Thank you, Apple, for keeping USB-A in Mac Studio

Rejoice, peasants! May your proletarian tools live another year after!

I refer of course to Mac studio recently announced by Apple, which is hitting shelves on March 18th. The company has made a number of lofty claims about the device’s power and efficiency, using various schemes that it hasn’t called in any particularly useful way. These are just claims until we get our hands on a unit – we’ll need to check the scales ourselves.

But Apple also showed us photos of the device. We have seen it. And there are two things we know for sure, without a doubt. computer, promotion:

Photo: Apple

Sure, there are some Thunderbolt or Ethernet ports or whatever. But look at these two small rectangles to HDMI left. These two beautiful rectangles.

These, my friends, are a new invention called “USB-A”. I’ve been told you can use these to connect mice and keyboards to your computer, although I’ve always used a PS/2 port for that. The plugs only seem to work in one direction, which seems like some sort of oversight of the design. But overall, I’m excited to see where this benchmark will take us.

User working on Mac Studio Display.

Here he is in the wild.
Photo: Apple

I’m just kidding. Seriously, I breathed a sigh of relief as soon as I saw that picture – I worried for a minute there that Apple might ship this device without USB-A.

Over the past few years, Apple has been rocking connectivity in some of its MacBook generations. I’m writing this while we’re talking on a file 2019 Pro is USB-C only And reader, I’m sad about that. The Latest MacBook Pro models They restored a number of ports, but they’re still missing USB-A.

The journey with desktop systems, while not devastating to me personally, has been worrisome for the past few years. The 2020 Mac MiniAlthough it had two USB-As ports, it was a significant I/O downgrade from previous Mac Mini models. I watched anxiously as Macs kept dumping ports. Laptops are one thing, I said to myself, but sure, Definitely, Apple will never remove USB-A from its desktop computers.

And then we got 2021 iMac. USB-C only. I fear that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. If Apple only ships USB-C desktop computers – I repeat, Desktop computers – We probably won’t see him again.

This, folks, is what devastation looks like.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

So I was totally happy to see these images during Apple’s Studio announcement, and if you’ve been following it Our live blogYou’ll know, I wasn’t the only one.

In any case. As my colleague Chaim Gartenberg recently pointed out, There are all kinds of good reasons to prefer USB-C over USB-A. It’s smaller, reversible, and you can use it for charging. I understand why companies like Apple and Dell would like to pressure the industry toward this standard. Back in the day, all a good SSD, webcam, mouse, keyboard, and other recent USB-A peripheral drops, I’ll lead the show.

On the other hand, speaking as someone who often uses a MacBook Pro and 2021 iMac as daily drivers, here’s a short list of things I can’t connect without a dongle: my mouse (sue me, I don’t like Apple mice), mechanical keyboard, external webcam, podcast mic My own, my camera, four drives I keep with different things, and a CD player (yes, I use one occasionally). This is the reality of many people.

And sorry, I’ll just say that – the dongle is hard to keep track of. I rely on this micro USB-C to USB-A adapter for my life, and half the time I don’t even know where it is. The other day I found him under my sofa. I can’t tell you how I got there.

This is not a headphone jack situation where the industry is lining up to follow Apple off the cliff. I’m glad the company realized that despite the advantages of USB-C, this port might still be needed by professionals. Complications of this port, in fact.

I just hope that Apple consumer products (hey, iMac) will follow suit. Because I really think that need still exists in the consumer space as well. In fact, this audience may be more inclined to own old peripherals, and less hungry to upgrade them.

So please join me in rejoicing: USB-A is here to stay – at least for now. If you need me, I’ll campaign for VGA on my next MacBook Air. I’m just kidding! (sort of).

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