New iMac’s paltry port selection doesn’t bode well for the next MacBook Pro

I was on vacation when Apple hosted their event last week, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about the new iMacs port selection. It says more about my particular neurosis than anything else, but listen to me. A new iMac has long been the subject of rumors, and replacing Intel’s silicon with Apple’s own M1 chip was a good opportunity to give the all-in-one a complete overhaul.

And it’s quite likely that this new design is a harbinger of things to come for the entire Mac lineup, as rumors have been circulating for months about a major update coming to the MacBook Pro. Multiple reports say the laptop will lose the much-maligned touch bar and get a new magnetic charger, among other things. Based on the new iMac, this MagSafe-style charger looks likely, and the iMac’s combination of curves and sharp edges that mimic the iPad and iPhone might indicate what the new MacBooks look like. And with the iPad Air and iMac offering a huge variety of colors, we might finally get some new finishing options for Apple’s line of laptops.


Unfortunately, if the redesigned iMac is any indication from Apple’s direction, it makes me think that rumors that future MacBooks are getting some of their ports back are incorrect. The base iMac has two meager USB 4 / Thunderbolt ports. Of them! The more expensive iMac configurations incorporate a few USB-C ports, for a total of four. The older 21.5-inch iMac had four USB-A ports in addition to two USB-C / Thunderbolt connections, as well as an SD card reader and Ethernet jack.

Apple’s greed for its laptops is bad enough, but it doesn’t make sense on the iMac. Yes, it’s extremely slim and the space inside is surely at a premium, but is it really so tight that they couldn’t include a few old USB ports so desktop users don’t have to visit? dongleworld? This is especially odd given that Apple included USB-A ports on the M1-based Mac mini, which shows that there is no technical reason to exclude them from the iMac M1.

I understand that Apple is keen to eliminate connections that it deems obsolete; he’s been doing this for years. It’s another step towards Apple that makes the Mac more like the iPad and less like the computers that people in their 30s and 40s have grown up on. And admittedly, I’m finally getting to the point where I have very few USB-A devices left, so that wouldn’t affect me as much. The iMac has long been Apple’s desktop for the average user, and it’s clear the company thinks most people don’t care about USB-A at this point.

Apple's iMac 2021 redesign


While I’m disappointed that the new iMac is losing connectivity options, I also think that’s a bad sign for Apple’s next-gen laptops. In January, reliable Apple analyst and prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo said the next MacBook Pro would likely have more I / O options than current models, although he didn’t say exactly what that was. would include. Many people were hoping it would include a USB-A port, SD card reader, or HDMI connector – all of which were included in the MacBook Pro until its 2016 redesign.

But if the iMac is any indication of where Apple hardware is heading over the next few years, last week’s update throws cold water on a MacBook with one of those older I / O options. Of course, the word “Pro” is in the MacBook Pro, and it’s possible that the decisions Apple made for the consumer-centric iMac might not apply to its more powerful computers. But Apple is also not known for turning the tide of its decisions. The company ultimately listened to customer complaints and relentless press coverage the “butterfly keyboard” in its MacBook range; it replaced that slim, error-prone keyboard with a vastly improved option of a more traditional design. But at this point, complaints about the loss of USB-A, HDMI, and other “legacy” ports are gone – and while there are certainly plenty of Mac users out there who would appreciate it making a comeback, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. will happen. For the sake of my friends and colleagues who really miss the SD card slot or just want to plug in a USB mouse, I hope I’m wrong.

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