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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > New MacBook Pros are coming this year

New MacBook Pros are coming this year
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Thorzdad
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Jan 15, 2021, 06:39 PM
 
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 16, 2021, 10:27 AM
 
I really, really hope the TouchBar lives, and they double down on it. Not having an external keyboard with a TouchBar in the studio is really annoying.
     
Thorzdad  (op)
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Jan 16, 2021, 02:57 PM
 
I think you're in the distinct minority when it comes to the touchbar, unfortunately.
     
Brien
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Jan 16, 2021, 03:07 PM
 
Return of magsafe and function keys. So weird!
     
Thorzdad  (op)
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Jan 16, 2021, 06:42 PM
 
Magsafe was one of the best things Apple ever came up with. It may have been a proprietary connector, but it was a really smart idea. I’m really glad to see it come back (if the report is accurate.)
     
OreoCookie
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Jan 18, 2021, 03:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Magsafe was one of the best things Apple ever came up with. It may have been a proprietary connector, but it was a really smart idea. I’m really glad to see it come back (if the report is accurate.)
Yeah, my 2-year-old nearly killed my 16" MacBook Pro just one week after its delivery! It now bears a big scratch on the lid. MagSafe is awesome and USB-C charging doesn't sufficiently offset its utility. Although I would still hope that USB-C charging would be optional.
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Jan 19, 2021, 02:48 PM
 
Since you can currently charge your MBP from any of 4 ports, it shouldn’t be hard to just make one of those ports look like old MagSafe port but wired up as if it were a USB-C internally. USB-C is awesome, and being able to change over it is part of the attraction.

As for the rumors: I have always wanted the size of the MBP to be whatever it was around the unibody era, but with smaller bezels. That should translate to about 14”. I mostly like the Touchbar, and I particularly love that i don’t have a touchscreen with that thing there - I just think Appl’s software support for it is stupid.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
ghporter
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Jan 19, 2021, 04:45 PM
 
There are multiple “MagSafe-like” adapters out there for phones. They come with any one of a number of ends; USB-C, Lightning, USB Mini, etc. I don’t know how effective/rugged/reliable they are, but they tell me that the MagSafe concept is well liked.

In contrast, my Dell laptop has a standard-ish barrel plug for power. If the cord gets pulled in almost any direction, it’s going to pull the machine. The USB-C connector is slightly larger than a Lightning connector, with more “grip” in the socket, and since it’s flat there isn’t any rotational “give” like on my Dell. To me, that kind of says something bad will happen if any USB-C cable is disturbed.

One note: my read of the linked article was that the Touch Bar was departing some models. Am I mistaken?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Jan 21, 2021, 05:12 AM
 
I have one of the MagSafe adapters. It works fine to supply power - I haven’t had it tested in a live situation, but it does separate if you pull on it. The issue might be that as the weight of laptops keeps decreasing, there is less inertia to hold the device back to trigger the separation.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Thorzdad  (op)
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Jan 23, 2021, 12:55 PM
 
Ars Technica has a follow-up piece on the new MBPs. The word seems to be that there will be an even newer MacBook Air coming soon, and the new MBPs will include a *gasp* SD card slot.
     
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Jan 29, 2021, 09:33 AM
 
To me, the SD card or not will be how I judge if this is Apple moving forward, or just reversing themselves because they're tired of complaints from the vocal minority. If they add back HDMI or USB-A, that can be read as the market not developing as they expected - HDMI did not die after Intel's deprecation and has version 2.1 now out, working for all intents and purposes as DisplayPort instead of the old VGA-derived bullshit, and USB-C has not replaced USB-A as one might have expected. Removing the butterfly keyboard was simply a reaction to the fact that they couldn't get it working. Removing the touchbar might be related to a touchscreen future, or just realizing that it didn't get supported across apps as widely as they hoped. There are no such arguments related to the SD card slot. It is no more relevant today than it was in 2016, so if they add it back, that means they were wrong to remove it back then - or they are just greasing the squeaky wheel.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 29, 2021, 11:25 PM
 
@P
I don’t know, that seems wrong-headed to me. I think it should be a mark of a serious computer if you need no or almost no dongles and adapters. Apple hasn’t fared very well with its laptops. Having enough and a diverse set of ports is seen as a luxury, and for a minority card slots such as CFexpress are extremely important. If you have a fancy camera (for stills or video), you’ll be dealing with memory cards. So I don’t think supporting CFexpress and SD card in a new Mac should be seen as appeasing complainers.

