There is a lot to love and hate about the new MacBook Pros. I just got one from my employer. It’s so much speedier than my previous machine. I love that I can log in with my fingerprint, because I have a complex password for logging into my computer. Quite unimportantly, I do like the darker color (Space Gray?) and the fact that the logo is not backlit.

But having said that, here is the downside of my early reaction to this machine:

  • The top bar is slick, but quite unnerving. I use the escape key quite a bit, and the lack of a physical/hardware key doesn’t feel right.
  • The keyboard keys all feel kind of chintzy. I don’t doubt that they are high enough quality, but they feel cheap.
  • The key depress is very shallow. Meh.
  • 3-D touch is annoying so far. I may find it helpful later, but right now, I accidentally drop things at the beginning of drag-and-drop attempts, and find myself frequently triggering the 3-D touch behavior when I am only trying to perform a normal single (left/standard) click.
  • USB-C × 4. I have a power supply that is USB-C (Thunderbolt 3). I can plug it in in either of the two left or either of the two right USB-C ports. Super handy and versatile. Apple is known for its simplicity and elegance. When you consider that almost everything (including a thumb drive) requires a special adapter, that ship has sailed. There are some solutions below.

So, four nearly worthless USB-C ports, and a headphone jack. I want to say something snarky about that 3.5mm/mini port, but I am afraid that they will “courageously” take that away, too. (So, thanks for leaving the headphone jack on there. At least you didn’t screw that up.) There’s much to like about this new machine. But honestly, I am so, so frustrated with this device. If my employer had not been supplying this, I would HATE it. But since I know that all of the dongles and peripherals that I need will be provided, my frustration is markedly tempered.

Solutions

You can overcome your lack of useful ports with one of Apple’s port expanders or adapters: Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter, or Apple USB-C to USB Adapter. The first two give you a video connection, a standard USB connection, and an additional USB-C connection, essentially removing their footprint, since they leave you with a port. The last one is simply a USB adapter. But if you buy one of those, aren’t you just rewarding Apple for their awful design ideas? 😉 Interestingly, Apple’s adapters received markedly lower reviews on their own site, and not in small numbers.

You can also get an off-brand adapter for a much lower price that will give you two USB 2, a USB 3, and a USB-C connection. My biggest concern there is that this particular device will eventually be undermined by Apple in the way that they do with unlicensed peripherals (ostensibly, just maybe actually) in the interest of your devices’ health (though this seems to be much more a problem with iOS devices than their computers. And right now, the adapter enjoys something along the line of a 4-star rating.