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Why you (probably) shouldn’t worry about the new MacBook Air ditching ports

Published Jan 7th, 2015 8:20AM EST
12-Inch MacBook Air Ports
Image: Apple Inc.

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When news of Apple’s radically redesigned 2015 MacBook Air broke on Tuesday, one of the most jarring revelations revolved around how many ports it would have. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman has reported that the new MacBook Air will dump full-sized USB ports, MagSafe connectors and SD card slots. Instead it seems the new ultra-thin MacBook will have one USB Type-C port and a headphone jack… and that’s it.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Huge new leak reveals Apple’s radically redesigned 12-inch MacBook Air

So, does this mean you should panic? Gizmodo’s Brian Barrett makes the case that you probably shouldn’t, although he does flag some potential causes for concern.

Basically, Barrett points out that Apple has been gradually adding features over the years like Handoff, iCloud Drive and AirDrop that should give you plenty of ways to transfer data between devices that don’t involve connecting them via wires.

The downside, though, is he also points out that Apple’s cloud-based services have been a decidedly mixed bag so far, which could thwart its plans to deliver a smooth transition to relatively port-free computers.

“There’s nothing in Apple’s recent history that suggests it’s ready to put so much weight on its cloud and software offerings,” he explains. “Handoff is a great idea that barely worked for most people when it launched. iCloud had a ferociously rocky first few years; it’s gotten better recently but still isn’t nearly as seamless as advertised. And more generally, OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 were both rife with problems when they launched, some of which remain unresolved.”

That said, even if the implementation is rocky at first, it’s also true that the cloud has made it so we don’t need quite so many ports on our computers anymore. In a few year’s time, we might not miss all of the ports on our computers any more than we miss the CD drives that Apple first got rid of with the original MacBook Air in 2008.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.