back to article A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Steve Jobs would confide that LSD was a formative influence on his life, one that distinguished him from his less-adventurous peers in the tech industry. Jobs is gone, but I wonder if someone left some Pounds Shillings and Pence lying around the Cupertino campus? You may not have noticed, but the world's richest company* …

  1. Jim 59

    ... cripplingly underpowered machine...

    Please. It's called "Legacy free".

    1. big_D Silver badge

      I think he means the fact that it uses a Broadwell Core-M as opposed to a Core-i processor.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      @Andrew Its called drinking your own cool-aid


      I was going to write up a post mocking you, even though I agree with everything you've said.

      But have you seriously considered that neither you, nor I, are the targeted demographic?

      IMHO, I'd say this would be a machine that a school age kid would use. Just enough machine to be used for school and not as a gaming console...

      1. Mark 85

        Re: @Andrew Its called drinking your own cool-aid

        I'm thinking you're mostly right on the demographic but there's a catch.... school kids usually don't have the cash for a gold-plated anything. However, marketing/sales/c-suite types... they don't need the bells and whistles. They do presentations and take some notes. This is ideal for them and it's very much 'bling' to set them apart from the masses.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: @Andrew Its called drinking your own cool-aid

          It's not gold-plated, it's just goldie-coloured. However, the quantity of gold used in gold plating is tiny anyways.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: @Andrew Its called drinking your own cool-aid

        It's not really the right price point for a school kid. The HP Stream is more the sort of thing they would get.

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    For any situation where sockets are required there is one golden design rule. Work out how many you could possibly need, double it, and then plan for future expansion anway. And you still won't have enough.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      And yet I have only once used the USB OTG on my phone... nice to know that it is there, but I have never had cause to use it, other than to check it worked (ahem, XBOX USB controller on a Megadrive emulator and VirtuaRacer).

      My point is that for some people (usually not Reg readers) their laptops are for typing, spreadsheets and messing around on the internet- USB isn't required. Reg readers are likely to research and then buy the kit that suits them - so they are not likely to buy this new Macbook.

      My laptop has six USB ports and I'm glad of them. However, what I'd really like is a single cable to a docking solution.

      1. Annihilator

        "My point is that for some people (usually not Reg readers) their laptops are for typing, spreadsheets and messing around on the internet- USB isn't required. "

        Yeah, bog standard users don't use printers, mice or memory sticks...

        1. James Dore

          All those things are accessible via the network or wirelessly now. Cloud storage and networked printers abound, Bluetooth mice et al are the most requested peripheral we buy. It's only the fact that I've got crap broadband (at the moment) at home that keeps me carrying an external HDD around, but in two weeks time I won't need it, even to take whopping ISO images home.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            @ James Dore

            It's NOT OK to force your average IT user to buy wireless hubs for their flash drives, a wireless networked printer, bluetooth mice (Heck, I have one, but my laptop doesn't have an internal bluetooth modem so the setup still requires a USB slot for the bluetooth receiver) or an external wireless HDD.

            The new MacBook is for IT enthusiasts who have an extra few hundred bucks to blow on accessories, above and beyond the purchase price.

            1. danbi

              Nope. The new MacBook is not for "IT enthusiasts".

              It is for normal people, who *use* computers, not fiddle with them. The normal people are grateful if there are less wires and less ports, because they will have to deal with remembering which is what. They don't care about this and they will be grateful to Apple for removing that burden from them.

              Plus, you don't need everything wireless if you prefer so -- a single powered USB hub will give you plenty of ports and charge this notebook. A powered hub with integrated other peripherals will give you even more ports.

          2. joed

            Bluetooth keyboard/mouse my a..

            They only reason to use these is because you had no other choice. The lag is frustrating. Interference with wireless (the only IO on this crippled design) may make it unbearable. I had to hack my Windows tablet where Toshiba geniuses also decided to skip dedicated charging port and use the only micro USB for that purpose (no 79$ adapters but somehow OTG cable splitter worked for me).

        2. tony

          I'm thinking of refreshing my old Air and this is currently ticking the boxes. Originally I thought uh-oh zero / one connector isn't enough but then I've had a think and I can't remember when I last plugged something into my laptop other than when I'm on holiday and I wanted to take a better look at the pictures I've taken. So that's one adapter for use 2 or 3 times a year and the better screen will do a better job for previewing...

          Once they're in the shops I'll take a better look.

        3. Only me!

          Welcome to the wireless world

          OK I am no Apple fan, but...we are at the start of a new revolution.....

          My Mouse Bluetooth, headphones Bluetooth, keyboard Bluetooth, PowerPoint presentation cast of a wireless display, printer WiFi, file transfer from my phone and camera are wifi.

          OK a touch extreme, I grant you, but all possible and all giving good / ok results. Loss of speed and quality of course but no wires. So the one plug to the lappy is for power.

          It is a little like the iMac when people could not get the head around not having a disk drive.

          Too soon to make the leap at this point, but hey this is the infinity and beyond!

          The above has nothing to do with the new Mac Book, but is saying where the tech is going.

          Let's mess with the up down votes and say I have a Surface :-)

          1. Lusty

            Re: Welcome to the wireless world

            You're close, but missed the point that the power won't actually be plugged in while you use it. My iPhone only has one port and that's pretty much always free except over night. This new MacBook has one port which will always be free because you'd also charge that over night (or at the office I guess). In real usage, just like the MBP the battery will last with plenty to spare after a day of working. Yes, it's 10 hours if you spent 10 hours actively browsing the Internet for 10 hours solid. Personally I take a lunch break and speak to colleagues occasionally and get 18-20 hours from my rMBP. I suspect most of the people worried by the power port currently have shitty Wintel laptops which need to always be tethered. At least they were cheap though, eh?

            1. gribbler

              Re: Welcome to the wireless world


              You get 18 hours from a macbook pro? Mine (work machine) is less than 3 months old and doesn't give more than 5 or 6 hours of use. I can only assume that you aren't really making it work hard...

              1. Lusty

                Re: Welcome to the wireless world

                @gribbler yes I do. My job mostly involves writing documents for customers and connecting to systems over rdp or ssh, but that 18 hours also includes a few hours of video and web browsing. I'd imagine if I were compiling code all day it wouldn't last as long, and if I didn't use power saving functions as designed then it would die sooner. I don't have the brightness all the way up, but not all the way down either, and I don't have a bunch of host powered gadgets connected either. Not sure what you're doing to kill it in 5 hours but it must be pretty hefty like running a load of VMs to do that.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Welcome to the wireless world

                Try using a less flashy screen saver, you'll find your battery lasts a lot longer :P

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Welcome to the wireless world

            >Yeah, bog standard users don't use printers, mice or memory sticks...

            They do, but:

            WiFi printers are cheap and common in the home, and have been the norm in business and academia for some time.

            The laptop doesn't need a mous, it has a trackpad. Bluetooth mice are available.

            Your argument is what, exactly?

          3. Mark 65

            Re: Welcome to the wireless world

            OK I am no Apple fan, but...we are at the start of a new revolution.....

            My Mouse Bluetooth, headphones Bluetooth, keyboard Bluetooth, PowerPoint presentation cast of a wireless display, printer WiFi, file transfer from my phone and camera are wifi.

            Repeat after me...electromagnetic interference. Your home is gradually becoming filled with more and more devices that will interfere with each other. That they need to use unlicensed spectrum guarantees this.

            1. danbi

              Re: Welcome to the wireless world

              Would the electromagnetic interference situation be better if home users were using licensed spectrum? How would that work in the real world? We home users pay for this, how much? Would me, getting the frequency 2400 MHz prevent my neighbor from creating any interference of over -90 dB in the borders of the land I own? (rest of questions censored)

          4. ian 22

            Re: Welcome to the wireless world

            That's right, I had forgotten! Apple murdered the floppy- in cold blood! Bastards. Now they're sharpening their knives for thumb drives. Will no one stop them? Will we be forced into a wireless world of unwanted convenience?

            Everything is becoming disembodied and flying into the clouds, like an Escher engraving.

        4. Sarah Balfour

          Course they don't - can't feckin' afford 'em after shelling out for one of those!

          This just proves Apple's Eco creds arz a load of bulkshit; I don't want a battery that uses marginally less power, Tim, I want a battery - and laptop - that's as recyclable as possible! I can't see there's anything in these new machines that ain't gonna soend its afterlife sitting in landfill (or wherever). Cupertino appears to believe that Eco cred is all about your carbon footprint, and fuck what toxic shit your actual products are constructed from.

          And, yes, I'll fully own up to typing this on an iPad…

          1. danbi

            "and fuck what toxic shit your actual products are constructed from"

            Such as, aluminum?

