VGA ports on skinny laptops

John Gruber points out three skinny laptops announced today still come with thick, chunky VGA ports: vestigial curiosities, given that you can hardly buy projectors and monitors these days without getting adapters thrown in free. Industrial designers seem shackled to spec-sheets, to boilerplate corporate RFPs which will mandate them for all time.

My favorite example of this phenomenon is Sony's Vaio X. While this is a company that randomly generates a new laptop design every three months and pays no attention to what succeeds and fails, the Vaio X was a good one. At the time, it was the only decent Windows alternative to the MacBook Air. Yet it had this freaky metal protuberance poking out the side: a VGA port.

Close inspection revealed that the Vaio X was barely a hair's width thicker than the port. They even, as I recall, carefully molded the chassis' underside so that it went around the VGA port casing rather than over it -- only on the more visible top side did they add a layer of plastic for appearances' sake.

Photo: Notebook Check

I know that VGA ports are important to many people, but do you see what happened there? Sony set out to make the thinnest laptop in the world, then designed the entire thing around the thickness of the VGA port.


  1. The port is there because a lot of vga ports on projectors are really finicky about conversion dongles due to voltage issues. Since a large segment of the market for these machines is business people doing powerpoint the vga port is a must. 

    1. Agreed! Three friggin’ times I’ve gone to do live visuals for bands, and had to go buy an Apple VGA adapter cable for the venue supplied MacBook. 

      1. You’re doing live visuals for bands, you don’t bring your own computer, and the computer the venue supplied doesn’t connect to the venue’s projector?

        And you’ve done this three times?

    2. All the projectors we have, and we have many in our office, have multiple inputs. I’m not sure we’ve ever had a major issue connecting our Macs with adaptors to the projectors.

      The irony is that I think projectors keep VGA ports to support laptops and the laptops are keeping VGA ports to support projectors.

    3. Macbook Air got it right. No more VGA, instead Macs have their own micro port. If VGA is a must you can buy a converter from Apple which works every time. If Windows OS is a must you can install that on a Mac as well.

      1. The Vaio x505 from 2004 had no vga or ethernet ports on it, you had to use a converter if you needed them just like the Macbook air.

        Sony have done it before so why not now?

      2. And then, because you’re dealing with friggin’ Macs, you can buy a couple of other, different adaptors. And you can regularly lose them, and every time someone wants to do a presentation everyone can go looking for adaptors, because half the time they’ve forgotten to bring theirs. At least once a month I see a few dozen people lose five or ten minutes as adaptors are sought.

        I’m receptive to the idea that the VGA port should be replaced; I worry about the pins getting bent, and as you note there are now lots of devices capable of giving a presentation that are considerably thinner than the VGA port. But Apple’s decision to arbitrarily replace it with a few different ports on different Mac laptops, and without coordinating with other laptop manufacturers, and without getting support from the makers of projectors, is exactly the sort of malignly blithe arrogance I’ve come to expect from Cupertino, and exactly as I’ve come to expect it makes problems for people in the real world trying to deal with the repercussions.

        1. You lose adapters? Why? Why would you take it out of the bag unless you are hooking it up to something, and then put it back in the bag when you’re done?

          I mean, do you regularly take your adapters out from the bag just to play with them and then misplace them or something? I don’t understand how so many people here keep complaining about losing an adapter. I’ve never, ever, lost an adapter. I can’t for the life of me think of why anyone would lose such a thing. You almost never take an adapter out of the bag, and you put it back in when you’re done.

          How hard is that to do? It’s like complaining about how easy it is to lose your driver’s license or something. You keep it in your wallet until you have to show it, and then you put it back in when you’re done. Same bloody thing.

          1. I don’t have a Mac, and so I don’t use adaptors. Possibly I am fortunate like you are, and lack the tendency to lose adaptors. I have the pleasure of frequently waiting while people scramble about because a friend or colleague has misplaced or forgotten an adaptor. Given that it so frequently happens, I’m forced to conclude that it is indeed possible.

            And that’s not even to mention the inconvenience factor of carrying an adaptor about to compensate for your computer …

          2. Why do I always lose one damn sock when I’m doing laundry, even when I try to be careful??

            Because small things sometimes get lost.  It happens.  You’re lying if you claim you’ve never lost an adapter, or any other small item you have to carry around a lot.

            Adapters add on several additional steps. It’s nice not to have to use them.

            Why so angry at people who prefer not to carry adapters around??  Why so insistent that adapters are awesome for EVERYONE, including someone who loses shit as much as I do?  Man.  I’m only human! 

            Seriously, though, if someone neeeeds a VGA port, there are other options, so I don’t think it’s necessary that all laptops have them.   If they can make a laptop smaller with out the port, then by all means.  Do it.

        2. You should insist on a laptop with a retractable power cord, like a vacuum cleaner has, so you can’t lose that darn power adapter.

          1. To take your comment seriously, power supplies are relatively heavy, and cords relatively bulky and messy, and it makes sense to build a laptop that can be taken to the coffee shop without either of them.

            A VGA port is neither heavy nor messy, and – until a standard is agreed for a superior port that will frequently be supported – to disinclude it for esthetic reasons is somewhat obnoxious. This is especially the case when you’ve switched among five different substitutes in the last ten years.

      3. Having no ethernet and no VGA makes them so annoying to deal with at work that it makes up for the fantastic form factor – I’d much rather have something like the thinnest thinkpad X models (comparable form factor, much better connectivity, keyboard and serviceability), even if they are a tad heavier and don’t run run mac OS (well, officially at least).

  2. “VGA ports are important to many people”

    Yes. Yes they are.

    I know there’s a lot of pressure on manufacturers to make “graceful” devices that are “extensions of ourselves” and other such design-school BS, but these are tools, not toys. They can be pretty, but not when that impacts upon functionality.

    Keep the VGA, and while we’re at it, give me back my damned parallel port! YES, I still use them. Lots of people do.

      1. Last time I asked that, the answer was that they’re not good enough if you’re doing complicated things with them – the timing isn’t precise enough.

      2. Yes and no:

        If you strictly want to plug in a printer, you can purchase a wide variety of dongles with a USB connector on one end and a parallel(or even centronics, for direct connection) connector on the other. 
        However, these dongles typically just implement the USB Printer Device Class which allows them to wrap I/O intended to go across an IEEE-1284 bus for delivery across USB, with reconstruction for the IEEE-1284 device at the end of the cable.

