Upgrading to Apple's latest and greatest has put me in a dongle jungle, but the payoff is worth it.
Last year, Apple launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which came sans headphone jack. It did, however, come with a dongle, which would allow me to continue using my favorite wired headphones with my iPhone 7 Plus. Apple also launched the MacBook Pro, which came sans every type of port except USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. I purchased a dongle for $9, which would allow me to continue using my MacBook Pro with ... well, everything else I connect to my computer.
This is the first time in my life that I've had to use adapters in order to keep up my device-using status quo. I've had a few hiccups, like not being able to charge my iPhone while listening to music through wired headphones, but the transition has been less of an issue than I thought would be. The technology that comes along with the future of iPhone and Mac far outweigh my desire to use antiquated cables with older devices.
Transitioning to a life with dongles
With the iPhone 7 Plus, I've had the most problems with using a dongle. I keep my adapter with me at all times, so I've never had the experience of not being able to use headphones or another 3.5mm connected device just because I forgot the adapter. I have, however, had the very real and very burdensome experience of not being able to charge my iPhone while I'm using the Lightning port to listen to podcasts.
You see, my car is old enough to not have any way to connect a smart device without using a tape adapter (Yes, it's so old that it has a tape player). So, my normal routine is to connect the tape adapter, plug the cable into my iPhone's 3.5mm jack and my car charger into the Lightning port, start a podcast playlist, clip my iPhone to a dashboard mount, and drive all night. I can't do that with my iPhone 7 Plus without buying a splitter, adding yet another dongle to my life.
As for the MacBook Pro, I have not yet had an issue with using a dongle. I purchased the $9 USB-C to USB adapter from Apple the same day I purchased my new MacBook Pro because I knew I'd need something to adapt all of my USB-A gadgets with.
Even with only a single dongle, I've been able to work seamlessly on my Mac. My experience won't be the same as everyone else's. I don't connect my MacBook Pro to a second screen unless I'm connecting it to my iPad Pro using Duet Display. When I need to connect another device, like my DSLR camera, I just disconnect the iPad and connect the camera. I personally, haven't absolutely had to keep two gadgets connected to my MacBook Pro at the same time. If I did, though, it would mean having to buy another USB-C to USB adapter, adding yet another dongle to my life.
I wouldn't trade my dongles for any other devices
The payoff, however, comes with the technology improvements in the iPhone 7 Plus and the MacBook Pro. Both devices are far more advanced than my previous devices. My MacBook Pro is lightning fast, has a superb screen, has much better internal speakers, lets me securely log in and make online purchases using Touch ID, and is almost as lightweight as my iPad Pro.
Though I have since switched back to the four-inch iPhone SE, I still use my iPhone 7 Plus regularly to play games, listen to music, and take photos. It is lightning fast, has a gorgeous screen, comfort-inducing Taptic feedback, an amazing Touch ID Home "button," and the camera is unmatched.
Having to keep a couple of dongles lying around so I can connect my antiquated cables is a fair trade for the leap forward in technology. I'd rather have the best MacBook Pro Apple ever made sitting on my lap then a PC that is slow, heavy, and glitchy, oh but has a bunch of different types of ports and card readers.
It's time for the rest of the tech world to catch up
When my friends complain about Apple's newest devices and how burdensome it would be to have to carry around a couple of tiny little dongles, I smile and show them an action shot I took in low light with my iPhone 7 Plus, or securely make an online purchase with my fingerprint and ask, "Can your device do that?"
Instead of complaining that Apple has left the rest of the tech world behind, we should be telling other tech companies that it is about time they catch up. Until then, it's the dongle life for me.