back to article Apple drops dongle prices to make USB-C upgrade affordable

Apple won't admit it got the pricing wrong, but has nonetheless slashed the cost of USB-C-to-connectors-people-actually-use dongles. Apple's new Strip Poker edition MacBook Pro offers only USB-C ports, a pain in the peripheral for anyone who has accrued a collection of USB 2.0 gadgets over the last decade. Which is to say, …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Ha bloody ha

    When even the Apple evangelistas rebel you know you've screwed up.

    Apple's arrogance and greed knows no bounds.

    Seems they are losing the "pro" camp, just the Starbucks luvvies to go then it's all over.

    Goodbye Apple (again). Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out.

    1. Halfmad

      Re: Ha bloody ha

      A decade ago the "pro" was a computer people used in graphic design etc because it had the proprietary software they needed to do their job, that's increasingly not the case though with more and more moving to Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere on a cheaper, faster PC they themselves can repair.

      As someone who use to repair Macs in the 90s I've watched as my Mac owning friends have gradually dumped them and moved to PC, not always through choice but through necessity if they want to continue doing their jobs and not having up to a week downtime whilst a Mac is away for repair, paying through the nose for that repair (or continually paying Applecare) and then having to roll the dice on whether it's been done.

      Apple have been dumbing down for a while, seems they may finally have hit the bottom of the pool.

      1. BigAndos

        Re: Ha bloody ha

        I had an iMac for about three years and faced this issue towards the end of its life. The DVD drive broke and Apple wanted £200 to replace it so I didn't bother and bought a USB one for £30! Then of course the GPU started struggling with the latest games and I couldn't replace it. It was either spend £1200 on the latest one or build a PC for £800 that I can upgrade piece by piece over the years, so back to windows I went.

        1. Colin Ritchie
          Windows

          Re: Ha bloody ha

          I built a PC and installed Mac OS on it, cake and eat it. It has "legacy" ports coming out of its arse, literally.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Ha bloody ha

        @Halfmad

        BS, simply BS.

        Not even Apple fanboy here, mate .... let me get this straight.

        1. Apple computers are great for the creative, almost useless for gamers, however, incredibly more secure than RedMondOs.

        2. No spyware.

        3. Windows cannot handle RAM properly.

        4. Windows cannot handle RAM properly. If you need to do something that uses shitloads of RAM, UNIX, any UNIX will do far, far, far ..... [100000000 times far] better than Windows.

        5. Apple lost me and mates as a customer when they decided to solder stuff to the motherboard. Brilliant headshot, Cook, keep up the good work and you will be as considered as dumb as Ballmer.

        I have a gamer creative type, he bought Alienware laptop, not entry model, a load of shit, nothing but problems .... he had i7 b4, no issues ...

        1. William 3 Bronze badge

          Re: Ha bloody ha

          The fault isn't with Windows in that instance, it's with Alienware.

        2. trevorde

          Re: Ha bloody ha

          Are you a troll?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ha bloody ha

          > ...incredibly more secure

          > No spyware

          Still drinking the apple-flavored KoolAid, I see.

          > Windows cannot handle RAM properly

          Um...did you think to install the 64 bit version? I've got Windows servers running with 256GB of DRAM and they work just fine.

      3. Ilsa Loving

        Re: Ha bloody ha

        "Apple have been dumbing down for a while, seems they may finally have hit the bottom of the pool."

        In my experience with computers, I've found that you can *always* get worse.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Ha bloody ha

      I bought two 14" Lenovo laptops instead. No dongles needed.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Ha bloody ha

      Someone here suggested they only make laptops at all so that Apple staff aren't using machines with Dell or Lenovo badges.

      I've been saying since they axed the Mac Server and "Computer" from their name, look at the profits. The Mac is a tiny niche, with little after market Apple income compared to iOS pads and iTunes, hence the experiment of the Apple version of Surface Pro.

      So I don't expect them to axe Macs any time soon, but I think any feature not needed by their own staff is a very low priority.

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Ha bloody ha

        The Mac Server was better for Apple than they thought. It put benchmarks out in the open and forced Apple to compete on open standards. It made Mac software easier to develop, and better apps makes Apple customers happy.

        The Apple ecosystem has been imploding for several years, repeating the ruthless pursuit of profit seen in the late 1990s when Apple was running a closed system and building those awful Performas. Regardless of how fanatic Apple users are, developers aren't going to maintain support for a platform that's extremely expensive, under-powered, and a shrinking market share. That was when I stopped being a Mac software developer.

        Now we have two new "MacBook Pro" models designed for surfing the web in a coffee shop. The desktop "Mac Pro" is an old sportbike when professionals need a new truck. Every new OS release adds some bizarre and highly exclusive feature that nobody finds useful.