            Now, do you have an idea of the environmental impact your cheapo wintel notebook's plastic has, as compared to the aluminum corpse of the MacBook? I bet, the MacBook will create less pollution.

            Now, both contribute to the growing pile of electronic junk on Earth. But the MacBooks do it at a much slower pace, as they last much, much longer.

        5. P. Lee

          >Yeah, bog standard users don't use printers, mice or memory sticks...

          Printers are increasingly networkified (with their own wifi AP as a last resort)

          Apple has a BT mouse (perhaps they want to sell more of them)

          Memory sticks.... ok, you got me on that one - but that is occasional usage. "Use the cloud" says the ghost of Jobs.

          Having said all that, I still can't get over the lack of a dedicated nic on macbooks. Can they not design something which looks nice but hides DVI/VGA/DP/NIC/USB ports?

      2. Phil Kingston

        You need a DisplayLink dock then. One (USB3) cable to a docking station. Job done.

        1. P. Lee

          >One (USB3) cable to a docking station.

          Except that, you then have to buy and store a docking station at each location.

          Give me the sockets, if I don't need them, I won't use them. They aren't that expensive.

          Rarely do I agree with Orlowski, but yes, Apple seem to have no idea why they are doing stuff.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: >One (USB3) cable to a docking station.

            but yes, Apple seem to have no idea why they are doing stuff.

            s'alright. Apple users have no idea why they're buying stuff.

      3. danbi

        "My laptop has six USB ports and I'm glad of them. However, what I'd really like is a single cable to a docking solution."

        Intel, with their greed and being very slow to market killed the possibility that this be Thunderbolt.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Yeah, the keyboard I use with my current laptop needs 2 USB sockets!

    3. Jim 59

      My Dragon 32 had more connectivity that this. Seriously.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agreed on the Dragon, but do you remember the cost of actually hooking it up? At 14 the relationship to paper round rates was more 'eyewatering' rather than merely 'ugly', although the machine itself was quite reasonable.

        1. Jim 59

          1982 Paper round = £5.00

          1982 Dragon 32 = £200.

          parallel port, cartridge slot, DIN audio, UHF out, serial thingy, joystick, just sayin'

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For any situation where sockets are required there is one golden design rule. Look at the sockets. Are they ugly? Will they spoil the beautiful lines you've designed in? Will they speak the same language of design? Apart from plugging rank and nasty things in, is there any point to the sockets? Will you use the sockets in a coffee shop?

      Ditch the sockets. If you want room for expansion, buy a tracksuit.

      Never forget that the ideal Apple computer is powered by your adoring gaze and your friends' envy.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Ditch the sockets ...

        ... completely.

        If you want to do something new, how about a completely water and dustproof device with no sockets at all? Massive bonus if you can autoclave it. Ok that's a bit of a challenge, but surely there's a a moderately big vertical market out there for sterilizable, hygenic computing devices?

        And in design terms, sockets are ugly: almost as ugly as dust on the inside of the screen and the bill when you get your device a tiny bit damp. So, put the sockets and all the other cobblers on the wireless charging device, and it you get a full-fat docking station and a hermetically sealed device.

      2. TheOtherHobbes

        >Never forget that the ideal Apple computer is powered by your adoring gaze and your friends' envy.

        Eventually there will be no sockets.

        Then the MacBook itself will start to become transparent. Soon, only the screen will continue to levitate in space - disembodied, wireless, cloudy, a serene slab of glass and metal floating effortlessly above the turbulent surface of valley life, displaying infinite views of brightly coloured smiling people enjoying their lives so very, very much.

        Soon, even that will start to disappear.

        Eventually there will be just the faintest ghost of a design idea.

        No case. No screen. No keyboard. No denim. No turtleneck. Just a barely audible sigh that sounds like a cross between 'Jony...', Japanese rain on apple blossoms, and a really annoying 1950s telephone.

        Perfection will have been attained.

        The day after that, the Borg ships will land.

      3. Green Nigel 42

        There can only be One!

    5. danbi

      Then, when you realize you have too many "expansion" ports, it is time to look for a better design, because it is by then apparent you goofed.

      Most of the "issues" in this particular example are resolved by just a simple powered USB Type-C Hub.

      Because USB Type-C is not encumbered by Intel royalties and expensive chips as Thunderbolt is, one could imagine docking stations that incorporate many ports of all kinds and connect with your new MacBook for power and data will be everywhere.

      The real test, that this design is good will be in how quickly the "me too" manufacturers will scramble to produce exactly the same computer, but running Windows.

  3. Blergh


    I'd be more impressed if they managed to do it without any ports at all.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: None

      That's it give them ideas.

      Now with no ports, not even a power one? Mmmm then when the battery goes flat the customer will need to buy a new one. Wow we won't even have to wait till the next model comes out before the customer comes back to buy their next fix. Kerching....

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: None

        Nah, they'll just need to buy an Apple wireless charger pad to put it on. It will go on sale a month later and will cost half as much as the laptop. Unless you buy the gold one which will be treble the cost of the laptop, will double as a hot plate due to the eddy currents in the gold foil and when you complain that it doesn't charge the laptop Apple will say you put it down wrong.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: None

      Inductive charging, NFC, WiFi... yes, it's possible. I don't know what all that fuss is about anyway. The iPad only has the one port (and a 3.5mm audio) and that seems to be considered acceptable.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: None

        "The iPad only has the one port (and a 3.5mm audio) and that seems to be considered acceptable."

        That's all it is no big deal and not worth two pages of whinging. It's a tablet with a keyboard that runs OSX. For people who would like to type on a proper keyboard and use a mouse but need no more than a laptop. For most general mobile stuff it won't need anything plugging in.

        The article seems to be written by yet another one of those people who believes that their own personal requirements apply universally.

        As for the watch, it's just Apple getting in on the game. Competitors are already doing them and selling loads of them. I find the smartwatch incredibly useful, I appreciate that some people don't get it but an open mind is not really that hard to keep.

        I wouldn't want the apple version of a smartwatch though,when there are cheaper, better ones.

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: None

        The iPad only has the one port (and a 3.5mm audio) and that seems to be considered acceptable.

        The iPad is a fancy window through which the vast majority of users poke at things and don't tend to do much of productive value.

        Laptops have keyboards and other such whizzbang things because they're used to actually do/make/produce things. This ability often requires such archaic nonsense as memory sticks.

        I recall coming home from a skiing trip with the family and chums. Ex-teacher family-friend couldn't get her photos off her iPad onto her non-Apple machine for love nor money. E-mailing was possible but the UI made it inconvenient, she's 65 and has no bloody idea what "cloud accounts" are, and you can't plug anything into it. You also can't transfer the photos via direct wi-fi or bluetooth or several other methods because that's not letting Apple control your life, and you can't install a better file browser for exactly the same reason.

        My old man, on the other hand, just plugged his non-Apple tablet into his non-Apple computer (of a totally different brand) and "oh, look, there it is." He gets drives, and plugs, and cables; those are easy. You plug a thing into a thing and they talk to each other. Got it.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: None

          Great story, but on my iPhone or iPad I click on one button in the photo app, select the images to send, click on email, type in the email address and that's it.

          1. Alister

            Re: None

            but on my iPhone or iPad I click on one button in the photo app, select the images to send, click on email, type in the email address and that's it.

            Ahuh, and how many full size jpegs does it take before your email provider blocks the attachment?

          2. TRT Silver badge

            Re: None

            Yes, lovely story. On my iPhone, I didn't even need to do that. I take photo, it's on a webpage in under a minute. iCloud.

            The number of times I've had to unjam various plugs and disks and cards from various slots and holes... Cloud agnosia is as equally inhibiting and as prevalent as connector agnosia in my experience. How many times have you found you needed a USB type x to "some other connector" cable? It got better for a while, but now it's heading out to exponential combination land again.

            Connectivity will, I fear, always be a problem, whether it is not having the right protocol in software or not having the right jack in hardware. I admit, Apple could do better with allowing stuff to get off the pad but it's part of their sandbox approach (actually would DRAM attack work on an iDevice? Hmmm...) not to allow some universal connecting app free reign of the compartmentalised file system.

            1. Greg J Preece

              Re: None

              Yes, lovely story. On my iPhone, I didn't even need to do that. I take photo, it's on a webpage in under a minute. iCloud.

              A "lovely story" you apparently didn't read.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: None

                "A 'lovely story' you apparently didn't read."

                Please, tell me, which part of the story didn't I get?

                You gave examples of two different people. A techno-agnostic with an Apple device that couldn't get photos of a skiing trip off the device, and someone who sounds slightly more technically minded with a non-Apple device who got photos off their device.

                That tells me that it's not the device that made the difference, it was the people using them. If you'd given the non-Apple devices to the first person along with a bag of cables, would they have fared any better? If you'd given the Apple device to the second person, would they have succeeded?

