back to article SD card slot, HDMI port could return to the MacBook Pro this year, says Apple analyst

This year's crop of MacBook Pro laptops are expected to include dedicated HDMI ports and an integrated SD card reader, says an analyst with the inside track on the twists and turns in Apple's roadmap. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have several significant design and specification changes," …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    and Magsafe, please.

    I still have 3 magsafe-chargers from my earlier MBP.

    (or similar, I'm currently using some chinese thing to turn my usb-3 into magnetic-easy-detach charging ports)

    1. Phil Kingston

      Re: Magsafe

      You just know it'll be some kind of incompatible magsafe 2

      1. Russ Tarbox

        Re: Magsafe

        I think at this point it’d be MagSafe 3 as I’m sure they updated it a while before they then discontinued it.

      2. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Magsafe

        You could buy adaptors for the 1st generation Magsafe which meant you could reuse the power adaptor for a later MBP.

  2. Ilsa Loving

    Very welcome

    It will be a very welcome change if Apple finally pulls it's collective head out long enough to realize that those ports are desperately needed.

    I don't know a single techie that was fooled into believing the limited port selection was in any way superior to having dedicated ports for exceedingly common use cases like plugging in USB keys or an external monitor. This was a cash grab for overly pricey yet low quality dongles, and a significant hassle for the end users who were all but guaranteed to need one in order to connect with the outside world.

    The shenanigans Apple pulled since 2016 was directly responsible for our company switching our policy from "Get an apple if you want one" to "You need to provide a business case to justify the purchase" because MBPs were so half-assed.

    It's still frustrating that they soldered everything onto the board so you can't upgrade the ram or storage, but fixing the ports issue will at least solve some significant usability headaches that Apple needlessly forced upon it's customers.

    1. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Very welcome

      I fully agree with you and this time there's an opportunity for Apple to consult their users, see what they want and then give them exactly what they want. The result will probably be more happy customers and more sales.

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    Jonny's gone.

    A client requires a USB crypt key plugged in for logging in and using their network. It's a support headache on the slotless macs.

  4. Brad Ackerman

    An HDMI port and (sadly) a USB type A port make some sense, but who are the target users for the removable media slot? I'd expect a large percentage (if not yet a majority) of people who'd use one are on CFexpress now.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      It's a valid questions, would need to gather data on which cameras are actively being used today 'in the field', and which options they have for rapid photo transfer to a computer. I suspect that the high price and good build quality, plus investment in lenses, mean that many cameras in active use are older models that don't have WiFi (which would be suitable for some cases)

      Low end photos: done on phone, usually transferred by cloud.

      High end photos: bigger kit means camera bag, thus room for connection cable. Card not always SD type.

      That's leaving SD cards in use in mid-range cameras, pocket type so not necessarily carrying bag with room for cables etc. A popular market segment. Used by vloggers, so spare SD cards useful (but then a bag for required spare batteries?). Still, the newer ones charge over USB, so connecting to computer by USB to transfer photos seems sensible.

      TL;dr there are enough older cameras (of the type where the cable is proprietary and has been lost, don't have WiFi etc so using an SD card is easiest) still in use for an SD slot in a Mac to be useful for some users. At the same time, the low end of photography doesn't use SD cards at all, and more recent models of cameras have WiFi or standard cable ports such as USB C.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        GoPro cameras all use micro SD.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      It's not like you can pop your sd card out of your iPhone.

  5. kvuj

    I'll believe it when I see it

    ...or more pessimistically, I'll see it when I believe it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll believe it when I see it

      Good enough for me. I've just this minute decided to hold off on an upgrade for 12 months or so. Current one has been running 5 years, I'm sure I can get another one out of it. Magsafe, HDMI and USB-A FTW!

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: I'll believe it when I see it

        You can also wait until more models have Apple CPUs (and the beta testers early adopters have finished testing them)

  6. Solviva

    Unfortunately this sounds, err, too good to be true.

    HDMI & SD card slot would be welcomed, and sounds plausible, especially since my 2019 MBP is the same thickness (seemingly at least) as my 2012 MBP. To go back to magsafe may be a bit far. I enjoy being able to charge everything with USB-C. To have a magsafe charger could be nice if maybe they can design a reliable version of those magnetic USB-C plugs you can get that apparently fail after a few weeks. I'd sacrifice one of the USB-C ports for a magsafe though to have the choice.

    USB-A may be nice to have a single port for whatever, but really it's time things moved to USB-C. USB-C to A adapters cost next to nothing. For those legacy devices, you can buy one for each device and leave it permanently attached.

    The touchbar I was a painful death on. Thankfully I at least got a real ESC key and the new 'old' keyboard. You never know, give it another 5 years and we'll be back to removable batteries!

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      "USB-A may be nice to have a single port for whatever, but really it's time things moved to USB-C. USB-C to A adapters cost next to nothing. For those legacy devices, you can buy one for each device and leave it permanently attached."

