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Portables (Apple) Apple Hardware IT

Phil Schiller Says the MacBook Pro Doesn't Need an SD Card Slot (theverge.com) 675

Apple's new MacBook Pro models have upset many people for many different reasons. Some are unhappy with the inability to get more than 16GB of RAM, some are upset with the high-price, some are unhappy about the missing physical Escape and function keys, and many are unhappy because Apple didn't put an SD card slot in the MacBook Pro. But Apple has an explanation. From a report on The Verge: Speaking to The Independent (paywalled), Apple exec Phil Schiller said the company had dropped the SD card slot as it was "cumbersome" and because wireless transfer technology for cameras is "proving very useful" as an alternative. Schiller said, "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."
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Phil Schiller Says the MacBook Pro Doesn't Need an SD Card Slot

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  • by geek ( 5680 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:48PM (#53199779)

    Just take the er off his last name and you've pretty much summed the prick up perfectly.

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:02PM (#53199967) Homepage

      Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers,

      Um, wouldn't you need a USB connector for that?

    • Re:Phill Schill (Score:5, Insightful)

      by butchersong ( 1222796 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:28PM (#53200221)
      The macbook pro ships with a headphone jack and no port to plug the lighting headphones they force you to buy for the iphone. So you need an adapter for an sd card slot, an adapter for your headphones either for your phone or laptop, an adapter to plug your current usb devices into the macbook pro... One thing I've always admired was how polished the macbook line hardware is but the dongles are starting to add up.
  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:48PM (#53199787)
    Apple's idea of value is hilariously distorted. Let's charge more than everyone else and deliver less.
    • It worked for restaurants for a while, so why not try it with electronics?

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:50PM (#53199805)
  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:50PM (#53199817) Journal

    Here is a thought to all you people complaining about Apple's decision making on their products ... DON'T BUY IT.

    The only way to get Apple to listen, is to vote with your dollars. If you buy their products, you prove them right.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:59PM (#53199923)

      It's not so polar. What if you have used macs for 5-10 years, bought lots of software or just personal investment, and if they don't voice their opinions, apple won't change (if they do). You're what's wrong w/ america. "If you don't like it, move!"

      • It is binary. You have a binary choice. Complaining isn't changing the choice or the outcome of your decision.

        I am sure that there were people in the meetings that made the case for the missing items. So it isn't like they don't know people want these things. It is more that people won't care enough to change enough to go elsewhere. They will learn to live without the missing things.

    • You are forgetting the billions of Apple Acolytes who will queue up for days to have their wallets raped by their happy Apple overlords.

      I'm just waiting for them to remove the phone!

    • by hondo77 ( 324058 )

      The only way to get Apple to listen, is to vote with your dollars.

      Looks like people have [macrumors.com], and they're happy!

    • DON'T BUY IT.

      Thanks for your wise words. They do come as little consolation to those people who have invested heavily in an ecosystem which now offers them no upgrade path.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:52PM (#53199837)

    Let's be honest. The last few changes from the Apple design team have afforded little or no explanation behind them, and they certainly were not done based on consumer input.

    Provide all the weak-ass explanations you want Phil. We know the real answer is Fuck You, that's why.

    The disgusting nature behind this behavior from vendors is the Fuck You mentality is becoming rather addictive.

    Consumers, if you want design change that even hints towards what you may want or need, vote with your wallet, because all other channels have been effectively silenced.

    • There is a simple explanation that Schiller would probably not want to offer. Removing the SD hardware saves Apple a nickle (or whatever) while still allowing them to charge even more for the newer, less expansively capable, systems.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:25PM (#53200191) Homepage Journal

        Actually, the better answer is that they weren't willing to update the SD card reader to something modern. Newer UHS-II SD card readers are much faster than the ancient UHS-I reader that they included, and somebody probably calculated that upgrading to UHS-II would require replacing their USB-2 hub with a USB-3 hub in addition to upgrading the SD card reader, and they decided that it wasn't worth it.

        As someone who uses the SD card slot on a regular basis, I disagree with them, and this is definitely making me question Apple's commitment to photography professionals, particularly given what they did to Aperture.

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        I think the idea is that, if you need desktop functionality, you'll just plug in a USB-C enabled display in to the side of your laptop, which will provide both power to the laptop and also feature as a hub.