        2. danbi

          Re: None

          If you don't know how to do something, it doesn't matter who the manufacturer of the thing is.

    3. Tom 7

      Re: None

      They cant make you pay through the nose for a £2 connector if they dont have somewhere to connect it.

      Actually maybe they can...

      1. danbi

        Re: None

        Buy the £2 connector.

  4. karlstraw
    Thumb Down

    Not a universal view

    Some users, me included, don't have many peripherals in my daily life that need a USB slot, data cable, no do use the SD slot, USB cables or external monitors. My iPad Air and Keyboard is almost good enough for me not to need a laptop but the lack of some software and the touch screen get in the way a proper user experience. So I end up having three things with me when with the new MacBook one will do. A lighter MacBook that just needs charging once a day would be perfect for my daily away from my desk use so don't assume that your usage pattern is the only one that Apple are addressing.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Not a universal view

      So what usage pattern are they addressing... someone who does sod all with their computer in case it needs charging? Someone who likes having hubs and adaptors dangling off the side like Sinclair Microdrives?

      Apple is an Oozlum bird, at the moment flying in ever smaller circles and in danger of disappearing up its own fundament.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Not a universal view

        >So what usage pattern are they addressing... someone who does sod all with their computer in case it needs charging?

        Er someone who doesn't use USB because their 'producibles' are emailed to their clients, perhaps? Not universal, but not uncommon, either.

        I have six USB sockets on my laptop, and to be honest I've still wanted a few 2" USB A Male > USB A Female cables. Why? So that if I'm clumsy, my knocking a USB stick doesn't bugger the USB socket.

        1. jai

          Re: Not a universal view

          Same here. I have an iMac with all the usb slots used up, two of which are 10-port usb hubs for a stack of external hard drives.

          I do not need any connectivity on my laptop - i print wirelessly via Printopia on the iMac. I move files onto and off the laptop via wifi (increasingly AirDrop)

          What i really need is a laptop that weighs as little as possible and is comfortable to use in the ever shrinking seat space on my train to and from work.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Dave 126 Re: Not a universal view

          Are we now going to start having a contest on how many USB connectors we need and have this replace penis envy?


          When I'm at a client, I have the power cord, one USB to my personal wi-fi hotspot and the thunderbolt port to a second monitor.

          That's it, unless I need to use a thumb drive to move data.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: @Dave 126 Not a universal view

            So this one isn't even enough for you.

            The nearest comparison is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which has a grand total of one USB 3.0 port and one power port - and everyone I know ends up carrying a USB hub because it's not enough.

            Most people use USB sticks to transfer files between computers. It's simple and intuitive.

            At the office, everyone connects via the wired ethernet because it's faster - most via a desktop dock.

            Surface Pro has a dock, does this?

            This new Macbook is clearly intended as an alternate iPad with the same pattern of consumption-only use.

            So, it's alienating all the professionals who use Mac for creative purposes - continuing a worrying trend from Apple.

            1. danbi

              Re: @Dave 126 Not a universal view

              "So, it's alienating all the professionals who use Mac for creative purposes - continuing a worrying trend from Apple."

              Do you even believe yourself?

              At the same time Apple announced this MacBook, they also updated the Air and Pro models as well. The professionals will use their professional tools -- which are different according to the profession and needs of each.

              They would care less about your opinion, as well.

      2. PNGuinn

        Re: Not a universal view

        Which as a concept is ok (email me the mindbleach now, please) but what if apple design out their out their own gold plated fundament??

        Enquiring minds need to know etc etc.

    2. Oh Matron!

      Re: Not a universal view

      I concur. For your average student, power is likely to be the only thing that they'd ever plug in to it.

      You want something more powerful, with more sockets, you get something more powerful. One does not get a Ferrari and demand that it doesn't have enough cup holders. One gets a Ford Galaxy (if you've already given up on life)

      The USB-C socket is a standard, thus, despite the eye watering $79 cost, pretty much anybody else will be able to provide add ons for it

      1. danbi

        Re: Not a universal view

        It does not have to cost $79. I am sure, as we discuss this, Chinese manufacturers are scrambling to bring up a super-duper combo of ports that they will sell cheaper. Some will buy from Apple, some will by it from eBay.

    3. Mike Bell

      Re: Not a universal view

      Anybody's usage pattern will involve charging the thing up.

      My MacBook Pro typically gets charged up daily, perhaps when I have it on my lap in front of the TV. And - by God - have I thanked the designers time and again when a twitchy cat has taken a leap in the direction of the charging port. The MagSafe power connector is a work of genius and does its job perfectly. It clicks into place in a super-ergonomic fashion, and protects the connector from all manner of accidental yanks.

      Apple are crazy to ditch this.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Not a universal view

        >by God - have I thanked the designers time and again when a twitchy cat has taken a leap in the direction of the charging port.

        That is a downside of USB Type C when compared to MagSafe.

        The only mitigation I can think of is that some people will charge their laptops from an external monitor or docking station, so that a tug on the cable pulls the laptop across the desk and not off the desk.

        Perhaps someone will create and sell a inline Magsafe-style connector. It doesn't have be 'MagSafe' as such, since it is only mating with itself; Apple doesn't own the concept, since Sony use magnetic charging cables on the Z phones, and one manufacturer makes magnetic 'breakaway' guitar cables.

    4. Joe Gurman

      Re: Not a universal view

      This comment is spot on, and the article is written from the viewpoint of the "power" (or is that "nerd?") users who actually do employ multiple laptop ports at once, and carry around the mess of cables, mains adapters, and USB peripherals that reflect that usage – but not from the vantage point of the target audience.

      You've probably never seen the target demographic, US college students, in their native environments. They charge their laptops overnight, and don't even take their chargers to class/library with them. They use a multi-gesture touchpad, not a fussy and old-fashioned pointing device like a mouse, and they never, ever bring USB cables with them. (Ask campus tech out if you don't believe me.) They pop their laptops in rucksacks, and that's it. And a startling percentage of them already have MacBook Airs, so this is aimed at the same demographic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not a universal view

        Probably you miss the moment when they need to plug their external disks holding terabytes pirated movies and music to play or exchange them.... and I don't believe the target demographic is really students. This looks like mostly as a glorified tablet, for those user with basic computing needs only but wanting a fashionable device to show off.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: Not a universal view

          "This looks like mostly as a glorified tablet"

          Makes perfect sense - every new generation of OSX turns Macbooks more and more into ipads.

      2. BigFire

        Re: Not a universal view

        You mean the wannabe hipsters that lounges around coffee shop pretending to write their Great American Novel(tm)? Hey, there's gold to be mine there.

    5. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Not a universal view

      Well said. People have different needs from their computers. Some people only use one machine so might get a powerful portable, others will choose a light laptop to complement their desktop workstation. Some folk don't care how powerful a laptop is, cos they only use it as a terminal to their real *NIX computer.

      Some people will prioritise typing as their main need and buy a laptop, others just need an x86 machine to connect to older USB and serial instruments so buy a cramped-keyboard Netbook. Bookeepers might liove having a dedicated numer pad. Some find that a Bluetooth keyboard and Android /iOS device does fine. Other people find that their needs are not catered for by the usual suspects, so pay the niche premium for a Panasonic Toughbook, or pay Modbook to fit a Wacom digitiser to their Macbook.

      Some people are writers and bloggers, some people are engineers, some are artists, some are doctors etc. You get the idea.

    6. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Use cases

      1) Handed some data on a USB flash key. Cheap laptop: plug it in. New Mac: need to carry an adapter.

      2) Handed some data on an SDHC card. Cheap laptop: plug it in. New Mac: need to carry an adapter.

      3) Need a fast network connection. Cheap laptop: plug it in. New Mac: need to carry an adapter.

      4) Device gets broken or nicked. Cheap laptop: can replace screen or whole device for a pittance. New Mac: ouch.

      There are some cool things that could be done with USB C. The charger could be a USB hub with an HDMI socket, ethernet port and SDHC slots. Apple have taken care to let their customers pay extra for the benefits of USB C, but that seems to be what their customers want: "Look! My computer is more expensive, shiny and fragile than yours!"

      1. jai

        Re: Use cases

        4) About the get mugged by a group of ruffians. Cheap laptop: try to exchange it in barter for your life, get laughed at and see laptop smashed to pieces as they give it and your ribs a kicking in equal measure. New Mac: use it's ultra thin and sharp wedge shape to decapitate or remove limbs of the creeps in a whirling dervish of martial artistry like something from the pages of a manga, then give praise to Crom as you see them crushed and driven before you, while listening to the lamentations of their women!

