What? Apple Calls MacBook Pro SD Card Slot ‘Cumbersome’

Apple really doesn’t think including an SD card slot in your new MacBook Pro makes much sense.

Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller told the UK’s The Independent in a recent interview that adding an SD card slot in the new MacBook Pro would have made it “cumbersome.” He added that MacBook Pro owners might get the most benefit from using adapters or trying out wireless transfer.

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“More and more cameras are starting to build wireless transfer into the camera. That’s proving very useful,” Schiller said. “So we think there’s a path forward where you can use a physical adaptor if you want, or do wireless transfer.”

Apple touted its new MacBook Pro, which launches later this month, as its most powerful notebook to date. The computer comes in 13- and 15-inch variants and features a new Touch Bar above its keyboard to help users interact with both first- and third-party software. Apple’s new notebook is also its first to come with Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor found in the iPhone and iPad that will let users make secure payments and unlock their computer.

After Apple announced the MacBook Pro at its event last month, some criticized the company for failing to include enough ports. The entry-level $1,499 MacBook Pro comes with just two Thunderbolt 3 ports; the $1,799 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with a headphone jack. Same thing for the $2,399 15-inch Pro. The SD Card slot is conspicuously missing, along with a full-size USB 3.0 port and HDMI out.

For its part, Apple has argued that choosing a single card type is a mistake. The company notes that photographers, for instance, use all kinds of storage cards, like CompactFlash, to save their photos. The same is true for videographers. Choosing a single card to support in the MacBook Pro, then, would leave many others out.

Still, Apple has supported SD Cards in the past by including readers with the iMac and even its MacBook Pro. Schiller says it was an attempt by Apple to pick the card most people used, but that simply doesn’t work any longer.

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However, eschewing the SD card reader might also be an attempt by Apple to save some money. Building an extra port into its svelte MacBook Pro, after all, increases costs and cuts into margins. And the profit-conscious Apple might have decided to eliminate the card reader instead of bundle one more component in what promises to be an expensive-to-manufacture computer.

Many of Apple’s competitors have included a card slot in their machines, even if they’re slender. The Dell XPS 13, which is about the same size as Apple’s laptop, features both a full-size USB port and an SD card slot. So Apple's "cumbersome" explanation doesn't make a lot of sense.

However, this is Apple – a company that removes components and features in its products on a regular basis. The idea that it’s doing so again with the SD card slot shouldn’t take anyone by surprise.

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