I still remember the surprise, when it was time to retire my MacBook Pro from the end of the first decade of the millennium, when confirming that the vast majority of the “classic” connections had completely disappeared. Instead I found four USB-C ports and a mini-jack for headphones. I also came across the butterfly keyboard, but that’s another story we’ve talked about at length already, and it’s not worth dwelling on.
Apple has been, historically, a forerunner in this of gradually eliminating elements from devices, to the point that for some the company has become a prescriber of obsolescence. He did it with floppy drives in desktop computers, later with optical drives in desktops and laptops, with the minijack in telephones and with connections in laptops.
I’m looking at the connections on my old MacBook Pro and it had Magsafe, RJ45 (gigabit ethernet), Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, two USB 2.0, memory card reader, minijack, Kensington lock and optical drive. The MacBook Pro I work with now, I have already mentioned it before, four USB-C and minijack. It has always seemed an excessive reduction to me, although I understand that it helps to reduce the thickness and weight of the laptop, and that it requires purchasing a thousand and one adapters to use other connection standards.
However, Everything indicates that the next MacBook Pro 2021 could reverse part of these changes, recovering some connections longed for by users. If true, it would seem like a success on Apple’s part and, as an analysis exercise, I think it may be interesting to recover the list of connections from an old MacBook Pro, and ask ourselves if any of them could come back.
Only aesthetic reasons justify, in my opinion, that Apple stopped using MagSafe in MacBook Pros. It is true that it was not the most beautiful connector in the world, but that was compensated from the first time you tripped over the power cable and, instead of dragging the computer to the ground, you saw how the cable was released and nothing and no one was damaged. Apple had the best power connector in laptop history and discarded it, something that has always seemed like a mistake to me.
Recently, Apple has decided to recover MagSafe, for now on the iPhone, which could be a preview of his return to the MacBook Pro, which he should never have said goodbye to. This is purely speculative, I anticipate it, but I think that if the MacBook Pro 2021 recovers some connection elements from the old models, MagSafe is one of those with the most ballots to return.
Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45)
It’s true, every day there are more users who have not used a wired connection in their entire lives. WiFi has improved to offer more than adequate standards of speed, reliability and security, and consequently, the vast majority of people have no interest in having to deploy a cable infrastructure routercentric to be able to connect to the Internet with the laptop from any corner of the house.
However, there are quite a few cases in which to have an RJ-45 would improve the experience of using the MacBook Pro. A couple of years ago, for example, I stayed in several hotels where the internet connection was either wired or unstable (WiFi coverage fluctuated more than Bitcoin’s price). Obviously I would have opted for cable, but since I was traveling with the Pro, I was left with no choice but to stay with unstable.
There are environments where wireless connections are either not feasible or not recommended (Despite, I repeat, that they offer a good level of security) and, in those cases, MacBook Pro users are forced to purchase an adapter to have a cable connection in their laptops. This is the other point where it would make sense for Apple to go back and bring the RJ-45 connection back. In my opinion it would be a success.
Firewire and Thunderbolt
It is true that when listing the ports of the current MacBook Pro, I have generically called them USB-C, when the truth is that they are USB 3.1 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 3 and Display Port, in addition to cargo ports. All, that yes using the same physical interface of connection. So, it sounds strange that Apple considers recovering specific connectors for this type of connections. My clear bet is that it won’t, and those ports will never go back to Apple laptops.
USB Type A
This is not going to happen. Before we will see Apple reassemble Intel processors that reverse its exclusive commitment to type C. The chances of seeing a new MacBook Pro with USB Type A seem to me, at this point, similar to those of Cupertino decide to equip it with a floppy drive as well. 5 1/4.
The level of demand for the memory card reader maintains an inversely proportional relationship with the adoption of smartphones as cameras for the vast majority of home users, and also for some professionals. I do not mean to say that this is the only use of card readers (I have two Raspberries, without going any further), but yes that the relationship between cards and photography is more than evident.
And even so, during all these years there have been quite a few users who have demanded their return. Will Apple give in at this point, catching it up on future MacBook Pros? I think that would not be consistent with their less is more policy, but I would not discard it with the vehemence that I have used in the previous point.
MacBook Pro 2021, Quanta Computer and REvil
I’ve talked about my theory so far, and if you have one, I’d love to read it in the comments. But I have saved for last something that gives a twist to this matter, and it is the ransomware attack that Quanta Computer suffered about a month ago. As we already told you at the time, Apple is a Quanta client, and among the exfiltrated documents that REvil made public for a few days, were some designs that could correspond to the 2021 MacBook Pro.
These designs featured a side with a MagSafe connector, an HDMI connector, a USB-C port, and a card reader. It is a plan that makes sense, especially for MagSafe and HDMI, although I do not give the value of law to what is filtered by REvil. I do not doubt its authenticity, but it is only a design on paper, nothing confirms that it is definitive. If that Apple clearly wants to restore connectors on the MacBook Pro, but it will take some time to confirm which ones. What do you expect about it?