  5. Don Dumb

    Teapot meet Kettle

    "The adverts told us Apple was led by a designer, who was a genius. It was all about Ive."

    The first thing that jumped out at me was the number of different colour and material options for the Apple Watch, so this can't be from the same Sir Jonny that said less than a month ago the amazingly pretentious - "You can choose whatever color you want.’ And I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer."

    Aside from the amazing idea that maybe a company selling things should give the customer what they want, rather than the designers having some jobs-given honour to decide for the pathetic customer. But is everyone in the media's memory so weak that they can't even pick him up on blatant hypocrisy delivered less than 4 weeks ago?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Teapot meet Kettle

      Curious that you linked only to the Reg article, and not the New Yorker source article in which the quote was in context.

      1. Don Dumb

        Re: Teapot meet Kettle

        @Dave 126 - not really that curious, a mixture of laziness and an attempt to point out that the quote was reported on this very site

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Teapot meet Kettle

          Fair enough. I'm sure you know that quotes from Apple staff on the Reg are often framed... interestingly. :)

          I'm not an Apple user, but product design and user experience in products does interest me greatly - mainly because I can see obvious room for improvement in much of the stuff I use.

          In context, the quote was from a man who had been told he had to be interviewed for his company's PR, but at the same time couldn't say too much. Without being absolutist about it, his point was that users aren't in a position to try out every design permutation to discover which combination is best for them - they simply haven't got the time, and it can be a distraction to simply using the device for its intended purpose. Many users would prefer for that heavy testing to be done by someone else. The assumption was also that he was taking a dig at the MotoX for making the 1990s Nokia Xpress-on concept it's chief 'value proposition' - but it was only an assumption.*

          Of course the world has fettlers and tinkerers, too - and that is a good thing.

          * If true, it was slightly unfair - whilst the MotoX was midrange-components sold at a flagship price (initially!), it focused on the user experience. It featured a low-power co-processor that allowed it to be always listening for the user to say "Okay Moto - where is the nearest whatever?" without the user having to touch it. It was also said to very comfortable to hold.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Teapot meet Kettle

      I'd prefer it if it could be fitted nasally.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. jai

      Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

      what do you use an SD card for??? i expect you want a dvd drive and a 9600 baud modem too?

      1. Steve I

        Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

        "what do you use an SD card for??? i expect you want a dvd drive and a 9600 baud modem too?"

        Yes. And I want to be able to swap the tray-loading dvd drive for a floppy drive (better still, a ZIP drive) or an extra battery.

      2. Hellcat

        Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

        Would it be too mcuh to ask to be able to watch my legally bought DVDs and to look on a big screen at the photos I took with my DSLR?

        Both of these must be activities restricted to only the most geeky of power users?

        1. jai

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          the most geeky of power users aren't using such archaic things as physical media or DSLRs.

          download your movies to your iPad, old man!!

          and get a newer DSLR that uploads straight to the cloud, from whence you can then view it on your hi-res 12" macbook screen.

          or wait till you get home.

          or get a macbook pro.

          1. Mr.Mischief

            Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

            "or wait till you get home.

            or get a macbook pro."

            Ah.. the usual Apple excuse. The problem is you.

            So any Apple user who has one of these can only take pictures with an iPhone and sync it to the cloud. How much data is that going to be exactly?

            Besides, if everything was meant to be on the cloud, then Apple have just come out with a glorified and expensive chromebook.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

              A glorified and expensive chromebook,,,,,,,

              That can run XCode.

              1. Mr.Mischief

                Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

                Of course it can run XCode. Its an Apple device.

                Its like saying I designed a car that can get from place to place. Of course it can, if it couldn't it wouldnt be a car.

                If this couldn't run XCode, it wouldn't be an Apple Device.

                Oh look, my Samsung phone can run Android. Whoop de do.

          2. MSLiermann

            Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?


            "or get a macbook pro."

            Or one could just say no to overpriced, underpowered, Fisher-Price fuckware entirely and buy a real computer, made by a company that understands that occasionally their customers might want to do real work.

            1. jai

              Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

              "Or one could just say no to overpriced, underpowered, Fisher-Price..."

              Exhibit B, m'lord:


        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          There is a simple answer to that.

          The flaming film business should let you download the bugger if you purchase the DVD or throw in a USB stick for an extra quid.

          Job Done.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. T. F. M. Reader

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          @Hellcat: don't forget that watching legally bought DVDs or pictures taken with DSLRs are activities from which Apple do not get a cut to increase shareholder value.

          Cynical? Moi?

        4. Lusty

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          Pro DSLR cameras are compact flash so an SD slot won't help there. The high end eos 1dx also has an Ethernet port so a wireless laptop would be fine, especially if it doesn't add weight to an already heavy camera bag.

        5. danbi

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          Normal people use a DVD player (sub $50 these days) to watch DVD movies. Or plug their DSLR directly via HDMI to their large screen. You get the idea.

      3. Mr.Mischief

        Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

        All the hipsters taking their pictures, videos and movies, how do you think they're going to get all of the data on their new macbook? Bluetooth? Pencil and paper?

        1. Michael Jennings

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          Mostly, they are going to be recording these videos and pictures on an iPhone, and Apple then wants them to upload them to iCloud.

        2. danbi

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          If they take the pictures videos (and movies?) on an iPhone or iPad, it is already on their new MacBook.

          If they process their pictures and videos (and movies) on their stationary iMac, then they again have them on their new MacBook.

          This is an light portable notebook after all. If your usage is more tethered and requires connecting to legacy peripherals, then Apple still sells (just refreshed) the Air and Pro models for you. Use the right tool for the job and you will always have good results.

      4. Michael Jennings

        Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

        I take a lot of photos on a proper camera that uses full size SD cards. Most people who are serious about photography do. (Newer cameras are often wireless capable, to be fair). The retina display on this laptop makes it a pretty nice computer for photographic purposes, but getting the photos from my camera is going to involve plugging an adaptor from USB-C to regular USB into the computer, then plugging a USB card reader into that, and then plugging an SD card into that. This is going to be a pain, and lots of things might break.

        1. chris 17 Silver badge

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          um, this is just one machine in their portfolio of machines, they also sell macbook airs, macbooks & macbook pros. if you are hell bent in buying this machine then you can buy an adapter that enables you to plug in additional usb devices like sd card readers.

          i don't understand the bitching of supposed technical people. THIS has some limitations so see what else is in the catalogue that suits your needs.

          No need to think different just think, this is not the product for you and move on

        2. danbi

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          Why? Just use an USB Type-C SD card reader. Granted, that will cost less than a single SD card for your "proper" camera. Nothing will break, do not worry.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

        As I type I'm moving a load of data off an SD card onto my computer. The data come on an SD card, thats how we arranged to get the data off the standalone system which doesn't have an internet connection as its not connected to the internet.

        Oddly enough, quite a few people still use old simple technology to move data around as not everything is connected up. We have dozens of standalone data loggers running of batterys collecting 'stuff''. No internet connection, indeed very little power, they are very low powered.

        Just because you don;t need it, don;t think other people don't.

        1. danbi

          Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?

          When people need access to legacy hardware, they usually use an adapter. This is how it worked when floppy drives were removed from laptops, when CD drives were removed, when serial ports were removed etc.

          There are variety of ways to handle your particular case -- and I say this, because I have exactly the same use case myself.

          [off topic]

          In the case of sensors, it turns out that writing to the SD card consumes more power, than sending it over WiFi or Bluetooth. But, if you don't have the infrastructure, that's different limitation.

      6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Captain Hogwash

    Re: self-indulgent onanism

    Is there any other kind?

    1. Stumpy Pepys

      Re: self-indulgent onanism

      All my onanism is purely to reduce my chances of prostate cancer.

      I have special dispensation from Pope Francis.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: self-indulgent onanism

        Oh come all ye faithful?

      2. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: self-indulgent onanism

        "I have special dispensation from Pope Francis."

        I have a special dispenser from Kleenex.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: self-indulgent onanism

          Let the heathens spill theirs

          On the stony ground

    2. zebthecat

      Re: self-indulgent onanism


  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Good article

      There appear to be seven ports too many though.

  9. Frankee Llonnygog

    Quite so

    Next thing you know, they'll be removing the Centronics ports from our iPads. How will I ever print to the daisy wheel?

    Actually it's wrong to say the new Mac only has one port. It has 3 if you count bluetooth and wifi,

    Plugs and sockets - how very 20th century.

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: Quite so

      How very niche market?

      Not all of us throw everything away each time a new computational machine comes out.

      WiFi can be so very dodgy in many buildings. Apart from a mobile head set I have no bluetooth devices.

      At least I have the Centronics connections on the network;) though I rarely use that portable printer too much these days.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Quite so

        How very niche market?