Camera manufacturers have been terrible at adopting technologies such as USB-C and wifi. Very few high-end cameras come with GPS built-in. E. g. Sony’s new and super-impressive Alpha 1 doesn’t sport built-in GPS. You’d be forgiven to think that Sony doesn’t know that there are smartwatches with 60-hour GPS battery life while. But Sony does know, because Sony actually makes the best-in-the-market GPS chips that allow 60-hour battery life. Wifi came super late as a default even though 100 € printers these days have wifi built-in. However, even when it is built-in, it is usually still flaky. USB charging is still not universal, which is why people with serious cameras like card readers: you pop out the battery and memory card(s), charge the batteries and copy the pictures and videos from your memory card.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 30, 2021, 06:37 AM
 
I think FAR more users need XLR jacks, or at least 1/4" audio jacks. Not just a few of my colleagues considered the MacBook a "non-pro" machine when they dropped the ExpressCard slot.

Is there really a major advantage to removing a card in whatever-format-du-jour is current and plugging that into a slot on the computer, vs. just hooking up the camera via a USB-C cable like a civilised human being? Yeah, camera manufacturers are terrible at adopting new ports.
So are offices and schools.

That's why all PROFESSIONAL laptops have a VGA port.
     
OreoCookie
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Jan 30, 2021, 09:28 PM
 
If we zoom out, I think the issue is that current Apple seems to apply the same trade-offs to its entire model line-up — USB-C only and it minimizes the number of ports. I own the most powerful Mac laptop on sale, a 16” Pro. When I connect it to my external screen at work, I have to use 2 of its 4 USB-C slots. If I connected the networking adapter not via a dongle, I’d use up 3 already, with only 1 left.

I’d like it if in some model Apple included more ports than most people actually needed. My first PowerBook (a G3 Kanga) featured a SCSI interface, which I have used twice I think, and I did that just to try it out. My iBooks had a mic in port that I never used. I reckon many people have never used their FireWire ports (although I did quite a bit, all of my external hard drives used FireWire back then). Or their built-in 56k modem. (The inclusion of a modem rendered my one and only CF card obsolete, a modem.) I think it is right and prudent for Apple to include slots that minimize the number of occasions people have to use dongles. For me personally the inclusion of a USB-A port would be more important than an SD card reader. And I am open to them including other ports, too, ports I don’t necessarily care about or am even aware of.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I think FAR more users need XLR jacks, or at least 1/4" audio jacks. Not just a few of my colleagues considered the MacBook a "non-pro" machine when they dropped the ExpressCard slot.
As far as the standard goes, that’s up for debate. SD cards are still fully relevant, in their UHS II and III iterations they are built into most high-end cameras. The newest versions of the SD card standard sit on top of PCIe, so I think the format is still fully relevant. CFexpress cards are less common and usually reserved for some highest-end cameras (e. g. Nikon’s mirrorless offerings). Although other highest-end cameras use a version of SD card slots (e. g. Fuji’s medium format cameras).

XLR jacks have the same problems as (wired) network interfaces: they are simply too big. Not including a networking port is much more relevant for most users than XLR jacks, though. We can argue what way around design should happen, i. e. whether Apple minimizes size first and then sees what ports still fit rather than deciding on ports first and design solutions around it.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Is there really a major advantage to removing a card in whatever-format-du-jour is current and plugging that into a slot on the computer, vs. just hooking up the camera via a USB-C cable like a civilised human being?
Yes, there are plenty. Most cameras, even good ones that are in the hands of customers do not have USB-C interfaces. Ditto for other devices. Like I wrote, none of the devices I bought in 2019 and 2020 — other than my iPad and my Mac — sport USB-C ports. Yes, more and more new cameras have USB-C and wifi, but camera gear lasts a very long time and among the cameras that are used in the wild many have neither (and wifi is often very flaky from what I hear). Many cannot charge via USB (another glaring omission), so you can’t connect your camera to your computer and top up your battery while copying photos. Especially mirrorless cameras have miserable battery life, so even for non-pros you cannot copy photos until you have charged batteries. My D7000 will turn 10 next month, and it still works perfectly. It has no wifi and connects at USB “2” speeds. That’s significantly slower than with a card reader. The same was true for my now-deceased Fuji X100s. And it isn’t just cameras, plenty of other gear uses memory cards. Rasperry Pis use SD cards, for example, as do some audio recorders.