        The Pixel came with two USB-C ports and really that was enough, back when displays weren't also USB hubs and power supplies. Now displays do a lot of things, and looking back, it will be odd to have so many ports on a laptop. Most people just use their phones as cameras these days; I know my halo

    • And as long as they find people who buy it regardless, they will continue doing it. Maybe their target audience really doesn't want one, or at the very least doesn't care about having one, so it's sensible not to include one. I, for one, wouldn't need one. But then again, I need something more useful than a MacBook in general, so I'm not the target audience either.

      But there seems to be some kind of customer that obviously doesn't care about SD-Cards slots. Or at least Apple hopes there is.

  • Professional cameras are expensive. Even amateur photographers will have many thousands, even tens of thousands tied up in their equipment. These people are not going to buy one of your new "pro" laptops Apple, because you've taken away the ability to either plug the (camera end) proprietary USB cable into it or the the SD card. Your solution, which is to hope that we all upgrade our camera bodies to something more convenient to you, or buy a dongle from you so we can use our cables is not going to cut i

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Professional cameras are expensive. Even amateur photographers will have many thousands, even tens of thousands tied up in their equipment. These people are not going to buy one of your new "pro" laptops Apple, because you've taken away the ability to either plug the (camera end) proprietary USB cable into it or the the SD card. Your solution, which is to hope that we all upgrade our camera bodies to something more convenient to you, or buy a dongle from you so we can use our cables is not going to cut it.

      The counter argument to this is that people who already have thousands invested in their expensive equipment won't mind spending a few more dollars for the adapters if they want to stay in the apple ecosystem. Because you can charge people who are already spending a lot of money to spend a little more. Apple knows its target audience REALLY well. The solution to buy a dongle is definitely going to cut it for a lot of the people.

      • The counter argument to this is that people who already have thousands invested in their expensive equipment won't mind spending a few more dollars for the adapters if they want to stay in the apple ecosystem.

        All their expensive equipment will work just fine with a PC, which won't force them to use a dongle just to read an SD card. That's just more shit to carry and potentially lose, and they already have stacks of that. Since Adobe software is now subscription-only, there's nothing keeping most of them from switching. They don't have software licenses they have to leave behind.

    • Who are you talking to? Do you really think Apple designers are reading Slashdot to see what old angry nerds are thinking?

      Professional photographers who already have computer setups and a lot of money sunk into software are not going to switch systems because they have to buy a mildly inconvenient dongle that you can get at the local drugstore for $5. They likely are already dealing with such a dongle for their CF cards. Getting rid of the SD card is mildly annoying, I guess. Don't overstate your case.

    • Professional cameras are expensive.

      Yes they are, and as a result...

      These people are not going to buy one of your new "pro" laptops Apple, because you've taken away the ability to either plug the (camera end) proprietary USB cable into it or the the SD card. ...as a result this is not what most professional camera users do. That's because they are using cameras with multiple SD slots, and capture a lot of data - so they don't use a slower internal SD reader that limits them to one card at a time when they

    • by radish ( 98371 )

      Which high end cameras are using proprietary USB cables? I know all my Canon's use standard USB connectors, so I can just swap out the cable. And honestly, I've always carried a card reader with me because there was never a CF slot in a macbook :)

      But you're totally right, with these updates Apple seem very confused as to who their customer is. They keep saying pro, but as a pro (be it photographer, or developer, or whatever) I need compatibility and flexibility. Only having one type of port (and a fairly ra

  • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:59PM (#53199927)
    Because if you put two card readers on a laptop that would be crossing the streams open a vortex? Seriously the amount of bullshit these 'journalists' accept from company mouth pieces is absurd.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:59PM (#53199929)
    Or, more likely, Apple just couldn't figure out how to get a SD reader into the stylishly small housing for the MacbookPro. Style over function - welcome to Apple's world.
  • Bag of Dongles (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bugler412 ( 2610815 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:59PM (#53199931)
    In the near future, any Apple user will be easily identified by the bag of expensive dongles he/she would have to carry to maintain functionality. Wireless?! Gimme a break, anyone that shoots photos in volume with a DSLR (I routinely get over 1000 shots from a single live music venue shoot, low/variable light and moving subjects makes for a huge number of throwaway shots ) knows that wireless, even relatively current 802.11ac (which nearly no cameras have) can't keep up with a high volume shooting situation for even just still JPGs, let alone RAW files or video. The physically connected card has nearly an order of magnitude advantage in throughput. They are basically ceding the professional market to Linux/Windows machines.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @12:59PM (#53199935)

    That's the smell of iRome burning.