        Yes, that's why it's so expensive. But it's so light for the size and USB-C does provide enough power to charge. Shape of things to come, I reckon – not being able to increase memory or swap out the drive would be bigger annoyances for me.

        It's not for me but I reckon these will sell like hot cakes.

  10. conel

    Aesthetics versus Function.

    Criticising the number of ports is like criticising the number of pockets on a Burberry handbag.

  11. The Crow From Below

    In the age of wireless are cables really needed?

    For me the answer is of course. I have wireless everything but for playing games I have to use a wired keyboard, mouse and network connection to avoid "lag", meaning my main PC at home uses all 8 USB ports for various different things.

    The thing is that what I tend to use instead of my laptop now is my iPad which also has a single port used both for charging and output to my monitor plus the head phone socket. I have not had a problem with this setup for the past 3 years. So I doubt the people buying the new macbook will not have much problem either...and if you can plug it into the USB slot in your car to charge all the better (I doubt this is possible due to current requirements but would be nice to find out)

  12. Dabooka

    If only 2 ports were allowed, why a 3.5mm jack?

    I'd settle for a Bluetooth headset and usb + power over this setup.

    Mind, then they couldn't charge $80 / €80 / £80 for adaptors

    1. The Crow From Below

      Re: If only 2 ports were allowed, why a 3.5mm jack?

      A 3.5mm jack can make use of anything from the free pair of headphones sent to you 20years ago on the cover of smash hits to you £1000 baby rhino foreskin covered, gold plated, noise cancelling phones from the latest rapper turned audiophile con artist.

      I would much rather have that than have to fart about with bluetooth headphones only to find out I've forgotten to charge them that day and therefore cannot listen to my music.

      1. Dabooka

        Re: If only 2 ports were allowed, why a 3.5mm jack?

        Great shout, and I don't own a bluetooth headset; I'm merely stating that for this kind of product and it's target audience (whoever the fuck they are!) I'd imagine a USB port and a power port would be more useful than a USB port and a 3.5mm jack.

        Peroanlly, I wouldn't ever dream of parting with my own hard earned for one in a gazliiion years anyway!

      2. Vince

        Re: If only 2 ports were allowed, why a 3.5mm jack?

        Plus last I looked, or heard, Bluetooth sounded dreadful for audio.

        Aptx does significantly improve this, but will this or any other notebook/laptop support that, and does anyone make the headphones with aptx capability??

        I'm assuming not.

        So yes, 3.5mm jack, although amazed apple didn't 'invent' 2.5mm all over again then tellvypu to buy an adapter... Would save a mm... Gotta be on what my colleague calls the thinnovation list...

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: If only 2 ports were allowed, why a 3.5mm jack?

      USB 3 / Type C are standards - see

      This means Apple can't monopolise cables and adapters as they can their own Lightening cables.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it matters, get a plugable ud-3900

    Adds all the ports you'll need, and can swap with your Surface Pro.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plugable UD-3900


      Mac is not supported due to significant limitations in the operating system."

      1. jai

        Re: Plugable UD-3900

        not compatible with Linux either. i suspect the reason is less "significant limitations" in either operating system and more with the ability of Plugable's devs

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Plugable UD-3900

        Limitations in OSX?

        Strangely this device seems to do the same sort of thing and yet supports Windows and OSX:

        As with all these things, reading up on some reviews first is advisable.,

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Plugable UD-3900

        that *was* the case.

  14. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Not unprecedented.

    The original Macbook Air only had 1 USB port. All subsequent models have had two.

    If you need the ports, buy a MB Air or Pro. If your past experience with using an iPad has shown you that your wireless infrastructure (NAS storage, wireless printers, photos from phone camera or EyeFi instead of an SD-card camera) is up to scratch and you really value portability, then buy this. There are people - not me - for whom this machine is fit for purpose.

    If you don't often use USB sticks, then the scenario in which you need to use a USB stick whilst having no battery power left will be very rare.

    The more interesting questions are around what does Apple's use of USB 3 and Type C mean for the adoption of these standards. It would seem to be a good thing for us non-Apple users, since it was in our pipeline anyway. It is a proper standard ( so various cables and adaptors will become widely available and cheap in time.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Not unprecedented.

      I think you will agree that removal of a power port is unprecedented.

      Mine is the one with pockets full of adapter cables.

      1. jai

        Re: Not unprecedented.

        Did they remove the power-port, but leave a usb-port?

        Or did they remove all the usb-ports, but leave the power-port?

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Not unprecedented.

          Given you can get WiFi connected USB hubs these days, I think they left the power port with the capability for occasional other usage, just like the iPhone and iPad...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        They didn't remove the port power, they used a new capability of USB-C. Every laptop will use USB-C for charging by end of next year, so you'll have the same charger for every laptop. Isn't that a good thing? Having only one port is a separate issue, as I said elsewhere here I think they should have included a traditional USB port because currently 0% of USB sticks are USB-C and it would be annoying to have to carry around an adapter.

        Though I think adapter cables/dongles will become quite common in the next couple years, as we'll start seeing USB-C USB sticks and other USB gear, so all those who lack USB-C ports will need the adapters to go in the other direction.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: @Bronek

          Oh, shit! I just agreed with DougS! Does that mean Armageddon is due to start?

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: @Bronek @DougS

          Every laptop will use USB-C for charging by end of next year, so you'll have the same charger for every laptop. Isn't that a good thing?

          This is Apple we are talking about: remember the iPad charged at different rates depending upon whether you used an Apple USB cable and adaptor or a third-party cable and adaptor...

          1. danbi

            Re: @Bronek @DougS

            Now you probably know, why this came to be? Hint: the USB specification said "only 500mA can be drawn from the port". So Apple had to make an extension to the standard. Others followed.

            USB Type-C says 100W can be drawn either direction. So I see no reason for Apple to do anything about it. Unless they start replacing the LiPoly batteries with supercaps :)

      3. AIBailey

        Re: Not unprecedented.

        I think you will agree that removal of a power port is unprecedented.


        ... and no.

        Perhaps true when speaking about laptops, though tablets and phones (including Apple's own) have used a single port for power and data connections for some time. Android devices with micro-USB can use the port as a charging port, HDMI/Video out, mass storage and HID via USB OTG. To a lesser extent Apple's lightning conector allows similar (without the mass storage options, not sure about HID devices).

        If you think of the MacBook as a laptop, then IMO it's very restricted as I still make use of DVD's, SD cards, USB storage etc. However if (as some have already commented) it's looked at as more like a tablet with an attached keyboard, it's no more restricted that most of the other products on the market.

  15. Electric Panda


    Apple are fragmenting their product lines far too much, going a full 180 on what Lord Jobs spake many a time.

    The watch is useless. Overpriced garbage, a problem looking for a solution. And because of that it will sell millions.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Fragmentation

      It could just be a transitional fragmentation. It is confusing that the Macbook Air is now the default Macbook, and something called a Macbook is a bit niche like the original Air was, but in a year's time the product line up could look a lot tidier - eg, a MB form factor is retired, beefed up or given a new display.

      > a problem looking for a solution.

      Respectfully, I disagree. Whether or not this watch is the correct solution, I don't know, but a time-and-motion study could show you empirically that allowing notifications to be dismissed or ignored without pocket-fumbling is no bad thing in principle. For some people, that function alone would be of tangible benefoit. Personally, I think Citizen and Casio are on a better path. But that's just me.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You forgot...

    You forgot the lack of flash disk - 512GB max is hardly cutting-edge these days.

    The main thing for me was the fuss Apple made about the mag safe adapter when it first came out - "an end to a tripped-over cable breaking the machine" they said. And now were back to tripping over the cable breaks the machine.

    But, as someone said earlier, no ports would have been more impressive. Where's the inductive power coupling?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: You forgot...

      It's still a helluva lot more than my laptop has. My photos are redundantly stored elsewhere, my software doesn't produce particularly huge files, I tend to stream movies rather than download indefinitely. True, if I was going travelling some place boring for a month and just wanted to watch films, I might feel the pinch at only being able to store 70 films, but hey...

      The are reasons that this isn't the machine for me, but storage space isn't one of them.

    2. Lusty

      Re: You forgot...

      "the fuss Apple made about the mag safe adapter when it first came out"

      When it came out you needed to have the laptop plugged in most of the time to work. This device is designed to be charged when not in use overnight and then used untethered. I'd have liked to have seen magsafe on it anyway but realistically laptops don't need to be used that way anymore. If you feel uneasy working without the power cable in, you bought the wrong laptop!

  17. Stuart Moore

    Almost justifiable...

    ... if they had put in wireless charging so that most of the time you would use that.

    But I wouldn't buy one - even if most of the time you don't need those ports it's a real pain if one day you do and have to pay masses for an adaptor.