Some of this pain could be alleviated if everyone adopted USB-C, yes, and I wish we lived in the USB-C-only future with good wireless support. But unfortunately, we don’t.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That's why all PROFESSIONAL laptops have a VGA port.
Well, unlike VGA, though, the SD card standard has been continually updated. The last revision is from last year and boosted transfer rates to 4 GB/s, which is identical to the CFexpress 2.0. Not surprisingly, the two latest iterations of the SD card standard sit on top of PCIe.
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Brien
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Jan 30, 2021, 10:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
To me, the SD card or not will be how I judge if this is Apple moving forward, or just reversing themselves because they're tired of complaints from the vocal minority. If they add back HDMI or USB-A, that can be read as the market not developing as they expected - HDMI did not die after Intel's deprecation and has version 2.1 now out, working for all intents and purposes as DisplayPort instead of the old VGA-derived bullshit, and USB-C has not replaced USB-A as one might have expected. Removing the butterfly keyboard was simply a reaction to the fact that they couldn't get it working. Removing the touchbar might be related to a touchscreen future, or just realizing that it didn't get supported across apps as widely as they hoped. There are no such arguments related to the SD card slot. It is no more relevant today than it was in 2016, so if they add it back, that means they were wrong to remove it back then - or they are just greasing the squeaky wheel.
Well, photogs still use SD and many of them are Mac users, so it would actually suit the Pro moniker to add it back, although making it a dual CF Express A/SD reader would be better.
     
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Jan 30, 2021, 10:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
@P
I don’t know, that seems wrong-headed to me. I think it should be a mark of a serious computer if you need no or almost no dongles and adapters. Apple hasn’t fared very well with its laptops. Having enough and a diverse set of ports is seen as a luxury, and for a minority card slots such as CFexpress are extremely important. If you have a fancy camera (for stills or video), you’ll be dealing with memory cards. So I don’t think supporting CFexpress and SD card in a new Mac should be seen as appeasing complainers.

Camera manufacturers have been terrible at adopting technologies such as USB-C and wifi. Very few high-end cameras come with GPS built-in. E. g. Sony’s new and super-impressive Alpha 1 doesn’t sport built-in GPS. You’d be forgiven to think that Sony doesn’t know that there are smartwatches with 60-hour GPS battery life while. But Sony does know, because Sony actually makes the best-in-the-market GPS chips that allow 60-hour battery life. Wifi came super late as a default even though 100 € printers these days have wifi built-in. However, even when it is built-in, it is usually still flaky. USB charging is still not universal, which is why people with serious cameras like card readers: you pop out the battery and memory card(s), charge the batteries and copy the pictures and videos from your memory card.
Most manufacturers are removing GPS in lieu of tethered phone GPS, probably to shave costs.
USB-C sync/charge is fairly standard on cameras now (at least higher end mirrorless/SLR/video), and wifi and bluetooth are becoming more common.
     
