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Monday, January 24, 2022

Dongle Raj over? Apple is finally giving MacBook Pro ports it deserves

In recent years Apple has been under fire for reducing the number of ports in its laptops and pushing consumers towards dongles. Last night as the company introduced new MacBook Pro laptops, it took a step towards correcting its previous error.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The new MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook pro 16 come with 3 USB-C ports and an HDMI port.
  • The new laptops also have a separate charging port.
  • Even the SD card reader makes a comeback to the MacBook.

Consumers in India call it Dongle Raj. In the last few years, Apple has steadily removed various ports from its MacBook laptops, which in turn has pushed consumers to purchase more and more dongles and adapters. But last night as the company introduced new MacBook Pro laptops powered by the M1 Pro and the M1 Max chipsets, it not only increased the number of ports but also brought back the SD card reader and HDMI port.

This will come as music to the ears of MacBook Pro users who do a lot of photography, or who need to connect their laptops to monitors and TVs with HDMI ports. Even those who do not specifically need a SD card reader or HDMI port in their laptops will be happy to see what Apple has done with the connectivity options on the MacBook Pro.

Both the MacBook Pro 14 and the MacBook pro 16 come with following ports:

— 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports. They use the USB-C 4 input and can support various connectivity options.

— 1 MagSafe charging port with fast charging.

— 1 HDMI port

— 1 SD card reader

— 3.5mm headphone jack

The fact that the new MacBook Pro comes with a separate charging port means that none of the 3 USB-C ports are going to be blocked just because the battery in the laptop is running low.

The port situation in the new MacBook Pro is a huge step up from the MacBook Pro 13-inch, which has just two USB-C ports, and one of them gets every time the laptop is connected to the charger.

Although, some will still say that a few more ports are missing. In particular, the Ethernet jack is conspicuous by its absence. But it can be argued, and rather convincingly, that with WiFi 6 support gigabit connections are possible wirelessly. Also, it is fair to assume that most MacBooks are used with WiFi and Ethernet-to-USB-C is probably the least sold adapter among MacBook users.

Essentially, one can say that with the new MacBook Pro laptops, Apple is finally moving away from its Dongle Raj that it brought to consumers a few years ago. Ports like the one for SD cards are extremely useful as any photographer or videographer will say. And the fact that now all three Thunderbolt aka USB ports are available at all times is bound to come as a big relief to anyone who uses a MacBook with lots of accessories.

I would have liked to see Apple make a move to include more ports earlier when the company launched the M1-powered MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13. But it is possible that the M1 chipset wasn’t designed to offer more IO options. Now, the M1 Pro and the M1 Pro Max can do it, and it is good to see that Apple is righting the wrongs committed in recent years.

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