Apple: Bring the ExpressCard slot back to the 15″ MacBook Pro!
Although the new 15-inch MacBook Pro has the word “Pro” in its name, Apple removed its most pro-level feature: the ExpressCard/34 slot. The fastest interface on the machine, the ExpressCard slot passed data to the system at up to 2.5Gbps through its direct connection to the system bus, enabling blazing fast speeds and almost unlimited expansion capabilities. Compare this to a maximum speed of 0.36Gbps for an SD card slot, which could have been added for a miniscule cost with an ExpressCard adapter anyway. Professional videographers and photographers depended on the ExpressCard slot to connect eSATA drives (whose theoretical speeds could reach 3.0Gbps, while real-world usage usually hovers around 1.5Gbps), to add extra FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 ports onto their own dedicated buses without interruption from additional peripherals, and to add comprehensive card readers that could read dozens more types of cards than just SD. We hope that Apple brings back the ExpressCard slot to future 15-inch MacBook Pros. In the meantime, perhaps Apple should rename this machine the MacBook Semi-Pro.
Apple revamped its entire laptop line yesterday, and made a very foolish decision which affects all 15″ MacBook Pro owners in a NEGATIVE MANNER. After you read this blog posting, I strongly urge you to complain to Apple on their feedback page here.
Yesterday, Apple decided to REMOVE the ExpressCard slot from all 15″ MacBook Pros and replace it with an SD Media Card reader instead.
This is the equivalent of bulldozing an entire wing off your house and giving you a little pup tent to sleep in instead.
It’s not like Apple replaced this ExpressCard technology with something better or equivalent… they have just removed this technology altogether! Apple has NOT provided us with an equivalent solution to replace the absence of this ExpressCard slot.
Instead, Apple wants you to purchase their bulky and unwieldy 17″ laptop if you want to get your ExpressCard slot back, but my clients and myself do NOT WANT to purchase a bulky 17″ laptop just to get this ExpressCard slot back. Apple has taken a major step backwards by removing this incredibly important feature.
The 15″ MacBook Pro is supposed to be a professional machine, not a consumer machine. That is why it needs professional features like the ExpressCard slot.
- With an ExpressCard slot, you could have added any VARIETY of media card readers to your 15″ MacBook Pro, including 21-in-1 readers or 12-in-1 readers or 7-in-1 readers that read way more than just SD cards. With an SD Card slot, you can only read one type of card: SD cards.
- With an ExpressCard slot, you could have added eSATA ports to your 15″ MacBook Pro, which is currently the fastest way to connect external hard drives to a laptop. With an SD Card slot, you can only add external drives to your machine through the slower FireWire 800 and USB ports. If you are a video editor or a photographer, this should concern you greatly!
- With an ExpressCard slot, you could have added extra FireWire ports to your 15″ MacBook Pro on their own dedicated bus that operated at full speed. With an SD Card slot, you can only add extra FireWire devices to your machine by daisy chaining them or carrying around an additional FireWire hub. This is slower and bulkier.
- With an ExpressCard slot, you could have added a wireless ExpressCard modem to your 15″ MacBook Pro, which is faster and more securely fastened inside your machine than a USB wireless modem. With an SD Card slot, your only choice for wireless modem is to connect it via USB port, which is slower and is not as securely fastened inside your machine.
On the other hand, an SD Media Card gives you — um, absolutely nothing except SD Media Card reading. Which, by the way, was completely unnecessary because all digital cameras could plug in via USB to the Mac or (with select hardware) could connect wirelessly to a Mac.
This is the #1 liability of being a Mac user. Since our entire computing world revolves around ONE VENDOR and ONE VENDOR ONLY for our hardware, we are at the whims of Apple’s engineering decisions, even when those decisions hurt the user. It is times like this when one can understand the desire of PC users to stick with the PC.
Much of the time this hardware lock-in is just fine because Apple makes the highest-rated, most reliable, and best-designed hardware in the entire computing industry. But every once in a while, such as yesterday, Apple makes incredibly poor decisions that affect us negatively, and you & me have to stand up and shout at Apple to reverse course.
Apple has a history of doing this, by the way. Apple makes dramatic negative changes and then waits to see if enough people complain about it. If so, Apple will reverse course. Just yesterday, Apple added the missing FireWire ports back onto all their 13″ MacBooks again (now rebranded as “MacBook Pros”), after 8 months of complaints from consumers like you & me. They also reversed course on some bad design decisions in Safari 4 after receiving hundreds of complaints by putting Safari 4′s tabs back in their rightful spot again. They did this with iMovie ’08 and iMovie ’09, too. And they did this when Leopard came out and they removed hierarchical folders from the dock… only to put them back later after mass outcry from the public. I have dozens of other examples like this as well. So it is important that we SPEAK UP NOW to Apple.
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