        Unfortunately, this doesn’t really provide a ‘parallel port’ in the traditional sense. While large and crude by today’s standards, the classic IBM-compatible parallel port is a genuine chunk of memory-mapped I/O pins at at conventional IRQ and memory address. Certain older software simply chokes if these memory addresses aren’t occupied as expected, and hardware like parallel port programmers and JTAG wigglers commonly depends on the (quite precise) timing that you can wring out of having an interface with minimal abstraction on top.

        The situation with serial is somewhat better. Precise timing and classic-IBM-compatible address spaces aren’t available over USB; but the USB dongles at least implement something that behaves like a genuine serial port, albeit possibly one with sloppy timing, rather than some sort of ‘USB Modem Class’ protocol-level encapsulation.

        So, ironically enough, for the cases that have(with the exception of  a few old-school workhorses) likely been thrown away by now, USB-parallel adapters work just fine. If you really want to connect a 90’s printer that was too ghastly to have a NIC, you can. For the devices that are much more specialized, difficult/expensive to replace, and often longer lived, these adapters are basically worthless.

        1. The industrial and consumer market are different segments with different needs. If my job is to make things out of wood, I’m not going to buy a handsaw from some supermarket chain.

        2.  This.

          I would love to have a modern PC (or laptop) with a parallel port. It makes certain things so much easier – or even possible in the first place.

        3. Newegg list a number of PCI parallel port cards.  Do these work better than the USB adapters?  I’m genuinely curious, as I’m considering liberating an old pen plotter from my father-in-law’s basement.

          1.  For a printer? Maybe. Printers are tricky.

            For everything else that need a parallel port? Definitely.

          2. I’d be wholly unsurprised if somebody managed to ruin one in order to shave a quarter from the bill of materials; but a parallel port hanging off the PCI or PCIe bus ought to be as real as the one on a motherboard.

            (You might also want to check, a lot of the old pen plotters are actually serial devices; but with the old-style 25-pin serial port, rather than the more common 9-pin. )

            (Edit: For the laptop case: ‘Expresscard’ adapters can be tricky. That connection standard provides for a single lane of PCIe, one set of USB2.0 signal lines, and some power/presence/hotplug/assorted housekeeping. Classy ‘expresscard’ peripherals are identical to PCIe 1x expansion cards, just a different shape. The cheap seats are generally USB dongles, just a different shape, which is why you can buy ‘expresscard’ adapters that plug into USB ports and actually work a fair percentage of the time. You can get both serial and parallel expresscard adapters; but make sure that they are the PCIe flavor, not just the cheap and nasty USB chip in a differently shaped case.)

      1. Floppy disks must die; but you can have /dev/ttyS0 when you pry it out of my cold dead hands….

      2.  Serial still has its uses. I’m glad it’s still on my workstation, though on my laptop it would only be used very rarely. :)

  3. For what it’s worth, I love having VGA ports on laptops. You never know when, for some out of the blue reason you need to hook one up to an old monitor and for some reason it’s always easy to track down an old VGA cable. I’ll actually walk away from a device that doesn’t have one and it still upsets me that I’ve had to build a workaround for my PS3 using a hacked PS1 video cable just to make it work on a tv without HDMI and broken AV plugs.  It’s good to keep these legacy things sometimes.

    1.  “Old” monitor?  Not everything’s HDMI yet, and a DVI port is just about as big and clunky as VGA.  When I’m at work, I use an external monitor that’s got VGA and DVI.

      1. Yes but technically HDMI provides DVI, and since there are mini/micro HDMI ports you can get a regular full size DVI port via a dongle or cable. 

        But I agree if you still need VGA, dongles and adapters are not the best way to go.

  4. or you can take apple’s approach and not give two fucks to what “people want”. mini display port is tiny, and there are adapters to every type of output you need.

  5. in corporate america, when you need to show your presentation in a foreign conference room, the VGA port rules all. Not having to remember an extra adapter means never crowding 8 people around a 12in screen. I wish it weren’t so, and my company is muuuuuch smarter about this internally, but the ubiquity of VGA has some utility, for the grey-suits anyway. 

    1. If you do professional presentations, you have a pre-packed case/bag with all the necessary equipment.   Including adapters. Which *stay* in the bag.  This includes  power supply for the laptop  and other devices. 

      It’s not rocket science and it’s not prohibitively expensive. 

      Yes, I feel especially smug today, as my todo app reminded me to check the contents of my bag which I then did, noticing that I had to restock business cards. 

      1. “and it’s not prohibitively expensive. ”

        Maybe it’s not, maybe it is, but some people don’t want to spend extra money on yet more extra plastic they don’t need and will eventually have to be thrown away. 

        Carrying around yet more extra crap also seems counter to wanting a small, super-thin laptop.

    1.  Exactly. A slightly protruding VGA port is much less annoying than a separate item I have to drag around with me.

      1. Yes, those 1 oz. dongles are so heavy and huge. They simply don’t fit in one of those half a dozen little pockets which you find on every single laptop case and they’re just such a drag overall.

        1. Yes, that makes them completely un-annoying and you don’t have to buy them and remember them and make an ugly nest of dongles when using them.

          Oh, wait – they’re still a blight.

          1. Oh yeah…a real nest. Simply an extension of the cord you were going to use anyway. That makes it so tangled and complicated.

            And you know, I always forget to bring my laptop bag with me when I bring my laptop. And when I get home, if I did bring it with me, I always pull out my adapters and just lay them randomly around the house instead of just leaving them in the bag because I have absolutely no use for them at home. Sometimes I take them out and juggle them and, darnit, they get lost in the fireplace or something.

        2.  They wobble. They stick out. They fall off. They suck.

          Having a VGA port is less annoying. Dongles are from Satan.

          1. Yeah, as much as wired keyboards and power plugs. Sooooo annoying. I complain about mine all the time, damn power plugs.

            And outlets. Ever notice how annoying outlets are? Why can’t they make an outlet that isn’t annoying? I plug stuff in and stuff falls out *all* the time. I’m just so useless like that.

  6. If you are one like one of the previous commenters who swear VGA is still necessary…. don’t buy an ultrathin laptop.  Problem solved.  An ultrathin is not supposed to be a Swiss Army knife. It is supposed to be ultrathin.  

    1. Alternatively, if you want an ultrathin computer that doesn’t need to interface with hardware or do lots of data processing, you have a phone.

      People like ultrathin laptops for one of two reasons: either they want a light, portable laptop that they can carry around offices and airports like a paperback (but which is still expected to be useful), or they want to be seen carrying around the hottest new tech of 2012 (with specs equivalent to the most powerful PC from 1998).

