When Apple announced the MacBook Air I had an immediate reaction to the absence of an Ethernet port. It went something like this, “What, no Ethernet port?”
It’s not that I need an Ethernet port often, but when I do, it’s critical. Take CES. I was in the press room with a limited window of time and a video that needed uploading. I wasn’t going to mess with a wireless connection that had been flaky the last time I’d tried it. I went straight for a wireline, got my 42
megabits megabytes uploaded and went on my merry way.
Other folks have pointed out that some venues only have wired connections, like a lot of hotels. Sure you can get a $29 USB adapter for an added Ethernet port, but you’d probably also have to spring for a USB hub, as the one USB port on the MacBook Air is precious real estate. Isn’t the whole point of the MacBook Air that it’s supposed to be highly portable? It wouldn’t feel very portable to me if I had to sling along a bunch of add-on hardware. (Engadget also notes that a 3G USB modem won’t fit in the one USB port – space is too cramped – without an extension cable.)
As I got crankier and crankier thinking about this, I remembered that my husband’s old MacBook used to have an S-video port. It was very handy. No need for a media extender (though I still want that SlingCatcher, Dave); we could plug it right into the TV and watch downloaded shows. It would be even more convenient now with so much streaming content available from the likes of ABC, Hulu and Netflix.
Yet Apple took away the S-video port. And very few other laptops seem to have one. What’s the deal? What do computer makers have against giving me some decent ports? Yes I know there are trade-offs, but for a few good ports, I’d be willing to make them. Take away everything useful and a computer’s just no fun.