    1. jai

      Re: Almost justifiable...

      easy solution - pay masses for the adapter when you get the macbook - and then no pain on the day when you find a need for it. The base machine costs a grand - the adaptor isn't a massive amount more if you buy it at the same time as the laptop

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: Almost justifiable...

        Until you lose one, or have to spend 20 minutes faffing around trying to find where you put them.

        Absolute PITA, especially when travelling - if you lose an adapter, or one fails, your entire trip could be ruined.

  18. Dabooka

    If only 2 ports allowed, whya 3.5mm jack?

    I'd settle for a Bluetooth headset and usb + power over this setup.

    Mind, then they wouldn't be able to charge $80 / €80 / £80 for adaptors

  19. Jeff Lewis

    "Strictly speaking, Apple is the most valuable publicly held company by market capitalisation. There's a long list of state-owned oil companies ahead of it."

    THANK YOU. I'm so tired of hearing people equate market capitalisation with corporate valuation. Apple doesn't get that money. They got what the share offering raked in and nothing more. The rest is just people paying each other for things based on (mis-)perceived value.

    1. Joe Gurman

      Almost accurate

      Exct that companies with high market caps plus a pile of cash have a very easy time indeed borrowing money, as Apple has done.

  20. Richard Crossley

    10 years old

    1400x1050 screen

    4x USB 2



    PS/2 2 Mouse

    SD Card


    2x PCMCIA

    Head Phones


    DVD Writer

    and it surfs the Internet, runs productivity apps and is useful as a general desktop

    I don't know about Apple being drunk, I would need to be to part with $1 to buy such a laptop.

    1. Richard Crossley

      Re: 10 years old

      @ the thumb down,

      Care to enlighten me with what I said that offended you?

      1. jai

        Re: 10 years old

        how much does that behemoth weigh?

        how big is it? does it need it's own postcode?

        and also, pitiful screen resolution compared to this new macbook air

      2. Sarah Balfour

        Re: 10 years old

        @Richard Crossley I'd not worry about it, evidently someone's spilt a couple of fanbois' pints. They'll probably down-vote this, too.

        Here have a couple of up-votes to (slightly) redress the balance.

    2. Rainer

      Re: 10 years old

      Yep, got one of these, too.

      With firewire and ethernet, too. But I don't remember if it's FE or GBE.

      Unfortunately, it's 32bit only and isn't good at running anything in vmware at all.

      Also thunderbird indexing my mail brings it to its knees quickly.

      And is on its 3rd PATA-disk, which I can probably no longer source once it breaks.

      As such, the product this article heaps so much scorn on looks like a perfect successor.

      I just need to find a way to connect the new MacBook via serial port to my Alix board...

  21. Marcus Fil

    'ere, Emperor ..

    you do know you're stark bollock naked don't you?

    Well done Andrew, if only more of the press would call Apple on its incessant drive to insanity. Insanely great? No, just insane.

  22. Kelli

    Why put the USB port on the left side? If you connect a mouse, aren't most people right handed

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Gamers and some designers prefer the low latency of wired mice - these people will likely prefer PCs or MacBook Pros anyway. Many other people get on fine with Bluetooth mice or indeed multi-touch trackpads.

      Here's the thing: you can never satisfy every possible use case with one single laptop.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not Mac users.

      They're all creatives, and even if they're right handed they'll work left handed because left-handed people are artistes, dahling.

    3. Electron Shepherd

      Most people are right-handed, and they pick things up with their right hand. I use a track pad, but if I was going to plug in a mouse, and I was sat in front of the laptop, I'd be holding the mouse in my right hand, so my left hand would be free to do the plugging in. Having the socket on the left is more appropriate.

      Also, every wired mouse I've ever seen has a cable easily long enough to go the width of a laptop, so it's not as if the cable won't reach to the right hand side even when plugged into the left hand side of the computer.

  23. Aitor 1

    I agree with Andrew.

    And really, no ports? not for me or a sane user.. even mos tablets have HDMI and USB these days..

    1. jai

      Re: I agree with Andrew.

      mos or most tablets are not Apple tablets

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One USB-C on each side and a micro SD card slot and I'd have been sold.

    1. jai

      get the next macbook pro then?

  25. kmac499

    One Day Late and a Dollar Over

    Was a general comment for failed projects from an old Boss of mine. A very laconic mid westerner with a wonderful set of phrases.

    But Apples business model for new products seems built on an extreme version of this..

    Products that compared to the rest of the market are several years late and a few hundred dollars over.

    A £300 watch that isn't wateproof ,

    A camera phone that doesn't lie flat on the desk,

    An ultra thin laptop that relies on one socket for power and peripherals; that's gonna be really robust .

    None of that is good engineering design, it's fashion design and crap fashion at that.

    1. jai

      Re: One Day Late and a Dollar Over

      "A camera phone that doesn't lie flat on the desk"

      works for Samsung as well though

      1. DiViDeD

        Re: Works for Samsung

        Ah, but Samsung have that sorted for you. Just give them a bag of money for the replacement back flip case and the camera no longer sticks out.

        And Samsung has more of your money

        1 Turn a design flaw into a selling point

        2 Make a plastic clipon case

        3 Profit

    2. JaimieV

      Re: One Day Late and a Dollar Over

      The watch is IPX7 rated, which is 1 meter for 30 minutes. Says so at the foot of the health and fitness page of Apple watch fluff.

  26. rcp27

    Just like the MacBook Air

    You could lift this article, pretty much word for word, and write it in 2008 about the first release of the MacBook Air. While that design made huge compromises and had significant drawbacks, the design philosophy changes it brought are direct antecedents of the computers described in the article as the "finest personal computers ever made".

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Just like the MacBook Air

      You remember that but you forgot that the first version had one USB port and the later versions had two.

      1. fishman

        Re: Just like the MacBook Air

        The first version of the MacBook Air had one USB port and a separate power adapter.

      2. danbi

        Re: Just like the MacBook Air

        Most of us don't own a time machine and we are not yet aware how many ports the next iteration of this MacBook will have.

    2. T. F. M. Reader

      Re: Just like the MacBook Air

      IIRC the first release of MacBook Air, a.k.a. "the finest personal computer ever made", was famous for fitting into an envelope and for not having effective cooling for that very reason. When it got too hot the CPU throttled itself down, which resulted in the machine craaaaawling if forced to do anything more strenuous than email. By now people have learned to cool thin things (and make cooler CPUs) and to convince others that email is all you need (just review some comments here).

      I agree with rpc27 - the Air genealogy is pretty obvious. I suspect the thinking is: the "target audience" will buy it anyway, we'll add stuff to MkII depending on what they complain about the loudest, we'll call the improvements "magical and revolutionary", and they'll upgrade.

  27. Pen-y-gors

    Missing the point here

    Real computers that are going to be actually used by real people need to connect to things.

    But gold Macs are not meant to be used by real people: they're meant to be seen. They'd still sell with no USB ports, no RAM and no CPU.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Robot

    Possible reason for only one USB port

    My guess: This is a fanless superthin laptop, and it may overheat if you connect two portable hard disk drives to two USB ports. I do this all the time with my current laptop, to transfer files between two external HDDs. Hence only one USB port.

    1. danbi

      Re: Possible reason for only one USB port

      You know, there are those things called USB hubs. Connect one to the MacBook and you will

      1. charge it

      2. connect as many USB drives and other peripherals as you have ports left.

      The thing will still not overheat.

  29. SimonL

    If the new machine doesn't do what you need it to do, don't buy the darn thing!!!

    If non of the Apple range do what you want for a price you can afford, then don't buy an Apple.....

    Apple being better than PC blah blah is just nonsense, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

    Anyone who claims Apple are better build quality than PC is just plain naive - the Toughbook has already been mentioned. You can virtually drive your car over a Toughbook and throw it in a river, I wonder which of the Apple range could survive that?

    On the other hand, the Toughbook is (arguably) a pig ugly lump and would make your living room look like a garage, where as an Apple is quite pretty.

    Sadly there are millions of brainwashed fanbois who will blindly pay significantly more for something that does not do what they want than something that does, simply because it's new and from Apple and looks pretty.

  30. W T Riker

    Use, Use Use

    You have to look at what most Macbook Airs are used for: News reporting, working on the go, picture editing, quick presentation to clients, editing a document or spreadsheet. For these activities the new Macbook is ideally suited, it's thin and light with a great keyboard and screen. No extra ports are needed.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No one has ever heard of a wireless mouse?

    I think Apple should have included one traditional USB port, if only for connecting USB sticks without an adapter. I don't see the lack of a second port to allow charging and a USB mouse simultaneously as an issue, however. If you really use your laptop so heavily that you run it from full to flat working continuously for 12 hours or whatever and need to keep working, are you really going to buy a 12" laptop with a 1.1/2.4 turbo CPU?