OreoCookie
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Jan 30, 2021, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
Most manufacturers are removing GPS in lieu of tethered phone GPS, probably to shave costs.
Removing? I don’t think they ever included it in many cameras. When it comes to top-end cameras, I don’t think I’d put much stock in a “shave cost” argument when this is such a tremendously useful feature. When you pay thousands of dollars for a Sony Alpha 1 or a Fuji medium format camera, they should include that. Tethering with a phone is a pain and many cameras don’t even have that option.
Originally Posted by Brien View Post
USB-C sync/charge is fairly standard on cameras now (at least higher end mirrorless/SLR/video), and wifi and bluetooth are becoming more common.
Yes, USB-C is becoming more common. But quality cameras last a long time, and I reckon it will take another 5–10 years or so until the USB-A dinosaurs are starting to die out. For example, among the Fuji X100-series cameras, only the one released in 2020, the X100V sports a USB-C interface. Its predecessor uses a much slower USB2 interface with probably the same mystery plug that my X100S came with. I checked Nikon’s full-frame dslr line-up, only half of the cameras they currently sell feature USB-C. (One has USB3 but with a non-C-style plug, ugh.) I am sure other manufacturers have been quicker to adopt USB-C than Nikon and Fuji, but I don’t think USB-C is universal even now. When you look at printers and other peripherals it is even worse. My lab’s new high-end 3D printer came with a USB-A port, too.

Besides, Bluetooth is too slow to matter for copying data. And AFAIK wifi is mostly used for tethering, not for copying files.
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Jan 30, 2021, 11:22 PM
 
Apple is the only company I've noticed, who provides minimal features in deluxe models. Everyone else: you pay for more, we give you more than you're likely to need.

Apple: you pay substantially more, we'll only give you the things we're sure you will use.
     
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Jan 31, 2021, 12:46 AM
 
I like how Oreo describes precisely why Apple does what they do: he never used the modem, and hardly anyone used the FireWire ports, but rather than put six USB-C ports on the machine (which would solve all my issues), Apple ought to add an SD card slot, which is a format that is continually obsoleted and will only be used by a small subset of people (my GoPro has USB-C, and my other camera is an iPhone. My wife’s Canon works just fine via USB — we have cables for USB-A and USB-C. Why should I fiddle with removing those stupid cards? We jus transfer once at the end of the day like everybody else — or automatically via iCloud photos.)

You’re making Apple’s point.

I really don’t see this happening.
     
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Jan 31, 2021, 04:24 AM
 
My point isn’t that the SD card has no use today - my point is that whatever use the SD card has today, it is no bigger than it was in 2016. I would argue that its use is considerably less than back then, because back in 2016 there was still some use in that card for phones. Now it is only for copying photos from semi-pro dSLRs. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but sales of dSLRs have cratered. in 2019 there were 4.5 million sold. In 2016, when Apple ditched the slot, there were 8.5 million sold. In 2012, date of the last update to include the slot, it was over 16 million. If 8.5 million in sales were not enough to support a dedicated slot, 4.5 million certainly shouldn’t be. Smartphone cameras are killing the segment.

I know those cameras last a long time, but making use of older tech is why we have adapters. When said adapters are so cheap and without downsides as an SD card reader is, I don’t think it is worth time to complain about it.

And besides, there are Wifi SD cards for those cameras.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 31, 2021, 05:18 AM
 
I think you read my argument with too much emphasis on a SD card reader. I’m criticizing Apple’s approach to apply a single vision, which incurs the same set of compromises, to all machines — in this case eliminating ports like USB-A, Ethernet and the SD card reader too early. Clearly, ports like USB-A and Ethernet are way more important to more people than a SD card slot. Apple should sell one mobile Mac that has significantly more ports than, say, a MacBook Air, because it need not make the same compromises for all machines. Although I think even on the Air a single USB-A port would be welcome.When it comes to Ethernet, for example, I think it makes perfect sense to exclude it in most mobile Macs and include it in, say, the 16”. Built-in Ethernet is far more reliable than an external USB-C adapter, especially if it daisy chained to an LG display and a dongle.

