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Accessories you might need for the new MacBook


PCHF Tech News
Jan 10, 2015

Storage drives

Apple's thinnest, lightest, and most advanced notebook will start shipping on April 10th. The new MacBook introduces a bold change on how you connect peripherals and accessories.

During the keynote introduction, Apple CEO Tim Cook billed the new MacBook as the "reinvention and future of the notebook," highlighting its slim stature, long battery life, and performance-driven Intel Core M processor that allows Apple to shed fans and vents.

To get as slim and light as the new MacBook, Apple boldly omitted a number of ports. Instead of separate connectors for the MagSafe power port, traditional USB 3.0 port, Thunderbolt, and Mini DisplayPort, the new MacBook utilizes a single USB Type C port, which Apple is marketing as USB-C. This means that existing accessories will not work with the new USB-C port unless you buy adapters or new cables.


"To create a notebook as thin and light as the new MacBook, we had to strive for efficiency in every detail, right down to how it connects to peripherals and power," Apple said of the change. "So we contributed to a new universal connectivity standard that combines the essential functions you need every day in one dynamic port."

The USB-C port gives users access to power, USB, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA port with the right connectors and adapters, but if you're ready to embrace Apple's wireless world and shed the cables, here are some top accessories you should outfit your new MacBook with:

USB-C flash drive

As the new USB-C connector is a smaller, reversible connector based on the USB 3.1 specs, older USB flash drives will not work unless you have an adapter. If you're looking to cut down on accessory clutter, SanDisk is one of the first to market with its Dual USB Drive with Type C connector.


The best part about the SanDisk option is that it comes with two tips. One side fits USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports while the second Type C tip will be compatible with Apple's new MacBook. This allows you to store, access, and transfer files between the SanDisk drive and your new MacBook and also between your MacBook and an older Mac or PC that's not equipped with the USB-C connector.

We expect plenty more USB-C drives to hit the market in the coming months. Though SanDisk promised that its drive will ship in the second quarter with 32GB of storage, it has not announced pricing for the Dual USB Drive.

Wireless hard drives

Flash drives are great for carrying small files with you, but to back up the 128GB or 256GB SSDs on the new MacBook, you'll likely need more robust storage options. Those who want to store photos, documents, and files locally can use a wireless hard drive.


Wireless hard drives can come as self-contained units that just needs its internal battery to charge. Options include the 2TB $200 (£135, AU$260) Western Digital My Passport Wireless, the $220 (£150, AU$290) LaCie Fuel, and the $220 (£135, AU$260) Seagate Wireless Plus. All three drives come with internal batteries and WiFi radios that create an ad-hoc wireless network for your new MacBook to access.

For those in an office and with more robust storage needs, network-attached storage drives, or NAS solutions, can be a useful tool for use with the new MacBook. There are solutions from Netgear, Western Digital, Seagate, Verbatim, and more. The benefit of NAS is that it can offer redundant storage in case one of your drives fail.

Cloud storage

If you don't want to manage your own storage solutions locally, you can turn to the cloud to back up, store, and share files. Apple's iCloud will probably be the simplest solution to backup your Photos library and to share and access Apple's home-grown productivity suite with Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.


Apple gives users 5GB of free storage when you sign up for iCloud. If you need more space, iCloud is priced at $0.99 (£0.65, AU$1.30) per month for 20GB of space, $3.99 (£2.65, AU$5.20) for 200 GB, $9.99 (£6.60, AU$13.00) for 500GB, and $19.99 (£13.20, AU$26.00) for 1TB.

Aside from Apple, there are a number of other solutions with varying options for pricing, storage needs, and more. Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, BitCasa, Amazon, Dropbox, and Box are just a few options available.

Read our cloud storage comparison.

Displays and peripherals


If the MacBook's native 12-inch Retina screen is not big enough for your taste, you can connect the laptop to a larger HD or 4K monitor.

There are several ways to connect to an existing display or larger HDTV with your new MacBook. The most simple way is to get an adapter or USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort cable to get a wired connection to your current desk monitor or HDTV setup.


A second way would be to get Apple TV. At its new lower $69 price tag, Apple TV allows owners of the new MacBook to mirror their laptop's display using AirPlay technology. All you need is to be connected to the same network.

Printers and scanners

Most businesses have either invested in a wireless workgroup printer or all-in-one that can print, scan and fax. As long as you're on the same wireless network, you can send your documents for printing to the shared printer.

Homes and smaller offices can also enjoy the conveniences of wireless printing. If you're in Apple's ecosystem with a Mac, iPhone, and iPad, you can leverage the power of AirPrint to send your photos, files, and documents for printing to a smaller home or home office printer.


There are great solutions from Epson, Canon, and HP, and a few dedicated wireless scanners can even capture your documents and photos for digital archiving purposes without even requiring a cable to be connected to your MacBook. Many inexpensive wireless printers today start at under $100 (£700, AU$130) for either inkjet or laserjet quality.

Gone are the days of getting up from the couch to connect to a scanner or printer at your desk to scan or print a few sheets, and then having to return to the living room.

Check out our picks for the best printers

Mobile hotspot

If you're still using a USB wireless modem on the go, now's the time to visit your favorite wireless carrier of choice and invest in either a smartphone with tethering support or a dedicated mobile hotspot.

Essentially, a mobile hotspot allows you to access a mobile 3G or 4G broadband network through WiFi. The hotspot pulls in the cellular data connection and broadcasts it to your Mac over WiFi so your Mac can get on the internet when you're away from a free WiFi connection.

If you're looking to stay within Apple's ecosystem, the iPhone's Instant Hotspot feature allows you to instantly share your phone's internet connection without having to enter in any passwords provided that both your iPhone and Mac are signed into the same iCloud account.


If you'd rather not use your iPhone as a mobile hotspot, a dedicated unit is free with a two-year contract in the US and priced around $200 (£135, AU$265)without a long-term agreement.



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