  32. Bleu

    It is an old Jobsian obsession

    The expandability of the Apple II was much of the inspiration for the expandability success of the IBM XT.

    Jobs was obsessed by a vision of a single-port serial interface for the Mac. Clearly cut down on the bill for making them.

    For the early models, that is indeed all it had (keyboard and mouse connectors aside, the earliest may not even have had another theft from Xerox, 'Appletalk', essentially cut down ethernet, I forget, but nobody much used it in early Cacintosh days).

    Serial was much too slow for the time, and it must really have been only about keeping the bill of parts down.

    As is this latest move. The USB consortium achieved what St. Steve did not, a series of fast and usable serial interfaces.

    Having only one is such a cock-up: wtf, is Apple expecting their cultists to automatically use USB hubs? What point in a laptop if so?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It is an old Jobsian obsession

      > is Apple expecting their cultists to automatically use USB hubs? What point in a laptop if so?

      I suspect Apple is expecting their customers to mostly buy Macbook Airs and Pros. The average consumer will first look at the cheaper and faster Macbook Airs, and will only choose to spend the difference if the new Macbook really suits their needs.

  33. Greg J Preece

    For a company with two pinnacles of design and engineering in its current range – the MacBook Pro and 13-inch Air are strong contenders for the finest personal computers ever made

    I shall post my riotous laughter from my MacBook Pro, fresh off it's fourth repair job and waiting on a fifth.

  34. Matt_payne666

    nice enough laptop, but compared to the xps13 its a bit limp....

    true its marginally smaller, but it is significantly less powerful with a smaller, low res, non-touch display, less ports and worse runtime...

    the single usb-c? im trying hard to decide on this... in theory its sound... but with the lack of support id have liked a real usb connector too... and the magsafe? im sure they could have squeezed that in, it doesn't take up that much space....

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have some sympathy for motherboard manufacturers looking at this, for their continued existence they must try to pack as many ports, controllers, and additional components to give their boards a chance of being competitive.

    Apple release their latest 'one size fits all' socialist style offering, they must be trying to remember who were the communists, and who the capitalists.

  36. Aslan

    Getting rid of Magsafe was a mistake

    The ability to charge over USB is wonderful, but the lack of inclusion of a power adapter with Magsafe is a fatal flaw. While I wouldn't use Apple products because of their ridiculous prices, pro censorship views and user hostility (lies about hardware defects and pretend fixes with software), something I always envied was their solid chassis, somewhat precalibrated screens, and the Magsafe power connector. They've taken a big step back here. As for USB ports 2 should be a minimum, one for either side of the laptop so one is not inconvenienced when they need to plug in a device, or three total if you're using a USB charging port. Everyone uses thumbdrives at a minimum.

    In the end what will solve it is an aftermarket USB charging pass-through adapter. I had one for my RAZR 2 v8m. It used a multifunctional micro USB port for the headset and charging. With the standard USB charging adapter only it could plug in. With the aftermarket one you first plugged in the power adapter then the headset and everything worked. At a minimum, if Apple was going to compromise so drastically as to only have one USB port they should have at the least included an extra on the power adapter.

    Case in point last night I was offered an iPhone 5s by a colleague for free and declined despite my current device being inferior in specs, because I'm free to run the software of my choosing.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Getting rid of Magsafe was a mistake

      At a minimum, if Apple was going to compromise so drastically as to only have one USB port they should have at the least included an extra on the power adapter.

      I'm pretty sure it's exactly Apple's business model to charge a large wedge of cash for the 'official' adaptor in such situations, and to design it to have a limited life, so they get the repeat business. After all, they have a long history of using non industry-standard ports and connectors entirely so that they can charge extra for cables.

      The new iPhones have a socket which looks superficially like a micro-USB (which every other phone on the market uses), but which require a proprietary connector.

      This goes all the way back to the old Macintosh computers with SCSI ports which had the same connectors as standard parallel ports, but were utterly incompatible, in some cases damaging hardware that was plugged into the wrong type of port.

  37. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "more fragile than competitors' machines. But Apple design again drove up quality"

    Make up your mind, "fragile" or "good design".

  38. Rainer

    The only real criticism is the CPU

    It's slower than the current Air.

    But the lack of ports? - It's a laptop.

    I do have USB and even a FW800 device on my MacMini and I'm thankful that it has four USB3 ports.

    But for a portable system, I actually want it to be as portable as possible.

    It's weak enough so you don't want to do serious work on it anyway (I don't think it will shine as a VMWare Fusion host).

    If you need that, better get a CTO Air or Pro. That also comes with ports galore.

    It looks like it might be a great machine for when you're on-call but yet want to venture outside.

    The base version isn't even too expensive.

    Of course, these days no article can go online without bashing Apple over the expensive Watch - mostly by people who wouldn't buy one anyway and are jealous of the people who can afford one.

    I don't need one - but I can't judge the needs of other people.

    Apple now has a line-up of half a dozen different laptop form-factors.

    You can't have all features in all of them.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: The only real criticism is the CPU

      I expect that if I wanted one, I could actually afford the pointless watch. Jealousy is not the issue here, it's not wanting to make a fool out of yourself by throwing away your money on a shiny trinket in what is nothing more than a demonstration of dick-waving.

  39. Anonymous Coward


    No idea if anyone have already commented about it, but in the case that Apple didnt crippled that USB port, I guess a hub working as a port replicator would make life easier for the suckers who will buy this crap.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit too much...

    focus on the single port methinks in the original article.

    I know plenty of people that have never plugged anything into their laptop other than the charge cable - more so those people who came into technology via smart phones, the younger generation who actually tend NOT to do peripherals.

    If you're going to slate a product, slate it properly on some statistics and benchmarks and don't just assume it wont suit people because of one very minor alteration to the port setup,

    1. DiViDeD

      Re: A bit too much...

      If we're going to be all personal anecdote about it, I know many people who use thumb drives and the Sd card from their camera/phone to post pictures on farcebook or pass around family photos.

      They wouldn't know a USB standard if they sat on one, but they hotswap cards and thumbdrives like it's going out of fashion.

      And their laptops stay plugged in, at home or at the hotel when they're travelling, so a single port would be less than useless for most of them.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: A bit too much...

        >If we're going to be all personal anecdote about it...

        All you've shown by your opposing anecdote is that some people require USB ports. All AC suggested is that some people don't.

        Yet you presented your post as a contradiction of his. Oh well.

  41. Mr.Mischief

    I get it..!! Finally

    A computer with no abilities to connect to anything. Everything can be synced to the Cloud.

    So this is basically Apple's take on a Chromebook?


    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: I get it..!! Finally

      The cynical might suggest that they are strongly trying to encourage their users to put all their data on Apple's proprietary cloud storage, so that they can then do whatever they like with it. Has anyone read the EULA?

  42. Paul 135

    Same problem with ethernet

    Laptop manufacturers pointlessly removing it even though you can implement a slim slide out version.

  43. PghMike

    I couldn't believe that there's only one port on this box. Is Apple going to reserve one announcement date per year for joke products that are pretty, but useless, like the people who are expected to buy them? Why would you go through all the effort to build a product like this, and then piss it away by making it impossible to charge!?

  44. PghMike

    Actually, maybe the way to look at this is as an iPad with a keyboard, and a very high price.

  45. Chad H.

    We power users winged about things like removal of floppy drives, CD/DVD Drives, obscure ports, etc, etc... but how often does the average Macbook user really use any more than the power port?

    I suspect its less than we all think.

    The only time I've ever used more than one at a time, was to install windows on the macbook... (1 port for the CD Drive, one for the USB stick to install drivers).

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      All the Mac users I know use USB sticks daily.

      Most of them use a second USB device at the same time - what it is varies, but nearly all of them do.

  46. Alan Denman

    I read the FT one so you all don't have to bother

    As stated above, it really had absolutely nothing to offer so as to make one feel robbed of previous time.

    It was so absolutely sanitised it might even have simply been pre-written, no attendance needed.

  47. chivo243 Silver badge

    I don't get it

    Apple is now selling watches that go for 1.5± my yearly mortgage, but are selling a Back-to-the-Future model Macbook with only one usb port boggles all logical minds, does it not? Are the watches worth so much more that Apple must stick it to the joe consumer in another market to recoup the costs even at $17,000.00

    I hope Apple gets a cold dose of "you don't belong in the timepiece industry" go build your cars... I hear the watchmakers group is quite powerful in world economics. Doesn't every politician have a watch to look at when avoiding an uncomfortable situation?

    Post me WTF?

    1. Jim 59

      Re: I don't get it

      Even my Raspberry Pi has more ports than that.

