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Friday, 28 October 2016


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I can't help but think that the touch bar is just a crutch for people who can't be bothered to learn keyboard shortcuts.

As others have said, many feel the same way about eliminating the head phone jack on the IPhone. Corporate pretensions first, customer's convenience ... whenever.

Or pony up a few hundred for the special sauce ear phones. I mean if you have to ask about price, not sure we (Apple) want you.

I know myself well enough to know that I would be annoyed anew every single time I had to stand up and crane my neck over the monitor to see the back of the machine just to insert or remove a card. Just like I'm annoyed every single time I have to swap a USB cable on my iMac because Apple thinks it's cool somehow to not give you enough USB ports

I bought a brand new iMac last November. The four USB ports on the back of the machine are truly annoying; I bought a USB hub to deal with it which means I have a mess of USB cables on my desk.

I thought the SD card slot on the back would be annoying but I found that it's pretty easy to find by touch. The bigger problem with it is that I'm very good at leaving the card in the slot and forgetting about it (out of sight, out of mind). Many is the day that I turn on my camera to be greeted by "No SD card inserted." And of course, those are the days that Big Foot makes his appearance.

I was considering getting one of the new systems, but after seeing them I'm holding onto my four year old MacBook Pro. I agree with all the reasons you mentioned plus for me the big one is they kept the RAM limit at 16GB. Hard to see how they can claim a machine with limited memory is "Pro". So I'll keep using my Hackintosh with it's 64GB of RAM and the old, but still fully functional, 2012 MacBook Pro. With cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud having two systems is surprisingly workable.

Apple does sometimes get overzealous and sacrifice aesthetics for usability (iOS 7 is a good example), but in general they focus on what 80% of people need and they're not afraid to clean house from time to time.

My guess with the SD card slot is that more than 80% (90%?, 98%?) of Mac users never use them. Probably don't even know it's there or what it's for.

I don't know anyone with a point and shoot camera anymore, most everyone takes photos with their phones these days. A lot of new cameras come with WiFi, and my DSLR came with a cable that I can plug directly into a USB port. My grandmother takes her camera to Walgreens, where they print right off the camera. She's never even plugged it into a computer.

For the record, I do use the SD slot, and I just bought a "like new" previous generation MacBook Pro 1/2 price now that the new ones are out, so I'll keep using it for a few more years.

So while this is a small inconvenience to a small number of people, my guess is that the overall market will shrug and move on, if they notice at all.

If you are going to buy a discontinued model, then don't wait.
They may be snapped up sooner than you can spit.

Maybe I have misunderstood something about USB-C, but for each USB device Apple seems to expect people will buy new USB-C devices or carry a bunch of adaptors. As a minumum, I can imagine on to connect my USB card reader that doesn't need replacing, and another adaptor for a backup drive that's good for 2-3 years, but maybe I want to charge my phone too? OK, the USB-C to USB adaptors seem cheap, but think of the clutter - and imagine the day you forget to pack them.

Very much like you, I think the discontinued MBPs are a much better deal.

"The new MacBook Pros don't have SD card slots"

For a photography hobbyist (or pro, I suppose) what is the point of a travel laptop that you can't easily use to back up your images while traveling so that you have a copy besides the small and easy to lose SD cards? I guess I'll be holding onto my 3-yr. old Macbook "Air" travel laptop a lot longer. It may be a bit dinged up and the screen a bit scratched (after multiple trips, including two safaris), but still just works. And it has a built-in SD slot. 'nuf said.

Mike, thank you. That was one of the first things that jumped out at me. I guess I'll just have to make my MacBook Pro last as long as I do.
As far as having enough USB ports on a MacBook Pro - two, which is what my mid-2014 15" high-end MBP has, is barely adequate at most times and insufficient at others.

I am not too worried about the USB-C plugs because my 15" Retina most of time sits around with just one cable attached to it: power. Of course it does have an SD slot. I am really surprised that Apple went cold turkey on that one...

Your screen on your desk will plug into USB-C sooner or later. LG has shown us and others will follow. Basically, the VGA and HDMI plugs are dead except for office beamers and those who live in the past. If you are indeed an office guy, chances are you had to lug around adapters anyway to be sure you can always connect: something to VGA, something HDMI, something to DVI and something to DisplayPort - depending on what that something is in your notebook. So, now that something is USB-C; big deal.

If I really think about it the only loss is the SD slot. Everything else is a temporary and minor inconvenience.

What you said. Particularly about the pile o adapters. For your imac, have you considered buying a powered usb hub, and permanently plugging in all your stuff to it?

The keyboard strip strikes me as a useful innovation, but if they are drifting in the direction of no-travel keys, I'm going to be pretty unhappy. What I wouldn't give for a real physical, distinctly clicky, yet totally silent keyboard. Even the soft pat pat pat of my fingers on the screen keyboard on this ipad is just too annoying. Certainly if I got a Surface Studio, I'd never use the on screen keyboard if I could help it.

The best innovation I've seen is Microsoft's new spinner thingy, that came with the new Surface Studio. There have been earlier versions of such things, but it seems like they really nailed it. I think I'd be tempted to get a usb footpedal to go with it (they are made for dictation transcription) to take care of as much right, left, and middle clicking as possible. In fact, I'm seriously considering both as an adjunct to my primary computer.

I don't disagree with your conclusions. The new MacBook Pros aren't cheap and a refurb just-discontinued will be a lot. That said, I'd wait and try out the new one and read the reviews. One of the problems with Macs is that they last a long time and in five years you may wish you spent the few extra bucks. But depending on your needs all the dongles you'll have to buy for the new one will add to the cost.