      The objection raised here is that a manufacturer found a fairly way to compromise on two opposing consumer desires. And for some reason, we can’t have that. If you find that offensive, just wait until I tell you how much I wish I had a third serial port.

      1. Well, and just know that I am *not* an Apple fanboy, that is why Apple’s design is so much better than any PC manufacturer.  They can abandon legacy features.  And this space is all about design.  In this form factor, design should be more important than function. 

        What if Armani had to put steel hammer loops on their belts, you know, because sometimes I *need* a claw hammer at work?

        1. In this form factor, design should be more important than function.

          Why should it be? “Thin and light, but large enough to work on” is a very useful size.

          1. And what you get is an Armani belt with a large metal loop on the side suitable for convenient hammer storage.

          2. There is this myth that the Mac Air is unusually light. There are a lot of notebooks not distinguishable from the Air by weight. They’re typically thicker (though not all of them), less aggressively styled, and much cheaper.

            Oh, and they typically have more useful ports.

          3. Only dullards crippled into cretinism by a fear of being thought pretentious could be so dumb as to believe that there is a distinction between design and use, between form and function, between style and substance.
            – Stephen Fry

          4.  @twitter-9763112:disqus : Exactly – design is about the entire experience, not just the superficial visuals.

        2. If function is an afterthought than spend the money on a nice suite. It’s people like you who I think are going to make stripped down super-simplified OSs be the only thing we have in the future. A world of nothing but iOS and Android. No more Windows, OSX, Linux. That was the “badly designed/inconvenient” stuff that “only nerds needed/wanted”

          A computer is supposed to do things, not be a pretty brick.

          1. I completely agree – though off-topic, an expensive well tailored suit is apparently a surprisingly comfortable and useful piece of clothing. ;)

        3. Or armani pants where the pockets have not been specifically designed be so elegantly tight you can’t put your cellphone or keys in them. (In other words, you’re dismissing a rather healthy/wealthy demographic of laptop buyers in a very cavalier way.)

        4. What if Armani had to put steel hammer loops on their belts, you know, because sometimes I *need* a claw hammer at work?

          Claw?  Ridiculous.  Peen, on the other hand, you can never have too much of that.

          1.  Well, I’d go for a machinist’s hammer like from the old hammer and sickle,  or maybe a shot-filled dead-blow, but lots of peens is hard to argue with – for instance, the “Astro Pneumatic 3 Piece Dead Blow Ball Peen Hammer Set” (a matched set of 3 sizes in safety orange industrial rubber with elegant steel accents) does look quite stylish.

            (pedantry: “Peen” means the shaped (rather than flat) part of a hammer that strikes the workpiece.  Peens come in different shapes, including ball-peen but also wedges of different orientations.)

    2. That only makes sense if the overlap between “people who want a VGA port” and “people who want an ultrathin laptop” is small.  I’d wager it’s not: Both are mostly “people who drag their laptops everywhere for business reasons”.

  7. Good! Almost every projector you run into in the real world is going to need VGA. Without fail any conference or convention you go to there will be someone with a Mac who does not have the VGA adapter. Happens every time. They are so worried about having a laptop that looks good, they made themselves look like a fool who can’t get hooked up to a projector.

    You could complain less if the MacBooks came with the adapter in the box, but they charge $20+ for that thing! Even worse, people forget it. If it’s built in you can’t possibly forget it.

    I have a Thinkpad X220, my co-workers all have Macbooks. Standing on their own, their laptops are much prettier than my black rectangle. But on the desk, in the real world, everyone else has a spaghetti of cables to attach external devices of all sorts. The only cables on my desk are my wired headphones, mouse, and keyboard, which are wired only by choice. Everything else is hidden in the back where it can’t be seen because of, *gasp* a docking station.

    It always puzzles me that people so concerned with the devices and appearances focus only on the device itself. Why don’t they care that the device becomes horrendously ugly when a mess of cables, adapters, and devices are hanging off like jellyfish tentacles?

    1. I found it funny that your real world and my real world diverged so much.  In my real world the projectors that I run into have HDSDI/SDI/DVI/RGBHV/etc.  Granted, only one of those is a graphics port, just found it funny.

      1. The big kicker in corporate-land is frequently not the projector itself(which, while unlikely to feature displayport, may well have at least DVI); but the in-wall installation of an extension cable and any necessary signal amplifiers to allow somebody sitting at the table/desk to connect to the projector on the ceiling(or, in larger venues, 50 feet back in the A/V pod at the back of the auditorium…)

        1. Yeah, proper forethought is something of an issue in installations – people will want to cheap out when they’re putting the gear in and then three years down the line they’re unable to upgrade.  I don’t do much installation work (I’m mostly in rentals) but I have encountered these situations before and it’s a PITA.

        2.  This seems to be true, yeah. The ones in the smaller meeting rooms at work have DVI wired as well, but they’ve apparently gone well over the recommended cable length: It’s horribly unstable at best. (And it degrades with very little grace indeed). The auditorium and the large meeting rooms are VGA-only.

          Oh, and this building was quite expensive when it was built <4 years ago. *sigh*

        3.  We’re just installing some new projectors, wall ports, and a big pile of equipment to run it all. It’s all running on VGA.

          It can handle whatever resolution you’re throwing at it. It makes it easy and cheap to separate video and audio channels. Almost everything except macs have VGA. They may also have hdmi, displayport or dvi, but they still have VGA. You can get an adapter from VGA to anything, cheaply.

          VGAs problem is that it’s too successful. Several standards have come along that are technically Better, but they’re not Better Enough – They can’t overcome the inertia of all the installed infrastructure.

          VGA will be with us for a few years yet, and I’m fine with that.

    2. I bought a MacBook Pro and an iPad for functionality.

      They happy to look amazing, but primarily they are incredibly well made and useful devices.

      1. They’re very nice indeed – the Pro is a good serious machine for all sorts of things. It’s just the Air and it’s “I’m sure no one will want to plug this into anything” that annoys me. :)
        (Though VGA on the MBP would be useful .)

  8. If a company can spend $10,000-$20,000 on new laptops in a year, they can buy a new projector. With an attitude like “VGA ports are necessary”, we might as well be using dialup still.

    1. This may work until you take your fancy, shiny laptop to a client for a sales pitch and the client’s projector doesn’t appreciate your laptop’s dongly appendages.

      1. What do you do if they’re still using floppy disks and they have a file on it that they want you to show? Does your “functional” laptop suddenly turn into a “useless fashion item” that you complain about? Or do you tell them that they’re really behind the times and have to evolve a little bit?