        Steve Jobs won't come back to save Apple again. Apple needs to get back to open standards to reduce development costs and learn what the term "Pro" means.

  2. PipV
    WTF?

    How on earth

    Can an SD card be classed as 'legacy'

    Lord only knows what they are sniffing at their donut shaped head office, but somebody needs to let apple know how many proper cameras use SD cards there are out in the world.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: How on earth

      Please now, we can't have anything like common sense breach the Apple Reality Distortion Field (TM) that is in full effect around Cupertino. Who knows what might happen?

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: How on earth

      It's interesting that Microsoft are putting full size SD card slots into their top end kit as opposed to micro and stated that the sort of people they are looking to attract (Photographers, graphic designers etc) to the kit want them.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: How on earth

        LOL, how is hardware gonna help abyssal software ?

        1. Michael Strorm

          Re: How on earth

          @Hans 1; "LOL, how is hardware gonna help abyssal software ?"

          Hardware is essential to abyssal software; it has to be able to withstand unbelievable pressures to avoid being crushed to bits at those sorts of depths.

          Mac Pros probably aren't guaranteed to withstand a thousand times atmospheric pressure at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. I suspect the Apple Store would deny your claim on the grounds of "water damage" or something similarly petty.

        2. Jan 0
          Boffin

          Re: How on earth

          > how is hardware gonna help abyssal software ?

          Hmm, I think the best choice is to use fluidic logic hardware at the bottom of oceans.

    3. Avatar of They
      WTF?

      Re: How on earth

      ...And more, plenty of things love SD cards. My sat-nav recently updated the maps and told me it needed an SD card as the maps were bigger than it could cope with.

      Still after a decade of paying over the odds for peripherals, fanbois have finally woken up it seems.

    4. Code_Daemon

      Re: How on earth

      You are forgetting you are meant to be using AppleTooth to connect your camera to your Appley Devices.

      I expect next year Apple will finally do wireless charging (ApplePower) that can only be used the their stuff and phones and laptops shall have no ports... why would you want ports? Without them they can make the worlds most advanced laptops.... just touch screen.... The new MacBook Pro... (An iPad with a new sticker on it and without ports)

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: How on earth

        SD cards are still used a lot. However, compact cameras aren't used as much as they used to be, because mobile cameras have improved greatly over the years. Even though the discrete compact cameras themselves have improved, the difference isn't great enough for the casual user to carry two devices around most of the time.

        At the the high end, DSLRs and the like have gained faster burst speeds, 4K video, and are generally more data intensive. This means that get best performance, CompactFlash or XQD cards must be used.

        SD cards are still the popular option, but they are being squeezed a little from both ends.

        1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

          Re: How on earth

          As far as I can remember Nikon D5 is about the only DSLR which does not have a SD option. Yes some cameras allow other options, but since they are dual slot it means that you can support both.

          SD cards are still the majority choice for 99% of photography, even more so if you do landscape, so the lack of a dedicated SD slot is a bit of a bind

          1. Dominion

            Re: How on earth

            Why should I use SD cards for landscape. Will my photos not be as good if I use compact flash?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: How on earth

              I think they are implying you don't need more expensive CF if you don't need very high throughput as you may for say sports.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How on earth

          "At the the high end, DSLRs and the like have gained faster burst speeds, 4K video, and are generally more data intensive. This means that get best performance, CompactFlash or XQD cards must be used."

          Really don't agree with the conclusion, here. SanDisk's Extreme Pro SD card writes at 250MB/s, (according to SanDisk) which is faster than my Nikon DSLR can dump its buffer at. Their CFast cards are faster, but it's immaterial when it's faster than the camera.

          Personally, I use my DSLR mostly for macro and landscapes (due to image quality and lens choice), with the odd bit of wildlife (in which case, 5fps) ... despite the fact it's generating 24MP/70MB raw files, any SD card will do.

        3. Triggerfish

          Re: How on earth @Dave 126

          I would expect proffessionals who are going to drop a few grand on a macbook pro, are more likely to use decent cameras.

          Phone cameras are definetly improving but they are still limited for a lot of use.

    5. William 3 Bronze badge

      Re: How on earth

      Because the telemetry they receive indicates all the "professionals" using Macs don't use them.

      They're too busy sat in Coffee shops, pretending to be creative types so that daddykins keeps sending them their allowance, shopping on Etsy so they can look exactly like each other, because they're so creative.

    6. Allonymous Coward

      Re: How on earth

      [T]his whole notion of being so proprietary in every facet of what we do has really hurt us. And again, the management and vision we had encouraged that. Encouraged people to go reinvent the wheel out there our own way. And yeah, it might be 10% better but usually it ended up being about 50% worse because there are a lot of smart people that don’t work at Apple, too.

