In Defense of the New MacBook and Its Single Port

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The new MacBook is now out and with it came a ton of criticism. The consistent theme throughout the initial reviews was that it was the laptop of the future, not the present.

I definitely get what people are saying when they claim that the lack of standard ports, extreme thinness, and cost make it a compromised machine. I still think that these claims are trying too much to account for an imaginary market segment instead of seeing the machine as it truly is—one made for 2015.

Only One (New) Port

One USB-C port is tricky. Even if you don’t use that many external USB devices or other connections, having one port for charging and I/O (in and out for data) will take some adjustment. But with this new USB-C port comes a lot of advantages as well. Because USB-C is a standard, the one port is actually more accessible than it is limiting. The most exciting possibility might be a real innovation in laptops: wireless power.

Even though reports of battery life has been mixed—from 6-10 hours depending on the tasks you’re performing—you won’t necessarily need an outlet anymore. You’ll now be able to take advantage of external battery packs you’ve been using for your phone and tablet. It’s not wireless in the sense of induction charging, but it wireless in that you aren’t tied to a wall socket.

Along with external batteries now being an option is the ability to buy third-party wall chargers. Zolt is an example of a revolutionary (tiny) new laptop charger that can now easily power your MacBook without any compromising adapter tips.

As good as Apple’s MagSafe laptop chargers have been in the past, it’s been a huge hurdle not to be able to buy a third-party charger because yours got lost, damaged, or you just needed a spare. You could even buy Google’s new USB-C charger meant for its Chromebook Pixel if yours broke or you just wanted a $59 black charger instead of Apple’s white one.

While there might not be a wide range of USB-C accessories quite yet, they’ll be here very soon. In fact, speaking of Google, they offer multiple adapters cheaper than Apple does. A USB-C to USB cable from Google is longer and $13 compared to $20 from Apple. Monoprice also announced a bunch of new USB-C cables at discounted prices which should get you out of any type of jam you might find yourself in.

A lot of the other limitations by a lack of ports have been dealt with by the MacBook Air. Software is easily re-downloadable from the Mac App Store, music comes from a streaming service like Spotify or stored music on iTunes Match, and Dropbox has allowed for data to move around easily. Bluetooth headphones and speakers are more than abundant, in fact, I’d recommend getting one even if you’re not buying this new MacBook. Freeing yourself from cables is a wonderful feeling.

I’m not arguing the new MacBook is perfect—it’s not. It would be nice if its webcam was 720p instead of 480p and its Core-M processor may be too slow for some people’s needs. But that isn’t what is getting people’s attention. Along with the disappointing aspects of the single new port, there are a lot of good things that come with it as well—and they shouldn’t be overlooked.

Even if the new MacBook isn’t for everyone that doesn’t mean it’s a laptop from the future. It may just mean some people are living in the past.

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