Apple Drops MacBook Pro Dongle Prices After Customer Pushback

Many Apple customers complained online when Apple removed legacy connectors in the devices in favor of USB-C and pricey adapters.

Apple. MacBook Pro, dongles, USB-C, USB, Thunderbolt, legacy ports

Apple is sharply reducing the prices of its USB-C adapters for its new MacBook Pro laptops after hearing loud complaints from many users about the cost and need for the dongles that will let them use their new machines with legacy peripherals and equipment they already own.

In an emailed statement sent to eWEEK on Nov. 7, Apple said it announced the USB-C adapter price cuts, which will be good through the end of 2016, to address the concerns of the company's customers.

"We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today, and they face a transition" because of changes in the new MacBook Pros that removed several legacy ports in favor of USB-C ports and accessory dongles, the statement said. "We want to help them move to the latest technology and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem. Through the end of the year, we are reducing prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals we sell, as well as the prices on Apple's USB-C adapters and cables."

Under the new pricing plan, all Apple-branded USB-C to USB adapters will be $9 instead of $19; while Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapters will sell for $29, instead of $49. USB-C to Lightning cables will be $19 instead of $25 for the 1-meter version, while the 2-meter version will be $29 instead of $35. In addition, the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport adapter will be $49 instead of $69.

The lower prices on the Apple accessories through the end of the year will not include Apple USB-C power adaptors or the 2-meter USB-C Charge Cable, according to Apple.

Related third-party MacBook Pro accessories sold through Apple stores and through Apple.com will also be included in the price mark-downs, Apple stated. The SanDisk Extreme Pro SD UHS-II Card USB-C reader will cost $29, instead of $49, while all other third-party USB-C peripherals offered by Apple will be 25 percent off.

Apple unveiled its latest MacBook Pro models on Oct. 27.

"We are extremely excited about the new MacBook Pro, which is the best pro notebook we've ever made," Apple said in the statement. "It has the fastest CPU, graphics, memory, storage and I/O, best display, the innovative Touch Bar and more. MacBook Pro uses the most advanced industry-standard connector, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, to provide maximum performance, expandability and compatibility."

The latest MacBooks arrive in three versions—a 15-inch model (pictured) with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core 2.6 GHz processor, 16GB of 2,133MHz memory and up to 2TB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage; a 13-inch model with a choice of sixth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 dual-core processors, and 8GB of 2,133MHz memory; and a second lower-priced 13-inch model that comes with a standard row of function keys instead of a new Touch Bar that's found in the other two laptops. The all-new Touch Bar replaces the top row of clickable function keys with a touch-screen keyboard strip that enables deep customization options with a variety of applications.

A sampling of IT analysts told eWEEK that the innovations they had hoped to see in the latest MacBook Pro devices were not part of the company's splashy presentation. Missing were innovations such as wireless displays that connect using WiGig, which could allow users to walk into a room, set down their MacBooks and have them connect to a compatible monitor instantly without having to plug anything in, while removing legacy ports makes things more complicated for users, they said.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399, and the MacBook Pro 13-inch model starts at $1,799 with the Touch Bar or at $1,499 for the standard model without the Touch Bar. The basic MacBook Pro 13 is available immediately, while the other two models will ship in two to three weeks, according to Apple.

An analysis of the new MacBook Pro 13 models with the standard function key bar was recently given a score of 2 out of 10 for ease-of-repair by computer tear-down specialist iFixit. The problem, according to iFixit, is that the new thinner, lighter and denser MacBook Pro 13 model has been designed and assembled in a way that doesn't allow easy disassembly. The two new 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro models won't ship for another few weeks, so iFixit has not yet taken them apart for analysis.