MacBook Pro Does Not Provide Support Optical Audio Output and Here’s Why

Omar Sohail
Posted Nov 4, 2016
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The new MacBook Pro family, including the 13-inch base model, have brought about a slew of changes compared to the 2015 versions, and not too many people are happy about the changes implemented, especially the removal of several ports and replacing them with Type-C USB + Thunderbolt 3. Apple certainly comes under the radar of doing things other manufacturers won’t, and one other feature that has been removed from the long list is optical audio output support.

Specification Details Show That 13-Inch MacBook Pro Does Not Provide Support for Optical Audio Output – Apple Gives a Reason for This as Well

If you take a detailed look at the new MacBook Pro specifications, the audio port has been listed as a 3.5mm headphone jack. Aside from this, there is no other information provided, suggesting that there is no other amplification for the audio port. AppleInsider also decided to do some digging on its own and found out that the system profiler on the 13-inch MacBook Pro has no listing for S/PDIF Optical Digital Audio Output and if you compare these specs to the 2015 Retina MacBook Pro, you will see that it does provide support for it.

Every other Mac model supported optical audio output on the 3.5mm jack, and the listing is amplified with a statement such as ‘support for audio line out (digital/analog)’. When questioned by Apple regarding this change, the company stated that the feature was removed because the majority of consumers were not taking advantage of it.

If you thought that was bad, you only get two Type-C USB ports on the entry-level MacBook Pro and while it is an ‘all-in-one’ port that supports data transfers, DisplayPort 1.2, DVI, HDMI, VGA, and delivers power to connected peripherals and to the product itself, the purchasing of additional dongles will definitely become necessary. While there are plenty of reasons to be angry at these changes, there are causes of joy for the 13-inch MacBook Pro as well. For starters, the notebook is definitely faster than the 13-inch 2015 Retina MacBook Pro, and thanks to faster PCIe-based SSD storage on the notebook, your MacBook Pro will be more responsive.

However, you will have to pay $1,499 for the base model, so you need to have a hefty amount of funds to pay for these changes. Let us know what you think about the removal of optical audio support in the comments below.

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