Apple’s new MacBook measures half an inch thick, weighs just 2 pounds, has a fanless design, and gets around 9 hours of battery life. It’s the company’s first all-metal laptop, and it’s the lowest-power MacBook to date, using just 5 watts of power.
But those aren’t the only things that make the new MacBook unusual: it’s also the first MacBook to ship with just a two ports: a headphone jack and a USB port (which is also the charging port).
You use that same port to charge the laptop, connect a display, plug in an iPhone, or do just about anything else that requires a wire. So how do you plug in your iPhone and charge the laptop at the same time? You buy a $79 adapter.
The USB-C port on the laptop support power, USB 3.0, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA connections, but you’ll need an adapter to use most of those features.
Apple figures you can use wireless peripherals for a lot of things. Need a mouse? Get a Bluetooth model. Want to connect a display? Use AirPlay.
But if you do need to connect something with a wire, the company’s USB-C Digital AV Multiport adapter plugs into the single jack on the laptop and gives you HDMI, USB, and power ports so you can charge your device while it’s plugged into a monitor and another peripheral at the same time.
If the $79 price tag seems too high, it’s worth noting that USB-C is a standard that other companies are expected to adopt, so third-party accessory makers might start offering cheaper alternatives.
It’s also interesting that Apple didn’t just do away with wires altogether by incorporating wireless charging into the laptop. While the company has a habit of cutting out legacy hardware support (Apple was one of the early laptop makers to offer models that lacked optical disc drives), it might be a bit too soon to try pushing laptops that have no support for wired peripherals.