What does a Mac notebook come with these days? A Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C hybrid connector. Two on each side for the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, and two on one side for the entry-level MacBook Air. What is it that Apple has against connectors and ports?
Apple needs to differentiate its products and for the Mac, it can do that based on size; including display, CPU and GPU, RAM and storage, and the number of ports. If you need a Mac notebook with at least three USB-C ports then you have to spend much more money on a Pro model with four.
The common denominator is, well, to put it bluntly– more money.
Spend $12,000 on a Mac Pro and you get dual USB-3 ports, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C and DisplayPort) and 10GB Ethernet. That’s not much considering the price tag. Even the maxed out iMac has only four USB-3 ports and dual USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Apple wants you to pay more money if you need more ports. Even if you don’t upgrade to a more expensive Mac with more ports you’ll have to spend more money on a connected Dock. One of my favorite modern Macs is the Mac mini, and the latest version has ports packed in.
You get four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, dual USB-3 ports, an Ethernet port, and an HDMI port. Plus a headphone jack. That’s it.
Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is closest in specifications to a Mac notebook and even that comes with dual USB-3 ports, a USB-C port, an SDXC card reader, and two Surface Connect ports. It doesn’t take long to get to $3,000 and if you need more ports you’ll spend a few hundred bucks on an external dock.
Sure, Apple knows their customer base better than customers themselves so there must be some kind of data that says Mac users don’t need so many ports, but I wonder if that’s because they truly don’t need them, or because Apple doesn’t make a Mac of any kind with too many ports?
I worried for a long time that former Apple design honcho Jonny Ive influenced design so much that ports were considered ugly antiques; vestiges of a bygone era. That would explain the lack of ports, but the new MacBook Pro is thicker and heavier and bigger than previous models and comes with the largest battery capacity ever in a MacBook Pro– up to 11 hours in wireless browsing mode.
But just those four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports; two per side.
Apple hates ports so much that the first Apple CPU to make it inside a Mac might come with no ports at all. Wireless everything, including Bluetooth for sound, and wireless inductive charging instead of a cable.
Hey, it’s a thought. Obviously someone at Apple hates cables and ports.