      -- Steve Jobs, WWDC 1997

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How on earth

      @PipV; "How on earth can an SD card be classed as 'legacy'"

      Either because they're trying to justify their leaving it out by downplaying its seriousness (as here) or because they're pushing their own, proprietary, locked-in standard and want to encourage people to move away from the current (more open) standards that do the job by associating them in peoples' minds with a word that implies they've been superseded and that the natural path is onto Apple's all-new bullshit.

      Weasels.

      Then again, what do you expect from a company that pettily- but also very cleverly- makes non-iPhone users look bad by showing their messages in lurid, unpleasant green speech bubbles, whereas those using iPhone-only messaging are in calm, gentle blue?

      (I don't believe for a second that this was accidental on the part of a company so well-known for its aesthetic awareness and playing off its users' self image).

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    Next up

    Now all the ports are gone, they are working on removing the other legacy components.

    Built in displays, CPU's and particularly keyboards are so old Skool.

    Soon you wil have a wifi connected lego kit to cart around.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Next up

      "wifi connected lego kit"

      Sounds cool, where do I get one?

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: Next up

        You kind of already can ... Its called Lego Mindstorm, you can get it Here

        OK, its only bluetooth but thats wireless :-)

        it does have a CPU, lots of connectors for plugging stuff in though.

  4. Chris D Rogers

    How generous

    Having been a Apple Mac Computer user since the early 90s one's appreciation of Apple the Telco has dropped to an all time low - whilst some have tried to blame Brexit for Apple's shocking price increases for its new Macbook Pro - the one that won't work out of the box with its iPhone 7 - the fact remains here in the Far East, as elsewhere, Apple has increased its prices dramatically for the Macbook, but neglected to actually offer any dongles whatsoever - this being customary in many of its products only a few years ago.

    For the record, if I'm spending US$2K-3K for a laptop I'd expect a few dongles to enable me to connect it to my USB equipment at least, never mind Firewire800 and Thunderbolt enabled devices, such as the bloody Apple Thunderbolt Monitor that still sports USB2 ports. Suffice to say, won't be wasting my money on a new Macbook, and, and its a big 'if', should they do the same trick with the iMac, Mac Pro and Mac Mini next year, well I'm over with Apple - as for iPads and iPhone, now use Android devices, most of which are some 50% cheaper than Apple crap.

    1. djstardust Silver badge

      Re: How generous

      Exactly.

      When I used to buy Sony gear, my Vaio U70 tablet came with the following:

      Full docking station

      Ethernet adapter

      Headphones and wired backlit remote

      foldable Keyboard

      3 styluses

      Spare trackpad rubber covers

      And probably other things I can't remember

      Apple not even including these adapters then charging prices marked up many thousands of percent really is taking the piss in the extreme.

    2. Jason 24

      Re: How generous

      "For the record, if I'm spending US$2K-3K for a laptop I'd expect a few dongles"

      If I'm spending that much I'd expect the damn connectors to be built onto the hardware, not needing a flimsy dongle that will inevitably be trodden on and need replacing umpteen times.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How generous

        Looks at my Zbook's ports smugly

        1 SD UHS-II flash media; 1 smart card reader

        (SD supports next generation secure digital and is backward compatible to SDHC, SDXC)

        Left side: 1 RJ-45; 2 USB 3.0; 1 USB 3.0 (charging)

        Right side: 1 power connector; 2 Thunderbolt™ 3; 1 VGA; 1 HDMI 1.4; 1 USB 3.0; 1 stereo microphone-in/headphone-out combo

        /smugmode off

        It's also great for weight training.

        Also the screen isn't the best, unless you go for the higher screen option.

        1. Pete4000uk

          Re: How generous

          My laptop has both serial AND parallel port!

          Really, its from 2002 and now on Debian but is still useful

    3. Nimby

      Re: How generous

      I know every any Apple device ever has come with an extreme markup beyond sane value, but for some reason people pay it and Apple goes on. But now Apple is dropping the price of a $40 adapter to $20 when you can buy the same thing for $5 from a non-Apple brand? To plug stuff (like their own latest phone) into their laptop worth thousands? A laptop that doesn't already come with a few, when they know full well everyone will need at least one (for their phone). Must Love Apple.

      I don't think I've laughed this hard for months.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: How generous

        I do not want to defend Apple, far from it, but, why do people need to plug their phone into their computer anyway?

        Having a phone with SD myself, obviously, I could avoid it easily.

        But, my previous phones never had SD and I rarely (basically, once) plugged in the phone to the PC, for music transfer at the getgo.

