From Daring Fireball: Design to Bring About the Future:

Marco Arment, “Design for the Present”:

A pro laptop released today should definitely have USB-C ports — mostly USB-C ports, even — but it should also have at least one USB-A port.

Including a port that’s still in extremely widespread use isn’t an admission of failure or holding onto the past — it’s making a pragmatic tradeoff for customers’ real-world needs. I worry when Apple falls on the wrong side of decisions like that, because it’s putting form (and profitability) over function.


But this is not how Apple thinks about transitions like this. They design for the future, and in doing so, they bring the future here faster. In the alternate universe where the new MacBook Pros ship with one USB-A port, the transition to ubiquitous USB-C peripherals and cables will happen at least a little slower.

See? Gruber's usually right on the Apple-aesthetic money. (But isn't it "more slowly"?)

I was going to reply to Marco's post myself to say something similar. If there's one thing that Jobsian-Apple (so any time before Jobs left, and anytime, up to & including now, after he returned) does better than anyone, it's follow this advice from The Great One:

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

 --Wayne Gretzky

Marco's asking Apple to skate to where the puck has been. Bad advice.

Lots of things wrong with the Mac line-up. The desktops are fossils, and the new MacBook Pros are too expensive and easily argued to be underpowered, refusing to wholly make up for the desktop gaps. But in five years, when I might want 32 gigs of RAM, I'll definitely want USB-C ports. My current laptop doesn't have them, and that's already a pain when it comes to docking options.

Maybe we should take a second to consider what Apple expects you to connect to your ports:

  1. Thunderbolt monitor 1 (includes power & ports)
  2. Optional Thunderbolt monitor 2 (also includes ports)
  3. A dock, if your monitors aren't enough -- or something they didn't think of.
  4. Something else they didn't think of. (The "horn of a rabbit" port)

The third and fourth are really just favors Apple's paying to you already. You need a controller per monitor, and Apple's throwing in an extra port per controller.

External keyboard and mouse -- and headphones/AirPods -- are all supposed to be wireless in Apple-world now. If there's anything you're not attaching to your monitor or dock, what is it? If you're mobile, you don't need anything else (in Apple world) beyond the power supply. You have the best screen, keyboard, and trackpad available. USB-C thumb drives exist, and are often faster than the crap you're still shoving in your USB-A ports.

What are you missing?

There's really only one place you can ding them on ports, and that's that there's no USB-C to Lightning cable in the iPhone 7 box.

Every Mac user thought the end of ADB (and every PC user the parallel port!) was the end of the world. Anybody (other than Gruber -- no, really) using an ADB or parallel port device now?

(And does anyone really think Apple's doing USB-C for profit? What, are they making billions on adapters? Seriously, who is buying MBPs? Joe iPhone User? Probably not. And Jane Creative Pro knows Monoprice & friends has cheaper options. Plus, honestly, you know, I really don't mind the symmetry.)

EDIT: See, this is completely wrong:


OWC announces Thunderbolt 3 Dock with ports galore, returns functionality to new MacBook Pro

Capitalizing on Apple's decision to go all in on Thunderbolt 3 with its latest MacBook Pro, aftermarket Mac specialist OWC is taking preorders for a 13-port breakout dock that restores expansion options lost with the new laptop design. 

Thunderbolt 3 dock for Mac

No, no it does not. These options weren't lost. Apple wants you to use a dock. This is what USB-C enables, for heaven's sake.

Do you need ethernet when you're away from your desk? How about digital audio out? Thunderbolt? DisplayPort? An additional USB-C port?

If you need a USB-A port, you can get a slick metal adapter for $10 shipped with Prime. Think of it as part of the device you're plugging in, and it doesn't seem as unwieldy.

If you use SD cards on the road to download images and you were considering a MBP, I feel for you. No, really. That does stink.

Otherwise, stop it. This is exactly what Apple intended.

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