Fortunately, Apple seems to be going back on another, related decision: MagSafe. My two-year old almost killed by then one-week old 16” by simply walking “through” the charging cable. Also, it takes up one more valuable USB-C port.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I like how Oreo describes precisely why Apple does what they do: he never used the modem, […]
Just a correction: I did use the modem and crucially needed it at the time (it took ages until our home was wired for DSL). In my PowerBook G3 I used as a PCMCIA card (I wrote CF in my previous post, brain fart). Because the iBook that replaced it came with a (faster) 56k modem, I was not upset that the PCMCIA slots went away when I upgraded my machine. Not having to use a PCMCIA card was an improvement for most users, because built-in components tend to be more reliable. Apple eliminated the need for PCMCIA by adding functionality. Removal of, say, USB-A does not follow the same logic.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
[…] and hardly anyone used the FireWire ports, but rather than put six USB-C ports on the machine (which would solve all my issues), […]
But to those who used FireWire it was essential. If you remember, Apple eliminated it too early from the MacBooks and brought it back in a subsequent generation. You’d know this better than I did, but if memory serves some audio gear came with FireWire.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Apple ought to add an SD card slot, which is a format that is continually obsoleted and will only be used by a small subset of people (my GoPro has USB-C, and my other camera is an iPhone. My wife’s Canon works just fine via USB — we have cables for USB-A and USB-C.
Apple made a “video reference class monitor” and a new Mac Pro that takes a FPGA-based accelerator card for video. So they are not averse to building hardware for a small audience, at least when it comes to video and audio. For some reason, photography gets a bit short shrifted if you compare the effort Apple puts into its music and video capabilities (software and hardware), despite arguably selling the most popular single camera on the planet. (Maybe I’m a bit bitter about that since one of my hobbies is photography and not video or audio )
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Jan 31, 2021, 05:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
My point isn’t that the SD card has no use today - my point is that whatever use the SD card has today, it is no bigger than it was in 2016. I would argue that its use is considerably less than back then, because back in 2016 there was still some use in that card for phones.
I understand, we are just talking about time frames and how many people need a feature until you consider to include it. Again, take this more as an illustration of a larger argument than a flamewar with me trying to be the savior of the SD card reader I’m not. I just think it is a good illustration of Apple’s wrongheaded approach to ports starting from ~2015ish/2016ish: it wanted to pretend to live in a nicer reality where transitions of standards had already taken place even if they haven’t even started.

You are perfectly right that camera sales have consistently gone down … but what has remained is the highest end of the market. For those SD cards are still relevant today. The $6k Fuji GFX 100S that Fuji released last week uses SD cards, for example. Ditto for its $10k bigger brother. SD cards are with that small market segment for the expected lifetime of computers Apple releases today. To me this is a criterion that Apple should use when determining whether a port should be included.

You have the same problem with presuming USB-C ports. Half of Nikon’s full frame dslrs sold today do not use USB-C. Will new models feature USB-C rather than USB-A? Almost certainly. But manufacturers are just getting around to it now. Again, I wish we would live in a USB-C-only world. But we are not.

What’s left is the question of volume. Apple addresses other small niche markets like the pro movie market (e. g. with their FPGA video codec accelerator card that’ll only fit in the 2019 Mac Pro or said Mac Pro). Other niches that come to mind are people who use external GPUs (e. g. for GPU compute or to accelerate video en- and decoding). Is the user base that is into photography large enough to justify including an SD card slot specifically? I don’t know. But I can make a great case for including at least a single USB-A port and a pretty decent case for accommodating built-in ethernet.

I just don’t think it is as easy as looking at camera sales numbers either, because what is left is the market that really depends on what are perceived as niche and legacy technologies.
Originally Posted by P View Post
And besides, there are Wifi SD cards for those cameras.
Do you know how slow those are? Imagine copying several hundred 50-100 megapixel RAW files. 50 MP RAW files are 50-75 MB each. Another issue is card speed, which limits how quickly the camera’s internal buffer can be written to the memory card. Transfer speeds are also why you may want to use a card reader (be it built-in or external): at least with my cameras, the built-in USB2 interface gives me consistently much slower transfer speeds than card readers (about half). Perhaps that is better with USB-C now, I sure hope so.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 31, 2021, 07:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Just a correction: I did use the modem and crucially needed it at the time (it took ages until our home was wired for DSL). In my PowerBook G3 I used as a PCMCIA card (I wrote CF in my previous post, brain fart). Because the iBook that replaced it came with a (faster) 56k modem, I was not upset that the PCMCIA slots went away when I upgraded my machine. Not having to use a PCMCIA card was an improvement for most users, because built-in components tend to be more reliable. Apple eliminated the need for PCMCIA by adding functionality. Removal of, say, USB-A does not follow the same logic.
How is a port that INCLUDES everything USB-A does, doubles the speed, adds Displayport, Thunderbolt, Firewire AND gigabit Ethernet not "added functionality" over USB-A?

