The New MacBook’s Lack of Ports is Actually a Feature

new_macbooksNot being much of a tablet fan, I prefer to sit at the kitchen table or on the couch with a laptop. But both of my laptops—a 15″ MacBook Pro, and a 2015 Razer Blade—are so thoroughly connected to peripherals at this point (external monitors, speakers, USB audio interfaces, mechanical keyboards, an Oculus Rift, etc.) that I find I often don’t feel like going through the trouble of liberating them. But that wasn’t always the case. Before I got the Razer Blade, my personal machine was a MacBook Air, and I made it a point to almost never connect it to anything so that it was always ready to be taken anywhere I needed it.

The new MacBooks are obviously optimized for portability which, in my experience, is not all that compatible with a myriad of ports and cables. But a computer that encourages the use of wireless peripherals is a laptop that will almost always be within reach.

If you need to edit images, mix audio, encode video, play games, or compile a massive code base—and if you need to do so while in the field—then the new MacBook is obviously not for you (personally, I’d recommend a new 13″ MacBook Pro Retina). But if you already have either a desktop, or even a high-end laptop that you treat as a desktop, you might find an ultra-portable laptop that’s always ready to be opened, packed, or passed to a friend to be surprisingly practical.

I also think Apple occasionally creates products whose primary purpose is to force the future’s hand. I have one of the very first MacBook Pros with a Retina display, and at the time I got it back in 2012, I really didn’t think it was ready for widespread adoption. But three years later, I wouldn’t even consider buying a laptop without a high-density display—Mac or PC. Something tells me that in another three years, cables will be much less acceptable than they are today, and not without a sense of irony, we will look back on the new MacBook as one of the harbingers of a far more convenient paradigm of computing.