Apple’s move toward an all-Thunderbolt MacBook Pro has been polarizing. Some don’t care, while others hate the idea of having to reconfigure their own desktop setups. With its latest move, Apple is at least meeting everyone halfway.
Depending on which new MacBook Pro you buy, you’re left with either two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports. The 13-inch models (both Touch Bar and traditional) have two Thunderbolt ports on the left side, while the larger 15-inch model has two on either side of the machine.
Another oddity is the disparity of the port count. Legacy MacBooks have the same ports regardless of screen size, but the newest devices force you to upgrade to the 15-inch model to get the full compliment of ports.
It’s akin to Apple’s move with the iPhone 7, when it dropped the audio jack in favor of a Lightning port. That has led to many users moving to Android or seeking legacy handsets such as the iPhone 6S.
In a similar fashion, some MacBook Pro users are wondering whether they should move to a PC or hang onto their older MacBook Pro until the latter really kicks the bucket. Apple has summarily created a consumer-base that is openly questioning its loyalty… or at least the ‘pro’ users are.
The reason behind all of this consternation? Dongles. Fun to say but fussy to use, dongles are the Band-Aid on a problem Apple created for itself and its users. Though they add a level of extensibility (more on that in a minute), the knee-jerk reaction is that dongles are just more stuff to keep track of, and that Apple is playing the nickel-and-dime game for additional revenue:
Apple Makes concession for MacBook Pro
Apparently in response to the outcry surrounding Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, Apple has discounted its lineup of dongles for a short time. If you buy a dongle before the end of the year, they’re between 20 and 50 percent off. Not bad.
The company’s stated goal with the move is to “help” us move into the future:
We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition. We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem. Through the end of the year, we are reducing prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals we sell, as well as the prices on Apple’s USB-C adapters and cables.
It’s a strong gesture, especially since the MacBooks Pro don’t come with any dongles or hubs included.
USB-C/Thunderbolt is possibly a bit more advantageous for users. With it, you can use the ports as you need to, not adhering to a predetermined set of ports. If you have four USB peripherals, you have four ports to use — so long as you have a USB-C dongle, adapter or a new cable that links to your MacBook Pro.
And therein lies the rub for many users. While the discount is great, it’s another out-of-pocket expense. We can use the same sleeves or packs (though the footprint is a touch smaller, so your new MacBook will be swimming in there) for our new computers, but the chances that those users had USB-C dongles ahead of the new MacBook Pro’s unveiling is really slim. Most will be sourcing dongles and hubs posthaste.
The issue Apple now has to address is whether or not users will really, truly move on from macOS or if all the complaining via Twitter and Facebook is just hand-wringing and blustery egos. It’s bad enough we’re losing MagSafe; going all-in on USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 may be more than many can handle.