  • how about removing the mac os hardware lock in?

    or do you want to remove the part of being able to run non store apps? Fine do that and steam will removed from apple systems.

  • Reality Distortion Field in full effect, but you're no Steve Jobs, fool.

  • "As they are becoming so important on all our devices, Apple is changing our name to Dongle(TM)." - unknown Apple spokesman on the internet.
  • First off, the professional grade photo cameras which use Compact Flash/CFast or QXD aren't going to be a huge portion of the market. In fact, I doubt that that most people know of their existence. Journalists often send the Jpegs from their cameras to their phones (using WI-Fi adaptors in their camera SD slots) so it's not like Apple's doing them any favours.

    SD is fine and great for large transfers so you don't have to congest your WiFi. This explanation that there are a lot of options 'creating confusion'

  • I do a lot of photography, my current cameras are mostly not wireless and do use SD cards.

    But I hardly ever used the internal SD reader on my laptop, because (a) it is slower than a really good SD reader, and (b) there's only one slot.

    Not to mention (c), a camera I sometimes use uses CF cards...

    People who still need to read cards are fine using external readers because they are faster and can handle more cards. Almost all consumers have devices (really phones) that are transmitting photos over the network

  • Dear Apple.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:10PM (#53200041) Homepage

    I'm a guy that is full in the Apple ecosystem and I make money programming for apple devices. But the latest macbook pros are NOT pro.

    Wireless from the camera? Is this guy that much of a dipshit? Go ahead and see how fast you can transfer these 36 Megapixel RAW images from my D810 camera. Yes I use the XDHC slot and I dont want to wait a week for these to transfer over wifi. slapping the card in the macbook was super fast and worked great.

    Macbook pros are not for pros anymore. It sounds like they really want to eliminate any professional use of their products by removing features that pro photographers use heavily.

    It is pretty sad when the last version of the product is significantly better than the latest version.

    • Re:Dear Apple.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:41PM (#53200355)

      Schiller's subtext is this: "We believe the vast, vast majority of people taking photos are doing so with their iPhones. We want to encourage that behavior and make any other camera obsolete."

      Apple doesn't want to make it easier for people like you or me who use professional-grade imaging equipment. They arrogantly believe that the only thing that people need to take good photos is the iPhone 7+ with their fake bokeh.

      And before the Apple fans accuse me of being a troll, let me state for the record that I have exclusively owned Apple hardware since at least 2004. The only phones I've bought since 2007 were iPhones; I owned the original iPhone. I've watched as Android went from a joke to a serious competitor, to beating iOS hands-down in features, yet I've remained loyal. But these statements coming out from Cupertino are unacceptable to me. I count myself among their most loyal consumers, but I will not be purchasing this Macbook Pro, despite having more than enough money to spend on the highest-end model and all their ridiculous dongles they expect me to buy with it. For me, this was never about money. This is about not taking a huge step backward in function. Yes, I am voting with my wallet.

      I sincerely hope that Apple's management listens, because the direction of their "innovation" is antithetical to everything that Steve stood for. Steve believed in the importance of design, but design as a means to an end, which was to facilitate rather than hinder the user experience. Jony Ive's design philosophy is to make devices as pretty and thin as possible, screw function. Without Steve to put a reality check on that, this Macbook "Pro" is the all-too-predictable result.

    • Re:Dear Apple.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @02:08PM (#53200635)
      The whole point of using memory cards on a camera is so that when one card is full, you can quickly swap it out for a new one and continue shooting. If you've got two cards, you plug the second one into your laptop, start copying photos to the laptop, and go back to shooting. The copy will finish long before your second card is full, so when it does become full you can just reverse the process, format the first card, and go back to shooting. If this weren't the case, there's no need to use memory cards. You could just build 32GB or 64GB or whatever straight into the camera.

      The only workarounds Apple leaves are:
      • you must carry enough memory cards to hold all the photos you'd shoot in a day, then waste time transferring them in bulk instead of transferring them while you continue shooting,
      • or you must always carry an external card reader with your laptop everywhere you take your camera,
      • or you need a second camera that you can use while you leave the first one next to the laptop transferring its photos wirelessly.

