Apple’s recent MacBook Pro dongle debacle prompted a swift and exceptionally vocal outcry from creatives around the world. Is the backlash unfounded?
Top image via @dbreunig
On October 27th, 2016, Apple announced its new lineup of MacBooks for 2016. Unfortunately for Apple, most of the buzz in the press didn’t focus on new features like the Touch Bar, but rather the company’s choice to move to a dongle/adaptor-based system for all input and output jacks.
Most anyone in the video industry planning on purchasing the new MacBook Pro (and there are plenty) will need to separately purchase the required adapter; your drives, cards, and HDMI cords will soon be worthless without a dongle. Let’s take a look at how the story unfolded.
That Darn Dongle
The outrage was rooted in two factors: Price and performance. As far as price, a previously unnecessary dongle will set you back as much as $100. Regarding performance, dongle product reviews are pretty much split 50/50 on Apple’s website.
Either way, the need for dongles prevents the new MacBook Pro from being the one-stop media tool users expect. Creatives around the globe cried foul at a perceived step backwards in product development from one of the world’s leading tech companies. For example:
Apple’s fastest growing product category. pic.twitter.com/d1sel4N5Yc
— Drew Breunig (@dbreunig) October 28, 2016
— Mekki MacAulay (@mekki) October 30, 2016
— Travis Wright (@teedubya) October 30, 2016
— Aaron (@Benaar) October 27, 2016
— Joseph Angelo Todaro (@Jatodaro) November 5, 2016
— Mike Koch (@ThatGuyMikeKoch) November 7, 2016
— Andreas Vichr (@avichr) November 6, 2016
Aside from pricing and overall annoyance, the dongles have been reported as simply not working very well. This unedited review explains what happens when you try to plug an HDMI into a USB-C and then attempt to simultaneously browse the web. Spoiler alert: The dongle completely shuts down Wi-Fi. The video is long, but the malfunctions begin at 5:46.
One good thing came from the sudden hostile reaction to this #donglemadness: Apple quickly announced a significant dongle price drop. While each type is priced differently, all of the different dongles have dropped significantly from their starting price.
Obviously, even with all the dongle drama, the new MacBook Pro isn’t going away any time soon. But given the almost universal acclaim showered upon the upcoming Microsoft Surface Studio, it is possible that Apple is losing its grip on the creative market — and perhaps losing sight of the ideals and design philosophy that gave them that dominance in the first place.
Have you experienced any dongle trouble yet? If so, share your tales of woe in the comments below!