As part of today’s new product announcements, one of Apple’s highlights was its entry-level MacBook systems that tout several new features, including Force-Touch trackpads, new Intel processors, and USB 3.1 Type-C connectors; however, in addition to this, Apple has left off its Magsafe power adapter, leaving these systems vulnerable to potential harm if a power cord is snagged.
Starting with the MacBook Pro in 2006, Apple introduced MagSafe as a quick way to power your laptop and also protect it from being yanked off your desk. If the cord did get snagged, in most cases the adapter would simply disconnect.
Type-C is a relatively new connector for the USB 3.1 standard, that has a smaller profile than the classic Type-A connection, supports video signals, and like Apple’s Lightning connector, can be attached in any orientation. In addition, it allows for bidirectional power management, meaning that it can be used to both send power to your Mac, and draw power from your Mac for running external devices.
Given that USB Type-C can power the system, Apple has taken the approach to use it as the sole connector for the new MacBook, doing away with MagSafe. From a design standpoint this makes some sense, as it allows the system to only have one port for most connectivity purposes, but at the same time Apple has done away with the security offered by MagSafe.
While the new USB Type-C connector is relatively low profile, it still requires inserting directly into your Mac and will only disconnect if pulled directly out the opposite direction. This means that if pulled at an angle, it may yank your Mac off wherever you have it seated.
The benefits of USB Type-C are quite clear, but anyone who has had kids, pets, or other high activity around their Macs will likely have benefitted from MagSafe more than once, so its departure will undoubtedly have its effects.
Hopefully Apple will come out with an adaptation of Type-C that will blend in a MagSafe-like quick-disconnect option, but until then, those who adopt Apple’s new systems will need to contend with this drawback, and ensure their systems are otherwise secured from an inadvertent yank when plugged in.