        That was only to avoid download from the cloudy storage area though, not a necessity.

        And, although I don't use one, I know there are apps for WiFi transfer too.

        I can see almost the only 'need' as recovery in the event of near-death, which I have done on one of my phones previously.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: How generous

          My phone often gets pluuged into PC's, I use it as a portable drive, so it's quite handy to be able to just plug it in, plus also charging when I am not carrying my charger about.

        2. D@v3

          Re: cambsukguy

          reasons to plug your phone into your computer....to charge it, add / change music, OS updates, App updates. Some of these can be done wirelessly, but some people (such as myself) prefer to download large updates to a PC, not direct to the phone.

          also, you say, your phone has an SD card, which is great, but, another things this supposed Pro Macbook doesn't have, is an SD reader, so, you would need to plug your phone in to read from it.

    4. John 104

      Re: How generous

      @Chris D Rogers

      Welcome, to the real.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Proven failure of the touchBar

    Yes, Lenovo (and others) tried to do it and it failed.

    As the new Macbook Pro's with the touchBar are not shipping yet, why not give Apple the benefit of the doubt here?

    Nah! this is no the place to cut Apple any slack at all so Boo Hiss Apple you fucked up. I could forgive you the Touch Bar but to remove the SD Card is suicide with all my Photographer Friends. We all have cameras that use SD Cards.

    This so called update is a total and abject failure. Anyone who buys one has to be more than a bit mad.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Proven failure of the touchBar

      Exactly: Nothing is 'proven' about the TouchBar because only Apple and their software partners (inc. Adobe and Da Vinci) have tried it. It turns out the link was referring to the Lenovo implementation, so that part of the article was disingenuous at best.

      There are some valid complaints about ports, but as a non-Mac user they don't bother me. Actually, I welcome the port changes, as I'm happy to let other people work through the always-tricky transitional phase; by the time I'm ready to upgrade my kit* the peripheral market will have settled down.

      *My ageing PC still does the job, and judging by PC sales I'm not the only one. Heck, I don't even have USB 3. However, when I eventually do upgrade I will want a single cable to give my laptop power, hi res monitors, external GPUs, fast external storage and a collection of other peripherals. Plus: One day I will be free of the old USB-A issue of only having a 50/50 chance of plugging a cable in on the first attempt!

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Proven failure of the touchscreen phone

        Good thing Apple didn't listen to people like you when they decided to make the iPhone use a touchscreen driven by your fingers. The few phones that tried that before the iPhone were proven failures, so of course the iPhone failed as well and obviously no other phones ever tried that route either.

  6. Commswonk Silver badge
    Coat

    Positively Rhapsodic...

    The there's the fact precious few external monitors support Thunderbolt...

    Apple's therefore halved the cost of its USB-C-to-USB, USB-C-to-Lightning...

    "Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me"

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Positively Rhapsodic...

      I can't remember which came first but since they are located right next to each other calling one lightning and the other therefore thunderbolt or vice versa was pretty obvious.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Positively Rhapsodic...

      All this discussion is academic, I can't afford it anyway. I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy.

      Anyway, the Windows....

    3. ADRM

      Re: Positively Rhapsodic...

      "Positively Rhapsodic...

      The there's the fact precious few external monitors support Thunderbolt...

      Apple's therefore halved the cost of its USB-C-to-USB, USB-C-to-Lightning..."

      "Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me"

      Up voted for the Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen song line. Excellent work I say.

  7. Indolent Wretch

    I wish journos would stop parroting Apples use of the word 'legacy' as in 'problems connecting your legacy peripherals' and 'wanting to use your legacy devices'.... Nice bit of Apple spin.

    That term legacy apparently includes their latest phone!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cue a new MS ad ....

      "with this MS Surface I can take ny of my USB devices, plug them in and use them ... you can't do that on a Mac"

      1. cambsukguy

        They did almost say that, they referred to iPads and their lack of 'full' USB.

        I have used the USB on my surface either for a wireless mouse or with a 'docking' station of USB devices hanging off a USB block, usually with a mini HDMI adapter for an external (second) screen, amazing.

        It is also useful when travelling to charge the Surface and simultaneously charge a phone via the USB, wireless pad or directly. Saves using multiple mains adapters too.

    2. M.Zaccone

      Definition of legacy

      I hate it when the term "legacy" is used. In my experience it has always been used to describe systems or products that work and that regular folks are using quite happily but that don't fit with the corner office dwellers vision of the future.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Should have called it an Air

    At least everyone would know where they stood then. Air has no ports and the Pro line has come to a dead end.

  9. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    2017

    Could it finally be The Year Of The Linux desktop?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: 2017

      No. Sorry. Just No.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: 2017

      Hahahahahaha, aaahahahhahahahahahhaahahaah, haha. Ha.

