Apple is no stranger to destroying old technology. The original iMac not only did away with legacy ports, but also shook the floppy disk off this deadly reel. Elsewhere, the company has been aggressive about moving to solid-state storage and Retina-quality displays, with little to no qualms about the old hardware they replace (and rightly so).
All this means that the company does not usually consider nostalgia as an asset. Recently, rumors have pointed to another feature that may be on the chopping block: the Lightning connector that debuted on the iPhone 5 in 2012. According to speculation, it would be replaced by USB-C, which has already replaced the proprietary port on several iPad models, as well as being the de facto connector on modern Macs.
While such a transition would undoubtedly cause some degree of consternation from many users, I’m all for it. In the words of one of the better Star Wars films of recent years, let the past die. Kill it if you must.
With that in mind, here are a few more features that can still be found on Apple products today, but whose time in the sun should probably end sooner or later.
Touch Bar: Touch of Evil
Somewhere deep in Cupertino, there is almost certainly a lab with an unholy experiment: a MacBook whose entire keyboard has been replaced by a piece of glass without character. But publicly, Apple’s latest effort to bring its touchscreen technology to the Mac hasn’t exactly been an unqualified success.
Yes, it’s time to kill the Touch Bar.
To be fair, it’s already on its way. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 chip is the only remaining product in Apple’s lineup that still has the strip of touch-sensitive buttons instead of physical function keys. And chances are, when the M2 versions roll around, the Touch Bar will be pining for the fjords.
This isn’t to say that the idea of using touch technology on Macs is inherently a bad idea, but the Touch Bar really didn’t get it right. At first glance, it promised a higher degree of customization and flexibility than static buttons, but the lack of tactile feedback or the ability to use without looking often made it more cumbersome than useful. Combined with the fact that Apple seemed to believe it never really needed further upgrades to the hardware or software side, the Touch Bar has basically languished in the years since its release. It’s time to put it out of its misery.
Webcam: 1080p eww
Is there a feature of new Macs that has caused as much consternation as the humble webcam? What was once more or less an afterthought on Apple’s computers has catapulted to the top of the bill thanks to the massive and sudden rise of video conferencing during the pandemic. But only the very latest Macs have finally abandoned the 720p webcam in favor of the somewhat disappointing 1080p version. (Let’s not even get into the foofaraw about the Apple Studio Display’s camera.)
This is one place Apple should have skipped. Forget 1080p – that’s so bad 2010. Why not a 4K webcam? After all, there hasn’t been a moment’s hesitation in cramming cameras of that quality into iPhones and iPads – the latest iPhones have both front-facing and rear-facing cameras that can record video at 4K resolution.
It’s undoubtedly a more expensive proposition, but when you consider that most people who buy a Mac with a built-in webcam already spend well over $1,000 (and probably much more), it doesn’t seem wise to stock a single 4K camera. to make. much to ask. As Apple may not want to admit it, remote working isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And it’s not that Apple isn’t taking advantage of this either: FaceTime looks much better on an iPhone than on a Mac.
SIM cards: know when to fold them
The year is 2022 and even the fanciest iPhone you can buy still has a SIM card slot in it. Of course there is the backwards compatibility argument and there are certainly countries around the world where a physical SIM card is still more common (even here in the US). But with the advent of eSIM, it’s much easier to manage and schedule your cellular connection through an app than with small, easily lost or damaged chips.
The benefits for Apple are clear: removing the SIM slot frees up valuable space in the iPhone, makes it easier to waterproof, and lets them stop packing one of those boring, over-engineered SIM removal tools in every box.
And while SIM cards have come in handy when you want to have two different phone plans (for example, if you’re traveling internationally), the latest iPhones and iPads already support dual eSIMs. This is clearly the future calling (and the future of calling, for that matter).
I hear your concerns! What will renounced spies crush under their boots? It’s a tragedy, but SIM cards are passé: They’ve been getting smaller and smaller over the past two decades, and it’s time they finally disappeared and joined floppy disks, SCSI connectors, and dot-matrix printers in the vast computer graveyard in the sky.