I’ve said more than once that I’m relaxed about Apple’s decision to fit only USB-C ports in the new MacBook Pro. I’d rather have to pay for two adapters and one cable now than be stuck with outdated ports for most of the 4-5 years I expect to keep the machine.

But I discovered that Apple did have one more hidden extra cost in store for 2016 MacBook Pro buyers: the $69 (13-inch model) or $79 (15-inch model) power adapter the company sells as an accessory doesn’t include the USB-C cable you need to actually, you know, use it …

What you get in the box is:

  • the power adapter
  • a mains plug
  • that’s all

There is no figure-8 extension cable, exactly as with the MacBook Pro itself (it’s available separately for $19), which is perhaps forgivable – not everyone will need one. But there’s also no USB-C cable, rendering the charger completely useless unless you lay out another $19. If you want both the figure-8 cable and USB-C cable, that brings the total cost of a second charger for the 15-inch MacBook Pro up to $125.

I’m lazy. I can’t be bothered to move power adapters around, so I always have three: one in the office, one in the living-room and one that lives in my luggage along with a complete set of essential cables. That’s a habit I developed when I was doing a lot of travel, enabling me to pack in ten minutes flat and also ensuring I didn’t forget anything important, but one I still consider worthwhile today.

So two additional power adapters would – at Apple prices – add up to $250 on top of what is already an extremely expensive machine. That does, I have to say, leave a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth.

Of course, there’s no need to pay Apple prices for either cable. Amazon has masses of USB-C to USB-C cables, including ones from respected brands for around half the price of Apple’s cable. Same with figure-8 leads, like a two-pack for $8.

But it’s the principle of the thing. What Apple is selling is not a power adapter in the sense that it has always sold them – something you can take out of the box and start using – but rather one half of a power adapter kit, with the other half sold separately. That, to me, is taking penny-pinching a step too far.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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