New Macs: Apple responded to us

Ports and memory card reader return!

In 2016, after Apple removed the memory card slot from MacBook Pros, I complained about this loudly to an Apple exec.  

“Everything is going wireless,” the since departed exec told me, adding that there was no need for the slot anymore. 

No, not at all. 

I tried to explain that there was literally no way to move gigabytes of high definition video footage from a camera to a computer this way--we needed the slot, but he waved me off. 

As Apple did to many others who complained. 

But in a rare about face for a company that never steps seemingly backward, it actually responded to pleas from the photographers and videographers who buy these machines en mass. 

The slot is back. 

Apple put the “Pro” back into MacBook Pro computers this week. And it’s about time. 

Sure, consumers have flocked to smartphones for their photography (and many pros too), and yeah, you can send those images to the computer wirelessly. But those are smaller files. For those of us who use cameras, with megapixel sensors anywhere from 25 to 50 and more, we need cards. And we will for many years to come. 

So thank you Apple. 

And just as importantly, we needed those ports. 

Many of us also complained loudly when Apple, under the guise of making the computers smaller and sleeker, removed most of them. Even on the so-called “pro” models. 

It got to the point where the 13-inch MacBook Pro introduced last year was a total joke. It had just two USB-C ports, and one of them was needed for charging the machine. 

Those of us in the “pro” camp--you know who you are, with rows of hard drives on your desk, and accessory webcams, microphones, audio mixers, card readers and the like, it’s like we didn’t exist. 

Now let’s talk power. The new units ask us to make a decision: would you like Pro or Max with your order? 

The new processing chips, Apple says, are its most powerful ever, with way more speed than last year’s M1 upgrade, which was the most significant Apple processing upgrade I’ve seen in over 20 years of covering the company. 

Last year’s 13-inch MacPro has the original M1 chip, while the 14-inch and 16-inch models are true, authentic Pro models, with power to support the name. 

Think about it. The 13-inch has an 8-core GPU, a max of 16 GB RAM and 2 TB of storage, compared to the 14 and 16 inch models portfolio of 32 core GPUs, a max of 64GB of RAM and 8 TB of storage. 

Even if this all sounds like like technospeak, you know this much is true. These new babies promise to be screaming machines. 

What they’re not is cheap. The 14-inch model starts at $1,999 while the 16-inch starts at $2,499. I always point out the “starting” price, because once you trick them out, they can get very pricey.

The 16-inch goes up to over $6K once you add extra RAM and solid state hard drive space. My friend Scott Bourne clocked in at over $7K, but that includes sales tax and AppleCare.

I bought a MacMini with the M1 chip last year, not because it was a cheaper model than a MacBook Pro or iMac, but because of all the available ports. There are 4 USB slots on the back, plus ethernet, HDMI and a headphone jack. Additionally, I bought an accessory $79.99 USB hub from AGPTEK that gives me 3 more USB slots, two card readers and it has a slot for an internet solid state 2 terabyte hard drive.

And I got all the power I needed from the M1 chip. I’m sure the new MacBooks are incredible, and I’m thrilled Apple listened to its customers and backtracked.

But finally, now that we have the card slot back, can we talk about the return of the headphone jack to the iPhone. Please?

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