By Bex Peterson, Editor-in-Chief
I cannot, with the width and breadth afforded to me by the English language, put into words my sheer loathing for Apple’s dongle obsession.
I’ve always been a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to technology. I stubbornly held on to my flip phone for as long as I could (remember when you could drop your phone, watch it break into three pieces, and carefully put it back into working order again?), which as it turns out was not very long (probably because I kept dropping it). When everyone else moved on to touchscreens, I stubbornly kept to phones with buttons until the only option left to me were Blackberries—and yes, I owned a Blackberry for a while. I refused to upgrade my phone to a data plan until 2016. I can say with begrudging acceptance now that every step I took into the technological present was if not completely beneficial, at least not directly harmful. In seeing the patterns here I recognize that I could be wrong about the dongles. There’s a chance I could learn to appreciate the dongles one day.
But throwing that due diligence and self-awareness out the window, I don’t think I’m wrong about the dongles.
When I first heard that new Apple phones no longer had earphone jacks I actually thought it was a joke. When I realized it was not a joke, I became (admittedly) irrationally angry for someone who never plans to own an iPhone. There’s streamlining, and then there’s removing basic functionality to make people buy your shitty, outrageously expensive, easy-to-lose “AirPods” (even the name sounds like a parody of Apple products).
But hey, I don’t own an iPhone. This problem doesn’t affect me… or so I thought.
Over the summer I was immensely fortunate to inherit an almost-new MacBook Pro from my parents who were upgrading their computer set-up at the time, and don’t get me wrong—I’m still over the moon. I’m typing this up on it right now, and I rely on it for everything from schoolwork to Other Press work to composing to Friday night D&D sessions over Discord.
It has, thank God, an earphone jack. What it does not have is literally every other port necessary for a functioning computer. Instead, if I want to do something silly like plug in a USB (or my phone, or a keyboard, or a hard drive), I have to track down my two-inch long dongle to do so, adding an extra step to a process that was streamlined to perfection back when computers stopped taking up entire buildings.
Why am I using my precious time and space in this Lettitor to complain about dongles? Especially since I’m complaining about an incredibly useful and terrifyingly expensive tool passed along to me by caring, generous, loving people, like an asshole.
Well, in the grand scheme of things, the dongle problem doesn’t matter. Apple’s forced obsolescence policy and dedication to piling landfills full of expensive trash does, but that’s a whole other rant. The dongle problem is the equivalent of “old man yells at cloud” for me. It fills me with a fiery burning rage that I’m happy to spill all over anyone standing too close to me, especially anyone defending AirPods. But it doesn’t matter.
Sometimes, I think, it’s fine and fun to take a break and rant about things that do not matter.
Until next issue,