      (Although, with Android on 90% of mobiles, and many more people using a phone instead of a computer, you could argue that linux became more popular than the desktop)

    3. Marcus Fil

      Re: 2017

      or the year that Apple ceases its onanistic nombrilisme and releases a revised laptop worthy of the 'Pro' monicker? You know, one that loses one USB-C port in favour of a 'legacy' USB-3.0, restores the SD socket and (maybe) even supports HDMI-4K without need of bloody dongle. While Apple is there, how about it also supporting up to 32GB RAM and more battery life; perish the thought it might actually be 15% thicker, but 100% more useful out in the real world.

      1. Wade Burchette

        Re: 2017

        "(maybe) even supports HDMI-4K without need of bloody dongle."

        I would prefer a mini-DP++ 1.3 or 1.4 adapter. DisplayPort supports higher resolutions than HDMI and if it is a ++ adapter, supports DP-to-HDMI cables. You can also daisy chain DP monitors.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: 2017

          "daisy chain DP".

          LOL.

  10. Ed Cooper

    I'm not going to defend Apple's huge price rises and failure to provide what a lot of professionals actually desire at this time, neither its embarassing failure to update its Pro desktop machine.

    However credit is due for providing four, full bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 ports (on the 15" machines), for those professionals working with high-definition video this is important, just because you cant perceive why this would be useful to your work flow doesn't mean for some it won't be significant. Being able to hook up two 4K monitors (maybe 5k too!?) with USB 3 pass through and then also have ports available for full bandwidth transfer/management is possibly quite revolutionary for a few true pros.

    For those of us who want to ingest some video/photo from SD cards, I guess it's a pain.

    It's not like Apple invented a new connector here, it's clearly the future standard, if I was spending that sort of money on a new machine I'd probably accept a little bit of short term pain for long term benefit.

    I'd like to see a model with six USB-Cs in the not too distant future.

    1. djstardust Silver badge

      If it's so PRO then why only a maximum of 16gb RAM?

      Can't see too many large 4k videos being edited with that.

      1. tin 2

        Something to do with the intel chip used (and available, as yet). More RAM would = no battery. My understanding of it anyway.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        > If it's so PRO then why only a maximum of 16gb RAM?

        They could have done, but it would have been a fatter, hotter and more power consuming machine, as it seems Apple might be waiting on Intel CPUs to support Low Power DDR4, which they currently don't. A 'Mac Flightcase' might be useful for some, but then if you have access to power on site and are already committed to lugging flight cases around, you might as well start off with desktop-class hardware.

        Indeed, it seems that anyone wanting more choice in their kit would do well to focus their ire on Intel rather than just Apple - for years, Intel have been concentrating in low power rather high performance. Expect greater RAM support in 2018.

        http://www.imore.com/why-doesnt-new-macbook-pro-have-32-gb-ram

        Editing 4K video is certainly doable on 16GB ram, especially if your SSDs are fast enough.

        1. William 3 Bronze badge

          Those non upgradeable SSDs you mean.

  11. Planty Bronze badge
    FAIL

    17 types of adapter...

    Apparently, "it just works".. (as long as you have all 17 adapters).

    https://twitter.com/dbreunig/status/792034409788518401

  12. Lee D Silver badge

    Question: Why is USB-C not backward compatible, or trivially backward-compatible (i.e. pins 1-4 correspond to USB-3, so you can buy the cheapest of cheap adaptors)?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Very cheap USB-C male> USB A female cables can be had for next to nothing, so cost won't remain an issue. However, I would recommend reading up before purchase - quality varies. Some fella who works for Google bought a load of different USB-C cables from Amazon, and found some to be junk or even dangerous.

      http://www.theverge.com/2015/11/5/9674462/usb-type-c-google-engineer-third-party-cables

    2. quartzie

      USB-C Compatibility

      USB-C is in fact fairly compatible with previous standards, but also incorporates high power transmission option, which can be potentially dangerous over low quality cables. Unfortunately, the original standard doesn't sufficiently check cable quality and specs, creating a potential fire hazard

  13. N2 Silver badge

    What a joke

    MacBook Pro

    That means I can install any hard disc I like,

    It means I can install 32Gb of ram

    It must have an ethernet connector

    It must have at least two USB ports & prefably an SD card reader as all my cameras use them

    dongles are a pain in the arse, look un-professional & break

    Thunderbolt/Lightening what ever you want to call it is completely irrelevent because Im never going to have such a device.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: What a joke

      No one will want to call it Lightning because it isn't Lightning. Nor is 'LightPeak' a suitable name for it.

