Apart from a redesign, Apple is expected to bring back several ports to the 2021 MacBook Pro, which the company removed when the 2016 MacBook Pro family was introduced. Bringing back old ports will likely appease Apple’s oldest customer base, who probably felt like they got stabbed in the back when they were forced to purchase accessories like dongles just to use the USB-C ports on the current-gen models. Given below are the ports that we expect will make a return, delivering a more versatile notebook package in return.
MagSafe, which is considered the hallmark of portable Macs, was removed in 2016, with Apple putting USB-C in its place. With the M1 iMac also featuring a magnetic cable which Apple surprisingly does not call MagSafe, we are growing with increasing confidence that the 2021 MacBook Pro models will also ship with a similar connector. Earlier, Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple will restore MagSafe to two upcoming MacBook Pro models, so it should be an exciting couple of months to look out for.
SD Card Reader
Another port that Apple removed which would have angered creative professionals was the removal of the SD card reader. Without it, users had to rely on USB-C dongles, which would often feature a combination of USB-A ports, multiple display ports, an RJ45 jack, and of course, the SD card slot. Professional cameras utilize use SD cards for storing data and the removal of the card reader made things complicated for editors, and other professionals who are used to carrying around swappable media.
The HDMI standard is not expected to be discontinued for a significantly long period, and revisions continue to arrive that increase resolution and framerate support for advanced monitors focused on either color-accurate work or gaming. Kuo previously predicted that Apple would bring back the HDMI port, which will be beneficial for many users since once more, they will not be required to carry around dongles.
Though Apple has embraced USB-C in its Pro Display XDR, keep in mind that this professional monitor costs $4999 without the $999 stand. Most users would prefer using their older monitors to hook up the 2021 MacBook Pro models. A lot of these monitors continue to use HDMI, and since several customers are not going to fork over a ton of money for a separate display just to connect to a MacBook Pro, we are glad that this port could also mark a return.
What Should of Port Layout Should You Expect?
The port layout is just as important as the kind of ports you have on a portable Mac. It can change the way how you position the MacBook Pro on your desk after it is connected to your monitor, especially when you will connect additional wired peripherals and a monitor to the machine. According to stolen 2021 MacBook Pro schematics, a single HDMI, Thunderbolt 3 port, and an SD card reader will be present on the right side, while MagSafe and two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports will be present on the left.
Three USB-C ports will be sufficient for the majority of users as it is doubtful that all of these will be populated at the same time. However, we feel that the positioning of MagSafe, HDMI, and a single USB-C port on the left side would have been a better choice, but that is our personal preference, and our opinions can change after seeing the 2021 MacBook Pro in the flesh.
Hopefully, when the new models reportedly launch in the second half of this year, Apple would have addressed a myriad of complaints from its loyal user base. Do you think these are adequate ports for a portable Mac, or do you feel something else should be added? Share your thoughts down in the comments.