      And people wonder how Apple is so rich. See how it works yet?

    2. chris 17 Silver badge

      Re: I don't get it

      the cheapest watch starts at ~$399, there are loads of watch makers who sell watches starting in the 10's of thousands, i don't get your point?

  48. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    No kidding

    "However, this smacks of design for the sake of it."

    Well, it's an Apple so yeah.

    I just find it hard to deal with this pretending Apple started every design change in the PC and phone markets, ignoring that technological advantages would have made most of these changes virtually inevitable. Then (not saying that all Apple products are silly) deciding that one more silly Apple product is going too far.

  49. Sokolik

    Gratitude and the NSA

    Andrew Orlowski, you made my day:

    "the Netbook – ooops, sorry, I meant the new MacBook"

    Brought a smile to my face and a chuckle to my mouth, both much-needed stress relief. Thank you.

    Oh, the bit about the NSA: I see the NSA has taken, and is circulating, photos of my Swiss gold-brick-cum-USB-adapter. Guess they'll pass that on to the IRS. Thanks for the heads-up, Edward.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was pretty excited about the new Macbook finally having a lightweight body and a good display (by 2015 standards, not 2011 ones). Oh well, at least the new Dell XPS 13 shows Apple is not the only game in town even after Sony stopped making laptops.

    Still, perhaps a second, improved, revision will come out by the I feel the need to replace my Vaio Pro...

  51. DaneB

    Apple idiots

    It's a MacBook... not a flipping iPad. Stupid, stupid posing wankers. That is all.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Form over function

  53. Tom 64

    'NetBook' - exactly.

    Been looking for a replacement for my 2009 EeePC 900, and this fits the bill.

    Has a decent screen, a powerful enough processor for surfing and videos, and a keyboard for some work if really necessary.

    I'd buy it, if it wasn't stupidly over priced and wasn't OS locked-down. I'll wait for Asus to make a clone with the same processor, k thx.

    1. Sid_the_Kid

      Re: 'NetBook' - exactly.

      Just by way of a comment, I run a network of MacBook Pros. They're now mostly 5 years old, are all still solid, reliable and quick. The purchase price, IMO, is well justified based on my experiences in previous places using bog standard Wintel laptops which if they last that long, are all creaky and slow. I've run many OSs on mine (currently mostly use Windows for some VBA stuff I'm doing) and I've no reason to assume you can't put any OS you like on this new MacBook. Expensive, yes, but it'll probably last. Limited ports, yes, but in the office, a hub would fix that and out of it I don't use them. For me? Probably not but mostly because I don't need a new machine right now.

  54. Rik Myslewski

    Anyone care to place a bet?

    1998, Apple iMac: no floppy drive nor SCSI, immature USB — Industry: "Apple, you're DRUNK" — Result: massive success

    2008, Apple MacBook Air: no optical drive, audio-in, FireWire, nor Ethernet — Industry: "Apple, you're DRUNK" — Result: massive success

    2015, Apple 2015 MacBook: USB-C only, no dedicated power port — Industry: "Apple, you're DRUNK" — Result: TBD (but if history is any guide...)

    1. 404

      Re: Anyone care to place a bet?

      Third time is the charm.


    2. Electric Panda

      Re: Anyone care to place a bet?


      I wasn't the only one who was shocked and horrified to see Apple attempting to launch a system without a floppy drive. How could that ever possibly work? Are they mad? Well, now look.

      No optical drive? I also thought that was a truly stupid idea... until my employer recently gave me an upgraded Lenovo ThinkPad. Sans optical drive. I don't miss it because we build workstations through PXE, although for that reason you'll have to pull my Ethernet port and conventional NIC from my cold, dead, hands.

      Apple do have a proven track record of coming up with outlandish ideas and successfully steering the market in their direction. I, too, wondered what they'd been smoking when the iPhone first landed with no Flash support. What utter stupidity, how could that possibly work? Again, look at how things eventually turned out.

  55. returnmyjedi

    When viewed in their natural habitat, most Appleoids have two things plugged into their shiny MacBooks: A power cable and their iPhone (presumably to power the latter also). Had they any sense of decency, Ive et al would have plonked a USB pass through on the power connector, or at least on the power supply brick (even Sony used to do that on their later Vaio laptops).

  56. securecomment

    I've got a ChromeBook, which runs as well as the day I got it, for all sorts of reasons. In fact I'm worried I will never find an excuse to replace it! However I am often told that it's Ok but not good or powerful enough for "real work". It's triue that my "work" mostly consists of writing and surfing but what is this "real work that people speak of because outside of academia or (real) engineering and science I can't see anything that the average office drone does that requires much more than a basic lappy.

  57. imaginarynumber


    "Data wasn't bundled with device contracts, and was expensive."

    I purchased the 6" T-Mobile Ameo in Feb?March? 2007 (A phone with specs that pissed all over the first few iPhone generations)

    My contract was the 3.5G T-Mobile Web and Walk Pro. Unlimited data with the option of tethering. From memory it was about £35pm.

  58. chris 17 Silver badge

    all these complaints about only 1 port and very little mention of the core m cpu.

    surely the use of the core m is the significant event here?

  59. EuKiwi

    I could understand this, if...

    ... it at least came with a couple of adapters INCLUDED.

    The cost for a bog standard USB 2/3 adapter or an HDMI/VGA adapter is just eye-watering considering what they are.

    If it came with a couple of adapters for that price, I'd say 'OK, fair enough'.

    However, this is Apple we're talking about here...

  60. Disko
    Thumb Up

    Idiot proof - no ports that can be compromised...

    No USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire, no optical drive, and you need an adapter cable to even connect to the thing.

    So no danger of rootkits and the like via those ports/discs, no nuisances like malware, adware or compromised versions of XCode or other disturbing stuff coming from USB helps keep the machine a bit clean, and that is also very useful in a managed environment. Streaming or downloading any kind of content works fine over WiFi. The OS is installed, upgraded and even recovered from Apple's site using the internal recovery disk partition, so no need for install media there either.

    With the high res screen, light weight and long battery life, it seems ideal for all those people who just need a laptop to do basic office type stuff on the go.

    1. imaginarynumber

      Re: Idiot proof - no ports that can be compromised...

      "No USB...So no danger of rootkits and the like via those ports"

      Did you read the article (you know, like the bit where they bemoan the fact that it only has one USB port)? Or did you just jump into iDefence mode?

      1. Disko

        Re: Idiot proof - no ports that can be compromised...

        What's with the condescending attitude? That shit is totally uncalled for, and FYI does not make you look like the smarter person.

        I'll rephrase: having only the one port reduces the number of possible attack vectors, to not have ports that fit millions of existing usb sticks that are potentially compromised. That is all - just considering a potential benefit of not having many ports that can be compromised.

  61. Tim Almond

    Electric Perfume

    I'm not much of a Jobs fan, but I think his talent was having a customer's perspective, and not letting things out of the door that weren't good for customers. Both of these products aren't.

    Apple Keynotes have always been a lot of marketing hype, but at least the products generally delivered for their customers. When I'm abroad, I charge my laptop in a hotel room, and have my phone charging off the USB cable. The solution for Apple users to that now is to have 2 chargers - one for your iPhone and one for your Mac. Or a £65 box to carry as well as your Mac. Maybe Apple users will just accept that, but I think a lot of people might think that slightly bigger laptop, but with ports is better.

    Whatever else I think of Jobs, he wasn't a me-too person. Smartwatches are, from what I can tell, gimmicks. And gimmicks don't do your company reputation good. It might be that what you sold someone was what they asked for, but if they don't derive value, they'll feel cheated.

  62. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Form Over Function

    If Apple made shiny bricks at $100 a piece, there would still be people out there who would buy them and build a house out of them, just to show off their over-inflated sense of self-worth.

    "A fool and his money..."

  63. dave 93

    Original iBook only had one USB port

    And a headphone jack that could output composite video.

    This new MacBook looks evolutionary; hi-res display, entirely new touch interaction option, super-thin but usable keyboard and fanless, so no moving parts.

    Just like the iMac and iBook kick-started Type 1 USB the third party peripheral market, this MacBook will probably do the same for the far more capable USB-C connector.

    Want more ports? Buy a MacBook Pro - the 13" retina is $100 cheaper too

  64. -tim

    No sockets or screws can be fine

    I would be happy with no sockets assuming the thing is water proof enough to put in a dishwasher or the bottom of a swimming pool. Some how I don't think Apple will be doing that.

  65. Col_Panek

    Still too many connectors!

    Truly minimalist sleek design would include inductive charging, wifi for connectivity, external storage drive and printing, bluetooth for mouse, keyboard, external card reader and headphones. Wireless HDMI to a monitor.

    I'm kidding, of course, but it's doable.

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