I hate cables. I hate dongles. I’m about to hate docks. Dongles are like war. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. And, of course, absolutely everything. That’s the nature of cables, dongles, and docks.
In the past month or so I’ve read about new docks for the iPad, another new an intriguing dock for the Mac, and plenty of complaints about how bad Apple cables are (they’re not), and why dongle hell is a thing. Is it?
What set the personal computer on fire about a decade or so ago? A year after the iPhone launched Apple co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the MacBook Air. It was small, light, expensive, and almost completely wireless with Wi-Fi and only an occasional need to add a cable.
What do almost all notebooks look like these days? Apple’s MacBook Air. What do all notebooks need to achieve maximum productivity? Cables. Dongles. Even a Dock. No, not the Dock on macOS, but a Dock to replace all the dongles and cables. You can get them for Mac and iPad Pro. This one is called Linedock and features a battery, a dock, and storage.
Anybody got a problem with that? I do.
Linedock is a technological marvel. It features three USB-C ports, three USB 3.x standard ports, an HDMI port for video, a Mini display port for an external display, and even an SD card reader. It can also charge six devices at the same time and comes with a built-in SSD.
What’s not to like?
My hatred of cables has turned into dongle hell and dock heaven doesn’t really solve anything except for those who love optimum connectivity. If you like ports then you must have a love for cables and dongles and docks. OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock is popular, highly utilitarian, and priced about right.
Except for one thing, it’s a work of utilitarian art.
What’s missing? All the cables. Anybody who owns and uses such a Dock is hereby banned from complaining about dongle hell because the number of cables used to remain connected to everything seems to have gone up an order of magnitude over the limited USB ports on new Mac notebooks.
Wait. There’s more! And it’s worse.
Guess what those lovely new iPad Pro models have? A USB-C port. Guess what ports attract like a magnet? Cables. Dongles. Docks. Oh My!
This one is called the HyperDrive and it works on iPad Pro. Plug it into the USB-C port and you HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, an SD card reader, USB-A (the big one) and USB-C.
Good Gawd. How ugly is that? And mess? Ugh.
What should be obvious from all the images is that we cannot escape cables, dongles are going to be here forever, and a dock does not help matters; it only turns dongle hell, or cable hell, into dock hell.
You still need all those cables to maintain maximum connectivity and that means, 1) cables, 2) dongles, or, 3) if you’re prone to excess in life, docks.
What’s better than cables, dongles, and docks? The original MacBook Air taught us that we can peacefully coexist with productivity with nothing but, well, air.