Haw! Well I've never had a Mac that featured an SD card slot. My good ol' souped-up, long-discontinued 17" MacBook Pro sure ain't got one. Nor my (also long-discontinued-but-still-outstanding) Mac Pro desktop. Since I don't travel with either I guess it's never been an issue for me.

What I find more troublesome is the whole external port/connectivity dance that Apple has been doing for years. First they shove everyone to Firewire 400 (for the better). Then they discontinue Firewire 400 for 800 (for the slightly-better). Then they abandon Firewire altogether for USB and "Thunderbolt". Now it's all Thunderbolt ("USB-C"?)! I'm suspecting that Apple has a subsidiary that makes plug adapters. It's very troublesome and doesn't really solve problems. Pure entropy as I see it.

And the touch strip on the new MacBook Pro? Well, I guess it's high-time those useless function keys (circa 1990's) became extinct. But becoming replaced with an iPhone keyboard augmentation? Really? I dunno. I think I'll hold onto my Mac gear for now. It's fine.

Mike, Every word you said rings true to me.
Very frustrating, And as you say shows not so veiled contempt for the people who use their products-- especially those who use them for work. The just previous machine would be absolutely fine especially if used with a second display.
But the new one does have the wide gamut retina display, and is available with a beefy graphics card to run any displays you desire.
Both are wonderful machines, and each would be better if not so self consciously' designed'
When you are very successful, it can sometimes lead you to think you ALWAYS know better.
When asked about the dearth of ports Jony Ives answer was 'We believe in a wireless future' . You now can't even charge your iPhone from your computer without a dongle.

The other issue is that most mac laptops come standard with small SSD's The SD card slot was very convenient for adding 'disk capacity' for data that didn't need extreme speed.
They have made the machine more beautiful and less useful.
Maybe the goal is to make them exquisitely beautiful, and completely useless? They are making progress.

I do understand that they are still very good computers, but you hit the nail on the head with your 'daily annoyance' comment. It really is annoying every time you look for a port that was always there and is now gone---for no really good reason.
Give 'em hell Mike

I watched it all as well-as I always try to do. This was incredibly disheartening. I worry now about the future of the iMac and I need a new one. Also that they might have given up on Apple Monitors-which could be great if done right. I think the Touch Bar might be a little hard to reach-depending what the final layout feels like. I use and like the Apple Trackpad as an accessory and if they did Touch Bar as an add-on to that-assuming they continue the iMac, it would be great as I could locate it at a comfortable working distance. The design team has way too much power-I need something that works-your comments were right on about that and shared by many. Apple watch still looks clunky and clumsy by the way-the first Apple product in which I have had absolutely no interest-and I bought a 128K Mac and much in between.

As I've commented before, I'm not a fan of an SD slot round the back; it's a recipe for disaster.

I agree that there's never enough USB slots. I'm using my old, separate numberpad keyboard as it's just so much better than the new compact keyboard. It means that at least I have a couple of USB ports where I can easily get to them for temporary things, but of course I only gain one port because it takes up one itself.

I have the following USB devices:
Stand alone hard drive.
Memory card reader. (I do have another camera that doesn't use SD cards)
Spyder 3Pro monitor calibrator.
Mouse charger cable.
USB 4 way hub. (but plugs into and uses up one USB port)

This isn't an unusual amount of stuff. If I had 8 ports on the Mac instead of 4 that would be enough, with one to spare that went directly in to the machine for any big data transfers. As you say, Mike, it's a mess.

Come on, Apple. Form follows function, not the other way round.

I guess corporate image and branding is more important that user functionality now. Stupid me, I thought computers were supposed to make my life easier.

I think used Mac BookPros with SC card slot and USB ports will go up in price after the new MacBook Pro announcement.

SD card slot. I have a slightly contrary opinion. I used to like the idea of treating an SD card like a roll of film. Here's what changed my mind. On two occasions now I have either ended up with a damaged SD card after reckless and possibly clumsy eject insert cycles. And in one more serious case I had a camera SD slot trashed becasue I inserted a damaged SD card.

So I tend to use USB transfer these days - maybe not so convenient. On long trips where I cycle SD cards (I only use 8GB cards) I rarely run out of cards and at home I transfer all the stuff using other hardware. So - it won't vex me too much. Other folk might work differently

.. on another note, although I like the Fuji XT1 a lot, the cover for the SD slot is an accident waiting to happen so I'd rather never use it

Maybe this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019PHF9W2/ref=s9_acsd_al_bw_c_x_1

MacBook Air. Works for me.

I'll definitely agree with you on the SD card deletion. The SD card is already an elegant system, I know that Apple wants you to sent everything to the cloud via bluetooth but that is a slow, clunky kludge that only works with a few cameras and wi-fi cards and not very well with those. I'll be keeping my old MacBook Pro for a while…

The most interesting blogger in the world: He doesn't often swear, but when he does - it's appropriate!

(I refer of course to the ``... and other shit'')

I concur (whole-heartedly). I'm not sure if it's religious adherence to a design ethos, or a disingenuous grab for their customers' spare change (like Olympus not including lens hoods). Perhaps Apple anticipates wifi image transfer becoming the norm soon...

In any case, it's a pain in the butt.

Mike, I'm with you on the senseless removal of features that weren't a problem, but not with you on the SD card slot. Only one out of three real cameras (iPhone excluded) I own use SD cards. I always considered the choice of the SD card (instead of CF) on the computer as arbitrary and random. Placing the USB ports and card slots on the backside of the computer does qualifiy as what Lloyd Chambers described as "Apple's brain-dead ergonomics.'

This drives me mad with Apple .... But there is good news .... After they got rid of the dvd slot on loosing my 24" imac ...I had given up. Soooooo

I am in Scotland but thanks to you Mike there mkight be an sd slot on my current 27" that I hadnt readised was there!!