      It is USB-C. USB-C is a standard which covers the physical connector, power handling, and communicating which 'alternate mode' (i.e Thunderbolt, HDMI, DisplayPort, MHL etc) it is to use. Thunderbolt, an Intel technology, is a way of having PCIe kit outside of your laptop, and reduces I/O bottlenecks for some workflows. Not all USB-C kit and cables are capable of all the features and power delivery that USB-C can support.

      Like you, I don't immediately need the kit. However, the people wanting 32GB RAM and very fast SSDs are often the same folk who want to get data in and out of their machine very quickly. I'm more CAD than video, so don't need to shunt video around - but the idea of external GPUs is enticing for me.

      It's also worth noting that a large, fast SSD inside a machine with slow I/O is harder to keep backed up.

  14. tfewster Silver badge
    Flame

    FFS

    They're not effing dongles or even "conversion dongles". They're adapters. Even Apple call them adapters.

    1. David Shaw

      Re: FFS

      I was looking in Leeds city centre last week for an Apple adapter (Thunderbolt to HDMI) but didn't buy it at the AppleStore as it was nearly 30 quid. I know that the top-gear company would have sold me a knock-off for a fiver, but I needed it that day. I did buy it at (sorry) currys/pc world, where it was just £25. I asked why they were cheaper? Currys replied that since Apple raised all their prices last week, they hadn't and so were selling ten fruity laptops per day, at sometimes £400 discount! I hope they have enough in stock.

      personally I buy X & T series core-i5-lenovos (~€200), upgrade them to teh max - whatever they need, new batts(€85), new IPS screens(£60), nice 60GB mSata-SSD (£28) instead of the 3G card, + whatever SATA SSD I have lying around. The 'X' seem just as light as the MBair, have USB2&3(sometimes 3), 8 hours typing on an excellent keyboard, some family members prefer the T-420's, some the T-430. . .

      and I counted at least 5 similar models here on the ISS, but nothing apple?

      http://www.vishvagujarat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NASA-to-study-microbes-aboard-the-international-space-station-jpg-1-Copy.jpg

    2. hardboiledphil

      Re: FFS

      Precisely! I remember using dongles in the past and they had nothing to do with adaptors or convertors - they were an anti piracy measure.

      I half expect the BBC to get technical stuff wrong but the Reg calling them dongles is a bit absurd.

      I thought Apple were taking the pi** when they dropped the ethernet connector but it's getting silly now. Hey Apple listen to what people want NOT what you can make to advertise as fractionally better because this or fractionally better because that...

      Should be a good few years in my MBPro yet but it's not looking like it will get replaced with the latest version at this rate when the time comes. I have a not-cheap HP Elitebook for work and it's terrible in comparison. I mean no back lit keyboard on a 2016 machine...really?????

  15. MrNed
    Flame

    Rotten Apples

    As a designer and media producer, I am a long term Apple user. I wouldn't describe myself as a fanboi (others may) - I use Macs as they are the best tool for my job, and I do - personally - find OSX a much nicer place to work than Windows. Recently though, my patience with Apple, and willingness to pay their premium, has been waning rapidly...

    - I needed a new Mac Pro. I looked at their "dusty bin" models and realised that however clever the design, they are fundamentally flawed because the internal storage is so small (and eye-wateringly expensive), factory upgrade options so limited (and eye-wateringly expensive), and after market upgrading impossible. This forces anyone with serious data storage needs, such as myself, into hooking up a plethora of external drives and breakout boxes, making that sleek dusty-bin look like a sleek dusty-bin on life-support, connected by innumerable cables to piles of boxes, each with its own wall-wart, and contribution to the noise and heat in my studio. All of that external stuff is also expensive thanks to the thunderbolt premium. I figured it would be like buying a Ferrari to look good in, but then putting a tow bar on it and dragging a caravan around everywhere I went! So I ended up buying a refurbed mac pro tower with easily as much grunt in it as a fully upgraded (and pant-wettingly expensive) dusty-bin, but for less than the cost of the base model dusty-bin (which is blown away performance-wise by my refurb). I was pleased to not give Apple money for their stupid little dustbin.

    - I have the last MacbookPro model before they went unibody*. Since they went unibody they have not released a laptop that I would spend the money on: lacking the required connectors, no ability to upgrade RAM or storage, and no prospect of repair in the event of a failure. This is a £2K+ computer with "Pro" in its name, yet the biggest "sell" Apple can make is to try to give me, a pro user (who is presumably the sort of person a "Pro" computer is aimed at) a hard-on over a touch strip with emojis on it? And a voice assistant that I don't want on my phone let alone lurking within my workspace? And no support for current connection formats? Get real Apple, you've just released an expensive and overpowered toy, not a pro computer.

