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What did the SD card ever do to Apple?

What did the SD card ever do to Apple?

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MacBook Pro 2016
MacBook Pro, 2016 model
Vlad Savov

What you see before you, friends, is Apple’s brand new MacBook Pro, in the silver $1,799 configuration and space gray $1,499 variant without the cool new Touch Bar. Neither of them has an SD card slot. SD cards are those awesome things that practically every dedicated camera in the world nowadays stores photos on. Fujifilm, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic... the only thing all of these photo companies agree on is that SD is the storage medium of choice. And now Apple has decided to ditch it.

SD card slot > SD card adapter

Apple has always been a photographer’s close ally. In the olden days when Windows PCs and generic monitor makers didn’t care about color fidelity, Apple was the pioneer that said that colors matter. Many of the MacBook Pro’s most devoted fans are indeed photographers. And now the MacBook Pro doesn’t have an SD card slot anymore. Cue more dongles and adapters.

I understand Apple’s reasoning and broader aim: the Cupertino company isn’t just dispatching the SD card slot; it’s also doing away with the older Thunderbolt port, HDMI, the classic USB jacks, and basically everything that isn’t USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 or the headphone jack. Isn’t that fun? Apple is showing loyalty to the 3.5mm headphone connector that it considered so retrograde for the iPhone. Honestly, though, nobody else has four Thunderbolt 3 ports on a laptop yet, all of them allowing you to charge the laptop and obviating the MagSafe power plug.

It’s just that the SD card is nowhere near being deprecated. Has anyone at Apple tried using the wireless transfer apps that camera makers now offer? They’re utterly and universally atrocious. If we could transfer photos off cameras wirelessly, we’d already be doing it. But the fact is that even with so many wireless "options" on offer, we all rely on the tried-and-true method of pulling the SD card out of camera and popping it into our laptop. For many of us, the act of doing this has turned into muscle memory.

The MacBook Pro might be an awesome computer, and its Touch Bar certainly looks like a promising (and actually rather courageous) alteration. But it won’t be the perfect computer. You can’t take away a basic, fundamental capability and pretend that life will somehow, at some point, be better without it. I was sure that I’d be upgrading to the new MacBook Pro as soon as it became available, but now my confidence is shaken. Can Apple please stop taking away things I like from the devices I want?

First look at the new MacBook Pro