So for me the fact is there at all will be a plus .....potentially fantastic news.

To back track I want an DVD slot and an sd slot and USB on all my machines ...am slowly being driven away from mac by this policy!

I have a "mid 2014" macbook pro. It is as far down the technology road as I am willing to go. My laptop is for internet, buying stuff from the vendors TOP readers are familiar with, paying bills, and photography. Since I am a semi-luddite shooting film, but having it developed and scanned at Ilford, it irritated me to no end that I had to buy a peripheral dvd drive. But the loss of the card reader is a step too far. And anyone who wants to smear their fingers all over a screen they use to prepare photographs for printing, or heaven forbid, "sharing", is welcome to it.

Yes, feeling cranky today.

You're right. About all of it.

Several years ago, I bought a Mac Air to travel with, and it's quite compact and light -- as long as you don't have to take the power brick with you, which, of course, you do. With the brick, I might as well have bought a MacBook Pro, since the Mac Air is just as effectively unwieldy.

I do have a couple of SD card readers not much bigger than a thumb drive, but still, they're an extra piece to keep track of, and small enough that they're easily lost. But, if they will unload an SD card at USB-3 speeds, I will partially forgive Apple.

Since I have to travel a lot, and work on the road, I have bought a number of mesh bags, usually used by backpackers, and segregate all the computer bits and pieces in my office pack. The bags come in a wide variety of sizes, have secure zipper closures, and are red, so they're easily visible in a cluttered motel room. I find them invaluable.

Yesterday I just received a refurbished 2015 Mac Book Pro. Precisely for the SD card slot, and the USB ports. I travel several times a year and you're right, Mike, I don't need the added clutter of card readers and USB adapters. You can imagine what it's like having all that hooked up while sitting at an airline gate, or sitting in an airline seat, or at a tiny coffee shop table?

I also value the ability to use USB-3 external SSD drives for photo backups. SSDs are light, small, fast, and rugged. They have come in extremely handy. This won't be my main computer so I won't miss a Touch Bar. My MBP will definitely have Photoshop CC. It replaces an often used MB Air that bit the dust several months ago.

Ditto! And exactly! It was WTF time when I bought my 2013 27" iMac and realized that all the FireWire ports had been replaced with Thunderbolt ports. I spent $80 on adapters and small USB card read to put in the front because I grew tired of reaching to the back of the machine.

I was in the market for a MacBook Pro and was expecting more. But now I hesitate. How will I import images without a USB-C SD card reader? Do USB-C card readers exists? I'll need a USB-C thumbdrive or a USB-C to USB adapter to use my existing USB thumbdrives. None of my existing FW to Thunderbolt adapters would work so I would need USB-C to FW adapters to connect my external drives. Or maybe brand new USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 drives.


I have a $30 card reader for my several types of memory cards and several Macs. The new MacBook pros have lots of other innovative features.

I'm with you all the way on the lack of connectivity on the new laptops. I'm on the verge of wanting to upgrade my 7 year old MacBook Pro. Everything I have that needs to be plugged into a computer is USB, mostly 3 and some form of firewire. At minimum I have to find and buy some Thunderbolt3 to USB-A cables,each of which for the next year will cost 50% what a complete portable 2Tb USB hard drive costs. And I have to get a card reader. And a Thunderbolt3 dock. Grrrrr.

Here's where Windows users have a big advantage: Lots of computers to choose from, including ones with card slots, lots of USB ports, etc., etc. And, if it's a desktop you want, you can build your own. Not true of Macs.

I bought a 2015 MacBook Pro 13" basic model to take over duties from my iMac that were not photography related like email and word processing. However - and this is very important - I still want my laptop to be able to do all the photo stuff. I have all the software loaded and it does a fine job.

To make life easier, by using a Thunderbolt dock, to which all non wireless peripherals are connected, the laptop can have full access to everything the iMac had, including my thunderbolt external hard drives and my big photo monitor, by swapping one cable on the dock. Just as quickly I can return control of all that to the iMac and take the laptop anywhere I want and have ALL its variety of ports ready for my portable gear. But wait! - It's also ready for other scenarios like friends' or event computer systems. It's a piece of cake to plug the wide variety of existing external gear out there in the world into the wide variety of ports it has. In no time at all, my photos are on display in a friends home or at a public event.

Now Apple wants to do away with the versatility of separate ports for Thunderbolt, USB and HDMI and do away with SD Card slots & dedicated charging ports - all to be replaced with one single type of USB-C port (with Thunderbolt as part of it). Simply an insane idea!

I am super happy I have the previous model MacBook Pro with its built in flexibility to handle the external devices I already own and use. I think Apple is shooting itself in the foot trying to remake the "connectivity world" in its own image, public be damned. Good luck Apple but I think you are pushing us around way to much.

Spot on! Apple's design 'elegance' is all directed towards a closed-in worldview and it is a big pain in the a$%.

If you have a camera with you don't you have a card reader? And as a bonus on most new camera's when you plug it in to read your cards it will charge your camera as well.

I think a big problem is that the market is dividing at the hi-end--does apple go with CFast or XQD. Or ignore pros and support consumer sd cards?

So apple probably assumes that pros and enthusiast will have to carry a reader of some sort anyway and consumers can just use their cameras as readers while charging their cameras. Same as your phone.

Spare a thought for those of us using XQD and CompactFlash cards ... :)

Yes, the SD card slot on the side of my Macbook Air is convenient, but there will be even more USB-C docks of all sizes to fill this hole, some of which already have an SD card reader. I use a Belkin Thunderbolt dock on my desktop with the Air, and it's just 1 cable to disconnect when I leave my desk. The cables and dock are neatly tucked away, and the desk is no more cluttered than with a laptop that has more built-in ports.