          1. This. The problem seems to be that there is a disparity between the pundits throwing cheap lines out into the ether (like Gruber, who spends his time sitting at home producing words — which is totally cool BTW) and those who use the business-focused products in their intended environment, aka The Real World.

    2.  Those of us that travel with laptops don’t have the luxury of knowing what our customers have for projectors.  I looked for an ultra thin laptop and chose a Sony Z series for exactly this reason.  It’s small, light and still has a VGA port.  I don’t want to carry more dongles than I have to, and they don’t always work.

      1. It is funny that people get a Mac Air “because it’s so portable” and then have to carry all this other crap around. The Mac Air is 3 lbs, and is physically gorgeous, and is not nearly so useful as it should be. My Toshiba is 3.2 lbs, and is a bit bulkier, and is less beautiful – and has considerably better ports and connectivity, including VGA, and has an internal optical drive. It’s less pretty, but easily as useful, and I don’t need to carry any dongles or an external optical drive.

        1. What’s funny is that you think everyone needs to have a VGA port and optical drive with their laptop at all times.

          1. What’s funny (other than your bothering to comment three days after the thread died) is that the people swallowing the Apple Kool-Aid think you don’t need a VGA port. You need a video port, after all, and if it isn’t VGA it isn’t compatible with the overwhelming majority of the projectors you’ll encounter. Apple hasn’t even consistently promoted one alternative to the VGA port, but has used five in the last ten years.

            I will grant that an internal optical drive is not necessary – my previous computer was an old Thinkpad X series, lighter than the Mac Air most of a decade before the Air was introduced, and it didn’t have one, and I was fine with that. My point was that Apple has made aesthetic choices that decrease the potential utility of their device: video ports that aren’t usable because almost nobody supports them without an adaptor, and no optical drive, even as an option, because it will mess up the lines of the machine – even though it’s completely feasible to make a machine as portable as the Air with this feature. It is genuinely strange that the only ~3 lb Mac laptop is the Air, with all of its weird physical limitations, that if you want a more generally useful machine you need to get one half again as heavy.

    3. That’s a nice idea, but the problem isn’t my company (well, lab in my case). The problem is that I don’t want to look like a dick when I present at somebody else’s lab. I’d rather worry about whether the audience care about my presentation than whether they can see it. VGA always works, everywhere. I don’t buy laptops without one.

      Now, if somebody can explain why Thinkpads need a different power cable to the rest of the world (3 pins rather than 2), I’d love to know.

      1. Do you mean the connector between the power cable and the brick? That’s determined by the amperage rating and if it’s grounded – ref. .

        Basically, they’ve gone for a grounded plug while many laptop chargers are ungrounded. (And they’re not exactly alone in that. A minority, sure – but I’ve borrowed cables from assorted other devices before.)

  9. Can anybody elaborate on why graphic output still cannot go through USB? With USB 3.0, the data-transfer rate is so huge (600 MB/sec!), I don’t see why it couldn’t do graphics.

    1. It’s technically quite possible, and USB monitors exist.  If a USB-to-VGA dongle doesn’t exist, one can certainly be made.

      On the other hand, it’s a niche for multiple reasons:
      * It’s likely to be more expensive than a displayport-to-VGA dongle
      * Bulkier, too
      * And require weird OS drivers for the odd graphics card it’ll no doubt pretend to be
      * … that you won’t be allowed to install on your locked-down Windows enterprise image
      * … and that won’t work on any non-windows OS except MacOS version 1.7.001.B32 (in Australian English).

      (Pessimistic, me?)

      1. I happen to use that version of Mac OS. While word processing it auto-suggests local slang and shortens words where deemed possible. 

        Strine. Itsfuckenorrightyehmate.

      2. That sounds like a failure of OS vendors more than anything. I can understand Apple having an interest in pushing idiotic proprietary sockets (like thunderbolt), but MS here is just dropping the ball.

        1. You mean the intel designed port that they are pushing out to as many systems as they can? The one that Acer is putting in their ultra book aspire S5 and upcoming motherboards? Yeah, that’s really an Apple proprietary stupidity.

          1. To me Thunderbolt looks a lot like another Firewire — which was a IEEE standard, fairly widely deployed, and still failed. USB remains the best option, because it caters to taiwanese shops, not to big brands. When it comes to interfaces, *standard* and *cheap* is what matters.

          2. @toyg Good point regarding cost, but you forgot about quality. Firewire “failed” to become the most popular interface, yet it has persisted as a (slightly?) more expensive alternative with higher throughput than the supposedly faster USB 2.

    2.  We use VGA-to-USB converters at my work to import echocardiograph or ultrasound images to our reading stations from the dedicated machines that take the images.  They’re out there, they’re just kind of stupidly expensive (100+ USD for the five year old dongles we use, iirc)

      1. That “D” in HDMI and DVI means digital…

        USB doesn’t care where that digital signal comes from it’s just up to the computer to get it there and figure out what to do with it.

        1. The trouble is that(unless you include a reasonably substantial chunk of compression logic, as video capture devices generally do, unless they are either really cheap ones that only handle low resolution analog or very classy ones that rely on being connected to a very high speed bus on a serious computer) digital video formats are generally high bandwidth and dumb.

          DVI, for instance, has absolutely no support for compression, re-transmission(or even any sort of syn-ack stuff), or selective transmission only of changed pixels. It just spits every pixel required by the screen size every frame. Single Link DVI can do up to 3.96 Gb/s. USB 2.0 is good for a theoretical 480 Mb/s… USB 3, at 5Gb/s, nominal, might be able to keep up.

          HDMI will push up to 8.6 Gb/s, again in a ‘all the pixels, all the time, you miss one, no retransmission for you’ format.

          Now, as attested to by the relatively successful(even on USB2.0) ‘Displaylink’ based USB->video adapters, or even various networked desktop-access protocols like VNC, ICA, X11, and RDP, sufficient cleverness, compression, transmitting only diffs, avoiding certain demanding use cases, etc. can accomplish something very close to ‘real’ video on a tiny fraction of the bandwidth(ICA will work, albeit not entirely pleasantly, over dialup, RDP is fine at LAN speeds, Displaylink suffices at USB 2 speeds). 

          However, the dedicated digital video outputs of the world shove some serious bandwidth and generally lack features that would make capture easier, like retransmission of missed data, and similar.

    3. Sure, you could do that, but talk about dongles! Why not just use displayport, which is made for this job?

      1. Because it’s a) thinner, b) universally reusable by other peripherals. If people wanted one socket per device, we’d still hang around with parallel and serial ports.