That's just a bizarre way to frame your argument.

Literally the ONLY reason to prefer USB-A over USB-C is because you have a bunch of cables and USB sticks lying around. Inertia and the resulting practicality.

"Loss of functionality" is simply not the case.

But to those who used FireWire it was essential. If you remember, Apple eliminated it too early from the MacBooks and brought it back in a subsequent generation. You’d know this better than I did, but if memory serves some audio gear came with FireWire.
But Firewire is STILL supported, NINE YEARS after it the port was eliminated from new machines!

I have a Thunderbolt Dock in use here which STILL has Firewire, even though I no longer have any use for the protocol since 2019.

I *think* it also has an SD slot, but I can't be arsed to look under the desk right now, and I can tell you that I haven't used it in the six years I've owned it.

[quote]Apple made a “video reference class monitor” and a new Mac Pro that takes a FPGA-based accelerator card for video. So they are not averse to building hardware for a small audience, at least when it comes to video and audio.[quote]
Building an accessory that legitimises a halo Mac to a very small high-end audience not intended to turn a profit (while also costing about half of existing competing products) is a completely different situation from adding back a slot to a high-margin that they removed five years ago, and whose importance has far diminished in the days since. I'm really not getting why you'd even think to compare, except that you obviously happen to be a hobbyist photographer in a sliver of the market that would actually benefit from a card slot over a cable.

Why doesn't Apple add a phono preamp with RIAA curve to their machines? Lots of enthusiasts have turntables, after all, and music is a much bigger market than DSLR cameras.

For some reason, photography gets a bit short shrifted if you compare the effort Apple puts into its music and video capabilities (software and hardware), despite arguably selling the most popular single camera on the planet.
You've just killed your own argument: a) Apple does NO MORE for audio than they do for video — they include free editing software and sell professional versions of that. There are NO specific ports for either industry on any of their machines (no, a minijack does not count, and it hasn't had proper line-in capabilities for years now). They don't offer pro photography editing, true. Photos is great for the hobbyist, though.

I had to laugh at your mention of Apple selling "the most popular single camera on the planet" in context of your argument, because that specific mention makes the SD card reader the single LEAST useful addition one could make to a Mac.

(Maybe I’m a bit bitter about that since one of my hobbies is photography and not video or audio )
It actually does seem that way…

Honest question:
What is the advantage of fiddling with SD cards of various obsoleted formats vs. plugging in a USB-C to mini-USB cable?

In your situation?
     
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Jan 31, 2021, 09:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
How is a port that INCLUDES everything USB-A does, doubles the speed, adds Displayport, Thunderbolt, Firewire AND gigabit Ethernet not "added functionality" over USB-A?

