USB-A was still current?”
      (Looks around studio – sees USB-A connectors)

      “Remember when USB 2.0 and 3.0 was still current?”
      (Looks around studio sees USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 audio gear)

      “Remember when Firewire was still current?”
      (Looks around studio at recently purchased Firewire audio interface)

      “Remember when Magsafe was a good idea?”
      (Looks around studio at Macbooks that have not fallen off desks even when the power cord was tripped over)

      Nope! Didn’t need a reality distortion field for any of that. Just looked around at reality.

      Didn’t see any USB-C however.


        1. Just had a coast-to-coast flight today on UA and noted the new equipment in the cabin since August (last time on this same exact route): the new entertainment system has moved the headphone jack off the armrest … Golly, it’s the standard 3.5mm jack that Apple just tried to convince us with the iPhone7 that’s obsolete. And there’s also right next to it a power port …. is that USB-C? Nope, it’s USB-A.

          Oh, and the new LCD panels are much improved and the back end’s responsiveness to touch inputs is too: its as good as an iPad.

          Installed in a 757-200, which will be around for years.

            1. And how is it “progress” that you can’t plug Apple’s newest iPhone (or any of the latest i-Things) into Apple’s newest MacBook? That’s not progress. That’s confusion.

            2. Well said, although the counter will be thst there’s now a “Step 3”, to plug in a dongle. Never mind that they won’t get what the “Step 3” allusion is.

              Nevertheless, the point is not that this is being opposed to progress – it is being opposed to progress being done in a “Max Pain” to be inflicted on the customer. Stuff like extra expenses & hassles from the likes of dongles represent ‘friction’ in customer adoption and as such are not as readily justified.


  3. HP uses the label Thunderbolt for its USB C ports. But it comes as a software driver pack. What I mean is, maybe USB C is just a data port and what you do with it, depends on the protocols used to talk to connected devices. It seems we have reached an era where the type of port is just a simulation over a raw IO.

  4. The loss of magsafe is probably the biggest change for me. On the other hand this provides the option of being able to charge using a battery or usb outlet. That can be very convenient when traveling.
    FWIW, I had to buy plenty of dongles for my current rMBP (Ethernet, DVI and VGA). So this isn’t really new.

  5. Reality distortion field? Usbc is the reality period. People may balk and whine all they want but the reality distortion is buying an expensive tool and have it become obsolete before your eyes. Dongles are for old accessories that have to be dragged into the future kicking and screaming.

  6. USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are different technology using the same connector. A simple explanation is USB uses a one way lane for sending information. TB uses bidirectional lanes. This allows TB to send information to more information back and forth. TB can be connected to multiple devices ( daisy chain ). TB can use both lanes to send information one way to a device that needs a lot of information fast, like a 5K display. Basically TB can be dumped down to USB, USB can not be upgraded to TB. This is every version of USB and TB. The only difference now is they use the same connector.

    This is reality not distortion. Someone who is paid to write about laptop and desktop technology should know this.

    1. Exactly! The port is Thunderbolt which is capable of dealing with a number of connection protocols, including USB-C. Thus, users will be able to use the latest and greatest Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, and USB-C while also hooking up all kinds of existing hardware with legacy protocols.

      The connector interface is USB-C, which means that Mac users will be able to take advantage of new USB-C peripherals by just plugging them in. Yes, that means that adapter dongles/cables or breakout hubs will be needed to deal with other connections. But Apple’s approach makes the most sense going forward.

      I am tired of hearing gripes about the ports. It is what it is. If you don’t like it, then don’t buy it. Simple enough.

  7. The problem we have – and this is the source of everyone’s frustration and irritation – is the diminishing period between the launch of a new data connector configuration and the launch of the next one which is physically incompatible with the one it supersedes.
    The question is, how long will we have USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 before it too is replaced with a new and incompatible connector? This new standard will only be widely embraced and adopted if, like USB 1 & 2, there has been thought given to future proofing the physical port.
    I don’t think any of us want to wake up one morning in the very near future to discover Apple and Intel has moved onto the next shiny port thing because they deliberately, selfishly and/or arrogantly didn’t think ahead.

  8. Apple didn’t call it USB-C because that’s a type of connector, not the standard the port uses. The MacBook was USB-C USB 3.1 Gen 1. The MacBook Pro is Thunderbolt 3 which incorporates USB 3.1 Gen 2 using the USB-C connector. It came down to the fact that for the MacBook “USB-C” was simpler marketing than saying USB 3.1 Gen. 1, which is the technically correct description. And for the MacBook Pro, Thunderbolt 3 is the technically correct description. They didn’t avoid calling it USB-C because it was some how tainted with negative association. They didn’t call it that because it doesn’t adequate describe it.

  9. Great, USB-C is the coolest new thing out there. So why isn’t Apple killing off Lightning to make its job and everyone elses’ lives easier?

    If Apple’s siloed design teams would think about the customer, it would have included a USB-C adapter in the box of every new iOs device so that you could use it with forthcoming MacBooks. And if Apple could bother to coordinate its product lines, it would have updated the desktop Macs along with the laptops to offer consistent port changes. But no, Apple doesn’t think about the dongle situation because the little princes in Cupertino don’t actually use Macs. Ive and Cook scribble on napkins if they write anything at all. Their assistants document everything.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.