In a research note, prominent Apple prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo says that both HDMI port and SD card slot will be returning to the MacBook Pro in the second half of 2021. Halle-fucking-lujah.
“We predict that Apple’s two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have several significant design and specification changes,” Kuo said, according to MacRumors. “Some of the practical changes for users are equipping with the SD card reader and HDMI port.”
Bolstering this rumor is a recent report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who’s also known for his solid track record of getting the skinny on upcoming Apple products. In it, Gurman echos Kuo, noting that Apple is planning on bringing back the SD card slot after nixing it in 2016, to the chagrin of literally anyone who has to use SD cards like photographers and video creators.
Of course, rumors are just that. While Kuo and Gurman are both reliable sources, not everything they predict comes to pass. But in this case, please, oh god, please, let it be true.
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When Apple decided to go USB-C only in 2016, it meant having to go full in on dongles. And while some of us are truly misguided souls who love living that dongle life, the most annoying thing about MacBooks is the whole port situation—or more accurately, the lack thereof. Both the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air have only two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports and a headphone jack. One of which is meant for the power cable, meaning really you only have one USB-C port for literally anything else you might need.
Need to transfer photos from your SD card? You need to reach into a bag for your SD card reader and dongle. Want to hook up your laptop to a separate monitor for work? Hello HDMI or Display Port cable and dongle. Need to charge a gadget or accessory that still uses a USB-A cable? Dongle dongle dongle.
Yours truly currently uses the 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro. It has four Thunderbolt/USB-C ports and three of them are stuffed with dongle hubs. At any given point, I have a dongle for my wireless mouse, a cable for my mechanical keyboard, an HDMI cable to my second monitor, my trusty SD card reader, and at least two smartwatches charging off this baby—it’s a hideous eyesore of wires. Sure, dongles and USB-C adaptor hubs are much more affordable these days, but they’re not invincible. For absolutely no good reason, just the HDMI port on one of my hubs crapped out, meaning I had to find a replacement dongle because I can’t simply plug into my computer and my hub was now borked. Again, I recognize these are “easy” fixes, but you know what would be easier? Just building in an SD card slot and HDMI port.
While it’s still too early to tell, it seems like Apple might finally be glomming onto what consumers actually want from their MacBooks. Not only did Apple finally kick those awful butterfly keys to the curb last year, if rumors are to be believed, the polarizing TouchBar also may not be long for this world. Adding back the SD card slot and an HDMI port would just be the icing on the cake.