Another peripheral to carry? Yes, but another way to think about this is that we just carry what we need, and don't need to weigh ourselves down with stuff we don't need when it was built into the laptop.

And one more thing... WIndows 10 looks quite good and there is now very good hardware on that side...

Disappointing. Perhaps this reflects Apple's assessment of the state of the camera industry?

Putting on my Apple devil's advocate hat to try to construct a semi-reasonable argument:
1. MB Pros are for working pro photographers; everyone else should get a MB or MB Air.
2. Working pro photographers are more likely to be shooting Canon or Nikon dSLRs with CF slots
3. Pros have super fast card readers anyway for the CF cards
4. Most of the CF readers also have an SD slot, so why duplicate the slot on your laptop?
5. The future is WiFi transfer, so get all future forward now or suck it up and use the CF reader you already have.

I won't miss the SD slot since all my cameras use CF.

On the plus side, people can order them through B&H by clicking that link over there.

Fully agree with you Mike. Dongles are the worst kind of clutter, and expensive clutter by the way, man ever invented.
But they sure don't show a REAL mac replete with myriad dongles in their ads.
I'm as pissed as you are! I'm sure many of your readers are too. Might indeed head your way with a prior-gem machine as I need to replace my 2010 BookPro...

Completely agree, but what I find even more inexcusable is the omission of MagSafe charging. Four USB-C port, or two on the lower end 13" Macbook Pro, really become three and one if plugged into power without what I imagine would be an expensive dock solution.

I really couldn't agree with you more Mike, I was considering replacing my mid-2012 MBP, but the lack of a SD card slot and only having the Thunderbolt 3 connections means I would need dongles for everything....I will also be looking at an older model, or possibly make the shift to Windows.

I was in the market to replace my four year old MB Pro, but a 30% price increase? I think my current one with USB, security slot, Ethernet, Lightning, Express Card slot and DVD burner not to mention matte screen etc will do me just fine for the foreseeable future.

I think you're not alone about this. However, to offer a contrarian view, I have a 2013 Macbook Pro where the built-in SD card reader has failed. I can't imagine what it would cost to crack the case and swap out the $15 part.

And even if it worked, it's still no good for CF cards.

Blueberries good; Apples bad. I agree.

Been eating blueberries almost daily for years, especially after dad died from Alzheimers. Frozen ones are a key ingredient in morning smoothies, which typically contain several other frozen berries and fruit, a fresh banana, frozen broccoli or kale, flax seed, and some non-dairy unsweetened coconut milk.

Apple has lost its way even more with desktop, focusing now (however ill advisedly) on mobile devices. The elegance that once imbued its form and function is now mostly limited to form. And it has gotten sloppy and slow with regard to O/S implementation and other software coordination. After one upgrade It took over 6 months for them to finally coordinate with NEC to allow SpectraView to function properly again. One reason I like ImagePrint is that it circumvents the increasingly problematic Apple-Adobe-Epson chain (see past color management issues, etc).

I frankly don't know what I'll do when my 2009 Mac needs replacement, possibly soon. I, too, don't want a bunch of peripherals all over my office, not to mention the inflated prices for that minimalist (read non-functional) design.

I am quite happy with the SD slot being done away with. I dislike the fact that it's on the back of my Mac Mini (as is the on button – what an idiotic place to put it!) meaning I have to reach over my monitors every time I am at the computer. An SD reader makes sense to me.

The touch bar seems like a minor but useful addition, What I don't like is being forced to 'buy high' in order to get the most powerful internals. Apple wants us to get a 15in MBP or Mac Pro if we want to have quad core performance.

I would have been tempted by either a higher performance Mac Mini, or a higher performance 13in MBP to replace my aging Mac Book Air but as it is I'm in no rush to upgrade anything.

(I loved that second last sentence in your opening paragraph. That seemed to capture the whole thing beautifully!)

Amen to that, Mike! I'm right there with ya! Really annoyed at Apple on this one after the missing iPhone 7 headphone jack debacle.

Pissed off is more like it, actually.

And exactly for all the reasons you cite above, especially the annoy and irritate bit.

Last night I ordered the just-discontinued Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-Inch Laptop Quad-Core i7 2.8GHz with 1TB Flash Storage, 16GB RAM, and AMD Radeon R9 graphics card.

If you (and readers) are going to want to get a MacBook Pro with actual, useable ports, better act fast. They are already gone from Apple's web site and B&H already has them listed as discontinued, as well.

With the iPhone's camera getting so good, Apple probably expects you won't need an SD card slot to transfer your pictures soon (computational photography is coming much faster than people think). It'll "just work" over iCloud. The photographers that really need to ingest a lot of photos will probably get an external multi-card reader. Their removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone was a much more extreme move given the number of iTunes they sell.

Oh, yeah, and here's another brilliant move by Apple: you won't be able to plug your trick brand new iPhone 7 directly into the new Macbooks to charge or connect them because...hold it...you need another adapter!


I have been accomplishing nearly all of my personal and business computing requirements with Apple laptops since 1998. They stay tethered to my desktop and driving high-end monitors most of the time, but have also give me total mobility when I need it. I have relied on a healthy array of "plug and play" external hard drives for all of my digital storage and data migration requirements for just as long, thus relying on my laptop's internal hard drive as an application server only. And I've suffered teething pans like many other Mac users every time Apple decides to sadistically assign my current i/o ports and device peripherals to the ash heap of history. However, USB-c connector technology might just be that last round of suffering before totally wireless connectivity finally prevails. Check out some of the in-line multi-port connector adaptors for USB-c. We can get not only our beloved SD card slot back, but USB-3, hdmi, etc., all in one adaptor. The coolest designs are flush to the laptop without adding more cable real estate. I can live with that, and I think we will see some really elegant multi-port connector designs for these new Macbook pro models appearing on the market very soon.

