This morning I started to think about the little things as I packed my bag for work…. "Dang, I sure have a lot of cables and dongles in here."
Apple seems to be leading the way in "innovation" on this front. If you want a smaller, thinner device, then those old bulky cords must go. After all, the whole world is wireless… right?
- DVI + VGA — If I want to hook up to a projector, I'm carrying two adapters. One for DVI and one for VGA. While I'm happy HDMI is built-in… I still need to carry adapters to connect to 90% of the conference rooms and projectors out there. $29 + $29
- FireWire — Remember FireWire? That connector that Apple told us for years stomped USB. Well I need to carry an adapter for that too. Except when you plug it in to the Thunderbolt port on the Mac, it doesn't put out enough bus power for most of my FireWire drives… meaning I also have to carry a power supply (and find another outlet) for my G-Tech portable drives. $29
- Ethernet — Still relevant. Go to any hotel and the WiFi networks are often slower than a swamp in December. Want Ethernet… there's an adapter for that. $29
- MagSafe — If I want to use any of the numerous power supplies I have, there's a $10 adapter for that. $10
- iPod Cables – Why didn't I buy the iPhone 5? Well besides that fact that as a 4S owner it would cost me nearly full price (and the bump wasn't very big) I'd have to get all new cables. I'd need one for the car, work, laptop bag, and home. Add in the wife and suddenly that's 7 to 8 cables at $20 a pop. Want to adapt all those devices you have that use the old connector (from my heart rate monitor to a speaker dock)? Well those adapters cost $29 and $39. Yes the adapters cost twice as much as the new cables…. huh!?! Of course I still need to carry the old ones for the iPad since they won't make an adapter that goes the other direction. $19 + $19 + $19 + $19 + $29 + $39
- Thunderbolt — This has been total vaporware. Try to buy a dock or port extender... nope. The cables are $50. The drives cost $100 more for the chassis. All for a 10% speed boost over USB3 for standard hard drives. Sure there are some desktop solutions that rock on the high end… but as a "universal" adapter that's "perfect" for drives, adapters, and displays… it just sucks. $150
- Optical Drive – Need to get a DVD to install something (or burn a backup?) Nope. Gotta remember to pack the external drive and bring that too. $79
Oh… and what's really missing? The fact that I can't even connect a security cable to the laptop. There is no slot to attach a Kensington or other style lock to the device. So if you're on the road and need to walk away from the machine… don't.
Apple seems to be on a quest for thinner and lighter… but we're to the point where this means sacrificing core features. I'd like to be thinner and lighter too, but I can't think of any limbs or appendages I'd be willing to chop off so save some ounces and fit into a smaller space. Just like camera manufacturers are getting silly with the megapixel wars… Apple needs to slow down and actually look at what their customers need to do to get their jobs done.
Those cables and adapters I mentioned above add up to $500+. None come in the box… that's all extra cost. And if you do what I did, drop your adapter bag at home before you go on a business trip… prepared to be screwed. Even the Apple retail stores can't keep these things in stock. Apple you're missing the mark… start listening to what customers need and stop "saving us from ourselves."