Image: Apple
Image: Apple
Yesterday saw another Apple product launch, so inevitably we get another queue of experts insisting people a) don’t need the firm’s latest shiny gadget and b) won’t be happy if they buy one.

People who don’t see the point of a smart watch have largely chosen to focus on the wallet-busting £8k price tag of the top of the range gold edition as if this somehow proves the absurdity of a device they have no use for.

Meanwhile power computer users are rushing to denounce Apple’s decision to include just one port in its new MacBook, insisting that this makes it an under-specced and overpriced vanity purchase.

If lists were kept and compared we’d quickly spot that many of these are the same folk who insisted no-one had any use for the iPad and pronounced that it’d be a massive flop.

Personally I don’t see a big need for the Apple Watch in my life – while I’m drawn to the theory of talking to my wrist like Michael Knight or Dick Tracey, in practice I’d feel a massive tool doing so – I know this because I already feel like a bell-end when using the mic in my wireless headphones to answer calls.

The chances of me sitting on a London bus chatting to my wrist while everyone else could listen in are less than nil.

I’m not a runner or jogger so the fitness app side of things doesn’t massively appeal and my morning train is generally too packed to be able to lift my arm up to read my emails and messages.

So while I like the designs Apple have come up with, I can’t see myself buying an Apple Watch.

But I can see why motorists and people who work up ladders would find a hands-free gadget that allows them to legally and safely answer calls pretty useful.

And were I a runner or recreational walker, the ability to plan a route and then follow it just by glancing down at my wrist could be useful.

As with the iPad, other uses will come along which increase the watch’s appeal to other groups and a whole pile of people will wonder how they ever got by without it.

Equally the success of tablets of all brands, and the popularity of keyboard cases for them, proves there’s a market for portable computers with decent-sized keyboards but not many ports.

So the outrage that Apple has included just one single port in the new MacBook looks a little out of touch with how many people use their machines.

Yes, some users still have printers and a host of USB drives and other devices to connect to their computer, but that’s not how everyone does things in 2015.

The popularity of services such as Dropbox and Apple’s own iCloud means there’s a sizeable number of users who store their documents, pictures and other content in the cloud.

The existence of wireless backup drives means people don’t need to tie up a port to backup any locally stored data while wireless printers are commonplace and easily affordable to anyone thinking of shelling out £1k for a new laptop.

And while axing the SD card slot will make it harder for some people to get images onto the new MacBook without buying an adapter, there are already cameras which let you pull images off of them over WiFi.

Sure, a laptop which has only one multi-use port would require many people to change how they use their machines and in some cases would require significant investment in new kit and time to change old habits.

But these users aren’t everyone and these machines aren’t aimed at them.

We old computing types who can remember the days when home computing was The Future and reloading a printer needed a degree in properly feeding and lining up the paper need to let go.

Lots of people use their computers and tablets simply to stay in touch via email, Skype or Facetime, to take notes and update their blogs, Facebook or Twitter accounts.

They don’t need 8 different ports when most of the stuff they own, watch or listen to is stored online, or a dedicated charging slot on a device that delivers 9 hours of battery life.

And they don’t want to be lectured about how a device which suits their needs perfectly isn’t a real computer by the same generation of users who wondered how they’d cope when the serial port, floppy disk and in-built modem were removed.

Sometime soon hardcore power users will need to reconcile themselves to the twin facts that the number of people who need a multi-port, highly specced powerhouse of a computer is smaller than the number who don’t and that manufacturers will inevitably and increasingly direct their efforts to meeting the demands of the biggest customer base.

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