That's just a bizarre way to frame your argument.
I don't think this is bizarre at all to want to connect something directly without a dongle that you have just left at home (or in another country). Loss of practicality is a loss of functionality for me. Although if you want to nitpick and consider those separately, I'd be happy to call it a loss of practicality.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Literally the ONLY reason to prefer USB-A over USB-C is because you have a bunch of cables and USB sticks lying around. Inertia and the resulting practicality.
It is not just my cables, but everyone else's.
And please don't forget my mechanical keyboard, it does not like the feeling of being left out.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I have a Thunderbolt Dock in use here which STILL has Firewire, even though I no longer have any use for the protocol since 2019.
The point is to not have to use a dongle or a dock. I don't see why this is such a hard thing to understand. USB-A is not like FireWire, it is ubiquitous. Like I said, none of the non-Apple devices I bought within the last two years came with a USB-C port and USB-C cable.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You've just killed your own argument: a) Apple does NO MORE for audio than they do for video — they include free editing software and sell professional versions of that.
Apple sells no pro photos app, Aperture was canned years ago after languishing. If you compare Photos to iMove or Garageband, it isn't even a fair contest. And Apple has permanently given up on building their own pro app for images — in stark contrast to Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro X. Unlike with Final Cut where Apple invested in a rewrite from scratch, Apple brought no successor of Aperture to market either. I think it is fair to say that on the software side photography isn't treated on par with music and movies.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
There are NO specific ports for either industry on any of their machines (no, a minijack does not count, and it hasn't had proper line-in capabilities for years now).
What about ethernet or HDMI? I think those count.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
They don't offer pro photography editing, true. Photos is great for the hobbyist, though.
I don't want to derail the conversation, but Photos is, hmm, not good for hobbyists or people who take that hobby serious. I only use it for viewing and syncing. It cannot stack photos nor does it make it very easy to cull photos when you import them. If you want to structure your photo collection your own way, you are out of luck. Its UI has modes and uses space very inefficiently. Feature-wise it has been stagnant, especially in the DAM department. It just doesn't get the same love other media apps seem to get.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I had to laugh at your mention of Apple selling "the most popular single camera on the planet" in context of your argument, because that specific mention makes the SD card reader the single LEAST useful addition one could make to a Mac.
The iPhone is by-and-large not a tool for professional photography. I don't see how one fact invalidates the other :shrug:
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'm really not getting why you'd even think to compare, except that you obviously happen to be a hobbyist photographer in a sliver of the market that would actually benefit from a card slot over a cable.
SD cards are not used for hobbyist cameras, they are being used by high-end cameras that pros rely on. New professional cameras with SD cards are being released this year.
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
What is the advantage of fiddling with SD cards of various obsoleted formats vs. plugging in a USB-C to mini-USB cable?
It is more than twice as fast on my cameras and much more practical if you have more than one SD card with photos. The time savings are significant. Perhaps that need goes away when I replace that camera. But I have no immediate plans to do that, my D7000 works perfectly.

Also, I think you are conflating obsolete with niche. SD cards are not obsolete, but they are used in a niche. Like I wrote, pro-level cameras with SD cards (only) have been released last week. This is not like Firewire where, I reckon, the only new Firewire devices you can buy are things like USB-FireWire adapters or docks, but not new devices you can buy at Yodobashi camera/Best Buy/Saturn/Media Markt. And the latest iteration of the standard was approved last year and sports the same speeds as modern SSDs (2xPCIe4 = 4xPCIe3 lanes).
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Jan 31, 2021 at 09:22 AM. )
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Jan 31, 2021, 08:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I understand, we are just talking about time frames and how many people need a feature until you consider to include it. Again, take this more as an illustration of a larger argument than a flamewar with me trying to be the savior of the SD card reader I’m not. I just think it is a good illustration of Apple’s wrongheaded approach to ports starting from ~2015ish/2016ish: it wanted to pretend to live in a nicer reality where transitions of standards had already taken place even if they haven’t even started.
To me, the wrongheadedness started in 2012 with the redesign of the iMac to make it stupidly thin. The reason all those ports are gone from the MBP is that it is so thin. You cannot fit an HDMI port on its side, and I would guess that a USB-A port is extremely unlikely. Even the 2012 model, which does have USB-A ports, is prone to them breaking at a small load from the top.

I think that I have said this here before, but in any case - I think that Apple’s plan was to have a single line of laptops, called MacBook, and single line of desktops, called iMac, with different sizes and a Pro moniker at the top. This idea died after the reception the 2016 MBP got, and Apple promised a new MP and revived the Air and mini, but before we get to that point, it explains why Apple made all their laptops so thin.

My solution to all of this thinness is the same as it always was - put those thick ports on the charger. I have that, and it’s great.

You are perfectly right that camera sales have consistently gone down … but what has remained is the highest end of the market. For those SD cards are still relevant today. The $6k Fuji GFX 100S that Fuji released last week uses SD cards, for example. Ditto for its $10k bigger brother. SD cards are with that small market segment for the expected lifetime of computers Apple releases today. To me this is a criterion that Apple should use when determining whether a port should be included.
I’m sure they do, but numbers don’t lie. Not enough people use the slot anymore.

