A New Accessory Makes The MacBook Pro Actually Suitable For Pros

One of the biggest professional gripes about the new MacBook Pro — dongle issues aside — is its lack of upgradability. Apple made the decision to solder the storage onto the logic board (just as it does the RAM), making it impossible for users to upgrade past the capacity they choose at time of purchase.

Image: Christina Warren/Gizmodo

Fortunately, longtime Mac accessory maker and storage maker OWC has a solution. Dubbed the OWC DEC, this is a solution that will add additional storage and ports to your MacBook Pro. Unlike other docks, this one actually is a dock. The MacBook Pro will sit on top of machine-milled aluminium that houses the NAND flash storage and additional ports.

Image: OWC

Although most people will probably use the DEC on their desk, it's fully portable. The DEC will make the new MacBook Pro about the same thickness as the old 2012 MacBook Pro with an optical drive. It also adds some weight, but OWC says it should still weigh 85 to 110g lighter than the 2012 optical drive MacBook Pro.

I had a look at an early (but working) prototype model without ports and was impressed. Yes, this adds thickness and weight, but it also makes the MacBook Pro an actual pro machine.

In addition to up to 4TB of additional storage, the DEC will also include:

  • SD card slot
  • 3 USB 3 Type A Ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet

OWC told me they are also looking at offering mini-DisplayPort in certain configurations and may even look at adding an additional battery.

Although you can't upgrade the RAM (something no Apple laptop has allowed since 2012), this is probably the closest solution you'll get to returning your Touch Bar MacBook Pro to what Apple used to offer back in the day.

The downside to all of this is price. OWC isn't announcing pricing — and the volatile nature of NAND memory chips made it difficult for them to give me an estimate — but expect it to be expensive. I was told that the 4TB model would cost less than what Apple charges to go from 256GB to 2TB on the MacBook Pro. Apple charges $2240 for that privilege, so prepare to spend serious money.

I can't fault OWC for its pricing structure though. This is a problem Apple brought upon itself when it decided to continue its evolution of turning professional tools into turnkey appliances. If you want to a seamless way to upgrade the storage on your MacBook Pro and you want legacy ports, this is one of your few options.


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    Really does defy the purpose of having a 'thin' MacBook Pro šŸ’», but I guess it's for home and office only, not really for traveling.

    The extra storage is really the only useful thing, if it was more battery or a 10GBe port instead of gigabit, then I'd be interested (and if they put an extra GFX card in there...)

    For the sake of a Card reader and 'standard' USB ports, I'd rather just replace my USB cables with USBC-USB cables instead, and have a tiny USB-C card reader. It would weigh a lot less and cost a lot less than this.

    Last edited 05/01/17 9:00 pm

      10GBe port, yeah i highly doubt you have a full 10GBe network that would utilise it all anyway

    Can somebody please explain to me how the hell it connects to the MBP? From all those press renders there is literally nothing actually connecting it to the actual laptop. I'm going to call foul until I see an actual finished product, because I sure as hell don't want a device that you have to keep plugged in with a bulky USB c cable that's just begging to be snapped off in a bag.

    Why don't you show is what it'll really look like, instead of a render of a literally useless product.

      That was my thought as well. I know real business laptops have docking ports in their underside, but MAcbooks don't have these, so how's it connecting?

    "A New Accessory Makes The MacBook Pro Actually Suitable For Pros". No it doesn't. In order for the MB Pro to be suitable for prefessional use, it needs to have GeForce or Quadro graphics, not the consumer Radeon garbage they come with.

    Is the new accessory a free PC with every Macbook ?

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