Apple's new MacBook sports USB-C: Is Thunderbolt headed for FireWire's graveyard?

Apple's newly introduced MacBook sports a Retina display, light weight and all-day battery life. Clad in silver, gold and space gray, the MacBook carries the same design theme as the iPhone 6. It also has only one interface for expansion and charging: a USB-C port, new to the Mac line. Will the rest of the Mac line eventually use this too?

Writing for Macworld, Glenn Fleishman offers a comprehensive look at USB-C and Thunderbolt, explaining some of the possible reasons Apple may have elected to use this new standard on the MacBook and what's wrong with Thunderbolt.

In the pursuit of slimness, sleekness, and simplicity—the same goal that brought us Lightning—Apple has seemingly done with Thunderbolt what it once did with FireWire. But is USB-C a worthwhile shift for users? Well, all interfaces are compromises in one way or another, and Apple believes USB-C meets more customers' needs, even as the new interface throws some people off a cliff.

The MacBook's use of USB-C doesn't spell the end for MagSafe 2, Thunderbolt 2 or USB 3.0. All those things are present on other Mac models, including Apple's newly refreshed MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro.

Apple's proven over and over again that it's not afraid to cause short-term discomfort for its users for long-term gain; people wrung their hands when Apple excised the floppy drive from the Mac with the introduction of the iMac. Same happened with optical drives. USB-C is the right interface specifically for the new MacBook. What happens with the rest of the product line is still open to speculation.

12-inch MacBook


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