Why There’s No SD Card Slot in the New MacBook Pro

Posted by on Wednesday November 2, 2016 | Photo Gear

To say that Apple’s announcement of the new MacBook Pros was given a less-than-enthusiastic reception by the creative community is something of an understatement. Of particular ire is the decision to phase out an SD card slot.

Speaking to the IndependentApple’s senior VP Phil Schiller laid out the company’s rationale for why the slot had to go:

Because of a couple of things. One, it’s a bit of a cumbersome slot. You’ve got this thing sticking halfway out. Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers, and then you can use CompactFlash as well as SD. So we could never really resolve this – we picked SD because more consumer cameras have SD but you can only pick one. So, that was a bit of a trade-off. And then more and more cameras are starting to build wireless transfer into the camera. That’s proving very useful. So we think there’s a path forward where you can use a physical adaptor if you want, or do wireless transfer.

It’s true that many cameras have embraced Wi-Fi and there are dongles to enable wireless transfers to computers, but those aren’t necessarily as reliable, or fast, as a direct connection. Another plausible response from Schiller (one he didn’t apparently make) could be that a pro can always shoot tethered via USB directly into a MacBook Pro. That won’t address every use case for needing an SD card slot, but it sounds a bit more plausible than saying camera Wi-Fi is an adequate replacement in a professional setting.


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