    * I.E. filled with glue

    - I needed to download their previous version OS (El Capitan) for one of my machines because some of the software and hardware I rely on is not compatible with the the latest OS (Sierra). Couldn't find it anywhere; contacted Apple only to be told that since I had not downloaded El Capitan previously (even though I had) I couldn't download it now - it was just not possible to provide me with access, the assistant insisted. So I figured I'd look at Sierra, just to test what did and did not work - the Mac in question would not download the installer because Apple had dropped support for the model in Sierra. So I contacted Apple again, only this time I was told that yes I could download El Capitan, no problem at all, and was given the link to the download. So if my chosen and required 3rd party software and hardware doesn't support their latest OS - tough shit, I'm on my own and can't have access to the previous OS; they'll only do that where they have artificially ceased support for hardware (see below). The refusal to give users a free choice, even between current supported OS's, is just stupid in the extreme, and very user-hostile.

    - There is no fundamental difference between the last two tower MacPro models. Yet the last tower MacPro (the 5,1) will install Sierra whilst the penultimate one (the 4,1) will not. The difference between a 4,1 and 5,1 is so insignificant that a firmware hack can be done to upgrade one to the other. Apple do not provide a tool to do this; the website that hosted the firmware hack tool has been (it would seem) taken offline (I wonder who by...?!) and it is now extremely difficult to hunt down. This proves that Sierra's lack of support for the 4,1 is entirely artificial, and that Apple could - if it so wished - allow 4,1 owners to squeeze a bit more life out of their expensive hardware either by allowing Sierra to install on it, or by officially releasing the firmware update tool to lift a 4,1 to a 5,1.

    - Tied in with the El Capitan / Sierra thing is the ridiculous rate at which Apple now release new versions of their OS. What most would consider a point upgrade, Apple now releases as a full new version, replete with artificial lock-downs and deprecations that have been deliberately designed to cost people money. And the rate of release now seems to be every 9 months or so - it's fucking ridiculous! I'm a pro, not a rich fashion victim! Plus, it means that by the time my software and hardware support the current OS version, Apple are on the verge of releasing yet another new version. This is making Apple's platform untenable as a pro working environment.

    It's damned frustrating - there is no viable alternative for me: Windows is out of the question due to its enforced updating and slurping (not to mention its incessant popups and interruptions). Linux is great if you just want email, browser and office (and dev tools too), but the software and hardware support is still not there for the sorts of things I am doing.

    With a bit of luck, when my current Macs reach EOL, either Apple will have realised (or decided to care about) how hostile they have become to their pro users, and will once more release a proper computer (and hell freezes over), or the developers of the software and hardware I use will have decided to support linux. I'd actually prefer the latter, cos I'd love to walk away from Apple for becoming customer-hostile, just like I've walked from Microsoft and Adobe for the same reason.

    And the real irony? It is pro users such as myself that kept Apple going in the 90s and early 00s - nobody else was buying their stuff! As thanks we get a low-to-mid powered "pro" desktop computer that looks like dusty-bin on life support, and a "pro" laptop computer whose biggest feature is that it makes infantile emojis easy to add to documents. I posit that the Earth has developed a slight eccentricity in its orbit, this being caused by the speed at which Steve Jobs is now spinning in his grave.

    1. djstardust Silver badge

      Re: Rotten Apples

      My 2009 MacPro tower is running Windows 7 64bit ultimate on Samsung SSDs.

      MacOS is nowhere to be found on it. It's just infuriating to use.

      Best PC I have ever owned and still pretty much up there in 2016.

      1. MrNed

        Re: Rotten Apples

        Yeah, but...

        a) Can't get Win7 now (not easily / safely)

        b) Can't run FCPX on Win 7; Premiere is Adobe so out of the question (and I don't like it at all); Vegas is fab for certain things, but can't cope with large, complex projects; DaVinci Resolve is still a work in progress IMO; Avid were one of the first to turn user-hostile, so they can F-off too!

        c) Can't run Motion on Win 7; AfterEffects is more powerful without a doubt, but is Adobe (see b above), and is clunky beyond belief, making even simple motion graphics tasks (such as a basic lower-3rd for instance) into a laborious slog. DaVinci Fusion is too convoluted. Not sure what other options exist on Windows.

        d) As mentioned, I personally like working in OSX and don't find it in the least bit infuriating - far from it, which goes a long way to explaining why I've been willing to pay the Apple premium/idiot tax in the past. Win 7 may be the least infuriating Windows version, but personally I do still find it infuriating (only not so much as 8, 8.1-is-9 and 10)

        But totally agree on one thing: my MacPros are the best machines I've ever owned too, which is why it's so infuriating that Apple appear to be leaving the pro market - the dusty-bin should be called the MacMiniPro, and the new MacbookPro should at best be the MacbookAirPro. Why-oh-why can't they just release a powerful workhorse that runs OSX? Hell, they don't even need to design much - the old MacPro tower is still one of the best designed cases ever (practically and aesthetically... although a bit big too!), so just stick some up-to-date boards and chips in there and release and support it in the OS - Hackintosh enthusiasts manage it, so why not Apple?

