Apple has ditched classic USB ports in favour of two USB-C / Thunderbolt ports on its new MacBook Air.
The replacement ports will not only function as USB and Thunderbolt port, but will also replace the function of the power port, HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort.
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“It’s the most versatile port ever,” said Apple’s Laura Lagrove.
The laptop, which was announced today at Apple’s event in New York, is designed to be more compact than previous versions, despite having the same 13.3in display.
It has 17% less volume and is 10% thinner than previous versions, and weighs 2.75lbs, making it a quarter of a pound lighter than the last generation.
“Perfect for the notebook you want to take with you everywhere,” said Lagrove.
Dropping classic USB ports may prove controversial
The decision to drop standard USB ports has undoubtedly helped Apple reduce the thickness of the laptop, but it may prove to be a controversial choice.
While USB C and Apple’s Thunderbolt ports have gained increased traction, standard USB remains incredibly widespread, meaning users will need to buy new cables in order to make use of many existing devices. And while these are relatively affordable, they remain more expensive than other alternatives.
For some users, the move will likely be reminiscent of the decision to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack, which was met with outrage from many
The “most affordable Retina Mac”
Apple’s new Macbook Air also features a Retina display, Touch ID and a Force Touch trackpad, giving it more impressive specs than previous iterations.
However, its price point of $1,199, which Lagrove describes as “the most affordable Retina Mac we’ve ever offered” makes it one of the most budget-friendly options in the Mac lineup.
Notably, the Macbook Air is also made from an aluminium alloy than is manufactured using excess metal from other production processes, in a first for the company.
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“This is a huge breakthrough,” summarised Lagrove.
“We’re very proud to say today that every MacBook Air is made from 100% recycled aluminium.”
The Macbook Air is available to order from today, with the company beginning shipping from next week.