          1. And you can only use them for display, whereas USB works with everything. Where space is at premium (i.e. a laptop), you want something that is as universal as possible.

          2. @toyg:disqus  wrote:”Where space is at premium (i.e. a laptop), you want something that is as universal as possible.”

            I don’t see a relationship between space efficiency and the “universalness” of the ports.

            Assuming there are multiple ports, it may be best to employ a combination of more “universal” ports (i.e. USB) plus smaller ports like, say, Mini DisplayPort (and now Thunderbolt) as applicable for video (and now more). 

        1.  MiniDP uses the same plug as thunderbolt, which is a superior standard to USB3. ;)

          More to the point, DP and HDMI are connected to the existing (fast, well-supported) graphics card, while USB is connected to some random controller chip hanging off the PCIe bus.

    4.  It can do graphics!  Sony Z series laptops come with a docking station that connects USB3 that has a graphics card built in it.  It’s capable of driving two monitors itself as well.  With the VGA port on the laptop you can actually drive 3 external monitors on top of the laptop display as well.  Pretty crazy!

    5.  USB sucks for graphics.

      The datarate itself is fine, but the latency is much too high, because of all the shit going on inbetween the graphics-chip and the actual port.

      There are, of course, exceptions to the rule (as mentioned above), but these are highly specialised workarounds.

      In general: USB is perfectly fine for situations where you just need to dump data somewhere and not care very much about the timing. When timing is critical (and it is in graphics), USB is not an option.

  10. I can’t count the number of times I cursed my Apple laptop for not having a standard VGA port. Thanks to everybody else for choosing function over design.

    1. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been glad not to have a VGA port but rather to have something that supports digital video signals on my Apple laptop. To each his own. I DO need to carry a converter to VGA for when I need to do presentations at unknown locations, but it’s just way nicer on an external monitor (or anything with digital input like DVI or HDMI)

      1. The fact that they don’t have more than one is a bit strange. I would assume VGA and HDMI would have been slightly more logical… I’ll give you that. But I’d prefer both, not just one. Although, looking this up, is it not a laptop from 2009? Making it even more relevant that it would have VGA instead of other options?

  11. “…designed the entire thing around the thickness of the VGA port”

    Yes, clearly the Vaio X is a VGA port with a laptop built around it. Just like my car’s entire form factor is screwed up because designers built the entire thing around air bags in the steering column and side rails.

    1. You’ve missed the point, obvious as it is, that it’s impossible to make a laptop thinner than the VGA port housing if it has a VGA port. One of the two objectives embodied by the Vaio X — be thinnest, include VGA — makes the other literally impossible to achieve.

  12. Judging by the picture, designing the entire thing around the thickness of the ethernet port wouldn’t’ve made a noticeable difference.

    1. You can see their cleverly designed half-height Ethernet port just to the left of the VGA one — it opens up to accept RJ45 plugs. Shame they couldn’t engineer something similar for female VGA!

        1. The thing is, Sony actually know how to do stuff like that. They have world class engineers. It’s just as if there are a thousand levels of middle management that screw things up.

      1. How thick is the rear portion of the average ultrabook? Female VGA is only 7.5mm tall and the super-thin variety invariably just have chamfered edges.

  13. Life was simpler when all your needed was a VGA cable to hook up to any display device.  Now we have:  VGA, DisplayPort, MiniDisplayPort, HDMI, DVI.  The permutations of adaptors you might need has risen exponentially! 

    VGA is a nice simple, low res solution.  Now there are USB to VGA adaptors, but they require drivers.  They work pretty well too from what I understand.  Going with DP (DisplayPort) and mDP might have made more sense, but I bet they cost more and have to be licensed at an increase in cost.  Not ideal.

    Also, how secure are the Non-DVI/VGA connectors?  Can you screw them in?  I’m pretty sure HDMI can’t be secured too well, it remains to see how well it holds on in the long term.

    Too bad they couldn’t just rotate the connector 90 degrees and have it stick up or down, but that leads to the obvious problems….


    1. You can’t screw secure these VGA connectors, either (nor do I believe you can on most laptops – my full size HP doesn’t have screw connections).  I do agree that screw down connectors are important (in my industry if you can’t secure it with the connector itself you secure it with gaffer’s tape because a disconnect in the middle of the show will likely result in you not getting paid) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that these specific connections are inherently more secure than HDMI (which I dislike and wish that it wasn’t nearly as ubiquitous as it is, but that’s neither here nor there).

    2. Honestly bottom port access is a really good idea for something like this.  Put it at the back edge of the laptop and you could hang the cable off the edge of the table or what not.  Or include a right angle adapter and some flip down legs…OR if you were going really high tech make the port flip down from the bottom and act as a leg/stand.

      There are such things as locking HDMI cables/ports, they work similar to RJ-45 plugs.  You don’t see them much because of the extra space the assembly takes up.

  14. Good ole John Guber, always doing Apple’s heavy lifting. What’s next? Picts of how ethernet ports mess up thin laptops too?

    1. Even worse, some manufacturers actually design their products around this obsolete ‘keyboard’ thing! Everybody knows people use dictation nowadays in the real world. And don’t get me started on screens…

    2. There’s already been people advocating dropping the ethernet port because it’s huge and ugly. Form over function is far from dead.

      1. Maybe you didn’t get the joke — there are insistent rumours that the next MacBook Air will do away with ethernet.

        1. The next one? There’s no ethernet on the MacBook Air now.

          Connecting to a wired network requires a USB (gasp) dongle.

        2. I know – some of my residual annoyance from reading about that even seeped into that comment. x)

  15. VGA is important. I am writing this on a laptop (not even ultrathin) with VGA monitor attached. But my 12,5″ from a Korean firm (trying not to advertise it without great success, I suspect) has a tiny non-standard VGA connector and comes with a free adapter. I thought it was bad design decision. Just until I saw that Sony thing. BTW, ethernet port solution on my laptop is just the same as on that Sony, and it is good.

  16. I have a MacBook Pro and have yet found a projector that doesn’t work with it. I have the Apple MiniPort to VGA adopter and it works without any problems. Most projectors now have HDMI or DVI ports, and I prefer to use those.

    The day that laptops stop coming with VGA ports, peripherals will stop using them.

    1. Like David Weintraub, I’m using the Apple MiniPort to VGA adapter and have had no problems. I didn’t pay for the Apple brand adapter but $6 for an off brand at Amazon. I’d rather carry a dongle (or two) with a super thin and light MBA than a full size laptop. I’ve had no need for the cd drive or Ethernet port either though those can both be picked up for a total cost of $40 on Amazon. Its not a big deal to have them in a drawer should I ever need them.

