by Bradley Dean Jones

Dongles, dongles, dongles.

In the past two months Apple has been under fire for some of the “innovations” they have been making to their product line. With the iPhone 7 taking away the headphone jack and the latest controversy of the 2016 MacBook Pro keeping the headphone jack and removing the SD card slot, people have been criticizing every move this tech giant has made.

In a recent interview with The Independent, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, spoke about these issues, shining a light on Apple’s thought process:

[The Macbook Pro no longer has an SD card slot] because of a couple of things. One, it’s a bit of a cumbersome slot. You’ve got this thing sticking halfway out. Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers, and then you can use CompactFlash as well as SD. So we could never really resolve this – we picked SD because more consumer cameras have SD but you can only pick one. So, that was a bit of a trade-off. And then more and more cameras are starting to build wireless transfer into the camera. That’s proving very useful. So we think there’s a path forward where you can use a physical adaptor if you want, or do wireless transfer.

Though the pains of dongles will be plentiful for some, Schiller points about the SD card/slot makes sense. Wireless transfer may not be as fast sometimes as a SD slot or a USB card reader adapter, but that is how they see photo transferring in the future. The issue of innovation in the camera industry also plays a part in this. Camera manufactures have added the SD card, micro/mini-USB ports and wireless capabilities to store and transfer photos they still have some room to improve. Through SD cards don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, Apple hopes to help push the camera companies into innovating on their own.

As for when The Independent asked about whether there is an “[inconsistency]to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack [on the MacBook Pro]as it’s no longer on the latest iPhone” Schiller had this to say:

Not at all. These are pro machines. If it was just about headphones then it doesn’t need to be there, we believe that wireless is a great solution for headphones. But many users have setups with studio monitors, amps, and other pro audio gear that do not have wireless solutions and need the 3.5mm jack.

Again, solid point. As a “pro machine” it is not only about the headphones and taking it away would push away ‘pro users’ who depend on it, whereas the iPhone is not the device a “pro user” would use to create music or add audio gear or whatever they would need it for.

Whether this is an inconsistency, inconvenience or just a mistake, Apple makes it seem to not be an afterthought or a “sacrifice” for a slimmer or faster machine. Apple is innovating and trying to push forward with some risky moves. Removing the 3.5mm headphone jack will force the headphone manufacturers to make better wireless headphones. Innovation is what Apple has been saying they are doing for years but they are not only trying to innovate themselves, they are trying to give a friendly push for others to do the same.

So, as we wait for those innovations to come to fruition, wireless functionality and dongles seem like our best bet.


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