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  • Yahshua H.

Apple has reconciled with connectivity: its Macs finally boast ports for (almost) all tastes.

Some of us believe that Jony Ive's departure has done Apple very well. That era featured devices in which form (design) was above function (performance). It was the era of ultra-slim, ultra-minimalist iPhones and Macs. And among the sacrifices, a clear one: the expansion ports, which ended up depending on the USB-C port.

That began to change after the departure of the British designer. The iPhone 13 and the recent MacBook Pro have started to get fat, which is essential for the battery. However, it is also for something that has made us very happy: the connection ports have returned. The new Mac Studio is the latest example of this trend and is something like the newest proof that "we were wrong" that Apple never pronounced but now seems to want to express with this trend.

USB-C ports were never enough

For a while, it seemed clear that Apple was missing the point with its laptops and desktops. Apple enthusiasts themselves even criticized the teams, and in September 2018, we wrote Apple a letter to the Three Wise Men with the 12 ideas that we would like to see applied to future Apple MacBooks.

It is as if Apple had read that topic because a good part of the requests has ended up having an answer three years later. The arrival of the M1 family of chips has been key to this new era of Macs, but the elimination of problematic butterfly keyboards (and the Touch Bar) or the inclusion of a Touch ID button have also helped.

But another request was especially popular with old and new Mac users: more connection ports. Those skinny MacBooks with just one USB-C port—Jony loved them, sure—started a dangerous trend that saw Macs lose a lot of ground when it came to connecting peripherals.

That dependency on port hubs came as a meme. We complained about #donglelife —although maybe it wasn't that big of a deal— and we suddenly saw how Apple forgot everything other than those damn USB-C ports. People were so fed up that in 2016 they ended up buying a 2012 MacBook Pro, and they were doing it just for the docks.

Apple reconciles with connection ports.

And suddenly, the tables turn. The appearance of the first computers with the M1 chip did not bring radical changes in this regard, but in October 2021, Apple decided to end that trend. The MacBook Pro (2021) appeared with power in abundance, with a controversial notch but also —and above all— with a renewed love for ports.

These teams finally made our lives happy in that sense. They continued to focus on USB-C ports with a Thunderbolt 4 interface, but they also had an HDMI port, an SDXC card reader, and even a (blessed) MagSafe 3. Wonderful.

Yesterday that renewed love for connection ports became a reality again in the new Mac Studio, a true "monster" that promises to be the most powerful Mac in history (with the permission of Mac Pro). The equipment is striking for its format and orientation, but it is also for its connection ports, which are many and varied.

The selection of ports on the back is remarkable: we have USB-C ports with a TB4 interface, a 10 GbE port, two USB-A ports (USB 3.1 Gen 2, 10 Gbps), an HDMI port the headphones. And that's not all: on the front, we have two more USB-C ports and the SDXC card, reader. Joy.

Is everything ideal in this offer? Well, not exactly. Some would have asked for, for example, a DisplayPort port on the back - USB-C to DP cables solve this - and that the HDMI port was 2.1 (it is not, it supports 4K at 60 Hz maximum).

It would also have been curious to have a USB-A port on the front —and even the headphone port, already on—but this is a total redemption from Apple, which has finally understood that people like to connect their peripherals without adapters or dongles.

Rectify, they say, is wise. Suitable for that reconciliation with the ports, Apple.


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