What is the future of SD cards (and slots)?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Pangalactic, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Pangalactic macrumors 6502


    Nov 28, 2016
    This is a serious question, because honestly I have no idea what Apple was thinking when removing the SD card slot.
    With thunderbolt ports, it at least makes sense - sure, they're quite uncomfortable now, but they offer a lot of advantages.

    What is supposed to replace the SD cards? The cameras will still need some form of storage, and there is no point in sticking HDDs or SSDs in them, so they will most likely have flash memory anyway. So unless all camera producers slap a thunderbolt 3 on each one of them (and even then, you would still need to carry a thunderbolt 3 cable), you will still need to somehow connect the SD cards to your laptop.

    So...what is this more convenient thing that is supposed to replace the SD cards in the future?
  2. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
  3. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    This may be of interest:

    Apple likes the idea of wireless transfers, and so do I. The problem is that this isn't widespread yet, and many are not extremely fast. Some SD cards have read/write speeds over 250 MB/s. I think it will be a while before cameras reach that point with WiFi transfers. But when we get there though, it should be pretty awesome. The flexibility of a transfer route of camera-to-computer or camera-to-cloud-to-computer or camera-to-NAS is a nice benefit as well.

    I'm completely fine with wireless transfers and looking forward to when extremely fast transfer speeds become commonplace, but I hope camera makers continue to use the SD card. I would personally prefer to be able to choose what quality NAND I use with my camera, and be able to pay for exactly what size I want. Further, the ability to rapidly swap cards is something I like.

    It's also worth noting that I am about to buy a 2016-13, and because it lacks the SD card slot (which I often use as a secondary hard drive,) I'm likely going to buy a model with a larger capacity SSD. This obviously benefits Apple & Samsung :)
  4. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I haven't used the SD card slot on any of my computers for ages as I tend to just plug my camera in with a USB cable to transfer the pictures off it.

    I started doing that when I had a dodgy SD card that had a loose write protect tab (it tended to flip to write protect when I put the card back in my camera), and have just carried on doing it

    When I got my new rMBPro I just got a USB-C to USB cable and use that
  5. Superspeed500 macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2013
    The future is wirless, so I do not belive there will be any replacment for SD cards. SD cards do also get damaged or lost too easly in my opinion.
  6. bhayes444 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2013
    Also, as I'm sure others on here will attest to, some people have cameras that don't use SD cards anyway so they probably don't care much about the removal of the SD card slot.
  7. Karnicopia, Feb 19, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017

    Karnicopia macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2015
    I always just plugged in a cable as I don't want to risk screwing up my SD card and lose the photos. I'd rather keep it in the camera and just plug in the camera or why not just let it synch wirelessly, I back up my computer wirelessly. If you need it fast hook up a USB C cable, if you don't care about speed let it synch wirelessly. I don't see a problem with any of that.

    The counter question would be what are you supposed to do with a SD card if your camera has say a CF card? The follow up question to that being if everyone isn't using the same format cards why would a universal standard be the worse option?
  8. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    There lies the problem with building large amounts of memory into the camera, especially with heavy usage of low-binned (3-bit) TLC NAND in consumer-grade devices, given building a large amount of (2-bit) MLC (or (1-bit) SLC) into the camera could easily double the price, and double out-of-pocket repair costs.

    I agree the future is wireless, but I'm interested in what the most suitable alternative to the SD card would be. Right now, I think that would be smaller removable SSDs that go in the camera (which isn't all that different from a SD card, and might wind up being less reliable in the long run.)
  9. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    My world traveling friends fill many CF and SD cards on the road. Still stuck with offloading to Macbook Pros, and externals or a Nexto or Samsung T3 (their current favorite external). Wireless is not fast enough when they need 2 copies of a day or two shooting big Raw files.

    If they could plug a T3 directly into the camera, it might get interesting, but not yet.
  10. therealseebs macrumors 65816


    Apr 14, 2010
    People keep saying the "future" is wireless. I am reminded of Psion, whose PDAs had horrible connectivity problems, but they said they weren't going to fix that, because bluetooth would solve all of that. They basically failed entirely before bluetooth was commercially viable.

    And now we have bluetooth, but... Wireless is still slower than actual hardware connections, and that isn't really changing, because actual hardware connections are getting faster too. Wireless speed might double, but so does non-wireless speed.

    I guess it's mostly "so get a card reader", but I really did like the built-in SD slot thing. This was one of the many factors in why my primary personal working laptop isn't a Mac anymore.
  11. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Some cameras use SD cards, but pro-level cameras from Canon and Nikon use CF cards, so loss of the SD card on the new MacBook Pros is not an issue for some shooters.
  12. ajcgn macrumors regular


    Oct 19, 2014
    Toronto, Ontario
    If wireless is the future, then the future is crap. I can't tell you how many times I've been unable to sync my Iphone or Ipad to my my MBP over Wifi and had to resort to plugging them in.
    But I guess not enough people will miss the SD slot, so I will eventually have to plug my camera in as well.

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11 February 19, 2017