As for the new touch bar, I have mixed emotions. When I began to suspect that my total reliance on the venerable "mouse" was starting to cause me early stages of carpel tunnel syndrome, I tried out just about every other input device on the market, i.e., trackballs, vertical trackballs, pen tablets, track pads, touch screens, etc. I have finally gotten proficient with a Wacom combination touch and pen tablet for graphic applications like Photoshop, but for other applications (e.g. Microsoft Excel) the venerable old "mouse" is still hard to beat. Each new input device requires ample training time to become fluent with it. The Mac touch bar will not be an exception. Yet essentially every other input device on the market is cross-pllatform. To give this touch bar technology the best chance of avoiding the "solution looking for a problem" problem along with an early product cycle death, I think the touch bar concept will have to migrate soon to a separately purchasable keyboard for use with many desktop Macs and perhaps on PCs as well.

Mike, As a somewhat serious photographer and long time Apple user, I certainly sympathize with your comments on the new MacBook Pro. I got an iMac in January and noticed it had an SD port in the back. Really Why bother? Don't most people have their desks against a wall? I do. Needless to say, I have never used it. Anyway it seems Apple has decided to ignore serious photgraphers and focus on the Mass Market. People who only take pictures with phones and post them online don't need SD cards. This is all consistent with the death of Aperture, etc. Sorry if this is stating the obvious. However, this Apple tendency has just been (cleverly I think) used against them in the marketing for the new Google Phone, saying something like it had lots of new features and "something old" a headphone jack. The iPhone 7 apparently doesn't. Have a nice weekend and enjoy your new/old MacBook Pro.

Total. Agreement.

This is part of why I am not with Apple anymore (started with them in around 1985/6...). I find their insistence that we all do things their way pretty authoritarian---so ironic considering their iconic "1984" TV ad from way back when.

So I decamped and embraced the nerdy and now much freindlier chaos of Wintel, and haven't looked back or been sorry.

In my 2012 MacBook Pro the SD card slot broke after very little use, making it tricky to use the slot. A search revealed that this wasn't uncommon. Since this hasn't apparently happened to you, they may have improved the design or I'm unlucky. Nevertheless, I like separate readers, since the I can make sure I get what I want.

For travel I would consider transferring directly from camera: less risk of contacts breaking and many cameras are now USB 3.

It's interesting to see how people's needs differ :-) Personally, I'm most put off by the lack of traditional USB ports, necessitating an adapter for every single item I want to connect. That, and the fact that yet another power supply is going to be needed, particularly because Apple can't make the cable separate from the supply.

But the new MacBooks are powerful and seem to have nice screens.

Totally agree and more. Apple, 16gb ram for a Pro machine, really? Old Ram and old cpus? You say you got balls to remove the jack on the iPhone, now show us you have the balls to remove the "Pro" that have nothing to do on the bezels of your machine anymore. For the first time in more than 20 years I'm considering to switch to windows even though all the problems I am gonna face while working.

You can learn to feed an SD card into the iMac from the front without looking. Just need to learn the angle to push it in.

I miss my cheese grater Mac tower which hung under my desk and had 4 drives in it. Like you mention my desk is cluttered with more cables and HD enclosures. I love hate Apple these days.

Apple looks at the use cases of the masses, and they've probably determined the vast majority of their users are using phones for photography ergo no need to an SD slot to transfer images any more. It's the same reason they got away from providing PCI slots and expandable memory in most of their machines; they found that few customers ever added cards or memory.

Unfortunately, for that small percentage of users who do need that capability (e.g. anyone using a dedicated camera), they make life a royal pain in the keester.

They didn't even make it significantly thinner so what's their excuse :/ I suppose we're all expected to have wifi cameras now.

I can't help but think that the touch bar is just a crutch for people who can't be bothered to learn keyboard shortcuts.

Obviously someone who has never edited sound or video. The ability to scrub is a BFD to those who do.

I must be the outlier here ...

Let me explain. While all the family has MacBook Pros my main under the desktop is a MacPro tower ... 64 GB RAM Titan X video with 12 GB and 4 3 TB drives inside .... plus a few Raids outside. Dell 5K monitor.

When I travel and want a backup I use my iPad mini Retina and a powered camera connector to a USB 3 reader for the SD or CF cards ... yes the larger iPad would be faster but backups are done at the end of the day when I am reading or doing other things.

I personally think that tagging along with a 4x2x.25 inch reader and a cable is not that big of a deal .... and if the SD reader in the Mac dies it is a lot more inconvenient to get it fixed than to pick up a new one the next day. And any faster reader can be added the day it is released ... not when Apple deigns it acceptable as hardware.

I do think that the Touch Bar should be added to desktop keyboards or as an add on ... would prefer it on the left side of the keyboard.

I do think the advantage of the new machines is in 6th generation processor and pretty decent GPU/video memory. Should handle video and higher size Photoshop files and layers with ease ... add a 5K monitor at home and split menus to a dedicated screen.

USB-C connected to a monitor that doubles as the power point is significant.

Thunderbolt 3 SSD at 2GB and fast memory access are all pluses.

All of which is almost enough for me to give up my space heater ... er ... MacPro.

My first time to watch the event ... stumbled upon it ... and it was very weird. Glad I do not play in that sandbox.



Maybe it's time to "think different" and abandon the MAC for a Windows 10 machine with all the things you want! MAC used to be the photographer's & graphic artists machine of choice, but since Windows 7, things are pretty much a wash. At least Windows doesn't do wholesale updates every year that upset the applecart! ;-)

And what about the Mac Mini? It's such a handy little desktop, but the 2014 version was dumbed down compared to the 2012 model. For a long while, the 2012 quad core i7 models sold for a real premium. Doesn't that say something to Apple's marketing staff? There is a market here = profit.

