MacBook Air: has Apple been listening? Maybe.

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
This a piece of random speculation.



Journalist reviews of the MacBook Air have been so consistent in their criticism of its lack of ports that it may just be that Apple breaks the habit of a lifetime and upgrades the hardware. The next version could conceivably include an additional USB port, but without significantly changing the overall hardware design.



This would enable both the DVD drive and an Ethernet connection to be used at the same time or alternatively a USB 3G data card and a USB printer cable. No Firewire. No built-in Ethernet. But a very simple addition of an additional USB port.



Whether it happens or not, you can bet you're bottom dollar that Apple is thinking about it. If you agree with this simple change please say so hereunder. If you don't, then perhaps you might like to suggest a better way of improving the MBA without any significant hardware re-design.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 95
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    Typing on my MBA right now, I would say that there is no need for an additional USB port. I have been very consistent in this comment. Many people compare the MBA to other machines, and then claim it "lacks" this or that. However, the Air is a fabulous machine as it is (and for what it is) and I would change very little.



    I use my MBA 3-5 hours every day and never have I felt the need for a second USB port. Never. Repeat: never. I slip photos and videos onto it, I import recorded audio for editing in Logic or Bias Peak. I back up to my iPod. Just change plugs and presto; who wants wires running all over the place like spaghetti slopped on top of a portable computer? What's the big idea behind making the Air something it's not meant to be? Need another USB port? Buy a MacBook. (When discussing the older PowerBooks, I was very much in favor of more USB ports, but that is what a PB is about: power).



    There are a few refinements I can think of for the Air, but I am pretty darned happy with mine.



    When Apple first released the mouse, people thought they were nuts.



    Let's keep the MacBook Air from becoming the MacBook Wired LIke Every Other Portable.
  • Reply 2 of 95
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 907member
    I'm not traveling on business any more, but the MBA would have been perfect for me if I was. I used an Airport Express, avoiding the need for using a port. Firewire would be nice, but I can understand and accept the tradeoffs that Apple made with the MBA. I think over time people who want more from the MBA will begin to understand what it is designed to be and will accept it - especially if the next year of apps from the iPhone SDK meets out expectations in the area of notebook integration.
  • Reply 3 of 95
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,183member
    If there were an effective way to rid all of my consumer electronics of wires, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Wireless everything (other than power, for now) is clearly the way forward.
  • Reply 4 of 95
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,223moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    Typing on my MBA right now, I would say that there is no need for an additional USB port.



    There is a clear need for one. I use an external mouse always on any computer I use. That's my USB port gone. One extra for everything else from ethernet adaptor, printers, USB pens, dongles is absolutely necessary.



    MBA should have two USB ports, Macbooks and Macbook Pros should have 3-4 ports, preferably 4 and same with the iMac.
  • Reply 5 of 95
    zinfellazinfella Posts: 877member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    There is a clear need for one. I use an external mouse always on any computer I use. That's my USB port gone. One extra for everything else from ethernet adaptor, printers, USB pens, dongles is absolutely necessary.



    MBA should have two USB ports, Macbooks and Macbook Pros should have 3-4 ports, preferably 4 and same with the iMac.



    Uhhhhhhhhhhh, the iMac has 5 USB ports. # USB 2 on the rear of the machine, and 2 USB 1 on the keyboard.



    3-4 USB ports on a laptop defeats the reason for using a laptop. Further, using all of those ports at once degrades performance, even if the peripherals not active. Then there's the part about since all of the USB ports are on one bus, the speed is reduced to that of the slowest connected device.



    Nice try though.
  • Reply 6 of 95
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    There is a clear need for one. I use an external mouse always on any computer I use. That's my USB port gone.



    Seems like that's your choice. Seriously... a mouse with a laptop? Always? Kinda limits where you can use it, doesn't it?



    *shrug* Like I said... your choice.



    I can't say I've ever used both the USB ports on my MBP at the same time. I use one for the trackball when I'm at the office, and then afterwards for my backup USB stick. Oddly, I always unplug the trackball first when starting to pack up, so again, I only use the one port.



    So I guess the need isn't as clear for all of us as you choose to make it for yourself. But, to help fix that need, there's this amazing new technology called a 'USB hub' you may want to look into. I understand there are even small portable ones now. Whatever will they think of next? (I mean seriously - you can't honestly say you're worried about hauling around one of the microhubs, if you're hauling around a *mouse*. At least not with a straight face.)
  • Reply 7 of 95
    macjellomacjello Posts: 38member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    There is a clear need for one. I use an external mouse always on any computer I use. That's my USB port gone. One extra for everything else from ethernet adaptor, printers, USB pens, dongles is absolutely necessary.



