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.
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.