Macbook Air ports crazy

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by barbbiggs, May 27, 2012.

  1. barbbiggs, May 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2012

    barbbiggs macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2012
    I went to the trouble to join this forum in sheer frustration about somewhere to put this, I think serious complaint, about the Macbook Air.

    Why, and how on earth did it happen, that the Macbook Air USB port is so close to the power port that you can't use both at once without a cable. And who wants to carry yet another cable around with all those ipod, ipad, iphone chargers, earphones etc?

    So, you can either charge your Macbook Air, or use the USB internet key and be on the net. Not both at once!!!

    And this is entirely unnecessary. If they'd moved the USB port about a quarter of an inch away, you could do both at once.

    Of all companies, how has this happened with Mac?

    I'd really love to know if anyone has an idea about how this occured?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You can use a USB cable perfectly fine while using the Magsafe port.

    Apple does not control the form factor of USB internet keys made by other companies. Perhaps you should ask the company to make a thinner USB modem.
  3. Queen6, May 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2012

    Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    You simply need to turn the Mag Safe around so the trailing power cord is pointing away from you. The USB port will then be free to use ;)
  4. Oli3000 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2009
  5. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I am not sure how you're getting this so wrong since any USB cable fits perfectly fine with a power cable at the same time. It sounds like a PEBKAC problem.
  6. DollaTwentyFive macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2010
    Parts Unknown
  7. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    I'd laugh if the OP hadn't actually tried this!
  8. Dustman macrumors 65816


    Apr 17, 2007
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I don't get this either. I guess the OP is using some kind of 3g/4g wireless internet adaptor that is over-sized? I have quite a lot of USB cables and they all fit just fine along with the power adaptor. As pointed out you could use the port on the other side, but that could also be a problem with an over-sized device if you want to use the thunderbolt/mini displayport connector.

    The simplest solution might be to just buy a USB extension cord and plug your device into that.
  10. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
  11. LaWally macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2012
    Strange how so often people's first reaction is to fly into a rant when they encounter a problem instead of taking a few minutes to think the problem through. Some obvious and simple solutions were available here.
  12. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    That's our modern-quick-fix-2-minute-noodles modern society. It's lamentable.
  13. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Apple computer ports are built to industry standardized specifications and the physical limitations of their products.

    So with the USB ports, Apple has designed each port to the allowed distance between each adjacent port while still ensuring the small and thin profile of their MacBook Air.

    It's not really Apple's fault that a lot of other device manufacturers do not account for these standardized specifications when designing their products.
  14. sarah11918 macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
    My SD card reader would not fit if the MagSafe plug is in (in either orientation) because it's like a bulky flash drive. My solution was to get a model like this:


    I also keep one of these with me, which yes, is another cable, but it's pretty short and fits in my external backup hard drive case just fine, so it's not a big deal to have:

    Even when things do fit in directly, if I'm on a plane or somewhere else out on the road, using this little cable gives a bit more flexibility in case the machine gets bumped. I don't have to worry about an unsafe eject or as it sometimes seems with a flash drive, that the thing might snap off if jostled.

    I pretty much use the extension cable for every USB thing I plug in, except the card reader above that has its own.
  15. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Don't both models of the Air have another USB port on the other side? That one could be used for bulkier USB devices.
  16. TyroneShoes2 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    If you look closely at the left edge of the MBA, you will see that it is shaped like a wedge. The physical size of the internal connectors was the limiting factor regarding thickness. Apple engineers decided "well, we can't make it any thinner than that, but we can make it wedge-shaped to make it thinner on the front edge". And this required that the connectors be moved as far north as is practical. There is no pooch-screwing regarding this design choice; it is both clever as well as revolutionary.

    Once again, Apple leads; others follow. There are at least a half-dozen laptops out there now that have completely co-opted the form-factor and design of the MBA, which is selling like hotcakes, and setting records both for Apple and for the computer industry.

    People seem to take for granted many of the things that Apple has pioneered commercially, from the mouse, the plastic-encased floppy, the GUI, and almost everything else you see today or yesterday on almost any modern computer. Every single laptop uses a design with the keyboard pushed up near the screen, and below that a platform for the user's wrists and a trackpad. No one ever figured out this no-brainer design choice until Apple did it; before that, the keyboard was down near the user, with dead space between the keyboard and the screen, and no wrist rests. As usual, it took Apple to figure this out. If it weren't for revolutionary and bold thinking like this, we might all still be using the command line.

    As for USB devices fitting into where the ports are, Apple computers rule there too. As well as being accessible with the also-clever mag-safe connector turned around, the USB connectors in Apple products are usually always flush, meaning that almost any USB drive design fits every time. I have to sneaker-net a lot of stuff at work among various Dell and HP computers, and almost every single one of them for years has recessed the USB connector on the front panel. I have responded by grinding down the front part of the case on my flash drives on a grinding wheel to accommodate that. Were those Apple computers, I never would have had to resort to that.

    I'm not a fanboy and am not saying Apple is perfect; not putting a USB port on the edge of the iMac is just one glaring ergonomic defect of many, and they have bought and effectively euthanized or at least de-nutted a lot of companies and good ideas that were more valuable (to us as users) on their own, before Apple meddled with them. Just talk to a Logic or FCP user about that. Every company makes stupid decisions, but Apple is about the only company that makes inspired, revolutionary, segment-leading decisions as well.

    And there is very little to complain about regarding the MBA, other than it is the first computer that I ever considered putting a cover on, and that was only because it's design is uncharacteristically cold and unwieldy; it is difficult to pick up a laptop shaped like a giant meat cleaver blade with one hand, no matter how light and thin it is. Having a grippy cover helps dull the pain of that.

    But I would suggest finding a real issue to complain about. It sounds like you have no earthly idea how lucky you are that Apple has designed your computer, as well as greatly influenced the design of every other modern computer in a positive way.
  17. falterego macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2008
    Southern California
    I have several USB drives ranging from 8GB to 64GB. All of them can be plugged in with the magsafe charger plugged in at the same time. My only problem drive is one of the 32GB drives, this one to be exact. It's housing is just too big. That is not Apple's fault, and having a second port on the opposite side is an instant solution. I also have the external superdrive which connects without an issue.
  18. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003

    While I'm sure Apple considered and tested the spacing between the Magsafe and USB ports, they can't design around every single USB device out there. I have a Sprint 3G modem and while it's a little bit of a tight fit (they touch but do not exert a lot of pressure on each other) it works just fine on my 11-inch MBA:

  19. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011
    we still need to back up and remind this poor chap.

    there's a USB port on the opposite side of the MBA as well. there's 2. that means, if your device is too large to go beside the magport...

    use the other side!
  20. classicaliberal macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2011
    He probably doesn't want that big honking thing next to his external mouse on that side of the computer.

    Bottom line, when you're buying compact machines, you pay a small price on things like this. Be prepared to adapt! It's a great machine, and Apple didn't design anything 'incorrectly' any more than the dongle manufacturer did. They just didn't design their products around the other!
  21. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    If anything, this is an accessory problem. Lots of computers (desktops included) have USB ports quite close together. Accessory manufacturers should recognize this and design their devices accordingly. USB accessories that are substantially wider than a USB port and are just bad design...

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