Yeah, what you said, Michael.

I agree 100%, this is why i bought an iMac now with the SD slot in the back. Apple's "design" is just another way to make more money. Customer frustration is not a consideration, this is a slippery slope to going out of business. But since they are paid so much they have a "10 foot" tall image of themselves they think they are better than anyone else.

I have watched a certain grocery store chain for many years, the business plan is;

Highest quality
Superb Service
Really good prices
Give back to the community.

Sounds simple but it has given them a superb business.


The number of people who actually want an SD card is minuscule compared to the number of people who want to buy an Apple laptop.

I'm kind of upset about it personally, but the reality is that Apple tends to only put stuff into their machines that they think people will use and they tend to remove more marginal features (phone headphone jacks aside).

If you really want one for a while longer you can always just get one of the now previous gen. laptops, which will be good to use for another few years.

I hadn't thought about the SD slot - I was focusing on the eye-watering prices, especially in GBP - but I share some of your feelings.

But... but... I do remember the original iMacs which did not have a floppy drive! And the howls of outrage about that!! But pretty soon, we were all sheepishly saying "maybe Apple were right after all". Could this be another one?

All that said, I think it will be a while before I upgrade my 'Late 2012' iMac or my more recent MacBook Pro.

SD slots: my vision for the future is that cameras download their images from card to computer via some fast wireless technology of choice. Preferably semi-automatically, for instance a button automatically pops onto my computer screen as soon as a 'known' camera comes within range of the running computer, asking if I want the new photos uploaded to the usual location. IN FACT I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY IT ISN'T LIKE THAT ALREADY; IT'S REALLY ANNOYING.

So I think, Mike, you are completely on the wrong side of the issue in your vent. I hate, *hate*, card slots and having to remove and insert and remove and re-insert a card every day that I take photos, if I want to see and enjoy those images straight away.

I'd held off buying a new iMac till the big event, wondering if they would announce an upgrade. It appears not. Oh well. I'm currently using a MacBook Air for Lightroom, but want a bigger screen. In one sense doing away with ports is frustrating but can make way for progress. I still remember people losing it when the 3.5 inch floppy was removed.

Yes, one can see where Apple wants people to use their iPhone as a camera, and hook it to the cloud. Bah! But I'd think there would be a big market for photo and video people that want a nice big screen, lots of horsepower under the hood, lots of connection ports, AND the internal SD. It should be possible to still make an elegant form with all that functionality.

I'm expecting Johnny Ives to reach an ultimate design that reduces the item to ......nothing.
Maybe the Emperor's New Clothes was his favorite story growing up.
It's just a stupid move....driving me further away from upgrading devices.
Just like some folks want an SE iPhone, some want a computer with the ports built in...oh well.

Yup the loss of the SD card slot is annoying. But the adoption of yet another periphery port standard is maddening. I went into the Apple Store in Perth, Westerrn Australia, the other day looking for a Thunderbolt dock only to be proudly informed that Apple don't sell them as they feel you should be using the clod for storage and wifi to print. Now we have another iteration of Thunderbolt and again Apple will deny their customers hubs and docks. Their corporate arrogance is beginning to get on my pecks.

I never use the touchscreen on my Surface Pro with a finger. It's when you pick up the snazzy pen and turn it into a graphics tablet that it shines.

Drawing and fine control of selections is so much easier when working directly on the image.

Effectively it's like having a Wacom and PC in one. If you also have a bluetooth keyboard, you can place it to one side and use the key controls as you draw.

Dysfunctional elegance is just another form of ornamentation — and much more annoying than the traditional kind.

Somebody should get that message across to Apple, assuming that there's anyone there who is able receive it and understand it …

the cleaner the machine, the more your desk, not to mention your luggage, is cluttered with dongles and peripherals and other shit...

When you nail it, you really nail it.

As for the SD card slot on the back of the current iMac, I find it's easy to locate by feel. I use it all the time and never have to look at it.

Computer designers, like so many camera designers, don't seem to actually use their products. (Many things that are commpnplace for them, are virtually unfathomable for non-technitions.)

More and more Apple machines have a hard memory limit of 16GB, which is crazy small for Photoshop. (Maybe OK for Lightroom.) On these new MacBooks, it's a for reasons of technical limitations of the Intel chipset and using DDR3 memory for lower power draw than DDR4.

My feeling is that the Mac Mini 16GB memory limitation is "market segmentation."

My iMac is at 24GB, and could trivially upgrade to the maximum 32GB.

The SD card on the back of the iMac is very easy to find. But it is indeed easy to forget the card there!

Of course more and more cameras have WiFi networking, meaning you don't have to move the card around at all. Same logical progression of MacBooks not having Ethernet ports for 4+ years, vast majority of users use WiFi.

Mike said “shit” … this must be serious.

I have been a Apple user since the Apple IIe. My first Mac was a Mac Plus. That’s a whopping one megabyte of RAM and a 3.5” floppy drive. Things have come a very long way, and for most of the ensuing evolution the Mac has pretty much been a no-brainer for creative types. Currently, just off the top of my head, I count one Mac desktop, two operational MacBooks (there are a several more obsolete models in storage that I really should unload somehow), two iPads, and two iPhones around the house.

But I think we’ve gone past the peak of the “get actual work done” curve and are sliding towards a more fashionable, SNS-connected era. The closed system is closing in on itself.

Last year I did a little experiment. I wanted a powerful machine for visual stuff: photography, video editing/grading, and some 3D modelling. As a dedicated Apple user my first thought was the Mac Pro because, frankly, nothing else in the Apple lineup cuts the mustard. But the price … ouch. And all of those hard-earned shekels for a machine with limited expandability that would end up buried under a pile of cables and add-ons.

