Real reason for lack of SD slot and USB-A in new 2016 MBPs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by trifid, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    I haven't seen this discussed much, so I was wondering if someone saw this as well, one of the main issues most people face with the SSD Macbooks is lack of space, and a way to deal with that was expanding storage via USB or SD memory cards such as the ones below. Now that both SD card slot and regular USB ports are gone, Apple is effectively killing these expansion options and forcing people to go through Apple for storage, same as with RAM.

    This would seem consistent with Apple's recent questionable practices such as soldering RAM on Mac Mini for no reason other than to force people to buy RAM from Apple rather than 3rd parties.

    Interestingly SD cards were getting much better recently, better speeds and memory quality, same as with USB3 nano memory, now Apple killed them completely.

    This coupled with Apple's exorbitant dongle prices and macbook prices and reports of Apple focused on maximizing profits leads me to think Apple is doing this in part for profits and to limit expandability even further and not completely for a seemingly noble option of trying to standardize the new usb-c.



    And USB option:

  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The 'real' reason that the laptop is too thin to accommodate the card reader or USB-A ports and Apple decided that they don't want to sacrifice their vision in order to incorporate those features. I think this is much simpler and more reasonable explanation than conspiracy theories about Apple trying to increase their revenues this way.
  3. trifid thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    An SD card is pretty thin, it doesn't seem that impossible to fit it in though.

    And Apple soldering RAM on Mac mini, there is no justification on thinness there, it's just a profit scheme.
  4. therealseebs macrumors 65816


    Apr 14, 2010
    As I've said before: Getting thinner and thinner until you can't do your job anymore was a fatal illness, not a visionary design decision.

    If your vision is "what if the computer didn't work", it should be sacrificed to the cause of making a machine that's more useful.

    Also, it's not really a "conspiracy theory" given how stridently Apple's stuck to their guns on "no SD cards in any phone ever", while everyone else's phones take SD cards.
  5. Capt T macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2010
    Would imagine there will be USB-C option like your USB-A one at some point.
  6. jjlannoo Suspended

    Oct 8, 2011
    I do laugh these days when they tout thinness at keynotes. It almost comes off like self parody
  7. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Obsolescence by design.

    Although I will add that some at Apple surely truly believe that less is more—which it is, within reason. Or that having but a few very functional ports of the same design makes perfect sense, rather than a hodge-podge of single-use legacy ports.

    From that standpoint retaining the 3.5mm headphone jack was a major misstep. If also excellent example of why they should have also retained ports like the SD card slot for now. Because they both work beautifully, everyone is accustomed, AND there are few to no good alternatives at the moment.

    Only in Apple's insular world could this transition seamlessly work with but a few hiccups. Meanwhile their customers are left out in the real world to deal with the mess they've intentionally created. This same arrogance and lack of concern was more than demonstrated on Thursday, October 27, 2016 by omission and not one word of their greater 'Pro' product line and what one might vaguely expect.

    Of course an iPad has precious few ports. Which seems the regrettable direction they are headed with the Macintosh, and what it once best stood for and could do.
  8. fxbeta macrumors member


    Sep 23, 2014
    Those look hideous. They offend Jony's sensitivities. A couple of cheap dongles will be far more elegant. Pro's love dongles.
  9. Howard2k macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2016

    The lack of understanding of basic economic concepts on this forum is staggering.

    Of course Apple is driven by profits. And if Apple genuinely believed that they could get even more money for the MBPro line by raising the rates further then they would do that too.
  10. trifid thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    Well duh, I meant prioritizing maximizing profit margins while neglecting other things that are now backfiring and making Apple do damage control by offering price cuts on products just announced a week ago.
  11. xWhiplash macrumors 68000

    Oct 21, 2009
    Um, is USB-C an Apple only port? Why does removing USB-A and SD card make Apple accessories a priority? I can get one from third parties now instead of dealing with unique single-use ports.
  12. RetinaFarts macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2016
    If only 1% of users use the SD card slot, would you sacrifice speakers for 100% of users, for that 1% of users that need an SD card slot? If you look at the tear downs, the speakers go where an SD card slot might consider living.
  13. Howard2k macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2016

    ok, so let's take the economics out of the equation then, and we'll assume you understand the basics.

    From a tech perspective, is it impossible to make something like this:
    using USB-C?

    And that's a genuine question, I don't know. But if understand your post correctly, you're suggesting that Apple is intentionally moving to USB-C in order to prevent people from using these little USB things. So it's absolutely impossible that a manufacturer will come up with a USB-C equivalent to this product?
  14. Mac Addict macrumors member

    Mac Addict

    Feb 12, 2008
    Can they fit a superdrive on that too, can't believe they ever took that thing off their computers. CRAZY, just who do they think they are.
  15. trifid thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    That's hard to answer, but it's likely hard or impossible or not financially viable for a 3rd party to do. USB-C is about the same size as lightning, so far in a world of near 1 billion iOS devices, with plenty of people complaining about limited storage there has not been a single solution that has storage built-in into that tiny lightning connector like the example above. I don't think the technology is here yet to put minuscule storage on USB-C either.