    MBA should have two USB ports, Macbooks and Macbook Pros should have 3-4 ports, preferably 4 and same with the iMac.



    May I suggest a wireless mouse?
  • Reply 8 of 95
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacJello View Post


    May I suggest a wireless mouse?



    Or get over whatever problem you have with the trackpad.
  • Reply 9 of 95
    zinfellazinfella Posts: 877member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    Or get over whatever problem you have with the trackpad.



    He did get over it, like many of us he uses a mouse.
  • Reply 10 of 95
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    Or get over whatever problem you have with the trackpad.



    Agreed. It has a trackpad that is highly capable; it does things no mouse can.
  • Reply 11 of 95
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Eh, I know people who prefer a mouse. Not going to slam him for his preference... just for not thinking it through completely. MacJello's suggestion makes the most sense. Lets him use a mouse, and frees up the USB port he apparently needs to use on a regular basis. I still think that if he's hauling around a mouse, then one of the 2-4 port microhubs isn't exactly a cumbersome item to deal with, and it gets him more ports than my MBP. I can't think of any rationale for not carrying one around that isn't handily struck down by pointing at the mouse. "Something more to carry", "It'll ruin the looks of the MBA", "I hate dongles" <- all pretty much fall down as reasons for Marvin, because he carries around a mouse that is *completely* extraneous.



    At least he's got options, right?
  • Reply 12 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Uhhhhhhhhhhh, the iMac has 5 USB ports. # USB 2 on the rear of the machine, and 2 USB 1 on the keyboard.



    3-4 USB ports on a laptop defeats the reason for using a laptop. Further, using all of those ports at once degrades performance, even if the peripherals not active. Then there's the part about since all of the USB ports are on one bus, the speed is reduced to that of the slowest connected device.



    Nice try though.



    but most laptops come e-net and dvd/wr drive. So there goes 2 and having 1 or 2 more is not that bad.





    any ways it is way too soon to drop e-net.
  • Reply 13 of 95
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Uhhhhhhhhhhh, the iMac has 5 USB ports. # USB 2 on the rear of the machine, and 2 USB 1 on the keyboard.



    3-4 USB ports on a laptop defeats the reason for using a laptop. Further, using all of those ports at once degrades performance, even if the peripherals not active. Then there's the part about since all of the USB ports are on one bus, the speed is reduced to that of the slowest connected device.



    Nice try though.



    but most laptops come e-net and dvd/wr drive. So there goes 2 and having 1 or 2 more is not that bad.





    any ways it is way too soon to drop e-net. Also usb e-net can't hit full gig-e speeds.
  • Reply 14 of 95
    piotpiot Posts: 1,346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    Journalist reviews of the MacBook Air have been so consistent in their criticism of its lack of ports that it may just be that Apple breaks the habit of a lifetime and upgrades the hardware.



    Great!. Design by journalists.
  • Reply 15 of 95
    irelandireland Posts: 17,616member
    Apple listening? Never!
  • Reply 16 of 95
    macroninmacronin Posts: 1,174member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    but most laptops come e-net and dvd/wr drive. So there goes 2 and having 1 or 2 more is not that bad.





    any ways it is way too soon to drop e-net.



    I always thought one of the freedoms of using a laptop was the fact that you could use it anywhere you wanted and get your connection via AirPort/WiFi, thereby freeing the laptop from being tethered to a desk somewhere?



    Unless you have a 100 foot Cat5 cable trailing you around the house?



    As for the optical drive, it is what is called a design decision. Apple gives the choice of their external SuperDrive, or the unique option of running the optical drive in remote mode, ie - from another machine?



    Just like losing the floppy on the original iMac, Apple is trying to wean us from ports on our portable/mobile machines.



    Everything will be alright, learn to love the lack of ports. Wireless everything is the future?



    Drink the Kool-Aid already?!



  • Reply 17 of 95
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,223moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Uhhhhhhhhhhh, the iMac has 5 USB ports. # USB 2 on the rear of the machine, and 2 USB 1 on the keyboard.



    4 as the keyboard uses one of those but I should have specified powered, USB2 ports.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    3-4 USB ports on a laptop defeats the reason for using a laptop.



