This Gadget Puts the 'Pro' Back in MacBook Pro

Prospective and current Touch Bar MacBook Pro owners are faced with a daunting challenge of an adapter-filled life, as the notebook only offers USB Type-C ports, while many still use Type A gadgets. Fortunately, long-time Mac upgrade firm OWC is ready with the DEC, which attaches to the notebook's underside and adds familiar, valuable and often necessary ports.

With this add-on, you'll get multiple USB Type A ports (2 in the entry level-model, 3 in an upgraded version) and an SD memory reader, with the option for an Ethernet port. The DEC may also get a miniDisplay port and bays for removable batteries or storage, though OWC couldn't commit to that yet. It will be available for both 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros, and the company is considering supporting the 13-inch, non-TouchBar 2016 MacBook Pro.

Hands-on impressions

While it may look like the DEC adds a ton of bulk, it's still about as thin as the 2012 optical drive MacBook Pro, which measured 0.95 inches. Lifting and holding the a DEC-equipped MacBook Pro at CES 2017, I didn't think the thicker body was a problem, considering how much you get back. OWC says the shipping DEC should be 3 to 4 ounces lighter than that 2012 MacBook Pro, which would make it around 4.3 pounds.

Availability and Starting Pricing

The DEC should be available this spring and its 4TB model will carry a starting price under $1,400. While an exact price isn't available yet, OWC told Laptop Mag that the entry-level DEC shoould cost less than the price Apple charges to upgrade a Touch Bar MacBook Pro from 256GB to 2TB, which is $1,400.

Key Specs

2 to 3 USB Type A Ports, SD memory reader, optional Ethernet Port; 2GBps throughput; 

What's New

The DEC isn't about what's new, it's about recognizing that some need more storage and that not everyone is ready for Type-C cables or want to carry around fistfuls of dongles.

Why You Should Care

If you were holding off on upgrading to a MacBook Pro because its lack of legacy ports, you've got one less reason. Also, don't worry about angering Apple, OWC says users will be able to attach the DEC without voiding their warranty.


Optimistic: we're ready for a modern MacBook Pro with the ports and storage we need.

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