    Edit, for reference:

  16. MattSeven macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2008
    In returning to these forums (as I do with each new laptop I buy), I am surprised by this SD card discussion. It's a wasted slot in my household. I'm glad it's gone.

    I think the future (especially for "pros") is wireless, not portable storage media. My camera (which has an SD card) can transfer files directly to my computer wirelessly - without a wifi router. It also connects to the laptop by wire. I have never taken the card out of the camera. I can't imagine that people in the future will reject wireless data transfer because they love pulling cards from one device and inserting them into another one.

    Apple's timing might not be perfect, but I don't think they're entirely delusional or exploitative.
  17. Kudos6612 Suspended

    Aug 10, 2016
    What are you talking about op, in 2-3 years when most everything new will be using a usb-c port you will be looking at your older MacBook claiming that Apple "shouldn't have put all these usb-a ports that will be of no use." If they kept it the same it would be a much slower adoption. If they had put only one usb c port and kept the rest you will moan and complain as well.

    There will be usb-c memory drives so quit complaining. Apple literally does not care about an sd card reader
  18. Capt T macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2010
  19. Kudos6612 Suspended

    Aug 10, 2016
    There are a ton of lightning micro sd card adapters and even lightning cables with sd memory built in I think op is new to Apple products. Sd storage will never be as fast as built in memory so I don't understand your point.
  20. Howard2k macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2016
    Lightning is proprietary to Apple. And the MBPro doesn't have a lightning slot. USB-C is an industry standard.
    I think you'll find that we'll see "Sandisk Cruze Fit" type USB-C media pretty soon. Adoption rate is low for USB-C right now, but that won't be forever. Many vendors are starting to ship USB-C ports. Right now there are no computer shipping with lightning are there? So I think the only progression path for the storage media companies is to USB-C, not lightning. Perhaps both, but almost certainly not lightning at the expense of USB-C.

    My opinion is that this is Apple just trying to push the tech envelope. They like to think of themselves as a company that pushes boundaries with tech adoption and I'm sure they anticipate that they will piss people off in the process. Remember in the recent presentation they made a deal about the MacBook being the first laptop to ship with built in wifi? i'm sure in 10 years from now we'll hear that Apple was also the first manufacturer to ship a laptop with only USB-C ports too.

    But I could be wrong.
  21. trifid thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    I remember that, particularly the test they did, someone literally having an iBook in their hands and jumping off a platform to test the resilience of the wifi during the drop. Good times ;)
  22. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    Pretty much, especially at this point.

    I understand how big of a deal it was back in the day in the early 2000's and up into the MacBook Air era, but now? I think technology has progressed enough that it can be thin and functional but I don't understand putting the thickness of the device over all else. I'm perfectly happy with my 2013 rMBP and likely will be for quite a few more years. It was an impressive change from my 2008 13" Aluminum MacBook and from the polycarbonate hunk I had before that. But I think we're good now, not that I want to stand in the way of innovation or anything but has anyone seen the current lineup up Razer laptops? Those are what impress me more so than the new MacBooks at this point.

    This is when it was something to be talked about... This is what Apple was all about back then.
    I should note that I still own an iBook G4, and I also owned an old Dell Inspiron just like the one in this picture, had Windows ME on it later upgraded to XP. No built in WiFi, noisy dual fans, thick and heavy as crap. Meanwhile that iBook is still ticking and even to this day looks good.

  23. protoxx, Nov 5, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016

    protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
    Too many yes men at Apple. Imagine being a plain old software/hardware engineer who is well liked and very good at his job telling Jony Ivy that he/she disagrees. They would be out of there faster than Eliot Loudermilk.
  24. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    Unproven and doubtful, but OK, let's take that as an assumption.

    Ok, although I'd be willing to bet that an outboard USB drive (spinner or flash) is a lot more common.

    Absolutely incorrect. They are killing nothing, but they ARE requiring owners of existing outboard memory expansion to buy an extra cable or gadget. That's hardly "killing" anything.

    The move to USB-C simplifies the engineering, reduces part counts (or at least variety), and assuming that USB-C becomes widely adopted, which IMHO seems likely, will open the door to all sorts of gadgets such as a wee tiny SD-card reader. If there's no market for such a thing, we can conclude that you are one of the few people who care about SD card readers. (I certainly don't, but I don't pretend to know whether I represent a majority or minority.)

    As for soldered RAM, while it's unfortunate, I can see why the decision was made from an engineering standpoint. It's hardly an "evil empire" sort of thing.
  25. CodeSpyder macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    Your title implied that you actually know the real reason.

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