Please Let This MacBook Rumor Be True Because I Hate the Dongle Life

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Photo: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

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.

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“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.

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.

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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.

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DISCUSSION

By
Tylas

I both get and don’t get the frustration. I just upgraded to the new M1 Macbook Pro and love it, and love USB C in all of it’s glory. May it finally be the one true plug to rule them all! I also hate the dongle life - but mostly because I absolutely hate all the different cable protocols out there.

I did a few things to make my life easier:

1) I got a wide-screen curved USB-C display. This thing is baller, it uses thunderbolt to connect to the monitor, charges the computer, and has a USB hub attached into the monitor already for those peripherals. Just 1 single cable on my desk, 1 cable to rule them all!

2) For the times when I am somewhere else or need a card reader I got the custom sidecar dongle that uses both USB-C ports and breaks them out to everything I need. No dongle cable, just a flush mount so it isn’t too unsightly.

3) I am going to far as to slowly update my old peripherals, calculators (which has usb-mini!) to solder USB-C receivers to it. It’s actually pretty straight forward and gives new life to my devices (and I am down to 1 single USB mini cable and I’ll be damned if I buy one more of those!).

Sure, a card reader would be nice - but it will never always be the one I want (CF, SD, SD micro, etc). The one wish I would have would be that there should be 2 USB-C’s on EITHER SIDE!! Come on, it can’t be too much to ask for 4 ports total with side-to-side diversity.

Also, getting used to the Touch Bar - I find it useful at times.  I can see the polarization, you do have to look at it to use it.