So I built a PC, partly just for the heck of it and partly to see if I could actually put together the perfect graphics workstation for my needs. I promise I’m not trying to start a Mac vs. PC debate … just relating my experience. I selected the components I wanted, and the box I wanted, and plugged it all together in an afternoon. It is super-fast (I used an SSD for the system drive, plus a fast 7200 rpm HDD for internal storage), and has room for more internal drives and I/O than I will ever use. The most expensive component was the graphics card, because that’s what it’s for. Total cost was somewhere between a third and half the price of a Mac Pro. Windows 10, by the way, is excellent. Just a matter of adjusting to an unfamiliar system environment.

What started out as an experiment has become my go-to machine for getting visual stuff done. And I can upgrade it as needed without having to buy a whole new machine. At least for a while. I admit you have to be a bit of a geek (that’d be me) to make this work, but for me it has been a revelation. A shock, even.

Again, not making any recommendations. I use my Macs daily (I’m writing this on a MacBook Pro). Just pointing out that there are other ways of doing things, and that if you haven’t looked lately you might be surprised at how much performance and versatility you can get at very reasonable prices

Dead right, Mike, about Apple's stupid connectivity and storage functions. Goes right back to the original Mac -- moved up to the small disk but then had only one disk drive! Stupid. And a serial port instead of a parallel port for a plug-in HD, etc.

And so on and so forth. NEVER enough USB ports, and now the SSD card port (they'll tell you to use wireless or something, which takes much longer, ties up the camera, etc.).

I am toying (slowly, slowly) about buying a new laptop which will be the last in my life, I suspect, but I've had enough trouble with card readers going out to lunch, getting lost, being in the way and preventing me using the second USB slot, etc., etc. for the lack of one to make the newest MBP a no-no.

Like you, every time I used the card reader, I would be irritated anew. Nope, haven't got enough minutes left in my life for that.

MacBook Pro? Pro my arse, as far as being a photographer goes.

Cheers, Geoff

PS: It's like the lack of a bult-in flip up flash on high end cameras for Q&D fill-in or portrait catch lights. Both my Panasonic G6 and GX7 have the flash and it is invaluable.

AND the lack of GPS on high end cameras. I have GPS in my Panasonic FT4 "tough" camera, which demonstrates that it costs practically nothing, uses very little space, and is not a battery killer provided you use it according to the instructions, which most higher end camera users ought to be able to do.

Cheers, Geoff

I think Apple is heading to a wireless universe - even a wireless charging system someday. I think we are in the awkward stage of this transition. Someday people will wonder how we did anything with all that clutter on our desk.

no card slot is just a way to reduce cost and increase profits for apple. who wants a touch screen anyway? as the old saying goes : dont mess with success,

While I can understand your frustration- 30 years of MAC ownership has left me with a large cardboard box full of Apple adapters and another box ffull of obsolete cables I intend to offer on eBay someday - there are some advantages to the new USB-C models.
I have a 12" Macbook that is almost 2 years old that I use for email and traveling (plus a 27" iMac for graphics, publishing, etc.) Tke Macbook was the first to come only with the USB-C adapter. I use it in two offices with an external monitor and hard drive. To move from office to office, I unplug one plug, the USB-C which is connected to an Apple adapter for power, USB and monitor. The USB connects to a hub on a ahelf with multiple devices attached. At the other office, I plug in one jack and I am ready to go.
Does anyone rmember the laptop "docks" from the past? This is even more convenient.
To do the same with my wife's 13" Macbook Air, it requires unpluging three or four cables and the monitor plug is getting loose and unreliable.
So maybe there is "method to their madness"!

I once lost an SD card reader at the beginning of a motorcycle assignment, likely left behind in a Vegas hotel room. I would have been unable to backup and post photos online for the remainder of the trip were it not for the generosity of another traveler who just happened to have a reader he let me borrow every evening. Since then, I've made it a point to always purchase a laptop with an SD card reader built-in; makes it a lot harder to lose.

The new Macbook Pro is a non-starter for me, for that reason alone, and for the first time in over a dozen years I don't have a Mac as either a desktop or laptop machine.

It looks like only a few people noticed the missing MagSafe charging connector.
MagSafe is in incredibly smart solution for a charging connector: just think how many times somebody kicked your cable while it was charging the laptop. And think how proud were Mac users of such a smart connector.
Removing it is one of the dumbest moves that they could have done.
It looks like Apple target has moved to hipsters with too much money that will use them for browsing and social media only.


I had the same reaction when I read about the SD cards but I'm lucky to use PC where we generally don't choke with the "Less is more" mantra.
Then it raised a question I cannot answer to because I still don't have a wifi enabled camera :can you copy your photos over wifi with all these wifi enabled cameras? still very inconvenient and a fair bit slower I'm sure but I'd like to know if that possibility even exists.

Is any laptop going to be at ease with 4K/8K video streams and huge RAWs derived from 100 mpx sensors? That is the future at the high end, I would guess, and you'll need a machine with real poke to handle that. The future of the lower, mass-market end is more likely to be 16-24 mpx with lots of software enhancements (the grandly named "computational photography") and based around wifi. So you could say there is a fork in the road ahead and Apple have made their choice. Surprisingly, perhaps, their laptops are staying with the future mass-market end because the high end is simply beyond a laptop's capability. It's not Apple's fault if so much of the photography hardware industry is still weak on software and has trouble putting a decent wifi app together let alone anything else. All the clever, useful software ideas are coming from outside it.

