There's a silver lining to that single USB Type-C port in Apple's new 12-inch MacBook after all.
According to sources who spoke to 9to5Mac, Apple will finally let companies develop battery packs and chargers for its products, due to the new MacBook's USB Type-C port.
USB Type-C, or simply USB-C, consolidates a notebook's separate power, data, and video ports into a single all-in-one wonder port. That means you can plug a 4K monitor into a USB-C connection, as well as a charging cable or storage dongle. But Apple's new MacBook has only one of these newfangled ports, replacing Apple's MagSafe charging connector and all other input and output ports that are included on previous laptops. This single-port limitation has opened Apple up to the idea of supporting accessories that work with the USB Type-C connection included in the new MacBook. Apparently, Apple could even allow other Macs to charge the new MacBook.
This is a huge change since Apple hasn't been happy with third-party peripheral companies using its proprietary MagSafe port in the past, to the extent that it sued HyperMac over its MagSafe and iPod accessories. Though a few MagSafe-compatible third-party options have slipped by Apple's litigious eye, the switch to USB Type-C should allow for an even wider range of accessory options. Apple already has an AV Multiport adapter with HDMI, USB 3.1, and USB-C inputs available, but it won't come included with the new MacBook.
Third-party options we know of so far include newly announced USB-C cables, adapters, and accessories from Belkin and Lacie, as well as USB Type-C to USB adapters, universal Type-C chargers and USB-C HDMI and DisplayPort adapters from Google. Google also has its new Chromebook Pixel to serve as a foil to Apple's new MacBook. The Pixel was announced mere days after the reveal of Apple's new MacBook and it also features two USB-C ports as opposed to Apple's one.
Apple's new MacBook, while warmly received for the most part, has received some extra heat for its single USB-C port. With only one port, users would either need to choose between charging the laptop and plugging in a peripheral, or spend extra on peripherals, dongles, adapters and hubs to be able to allow the use of more than one port at the same time, which essentially flies in the face of Apple's minimalist design. Apple could have avoided these concerns had it included a standard USB port or two in the new design.
Then again, the new 12-inch MacBook is aimed at users who will likely rely on the notebook's improved battery life and streamlined interface for light use anyway, rendering the need for extra accessories and charging cables moot. Users in need of such specifications can always turn to the MacBook Pro or another notebook to suit their needs.
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