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Rotten Apples

          Sorry but I have to call you out on comment a) - you can pick up a copy of Win 7 with ease in a lot of places. Hell I bought one not so long a go for a song on mmoga.com. So that bit is a bit of bollocks.

          You can simply say, you dont like Windows and you dont think they have the programs you need. You can say that. I know this is the modern Internet where you feel like you need to be either a rabid fanboi for something or a rabid anti-fanboi against something, but really you can just state that something doesnt do what you want, so you dont like it. That is acceptable.

          Just saying...

          1. MrNed
            Coat

            Re: Rotten Apples

            @lglethal

            Point taken on Win7 availability - I haven't actually looked for it, but understand that "officially" it is no longer available.

            As to the rest... I was making the point that there is a lot of software out there that - on the surface - appears able to replace the Apple-only tools that I rely on, but that in reality are not viable for me for one reason or another. Had I not done that then I expect a different commentard would have popped up to tell me I was wrong about there being no viable alternatives (and would have gone on to list the software - much of it cross-platform - that I have mentioned). Yet you hear me slagging off Windows, even though the only thing I am "rabid" about here is my frustration with Apple, and the general rise in user-hostility from big IT mega-corps like Apple and Adobe (and, yes, Microsoft too, seeing as you bring it up).

            Just saying...

    2. stu 4

      Re: Rotten Apples

      @MrNed - I'm in exactly the same boat as you - and getting to end of my tether. Fliipped to macs from PCs in around 2004. From Vegas to FCP.

      Now have a house full of em. And since Snow leopard OSX has just got crapper and crapper - each new version now every year, and full of nothing but web 2.0 crap and 'ios' nonsense.

      they tie in 'pro' tools to the latest OS too - so stuff like latest FCPX 10.3 needs 10.11.4+ - why ? F%ck nose - 10.2 is happy on my stable yosemite system, but now in order to upgrade to a point release of FCPX I am expected to update my whole OS.. having done that on my non production macs, I know that will means having to update paragon NTFS, istats, little snitch, and also having to put up with all the new web2.0 crap they added in El Capitan.

      And now we are getting OS updated pushed onto us like windows... this isn't security patches - it's the latest facebook integrated ios crap feature - I don't give a flying sh1t about it - go away!!!

      At present I'm thinking my approach is going to be - stick at yosemite and the software I have until it becomes unviable in 3-4 years then abandon Apple and retrain in windows crap.

      I just don't get it... all we did was every support them - stuff like FCP MADE apple. now they don't give a sh1t. well - f^ck em they are getting now more money from me for HW.

    3. Stork Bronze badge

      Re: Rotten Apples

      I am quite with you. I also quite like OS X (I also think it topped at Snow Leopard, I can't think of anything I care for added since).

      If my 2015 MBP crashed tomorrow I would probably have to go and buy another MacBook of some sort - but I think I better start testing Linux and a photography setup on the old iMac

  16. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Touch bar origins

    The Touch Bar is basically a hardware implementation of the Microsoft Ribbon, surely? People have kind of grudgingly accepted the Ribbon, but I still think it is aimed at people with good visual pattern recognition. If you have multiple context menus in which things move around, the muscle memory of the traditional Mac user isn't going to work.

  17. Paul

    I recall one reviewer saying the new Macbook Pro is really a Macbook Air-plus model. If they'd called it that, people would be delighted.

  18. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Couldn't one just buy a hub? USB-C should have adequate power to drive several USB 2/3 ports at full draw and have adequate bandwidth for several USB 2 devices.

  19. John Robson Silver badge

    What they need to do...

    Is put an HDMI port and a USB3 port or two in an optional power brick.

  20. Anonymous C0ward

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B01ANITHVQ/ref=ya_aw_od_pi?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Should solve all your problems for when you're at your desk. If I'm out I'm not going to have many peripherals with me. I've found some dongles I like better than the Apple ones too, they're metal to match the case and they don't have an extra dangling wire.

  21. Gis Bun

    Errr. Dongle made in China and probably cost Apple nearly bupcus. Maybe it's all the R&D they are trying to recover.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Maybe it's all the R&D they are trying to recover."

      How much R&D does it take to come up with DRMed connectors?

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