I'd love an Apple laptop though I doubt I could afford one these days. But the grunt work here is all done on a shoebox-sized "desktop" which is far more capable than any laptop is going to be. It is also less expensive than a typical Apple laptop which always helps.

Apple seem to be making their products for thise who always have the latest. Buy a new Mac, assume you buy a wifi camera. They need to get out more.

When I was choosing a new laptop to take with me on an extended trip out west, mainly to photograph, the FIRST and only must-have feature was an SD card slot. No card slot, "x" it off the list.

I may be in the minority here. I've used Macs since the 80s in my graphic design business. It's always been (for me) a dedicated desktop which serves as my main workstation, and a laptop for emergencies/travel combination. Over that time, I've worked myself into a lather over Apple's decisions about drives and connectors, only to eventually find a workaround and not only completely forget that it was even an issue, but come to think of it as the "right" way to do things.

My Mac Pro and Macbook Pro combination have been silently, genuinely stable and productive for so long, I can only just barely remember what I was so nervous/shocked about (was it Thunderbolt?) when I was getting ready to buy them.

Change is scary.

I do so wish the world would get tired of "touchy" screens. Hell, my iPhone 6 doesn't recognize my fingerprints so often I've given up on the stupid thing and just go to the keypad screen. My new Kindle Paperwhite ends up flipping pages every time I pick the damn thing up to read a book and I often can't hold it comfortably without page changing. My iPad also refuses to recognize my fingerprints like my phone but it also frequently fails to recognize touches to online links. And all of these touchy-feely devices end up with smudgy screens that look like a four-year old had been using them after visiting KFC.

And, yes, I also hate the way Apple puts frequently accessed connections on the back of the iMac. First thing I did when I bought mine was to attach a USB hub so I could use a CD burner, external drives and card reader without contortions. So now I have cables and "stuff" all over my computer desk that totally detracts from Apple's idea of design beauty. As for doing away with the earbud jack on the iPhone 7, that's another example of form over function that ends up defeating the form--you just know an adapter will be available so standard earbuds can be used.

I agree that dropping the SD slot is not welcome for photographers - photographers who use cameras that use SD cards, that is. And what are the numbers, the percentages? My guess is the percentage is relatively low.

But the camera that most Apple customers buy is ... an iPhone. And those photos sync to your MacPro, iMac or MacBook auto-magically.

So, the deletion of the SD slot does not sit well with me, but the argument about having to schlep around card readers, possibly along with various cables, doesn't impress me. Look, there are compact, light readers available. Cables come in any length you want. And, Oh My!!! you can buy a small case or pouch in which everything will fit and stay organized. It can even be a fashionable or sexy case if you spend another two whole dollars!

Over on Twitter, one of the really good photographers I follow is Matthew Thompson, from St. John, New Brunswick. His serious work is all shot on a Rolleiflex. He recently started using Lightroom on an iPad Pro with a Logitech keyboard. He likes it even better than working on a MacBook. I don't know which keyboard he has, but I think it's designed for the iPad, so the combination is probably sleek, but some would find any such add-on a kludge, unacceptable, etc.

To each their own, and I'm not defending Apple, but as Ste3e said, Apple appears to be heading to a wireless architecture and is in a transition phase.

One of the features of the Fuji XPro2 that attracts me is the built in WiFi - right now I use Apple's camera kit if I need to transfer photos to my iPhone while I'm on the road. It works fine, and some of the camera/editing apps on the iPhone are perfectly fine for quick and simple edits.

Sorry this is long-winded, I guess it's just my way of opining that there is a lot of hyperventilation and that takes away from making photos. And so does all my typing.

Curmudgeon mode off!

I've got to agree with you on the SD card slot fiasco. My Nikon D800E uses both Compact Disk and SD. Made it a no brainer for me to switch over to SD cards so I wouldn't have to carry yet another card reader and cable in the field. Packing for trips is already fraught with anxiety that I'll leave behind some absolutely essential connector or device that will sabotage the whole venture. (Try buying a disk reader in Antarctica.) Or have one get busted. Sadly I can remember sitting in my room late one night trying to use a safety pin to straighten a bent pin in my Compact Disk reader so I could start downloading pictures.

this has already been taken care of http://www.bourgedesign.com/

Well.. it took courage to remove the SD card slot *cough*

I love my clunky first gen i7 Windows 7 Lenovo Thinkpad ca. 2012. It is an ugly duckling. It has three USB 3 ports, an eSATA port, an SD card slot, and HDMI out. The graphics card is fine for photo editing. I use it with a mini Wacom tablet. It handles an external monitor for extending the desktop without a hitch. And it has a superior analog to digital sound board. I think it cost around $1,500.

It ain't sleek -- the case is black polycarbonate. The keyboard is a delight -- reminds me of an IBM Selectric.

I will never, ever again, use any software, including operating system, that works with only one brand of hardware. It has always been a mistake to do that and it is today.

Years ago I had the first Powerbook G4 17" and an iPod. The iPod used Firewire. The Powerbook had Firewire and USB1. It was a 3000€ machine.

The iPod, a 400€ device at the time, broke down after 13 months. The warranty was 12 months. Apple did not take it under warranty. The repair had a fixed cost of 380€ whatever the problem was. By that time, meaning roughly a year after I bought the iPod, the new iPods had come out and were using USB2 exclusively.

So Apple was not willing to repair my iPod without asking a stupid price and was not able to sell me an iPod that I could plug in my 3000€ Powerbook G4.

I guess it is in their genes to screw their customers up.

You can not even connect your Brand New iPhone 7 to these new laptops without a dongle ;-)
I have a four year old MBP 15 retina. The best computer I've ever had (bought my first IBM PC in 1982 !). However, there is NOTHING in the Apple lineup that I would upgrade to these days ;-(
My next computer will be a Hackintosh !

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