Apple provides a soft(er) landing for MacBook Pro buyers with deep discounts on peripherals and dongles


Apple is addressing the sudden and wide inexplicable fear of dongles driven by the MacBook Pro’s USB-C only approach with a store-wide discount on adapters. The price cut applies to a bunch of dongles, accessories and peripheral devices that allow users to attach legacy devices to the new laptops, which ship with between 2 and 4 Thunderbolt 3 capable USB-C ports, and nothing else.

The discounts range from 20%-40% on a variety of Apple and third-party products from both Apple’s online and retail stores. Other retail channels like Best Buy or stores that sell Apple products could offer the same discount but your mileage may vary with those external stores so check before you go.

The discount will last through December 31st this year. In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple says that the discount is a result of an understanding that many users will face a fairly hard transition away from the old MacBook Pro’s relative cornucopia of ports to the new single-port-style world.

“We are extremely excited about the new MacBook Pro, which is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made. 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.

We recognize that many users, especially pros, rely on legacy connectors to get work done today and they face a transition. 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.”

The fairly vociferous pro crowd has been generating a variety of memes and chatter about the impending ‘donglepocalypse’. By their very nature, many existing MBP users are going to exist as living edge cases. They connect many and varied peripherals to their computers, often simultaneously and in odd configurations. Film, design and audio professionals often have arcane groupings of systems that all rely on a single esoteric connector to function correctly.

As an anecdote, I once managed a $50,000 photo lab system that burned a dozen CDs at once while printing multiple formats across a variety of chemistries and inks. All of it hinged on a single dirty PS2-to-USB connector. I cannibalized a half dozen spares from old IBM machines and kept them in a locked drawer just in case.

This kind of scenario isn’t all that rare among pro users and Apple is doing well here to make a gesture that indicates it is listening to the complaints slash needs of these users. It may be losing some potential profits in the near term but this acts as a pressure release valve that could tip the scales into convincing some folks to make the buy in Apple’s important fourth quarter.

The deals are pretty solid. The SanDisk USB-C SD reader, for instance, actually gets a bit bigger than 25% cut and goes from $49 to $29. The USB-C to Lightning Cable that is needed to connect an iPhone to the new MacBook Pros goes from $25 to $19.

The discount applies to Apple branded accessories across stores and online as well as third-party accessories and peripherals on Apple’s online stores and in its retail stores.

The other side of the equation is that systems which use legacy connectors will take a while to switch to the new USB-C standard. Though everyone is headed that way, Apple’s penchant for keeping its plans close to the vest means that it was up to most external suppliers to accelerate their own schedule in rolling these out.

The whole thing leads up to it being very beneficial for Apple to create a softer on-ramp for this latest bit of courage.

No dongle needed for the audio jack, which sticks around because tons of audio professionals still rely heavily on analogue output and input.