Apple has just unveiled a new redesigned MacBook that’s thinner, lighter, and smaller than existing MacBook Air models. While the 13-inch MacBook Air included an SD card reader, two full-size USB ports, and a Thunderbolt port, Apple is ditching all of these ports for its new 12-inch model. There’s just a single USB Type-C connector, which is the smaller reversible connection that’s starting to make its way to tablets and phones this year. You’ll also get a headphone jack, but that’s it.
It’s hardly surprising that Apple is shifting to this new connector, as we discovered in January that the company assigned 18 engineers to help build USB Type-C alongside companies like Lenovo, Dell, and HP. That engineer count is second only to Intel (with 24 people) and just above Microsoft’s 16 assigned engineers. While competitors are primarily using the connector for tablets and phones, it’s unusual to see Apple move to this single port on a new laptop.
Existing USB accessories or USB keys won’t plug straight into the new 12-inch MacBook Air, instead you’ll need to use wireless connections to exchange files. Apple’s single MacBook connector supports power, DisplayPort, VGA, data, and HDMI. Apple focused on wireless connectivity using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth during its press event today, and it’s not clear whether the company has an adapter ready for older accessories or to address the need for charging and using a monitor or USB Type-C accessory at the same time.