Apple this week announced revisions to their 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro laptop line.
Most of the time, when these sorts of things get announced, I just nod my head, acknowledge the new release and move on. I’m not buying laptops all the time, so this stuff doesn’t affect me.
However, in the last two laptop releases Apple is starting to reveal a trend which is very troubling to me as someone who uses Mac gear to edit audio and video — they are taking away the ports I need to connect my stuff.
This began with the laptop update prior to the most recent one with the removal of FireWire 400 ports. Now, in itself, this isn’t a bad thing. FireWire 400 is slow, with a limited cable length. The problem was that they didn’t replace the port with a second FireWire 800 port.
This means that I can’t connect a camera and a second hard drive to my computer without purchasing a FireWire hub. And a hub always runs at the speed of the slowest device connected to it. As well, there are legions of problems with editing video on a single hard drive, unless you are resigned to only editing DV or HDV. ProRes certainly can’t be edited on a single-drive system. Nor can any audio projects with more than a few tracks. Nor can many other HD video formats.
Then, in the latest laptop release for both the 13″ and the 15″ laptop, Apple removed the high-speed Express 34 card and replaced it with the much, Much, MUCH! slower SD card port. The SD card ports runs, according to Apple, at a MAXIMUM of 30% of the speed of an Express 34 card.
How can Apple call a laptop a PROFESSIONAL system when it has fewer ports and the ports it has are slower? They create computers with great software, blindingly fast CPUs, great graphics cards, then reduce the ways to connect external gear!
This is foolish and short-sighted.
Yes, Apple needs lower cost systems to meet the needs of the broader market. But, they also need systems that meet the needs of video and audio professionals. It makes no sense to buy a system that – out of the box – is inadequate for day-to-day video production. Yet Apple describes this as their “Pro” line of laptops.
Apple would say that they have the 17″ laptop. True, but disingenuous. The 17″ is too big to easily travel with, has a screen resolution that exceeds most video projectors which makes it totally impractical for training, and costs more than the 15″ which, up until the latest releases, met our needs for ports and speeds.
Apple might also counter saying that they offer the fully expandable Mac Pro line of computers. While true, this misses the whole point of having a PORTABLE computer for video editing in the field.
If you feel that Apple is short-changing its professional market, feel free to share this blog – or write your own – or contact Apple.
For me, though I need a new laptop, none of the current models are attractive for video editing. I’m going to hold off buying until Apple releases a system I can use, or I’ll just buy an older MacBook Pro – used.
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