If you’ve seen any recent DJ performance, there’s no way you’ve missed the notorious Macbook Pro resting on top of the decks, brand-covering sticker and all. Apple products have held a longstanding dominion over the electronic scene, their laptops and desktop computers emerging as the standard tools for most producers and DJs. While there are many reasons as to their preference for Macs over PCs (no OS crashing, better firewire support leading to lower CPU usage for audio processing, and a wide host of DJing apps), the most prevalent one has seemed to be the “hip” image and lifestyle associated with owning an Apple product. Due to an incredible and relentless advertising campaign by the company over the years, our society’s general impression of Apple users has become tightly related to the youth culture, the artists, and the creatives among us. Because of this, seeing a PC used at a show has become an extreme rarity with only a handful of DJs like Girl Talk still fighting the current. Although it may seem like Macbooks are certainly here to stay, Apple’s newest line may catalyze the departure of electronic musicians from this specific line for good.
First thing’s first: USB ports. To any producer or performer, having the ability to connect your laptop with other devices such as midi controllers, data-storage devices, DJ tools, and sound equipment is at the absolute top of the priority list. The new product, simply called “Macbook,” includes only one USB-C port that that shares its functionality with charging the computer. With only one space to connect external hardware, DJs with this system will be required to buy separate dongles to accommodate their various equipment. Also, without an USB-A port, all existing flash drives and DJ tools will need an extra adapter. Apple’s USB-C dongle, which they price at just under $80, adapts the single port into another USB-C, an HDMI port, and an USB 3.0 for other devices. It goes without saying that forcing DJs to carry around and remember another piece of hardware in order to do their job will cause a negative reaction within the community.
Next is storage. The new Macbook comes with a default storage capacity of 256GB, with a more expensive 512GB option. In order for producers to contain their often gigantic sample and music libraries, an external hard drive will have to be connected through the separately purchased adapter mentioned above. Finally the Thunderbolt port, standard on Macs for the last 4 years, will be removed from the new Macbook and will be nonexistent on the adapter. Even though the music industry has only recently started to orient their products through Thunderbolt connection, this switch might wipe it out entirely.
For dedicated Apple customers like those in the music production/DJ performance community, these updates all but negate the shiny new additions to the computer’s display and battery life. By adding more steps and purchases in order to continue using hardware that we have come to rely on and favor, a shift back to older models or even to PCs may be imminent. Hopefully with enough of a response, Apple may rethink its fervent dedication to oversimplifying its products and features for their aesthetic appeal.
*The Macbook Pro line will continue to support multiple USB ports/Thunderbolt and sufficient space for producers’ libraries and software*