This led to a short-lived third-party market for expensive USB external floppy drives in non-matching but equally hideous translucent green plastic. Eventually the world of computing caught up and it seems silly now to think that Apple's decision to dispense with floppy drives held any significance, but I can assure you as someone who has shared data between a PC and a Mac literally side by side since 1994, it was a pain in the arse for years.
Earlier this week, Apple unveiled its new line of MacBook Pro notebook computers. Everyone's talking about the 2880 x 1800-pixel retina screen, pumped up by the Apple PR machine. "Your favourite software. As you've never seen it before."
Well, in addition to the unnecessary full-stop, this isn't even true: it doesn't run Virtual Valerie at all.
The retina screen is lovely, it really is, and I also believe that eventually retina-class screens will become standard on all computers. But this retina is blinding you (ho, ho) to what Apple has removed from the MacBook Pro: no optical drive, no Ethernet, half the storage space.
Apple's promo videos show a smart guy on a plane editing video using his ultra-quiet, retina-screened MBP while his fellow passengers - clearly non-productive dipshit Windows users - try to get some sleep.
What it doesn't show is the same man deciding to sit back and watch a DVD only to find that he can't because Apple took out the DVD drive. He really ought to have torrented some films before catching his flight, he supposes, but this can take days to complete despite his fast internet connection.
Even so, he's not sure he can spare enough space for 20 gigs of movies on his half-pint SSD. Later, he arrives at the New York branch but finds that he can't plug into the company network because Apple took out the Ethernet port, so he spends the whole jetlagged morning logging calls in a vain attempt to get a Wi-Fi login, only to have it keep dropping out because he's been given a desk on the "wrong side of the pillar".
After a few years, all of this will seem trivial. However, unlike Apple PR, I have to live and work in the real world today as well as - one hopes - in a few years from now.
Until then, feel free to keep reading about stuff that doesn't matter. ®
Alistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. Like many El Reg readers, he was waiting for the MacBook Pro announcement before deciding whether to buy a new notebook. It looks like we're all going to have to wait a little longer, folks...
50:50 for me...
Removal of the optical drive - well, it's going to happen, and in this, I'm not too fussed. USB and Networks can fill the gap.
Removal of the ethernet port - just no. Wrong side of the pillar/Authentication issues/Security...and so on.
I wonder how long before we get bespoke Apple Thunderbolt-Ethernet adaptors along the lines of the proprietory video adaptors - I've got an entire drawer full of the various types now - the 30 pound extra tax on buying a MacBook as I always called it. I know you can get USB-Ethernet adaptors, but darling, it isn't Apple branded, and so, just won't do...
Apple took out the Ethernet port
Thanks for pointing this out, because in all the hoopla over the new display, mention of this seems to have been omitted.
I just wanted to reiterate that point, because, unlike the Air, the MB Pros are supposed to be Apple's "you can do actual work on these" machines. I've owned a couple, and, unlike the Air, which is at best an executive toy, or a handy thing to carry slideware around on, these are practical machines that you could work on in place of a desktop. Or they were, at least.
Before anyone mentions "USB"... if you're working in the sort of industries that do use Macs (creative and advertising, filmmaking and other media), you need gigabit ethernet, just to get your files off the content storage. Imagine trying to work as a programmer when every file in the git repository was at least 30 Mbytes in size, and changed twice a day.
For others whose work involves travel: how many of you use corporate VPNs with a "no WiFi" policy? How many of your clients' offices disable all access to the corporate network over WiFi (Ironically, Apple's Cupertino campus is one of these)?. So, before considering one of these laptops, consider this:
Apple took out the Ethernet port.
...... and all other Apple users should learn from this guy. While we all have our preferences and favourite shinys some of us are adult enough to point out the faults of said items.
More of this guy please el Reg
Re: 50:50 for me...
I wouldn't mind them removing the ethernet port if they had the common decency to give you the thunderbolt-ethernet adapter with the £1800 machine you just bought. I can understand perhaps not doing it with the cheaper Airs but not when you're at this price bracket - it's just plain rude.
Re: I don't get the fuss
Well yes, although it will cost you the Netherland's entire Armed Forces budget if you do.
And I don't carry an ethernet cable and have never been unable to find one on a client site. They pay you to work, not knock one out over how shiny you laptop is and therefore, they find you a bloody cable.