    2. I have a macbook pro and I’ve used it with lots of different monitors and projectors. Never had a problem and never lost the adapter. In addition, the university I was a grad student at when I bought the computer had a variety of Apple VGA adapters at every classroom and lecture hall with a projector just in case. Macbook pros are essentially ubiquitous in many science departments, and it’s not form over function.

      That said… my parents have a Vizio HDTV with a VGA input, and my macbook pro doesn’t work with it. Not sure why, just doesn’t work no matter what I try. I guess it might work with an HDMI adapter but I don’t really need it so I haven’t tried.

      1. One thing that I’ve noticed, in connecting macs to a variety of ghastly displays over an assortment of dubious wiring in my capacity as IT-Fixer, is that OSX can be very touchy about EDID information.

        This is commendable, in its attempt to ask the monitor about itself and then configure the video output appropriately; but it falls flat rather badly if the monitor has garbage EDID, or the DDC pin isn’t being passed through properly somewhere in the chain. At one point, I had the displeasure of dealing with a lab full of Minis that were equipped with whatever CRTs could be scrounged from campus. Some Just Worked. Some came up at 640×480 60Hz, every damn time, until manually bludgeoned to the contrary. That particular monitor just didn’t have an EDID that agreed with the computer.

        Wintels don’t autoconfigure any better in the absence of well-formed EDIDs; but they seem happier about retaining manual settings on faith, in absence of usable input from the monitor.

        It would wholly unsurprise me if the VGA in on a Vizio has something horribly nonsensical purporting to be an EDID.

        If that is indeed the problem, you might have luck if you can(through the OS or some utility) manually bludgeon the video output to something you know the TV can handle, rather than letting the system work its automagic.

    1. Airplay. Kanex make an airplay to vga box. Projector manufacturers are supposedly coming out with airplay-ready units ‘real soon now’.

    2. There are projectors you can buy that have WiFi, they’ve been around for years (here’s an article from 2002 about how they’re the next big thing).  So, almost a decade later, why are we still using cables?  Because it’s a) annoying to set up, b) not guaranteed to be present (though that could easily be because not enough people use the option) and c) prone to failure.  It’s also not nearly as easy to secure as a cable is so even if it was easy & prevalent it probably wouldn’t be accepted in the corporate world.

    3. Suppose you wanted to expand your desktop to o real work–your IDE, or your video editor, or your spreadsheet needs more room to display more data. Could you use wireless video, or is such a thing only useful for presentations, gaming, and playing movies?

      Could you analyze X-rays on a wireless display?

  17. Assuming that they made the thing based off the the thickness of a VGA port is a total assumption by the author. I hate articles like this. A stab without actually researching, making an assumption and publishing it as fact is the kind of BS I’m not used to seeing on Boing Boing.

    Generally speaking, the thinner laptops have been sticking around this size. Hard drives, keyboards, batteries. They all take up space. How can it be assumed that they designed an entire product around a VGA port? With all the items I just listed, there’s a good chance someone could have said “Oh, look at how thick it is. You think we could still fit a VGA port on that? That would be cool.”

    Now I’m no Vaio fanboy. I think they’re overpriced crap. But the attack at design, especially on something that many find useful, that I DO NOT think compromised the size of device is just a pointless.

    Some of us still want more features on our laptops. How pretty and thin the thing is should be secondary. A quality build with a high capacity hard drive, fast processor, good graphics card, ports for as much of the stuff you can fit as possible so you don’t need adapters,  ram, screen quality/resolution. THESE are the things that should be important. An obsession with thin to the point of getting angry about VGA ports? Honestly.

    1. I agree with you – but my phone is capable of showing a graphics presentation; so is an Ipad or an Android tablet. Unlike with a laptop (and I use a laptop no heavier than a Mac Air, but rather thicker, more capable, and far cheaper), a phone or a tablet being thinner than a VGA port isn’t very negotiable. It would be good for a new, thinner graphics port to be adopted as a standard, and to be supported by most projectors. Or maybe they could use MicroUSB, and be instantly able to connect with essentially every Android device (though still not with iOS devices or with Macs, because they use nonstandard ports – and not even the same nonstandard ports).

      My desire for a new, thinner standard is not meant to excuse Apple’s practice of introducing a new port that no-one else has ever heard of and that no-one supports every two years, and making every Mac user carry and inevitably lose dongle after dongle.

      PS Are there laptops yet with MicroUSB ports? Because that would seem a sensible way of moving towards a unified set of peripherals, without adapters.

      1. Standard USB ports are very thin. There is a chance however that thunderbolt will overtake USB eventually (or some other form of it) and is currently way faster, and way smaller than a standard usb port.

        Our phones handle video very well, yes. But as it is there are still many means of moving data/connecting displays. I’m fine with phones doing less, or tablets. I feel that laptops should still act more like swiss army knifes, and not turn into sporks like I feel like every “fashionable” techie seems to want them to be. 

        Hopefully by the time vga ports have 100% died off, there will be thinner insides to put in a laptop. But honestly, I don’t think manufacturers sacrificed a thinner size for the vga port alone. There’s not that much of a demand. I think they loaded all the important stuff into the thinner design they wanted, and probably said “Ok, what else can we possibly tack on?” doing the reverse of this, and designing a laptop around a vga port would be just. plain. dumb.

    2.  A VGA port, assuming exposed upper and lower surface is only 7.5mm thick, 1.5mm thinner than an iPhone.  How one would make a stable chassis including keyboard and components thinner than that is sort of beyond me.

    3. I didn’t say that they designed an entire product around a VGA port. I said they designed it around the thickness of one.

      If you think one needs to ‘research’ why it’s impossible to make a laptop thinner than its components, I … can’t help you with that.

      1.  He said (paraphrasing): “I don’t see a way to make a laptop case rigid enough if it’s much thinner” – not quite the same. :)

      2.  Assuming an underclocked x86 processor (to get the battery life up and temperature down, you still have to provide rigidity in the frame, a little ventilation and allow enough keyboard travel for tactile reasons.

        I think  a 7.5mm max chassis thickness  is pretty much as thin as reality permits unless you want the benighted thing to flop around like a cheap creaky Acer or are willing to pay for a titanium frame.

  18. Hmm. I tend to bring my own laptop and projector, unless presenting at a conference. In that case I’ll tell them what I require, and they’ll have it ready for me to plug in.

