The MacBook doesn’t need more ports

Apple’s refresh to the MacBook earlier this week has disappointed people who want Apple to add more ports to the device. It’s a criticism I don’t agree with, and here’s why. It’s Maslow’s Hammer. Yeah, that Maslow. The Hierarchy of Needs guy.

Macbook

Abraham Maslow once said, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

While I understand the argument in favor of increasingly the expandability of the MacBook – yes, that single USB-C port is maddening – I’m willing to accept that Apple has a very different concept of what this computer should do than people who criticize it. The MacBook, unlike any other Mac laptop, is designed to be as wireless as possible.

Apple executives from Tim Cook to Phil Schiller have articulated the company’s design philosophy for the MacBook, and in marketing materials, the phrase “the future of the notebook” comes up over and over again. The MacBook is uniquely designed to showcase technology that Apple wants to see become ubiquitous in the coming years.

To that end, streamlining the MacBook with as few connections as possible is completely keeping with Apple’s aesthetic. Apple hates wires. Wires create clutter. They sully the work area. Apple ships its iMac desktop computer with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse in the box for exactly this reason.

I’m not discounting that some Mac users need wires to connect things like external hard drives, displays and other peripherals. Using a port replicator or the devices offered by Apple and other third parties, you can expand the MacBook’s connectivity. You can attach an external display. You can hook up an external hard drive. And so on. But ultimately, you’re trying to wedge a square peg in a round hole – the MacBook simply isn’t made with that in mind.

Fortunately, Apple continues to make the MacBook Pro and (at least for now) the MacBook Air, and both of them come equipped with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3. So if you want a Mac laptop with ports to plug in stuff, you still have a choice.

Just not that particular Mac laptop.

3 thoughts on “The MacBook doesn’t need more ports

  1. Brian says:

    Second verse, same as the first… It’s really sad that a year later and the old complaints are coming right back and people still can’t get it through their thick heads what the MacBook is for. It is for people like my wife who uses Safari, iMessage, and maybe a word processor at the same time. She also uses no peripherals other than a wireless mouse. I, on the other hand, like my external monitors, USB keyboards, external storage drives, and maybe an iOS device hooked up all at the same time. I also keep a minimum of seven apps plus Windows running in Parallels open. Hence why I have a MacBook Pro. Why people insist on sticking a square peg in a round hole is beyond me!

  2. Mr. Coldharbour says:

    I will admit that when the 1st gen retina MacBook first launched last year, I said to myself “only one port? Who the heck is going to find this useable?” But as you said in this article, if this Mac laptop doesn’t speak to you, that’s fine, there are others with plenty enough ports like the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. I’m currently using a mid-2015 15″ rMBP and it’s absolutely fantastic, though I do wish it had just ONE more USB port (to make a total of 3 USB ports instead of 2). I’m one of those people who enjoy having an HDMI port, multiple USB and Thunderbolt ports, a 3.5mm headphone port, and an SD card reader. I enjoy having a workhorse of a laptop like the current 15″ rMBP, that laptop is for me so I chose to purchase it. To each their own indeed.

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