    What if that's your only machine? A Macbook Pro can easily be a desktop replacement for a lot of people but not if it can't connect to all your devices.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Then there's the part about since all of the USB ports are on one bus, the speed is reduced to that of the slowest connected device.



    So you're saying that my USB 2 drive goes at the speed of my USB 1 mouse?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kickaha


    Seems like that's your choice. Seriously... a mouse with a laptop? Always? Kinda limits where you can use it, doesn't it?



    Laptop designs limit where you can use them - mainly to a desk. Optical mice work on a lot of surfaces including your knee and notebook mice have fast acceleration curves so they are more efficient than a trackpad. They are also much more accurate.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kickaha


    you can't honestly say you're worried about hauling around one of the microhubs, if you're hauling around a *mouse*.



    A hub isn't powered though and a lot of devices like USB drives don't work with them. I will accept that it's possible to live with 2 USB ports on a laptop with a wireless mouse.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella


    He did get over it, like many of us he uses a mouse.



    Exactly. I can't stand using trackpads.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister


    It has a trackpad that is highly capable; it does things no mouse can.



    But the things they have in common, which are the most important features, a mouse does much better with less finger strain. With a trackpad, you are using the weaker finger muscles vs using your wrist muscles with a mouse.



    Anyway a wireless mouse is fine. Well, until you need to charge it on a spare USB port or don't have a bluetooth one.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRonin


    Unless you have a 100 foot Cat5 cable trailing you around the house



    Doesn't everybody? I actually used to but I didn't move my computer much and ethernet is more secure and faster.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRonin


    Apple gives the choice of their external SuperDrive



    Which takes up the one available port.



    There are ways to get round the issue but it's a matter of convenience. If you had a 3 course meal including soup and Apple only gave you a fork, sure you can eat the soup but it takes much longer than if you had a spoon and a fork.



    The problem as always is about convention. Apple likes to take away options to force people into a different convention. That may be for the better in some cases but all too often they jump too quickly and suddenly make life far more inconvenient for the sake of aesthetic design.
  • Reply 18 of 95
    piotpiot Posts: 1,346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    If you had a 3 course meal including soup and Apple only gave you a fork,



    Apple is not a dinner party. It's a restaurant.



    Order something else.
  • Reply 19 of 95
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by piot View Post


    Apple is not a dinner party. It's a restaurant.



    Order something else.







    That't right. The only thing is the Chef is pescetarian, so the choices are few.

    I'd like a mini with more "meat".
  • Reply 20 of 95
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,826member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    This a piece of random speculation.



    That is OK, speculation is about 88% of this forum!

    Quote:



    Journalist reviews of the MacBook Air have been so consistent in their criticism of its lack of ports that it may just be that Apple breaks the habit of a lifetime and upgrades the hardware. The next version could conceivably include an additional USB port, but without significantly changing the overall hardware design.



    The lack of ports on AIR is why I ended up with a Mac Book Plus! Of course part of that is due to my need for a desktop replacement machine. Personally I don't see this rev of Air fulfilling the role of a desktop replacement, and frankly it may never do so.

    Quote:



    This would enable both the DVD drive and an Ethernet connection to be used at the same time or alternatively a USB 3G data card and a USB printer cable. No Firewire. No built-in Ethernet. But a very simple addition of an additional USB port.



    The lack of ports is a huge killer for some uses the AIR could be put to. Frankly though I see the addition of Firewire or Ethernet ports as more useful. The addition of USB though could pretty much be free of charge.



    In any event I don't like the tone of your message here as you imply that Apple doesn't respond to user needs. The fact is they have a strong reputation of doing so. The MINI and the Mac Pro are good examples of machines that got rev'ed to meet the needs / suggestions of the user base. I'm not sure where this negative impression of Apple comes from. The biggest negative is that Apple doesn't seem to listen very well from one new product to the next, always under delivering in the first revision.

    Quote:



    Whether it happens or not, you can bet you're bottom dollar that Apple is thinking about it. If you agree with this simple change please say so hereunder. If you don't, then perhaps you might like to suggest a better way of improving the MBA without any significant hardware re-design.



    I see ports as a big issue along with the lack of CPU performance. AS to significant hardware revisions you can bet your bottom dollar they are coming. I see the AIR as an introductory / almost beta machine, that is setting Apple up for Intel's next round of low power chips. So to put it kindly I see a major rev to the AIR coming by years end if not sooner. Apple will have a lot of low power options for the AIR in the coming months.



    Dave
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