You have the same problem with presuming USB-C ports. Half of Nikon’s full frame dslrs sold today do not use USB-C. Will new models feature USB-C rather than USB-A? Almost certainly. But manufacturers are just getting around to it now. Again, I wish we would live in a USB-C-only world. But we are not.
Well, in my world the MBP has a couple of USB-A ports, so that specific part of the issue doesn’t occur.

What’s left is the question of volume. Apple addresses other small niche markets like the pro movie market (e. g. with their FPGA video codec accelerator card that’ll only fit in the 2019 Mac Pro or said Mac Pro). Other niches that come to mind are people who use external GPUs (e. g. for GPU compute or to accelerate video en- and decoding). Is the user base that is into photography large enough to justify including an SD card slot specifically? I don’t know. But I can make a great case for including at least a single USB-A port and a pretty decent case for accommodating built-in ethernet.
Both of them, and HDMI, are more important than SD cards. I would be happy to see them back. That is why SD cards or not is interesting to me. There are good rational arguments for why Apple removed USB-A and HDMI back in 2016 that do not prevent them adding those ports back in 2021. There is no such argument for the SD card. I

I just don’t think it is as easy as looking at camera sales numbers either, because what is left is the market that really depends on what are perceived as niche and legacy technologies.

Do you know how slow those are? Imagine copying several hundred 50-100 megapixel RAW files. 50 MP RAW files are 50-75 MB each. Another issue is card speed, which limits how quickly the camera’s internal buffer can be written to the memory card. Transfer speeds are also why you may want to use a card reader (be it built-in or external): at least with my cameras, the built-in USB2 interface gives me consistently much slower transfer speeds than card readers (about half). Perhaps that is better with USB-C now, I sure hope so.
The point about Wifi SD cars is that you just leave the camera to upload them passively while you’re doing something else. If you need files urgently, you use something else - such as a $1 adapter. A small and shrinking group has multiple options for working with their legacy equipment, and I don’t think it makes sense to throw the baby out out with the bath water to give them another way. Having a thin and light laptop is a worthy goal - Apple just went too far in chasing after it. Adding back USB-A or HDMI is correcting your approach - adding back the SD card is abandoning that approach.
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@P
I like your idea of putting additional ports into the charger, that’s a great idea.

In fact, it is a mystery to me why Apple’s chargers only have a single USB-C port. This makes it a bit more cumbersome to charge my entire array of digital devices. Yes, I can daisy chain them off of my MacBook Pro, but having more USB-C ports is a no-brainer.

While I have never had any issues with my USB-A ports on my earlier MacBooks Pro, your point is well taken. Although I’d say this is Apple’s problem: if it decides a USB-A port is useful on some models, then they just might have to change the thickness or the design accordingly (e. g. by adopting a “flatter” design with a less pronounced curve).

I think on balance you are right that SD cards are at the bottom of the list when it comes to ports for Apple to add. (And I hope that came through clearly in my previous posts as well.) To me the list of priorities is USB-A & ethernet, then HDMI. Having all three would eliminate a lot of hassle, e. g. when giving talks.

My beef with the iMac is slightly differently: ports are relatively inaccessible. While that makes the iMac more beautiful, you end up having to finger around for ports and all. That’s not a biggie for ports for which you rarely unplug the cables (e. g. ethernet), but is a pain for USB ports in particular.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Having a thin and light laptop is a worthy goal - Apple just went too far in chasing after it. Adding back USB-A or HDMI is correcting your approach - adding back the SD card is abandoning that approach.
Minor nitpick: Arguably, an SD card reader would be thinner than any of the other two. I don’t think you’d add anything in size or any appreciable weight.

Regarding thinness and weight, let me derail the conversation further and say that what I would like out of a laptop now is more robustness. My iPad seems much more robust than my MacBook Pros. I hope that Apple wakes up to this trend and thinks about ways to make its mobile Macs more robust. I’d like to see protection against spilled liquids and better drop protection even if that increases weight. Apple did show off a design like that with the original iBook (the toilet seat). Now that most or all moving parts are going (depending on whether your MacBook has a fan or not), it should be easier to do that.
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