We wanted more ports, but Apple gave us speakers — here’s why

We wanted more ports, but Apple gave us speakers -- Here’s why
(Image credit: Future)

Although we're all still basking in the joyous afterglow of the launch of Apple's MacBook Air 15, some of the design choices are questionable. Apple is celebrating the Air 15 as the thinnest 15-inch laptop ever produced at just 0.45 inches. This is wonderful, and having six-speaker audio is also excellent, but would you rather have more speakers or port options? Therein lies the rub for many. 

Apple's Vice President of hardware engineering Kate Bergeron, and Laura Metz, of the product team, recently gave an exclusive interview to TechRadar, where Apple's design decision-making process was explained. My quick two cents is four speakers are enough; I would rather have four ports than six speakers. 

The hows and whys

According to both Metz and Bergeron, the decision-making process was arduous. Much of the work came from the display team and setting a target of building not only the world's thinnest 15-inch laptop, but also a durable and reliable one. Which fine; that is nice. However, most users would want more ports if given a choice between more speakers or more ports. 

A 15-inch MacBook Air should have more room for extra ports, but Apple decided otherwise. According to Laura Metz, Apple views the MBA 15 as part of the Air family. They wanted it to keep some of the 13 Air's designs that many have grown accustomed to. They felt that to keep the overall design thin and light, they would have to stick to just the two USB-C ports and the Mag power port. 

Metz also states that it was decided to give users a 35-watt dual port power adapter because most Apple users, according to them, are mostly using the ports on their MacBook Airs to charge their other Apple devices. Sorry, but I call hogwash on this. I love the MBA 13 M1, I have almost never used it to charge or share data with my iPhone, iPad, or any other device for that matter. So thanks for the dual power adapter (a ton of OEM power adapters have more than two ports), but I and many others would rather have more ports. 

It seems like a lazy solution, and  tries to sell us by saying, "So the idea with that dual-port adapter is now you’re charging your MacBook Air and your iPhone or your iPad off of that, which frees up a port." Again, I kindly call this nonsense.

We wanted more ports, but Apple gave us speakers -- Here’s why

(Image credit: Apple)

You see right there in the photo from Apple's site that they could have fit even just one more port near the 3.5mm audio jack, let alone two more, but god forbid Apple does that and doesn't jack up the price of $400. So two free speakers it is, so that you can enjoy the spatial audio version of you being BS'd into thinking the new MacBook Air 15 is the greatest thing since Nutella-covered French Toast; it's not. 

I wish Apple would stop trying to sell us rehashed tech like it's magical and new. This is just a larger MacBook Air, just like the Apple Vision Pro is just the stuck-up cousin of the Meta Quest Pro. Apple has a bad habit of acting like reinvention is innovation when it is simply copy-and-paste techno hackery. 

To get back on point, users of every ilk would have preferred more ports instead of continuing our endless Amazon shopping for the best docks for MacBook searches. The four speakers the MacBook Air 13 has are excellent and would have been fine on the Air 15, we didn't need two more. However, we needed two more ports. I think it's high time we start calling Apple out for its lack of innovation and arrogantly trying to BS consumers into believing everything they create is original. 

It used to be that you could count on Apple's creativity and innovation. Sadly, since the passing of Steve Jobs, the company seems to be riding the coattails of a ghost who haunts the circled halls of Cupertino in tears. 

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Mark Anthony Ramirez

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.