      Perhaps, but most devices, including those sold nowadays, still use USB-A. I needed some flash drives recently. I bought USB-A ones. There were some USB-C only ones, which weren't going to work on anything older, and some with an A on one end and C on the other which were about five times as expensive. The same is going to be true of virtually every USB peripheral. Those that stay in one place can have dongles attached to them, but for a flash drive, the dongle will make the thing a lot longer and more prone to damage. Also, you just know it's the thing you will lose right before you need it.

      I have no objection to USB-C as the universal client port that we should put on every device using USB to charge or receive data. I don't really mind if we eventually get USB-C as the universal host port, although we're going to have to find some way of indicating which direction we want the power and connection to go. Until we actually get that though, we're going to need USB-A ports, and more than one.

    2. juice

      > HDMI & SD card slot would be welcomed, and sounds plausible, especially since my 2019 MBP is the same thickness (seemingly at least) as my 2012 MBP

      I can see them adding a HDMI port.

      SD card? Not so much - after all, what actually uses the original "postage stamp" SD card format these days?

      They *might* include a micro-SD card slot, but even then, given that iOS devices don't support micro-SD cards (and in general, neither do high-end Android devices), I'm inclined to think they'll leave that off, in favour of people plugging their devices/card-readers in via USB...

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Magsafe, yes: the advantages and USP are obvious. HDMI maybe, USB-A unlikely as more and more things switch to USB-C and SD card in the Apple world? No chance.

      My 2020 MBP has 4 USB-C ports of which I currently use only one, because it's simpler to charge it via the dongle…

    4. nintendoeats Silver badge

      "For those legacy devices, you can buy one for each device and leave it permanently attached."

      Legacy devices = Every single USB device in my house. (You are going to say my phone, but that didn't come with a USB-C <-> USB-C cable)

    5. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      It always struck me as incredibly wasteful to tie up a 40-gigabit Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C port just for charging the laptop (especially if you have only one or two).

      A separate dedicated power port makes much more sense.

      I've been sticking with my 2015 MBP, which has two TB2 ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI, SD card, Magsafe 2 charging, and 3.5mm audio: they all get used at various times.

  7. Elledan

    A laptop without an assortment of ports is just a tablet

    The people for whom an SD card reader and HDMI/USB A ports (or a headphone jack, or an Ethernet port, or...) are of no concern are probably folk who would be quite happy just using an iPad (Pro) with keyboard accessory for their day to day activities. But those aren't really in the MacBook Pro audience, anyway.

    The nice thing about having those dedicated ports is that you're not sending all that traffic over a single USB 3.2 ultra-fancy-superspeed X2.3^10 link, but using dedicated PCIe lanes. With cases like ingesting content from an SD card and sending it to a NAS via an Ethernet link while having two external displays connected, you'd go absolutely batty if you had to do all that via that single link using dongles.

    For a 'Pro' system, that would be the kind of scenario that it should be able to handle, because that's roughly where a Lenovo Thinkpad T-series would end up. Of course, a P-series Thinkpad would probably eat a 'MacBook Pro' for lunch. What does 'Pro' mean any more these days?

  8. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

    If Apple ever built a car, I bet it comes without a driving wheel.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      I bet you'd still need a driver for it

  9. macjules

    Simple Answer

    Supply every Macook Pro with something like the Belkin/Anker USB-C adaptor which covers;

    Thunderbolt 3 USB C Port,

    Thunderbolt 2

    100W Power Delivery,

    4K HDMI,

    USB C

    2 USB A Data Ports,

    SD and microSD Card Reader

  10. anonanonanonanonanon

    But I have all the dongles now!

    Having switched over to the all USB-C not long after they came out, I slowly upgraded all my cables and dongles as I needed them. There's only a couple of things I still need dongles for, HDMI dongle, very occasionally to connect to a projector, but most displays support thunderbolt now. Some external HDs still need a dongle, but now I tend to buy stuff with USB-C anyway.

    Even before the change, I was doing multi-media stuff, and connecting multiple displays to my laptop, so even 1 HDMI slot was not enough

  11. Piro Silver badge


    I hope it makes other manufacturers follow suit.

    USB A, HDMI, SD card slot, don't stop....

  12. juice

    It just works... if you do it our way

    > It's strange that a company which made a killing from the tagline "it just works" would make customers jump through so many hoops to use an external keyboard, or a second display

    To be honest, it's a pretty straight-line extrapolation from that principle. After all, in much the same way as per Jeff Goldblum in the old advert, they were keeping things simple by having a single standard set of ports.

    You can just see their designers and marketeers gushing about how having a set of simple oval (well, rounded rectangles) ports made for a clean and elegant design, as opposed to a mix of large ports of varying shapes with harsh right angles and visible electronic boards.

    Of course, in the real world, "clean, elegant and simple" are often starkly in opposition to actually being useful. And that was the case for USB-C; great for hooking up to storage, somewhat useful for plugging in audio, and a nightmare for use with video, since all the workload gets shoved onto the laptop's CPU.

    And it also means that the laptop's owner then has the responsibility for carrying around the cables and adapters to hook into non-Apple stuff. Which arguably, is their fault for not spending more money on Apple gear, anyhow...

  13. s. pam Silver badge

    Dingle dangle dongle hell

    I rue the day a hdmi connector returns. USB <-> hdmi cables suck.

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