      As for the card sticking halfway out, that's only true for lame laptop vendors who tried to save a few cents for a spring-loaded eject mechanism. Those leave the card sticking halfway so you can pull it out with your fingers (and to save a negligible amount of space inside the chassis). The better laptops have SD readers where the card goes fully inside when inserted. The only reasonable rationale I can think of for eliminating the SD card slot is to make your device waterproof. I suspect what's really going on is that Apple gave the SD Association an ultimatum while negotiating licensing fees, and when the didn't blink Apple had to remove the card slot to save face.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It seems that Apple wishes, in the end, to sell people what will ultimately amount to slabs of metal and glass. I can see them removing just about every port from their hardware that they can. The Macs will eventually ship with only 1 USB port, with Apple telling customers to just get adapters, etc. Why, because fuck you we're in the dongle and add-on business now, that's why. Oh, and don't go buying that cheap shit off Amazon, because it will only break your machine, conveniently.

    The iPhone? Oh, I'm callin

  • My Dell laptop accepts an SD card and it fits almost completely flush, maybe 1-2mm at most sticking out. I even keep a 256GB SD card for temporary storage in it without worrying it will catch on my case.

  • by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:12PM (#53200091) Homepage

    There are two major SD card form factors, three if you include compact flash. There are two major USB connectors for computers (USB and USB-C, not including two the two micro-usb form factors or the large square 'device' connectors). There are *five* video form factors, four of which are still current (DVI, HDMI, DP, Mini-DP).

    So he has a point. However, the new macbook-pro goes too far in removing ports. Standard USB ports are still *extremely* useful and for a laptop having a bunch of them is also extremely useful. They removed the separate power port, which basically means there is only one USB-C port available for peripherals.

    To say it is stupid is not being critical enough.

    -Matt

  • Then they wont be purchasing the new the 2016 Macbook Pro that cost $500 more than the previous generation for only a 7% gain in performance.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:32PM (#53200269)

    Okay, technically my employer purchased the one I'm typing this on now - a 2015 MacBook Pro, which was purchased this past spring specifically because of the (accurate) rumors stating the next version would be losing most of the ports and slots.

    I really like this thing. I use the SD slot once or twice a month. I use the Thunderbolt/Displayport ports and the HDMI ports to drive external monitors. I like the MagSafe connector. This machine is well built, and plenty fast. Plus all my Unix stuff runs on it too.

    Why am I bothering to say all this? Well... there's a darn good chance my next laptop purchase. a few years from now, won't be a Mac. I'll need to do a fair bit of testing, of course, but I will be looking at how much of a hassle going back to a Linux laptop will be. It's ironic, because I originally moved to Mac from Linux to get away from the hassle. And, all in all, I'd really prefer to stick with OS X... er, macOS, as a platform. But Apple seems hellbent on making their laptops less useful for those of us who actually do need a laptop for work. Sure, having to use a VM to run Photoshop a few times a year will be a hassle... but carrying around a dozen dongles is even more of a hassle - and it's harder to misplace a VM.

  • by mschaffer ( 97223 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:38PM (#53200331)

    I see they didn't have the courage to remove the headphone jacks on the MacBooks yet. Interesting.

  • by grumpy-cowboy ( 4342983 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @01:53PM (#53200495)

    Any other REAL "pro" laptop will do the job. You know laptops with USB, HDMI, .. ports, SD card, more than 16GB RAM, a full keyboard, ...

  • by Aereus ( 1042228 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @02:01PM (#53200567)

    How does a USB dongle with a reader attached to it stick out less than an SD card mounted in the laptop?

  • Wireless is a hassle (Score:5, Informative)

    by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Wednesday November 02, 2016 @02:27PM (#53200809)

    I have one of those wireless capable cameras. Nearly worthless feature.

    First, you have to connect your laptop/phone to the camera's wireless AP, not the other way around. Goodbye internet while transferring files, and having to fuck around with the wireless settings. Want to transfer files to desktop? Nope.

    Second, on the cameras I have experience with (Olympus and Sony), you have to use the manufacturers app to transfer files. Want to simply access the files as a disk? Nope. Want to transfer RAW files? Nope.

    The only thing the wireless feature is useful is as a remote shutter trigger and viewing the LCD screen when the phone is on a tripod.

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