    Fascinated by folks who trust that a client will have working equipment to use. If your work depends on it, carry the gear yourself, or be comfortable improvising on the road.

    So much happier with a MacBook Pro over a Dell ‘Mobile’ workstation. Dropping the Dell power brick alone saved me 8 pounds of kit.

    Now, if only and MBA could grow up into a line that could handle 3d modeling…

    1. It would really help if Apple would pick a connector and stay with it

      Um, not really if you want the best connector possible.  Thunderbolt destroys the speed of everything else.  Wintel machines will catch up eventually, but in the meantime, I’ve got work to do now.

        1. So do I. Ethernet and VGA lets me do it.

          Er, not that I hardly ever use it except to admin a crappy router once in a blue moon, but my MacBook Pro has an  Ethernet port.  Are you not familiar with Macs?

          So what are you saying?  Not sure why you are comparing VGA to… 

          Wait a sec… what’s your point, anyway???

          1. That was in response to the people who thinks the Pro should go the way of the Air and drop the Ethernet port. ;)

  19. After reading so many comments, I’m certain that a lot of people here were kvetching about how some “fancy” laptops decided to do away with floppy drives, and how you could never depend on anything other than a 3.5″ diskette to get you through your corporate day.

    And don’t get me started on how some must have thought about how awful it was to do away with the horse and buggy with those newfangled “cars” because you never knew if you could find gasoline and everyone was using hay instead.

    1. Oh and look at what a tangled mess it is too! And it’s such a pain to use. And how huge and heavy it is, and you know, it’s so easy to keep forgetting to put it back into your bag and leave it there where it will be ready for next time. Amazing how shortsighted Apple really is.

      1.  Completely and utterly pointless extra (non-free) item instead of just putting the damn port on there? I wonder why we complain.

        1. Completely and utterly pointless extra (non-free) item instead of just putting the damn port on there?

          I’m personally thrilled that I don’t have an utterly pointless extra (non-free, added to cost of computer) port built into my MacBook Pro adding weight and size to it.
          VGA is a near-dead technology and is being aggressively phased out for projectors.  And, mini-display to whatever adapters can be picked up for as cheap as 10 dollars nowadays if you really need one.

          1.  That’s the point, though – even new buildings only have VGA (for reasons that I agree are stupid) and everyone with laptops at work use their VGA ports fairly often.

          2. I think you mean Ethernet, and if you looks at Mac laptops… they have Ethernet. So what’s your point?

  20. all this talk of dongles not working can be roughly interpreted to mean;
    “I lost my dongle, stole my co-workers, lost that, borrowed one from the IT department, lost that, tried to borrow another from IT and wailed and cried to my boss that IT wouldn’t play fair when they refused to relinquish yet another to my black hole of a laptop satchel.”
    Yes it is a separate piece of kit, yes, you have to remember to pick it up from where you put it down, yes, we all realise this is far too much to ask of someone so important and so busy all the time.
    so; yes, your department can start paying for all the god-damned equipment it steals and loses.

    1. If that really is the problem (and your lively description makes it sound like a really big and frequent problem), wouldn’t it be much, much easier to just build that port right into the damn thing, especially since just about every manufacturer manages to do it?

  21. If you present professionally, you owe it to your clients to come prepared. In house presenting is another matter because the standard is set and you’re expected to tow the company line.

    I present professionally and train others as well, and so a part of the discussion is about negotiating with the client or the client’s reps. such as the convention centre, what will work and what won’t. Without exception all presentation contracts I sign stipulate what the client will provide, and asks for any special needs I might have eg an extra lavelier mic, a roving mic., a whiteboard, etc.

    I add to the contract I will be using my own Macbook, I will supply my own dongle (nowadays more and more A/V tech support people heave a sigh of relief when I turn up with a Mac, while in the past, it was the opposite reaction), and I will not be putting my presentation on a USB to be placed on their central server. It’s my IP not to be shared unless that is specifically on the contract. I have turned down work over this issue.

    Then, a day before the presentation, I go through my Travel Pro rollaboard where I keep my presentation essentials:

    1. An extra long VGA cable (about 15m) because I never present behind a lectern and often lecterns are supplied with very small VGA cables to the wall or projector. 

    2. A self-powered switch box which allows two inputs in and one out so I can split the work between the Macbook and if needed an iPad or in truly mission critical presentations another Macbook in case something happens with the first one. (Be careful of leaping to the conclusion I have little faith in the reliability of the MacBooks. I use the same reasoning the airline system has for triplicate backups in mission critical equipment – aircraft).

    3. The switch box has male/female adaptors in the VGA ports which allow the 15M VGA extension lead to be used with the convention centre VGA lead.

    4. I used to bring my own monitor to use as a vanity or confidence monitor mirroring what’s going on behind me on the big screen (so you don’t keep turning your back ot the audience to see what’s happening). Now I put my iPad in a stand just in front of me and use software such as Doceri to mirror the main display, annotate the slides, and control the slide function.

    5. I also bring with me a minidisplay port to HDMI adaptor already connected to an HDMI lead, for those more advanced sites which have gone to HDMI.

    6. An extension lead for the sound out because again too many convention centres offer very short audio leads from the lectern.

    7. A pair of Bluetooth speakers in case the sound system fails, allowing me to place them anywhere in the room, and one less wire to connect.

    8. My own remote which operates via USB over long distance, where the USB dongle doubles as a 2GB thumb drive and when not in use clips into the remote unit to prevent loss.

    9. If it’s an all day hundreds of slides affair, I will print out numbered slides so I can locate then jump to a slide out of sequence if the situation demands it. It’s not always easy to remember the exact positioning of a slide in a stack of 300. For those who say no presentation “needs” 300 slides, the audience has no idea how many slides I’m using, because hopefully the stories I’m telling run seamlessly. It’s like saying no movie should have more than xx frames. Who says? As long as the audience enjoys the show the rest is mere technicalities.

    10. I bring my own power board and electrical extension lead, and of course power supply.

    11. I try to go on the program after a break because it usually takes me a little extra time to set up and check the system – projector resolution, sound levels, so I have special slides at the beginning of my slide deck (before the main intoduction slide) to check these things before the audience arrives. This usually means arriving quite early to setup and test, inc mic levels. I also treat the A/V guys with utter respect because they can either resue you and make you look good when things go south, or they can make you look like a fool.

