We explore Apple’s one port laptop and how this streamlined design could actually be a good thing for enterprise.
This week didn’t just see the release of the Apple Watch, the company also launched the latest version of the MacBook – its thinnest and lightest version ever. However, despite the advances that come with this latest model, there seems to be one that might alienate current users … it only has one USB-C port.
The reduced size of the MacBook has meant that Apple has also had to reduce the number of ports it can include – a trend that is likely to prevail as devices get smaller and smaller and we move to a more agile way of working.
The USB-C port supports the latest USB 3.1 cable, one of the biggest advances in cabling in some time. The USB 3.1 has major advantages over older cabling, and it is the latest technology that all the major developers are currently investing in.
From faster data transfer and backwards connectivity to reversibility that allows it to be plugged in upside down and round the right way, and the ability to charge devices, USB 3.1 is set to change PCs, and Apple’s adoption of a single port reflects the way the industry is moving.
However, one USB port means that the ability to plug in peripherals has been greatly reduced. With a more mobile workforce the ability to have lighter, moveable tech is a genuine need, but to support this workforce we have to be able to plug into any workstation and start working immediately. Is a single USB port a practical offering for businesses?
Apple does offer its own adaptor for the new MacBook that will allow users to plug in additional hardware, but if an enterprise doesn’t solely use Apple computers then this is probably not the best investment to make. A universal docking station doesn’t cost much more than Apple’s $79 offering, but it allows users of any device to plug into a number of peripherals with one single cable.
Atif Mahmood, Head of IT EMEA at Targus was excited by the Apple announcement, “Targus Universal Docking Stations have always utilised USB technology over Thunderbolt. Now, with the MacBook choosing USB-C means we will be able to provide connectivity and power delivery through a single cable to devices in the very near future.”
Targus EMEA have confirmed the release of a fully compatible USB-C dock due later this year.
From monitors and keyboards, to printers and gaming devices, a laptop or tablet can instantly become a desktop computer – there is no need for multiple ports. The number of cables that an enterprise will need to invest in will be greatly reduced, as will chargers – as the USB 3.1 allows this to happen through the one cable.
IT departments needn’t be affected by this introduction of products with reduced connectivity. Docking stations mean that current and future tech can be adapted to support as little or as many peripherals as necessary.
Backwards connectivity in the USB 3.1 means that the docking stations currently on the market are compatible but many of the producers, including Targus, are currently developing docks that will include their own USB-C ports in the future.
This wave of new technology and the direction in which computing is moving would suggest that the need for docking stations will only increase in the future. For IT departments the move towards single port technology will mean that to create a more agile and productive workforce it will be necessary for enterprises to invest in universal docking stations to support the variations in hardware.