    12. My Macbook Pro has a black protective cover over it so that bright Apple logo is not seen. I love lowering expectations by having the audience think I’m presenting in Powerpoint on a 15″ Dell, then exceeding them (you can tell because CEOs come up to you amd ask how you achieved certain things they know they can’t do in Powerpoint /end Apple rave)

    13. In small groups (cf large lecture theatres), and unfamiliar places, I now bring my own HDMI-equipped projector and an AppleTV so I can be truly wireless with both Macbook and iPad. I think we’ll see more and more of these accessorising presentations.

    14. A two minute check of my Travel Pro case for all the assembled goods and I’m good to go.

  22. Hm.

    I agree that for this formfactor they should have probably used a (mini)display or HDMI-port.

    I have a VGA-port (as well as a HDMI-port) on my netbook and I find it to be very useful for the rare instances when I have to hook it up to an older projector or a wall socket at the univerity.

  23. Tried the wireless projectors, more trouble than they’re worth. 
    What we really need is super-thin laptops that have their own built-in projectors…

  24.  All the mac users seem to suppose that laptops have bags, with many pockets, filled with all the bits that Apple didn’t give them in their laptop by default.

    That’s kind of weird. I haven’t had a laptop bag, ever.

    See, I want a life with minimal clutter, like the Mac Air promises.
    I want something light, that I can carry to the next room, or go to a colleagu’s place, or whatever.
    I don’t want to have to run through a checklist of things before I leave.
    I don’t want to have to turn the laptop off so it won’t overheat in the bag, blah blah.

    I just want to close it, unplug the power, and walk/drive over. And that’s what I do.

    I’d always assumed that’s exactly what people wanted really thin laptops and pads for: so they can just pick them up and carry them about like a clipboard. But now I’m not so sure. Apparently they’re all carried in bags, with dongles and external CD drives and stuff rattling about.

    1. Apparently they’re all carried in bags, with dongles and external CD drives and stuff rattling about.

      CD/DVD-ROM drives are dead for many of us living in 2012.  Most people I’ve seen with a Mac Air laptop carry a sleeve for it and nothing more, just like the Apple iPad used by those crazy Mac users as well.

      All the mac users seem to suppose that laptops have bags…

      When you met all the mac users at once, that must’ve been a hell of a party.  Are you sure this event wasn’t a dream?

      1.  He’s responding to the way apple fans deflect criticism by saying “just carry a dongle” whenever their dearth of connectivity is pointed out.

        1. whenever their dearth of connectivity is pointed out.

          That’s a joke.

          You’re really not thinking this through very well.  If your laptop can connect to every sort of archaic technology then you do, indeed, literally carry it with you in wasteful weight every time you pick your heavy clunker up.  Those parts generate more heat too along with space.  It’s also more parts that can fail in your fail machine.

          I do not use VGA, because frankly VGA is archaic and sucks compared to even relatively old technology.  I sure as hell don’t want to lug around a stupid VGA connector within my laptop.

          So, explain to me this “dearth of connectivity” you speak of?  Is it because my MacBook Pro, thank God, doesn’t have a VGA port built into it along with a 56K phone modem?  Most of us in this modern age need very little with a mobile laptop.  A wireless connection and a way to connect to external devices.  I have the best and fastest of both.  So much for the “dearth”….

          It’s 2012, deal with it.  ^-^

          1.  Mainly the lack of VGA (every bloody meeting room, seminar room or auditorium ever) and ethernet (if you’ve got an Air). ;)

            Basically, I agree with him: It’s odd to see apple fans say
            a) I like my Air because it’s light and elegant
            b) It’s not important that it has so few ports because I can carry dongles
            When you’d get something more elegant by having a design that didn’t need those dongles in the first place.

          2. What you don’t get it you’re always lugging around a VGA “adapter” built into your laptop which consumes space, weight, draws energy and produces more heat and if you are like most people, you only use it on rare occasions.

            But… Sure, if every meeting room, seminar and auditorium you go to is in the stoneages and hasn’t purchased a projector in the last 5-7 years and that’s all you deal with, then by all means get a laptop with vga built-in. Ut oh, hope it has HDMI as well, right? Or, I guess quality/resolution doesn’t matter?

            For the rest of us, we’ll do quite well without that rapidly dying VGA technology wasting space and/or resources within our laptops, thanks.

            And… if you’re so worried about weight and space consumption, then I’d think you would enjoy using a laptop that’s lighter and more compact than a laptop that’s heavy and bulky. I personally really enjoy the fact that my laptop has a thunderbolt port that destroys your ports in speed and with that one tiny port I can use whatever I may need to throw at my machine no matter how unlikely, but I don’t have to lug around everything all the time when I don’t need it.

            But, to each his own…

    2. I actually have far fewer extra things since I switched from a PC laptop to a Mac laptop.  Today the only external thing I need is power.  (Wifi on the Mac was never a plug-in that stuck out the side of the laptop, as it was on the PC side for far too long.)

      The only way that VGA helps is if the most likely place I’m going has VGA, only, and no digital inputs.  Apparently Initech conference rooms have a lot of those, and so this is an advantage if that’s the only place you go.  For me, every place I’ve been in the past 5 years has had only DVI or HDMI (or both).

      Maybe your “colleague” has a bunch of 1990 video equipment that you need to be able to drive?  You’re SOL with serial, parallel, and ISA as well.

      I guess if you need a “checklist” to remember to keep the mini-DVI-to-DVI adapter with your laptop (where else would it be?), then it’s lucky Sony makes thicker laptops with these things built in.

  25. Maybe the solution is to put the adapter on the Proyector, not the PC. Anyway, the industry is part to blame since they’ve gone from VGA to incompatible HDMI.

  26. Businesses who’ve spent thousands of dollars setting up an AV room 5 years ago, and is still perfectly functional, will not be spending more money on it just because the VGA connector is too thick for laptops. Not in today’s economy. 

    The ecosystem of connectors can never change overnight. Unlike Apple, most of the computing world tends to stick with standard formats and interfaces for a decade at the least, because they are in many cases contractually obliged to support the standards they set.
    Most folks here seem to think that it’s natural to dump yesterday’s investment in equipment without getting any ROI out of it just because the Macbooks have no fugly VGA port to tarnish their looks. 

    That’s not how it works, if you want to be in business and still make profits.

    VGA is being replaced, but slowly. New Projectors come with DP/HDMI and still carry VGA. When the several thousands of 5+ year old projectors already installed at considerable cost begin to reach their EOL, you will see VGA diminish further. 

    Using Apple’s external display systems requires that you build an ecosystem around products that are confirmed to work with the Macbooks. That can (1)work out to  be Expensive (2)be more cumbersome than the VGA port (3)cause you to tear out your hair when suddenly the Connector is made obsolete, or is not supported anymore.

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