Something’s Missing From My New MacBook Pro….

(Above: My new Retina MacBook Pro, shot with my iPhone, but there’s something missing that should be there).

It’s Game Day!
When you shoot an event for a sports wire service, they need the images from the game as soon as possible, and so during halftime I upload half-a-dozen images, and then immediately after the game, from the photographer’s work room at the stadium, I transmit (as it’s called) another 25 or so final images. They have free wireless in the workroom (and now, in the entire stadium for fans as I noticed on Friday), and there are power plugs and a counter to work on.

(Above: Another iPhone shot, this one of the Photographer’s Work Room at Raymond James Stadiums. Ahhhh, the glamorous life of a sports photographer. They really go all out for us. LOL!!! There are two rooms like this, side by side. Note the laptops throughout the room, all used for transmitting images during and after the game). 

Prepping Before You Leave For The Stadium
I’m going to have to properly identify each player (correct spelling of their name, team, position, and jersey number) for every photo I upload, and describe the action in the shot. To make things easier there’s a service you can subscribe to called “” and it’s for photographers who use the program Photo Mechanic (which used by all pro sports photographers, myself included) and you import this generated team roster into the program and then you just type in the player’s number and it fills in everything for you. It’s amazing and saves a ton of time (totally worth the inexpensive subscription).

So, before the game I go and generate one of those rosters and load it into Photo Mechanic. Then I set up a metadata template in PM with all the details of the game (who is playing home, where it’s played, the date, copyright info, other stuff), and lastly I set up the FTP server to upload my files to the wire service. It’s takes a few minutes, but you’re better off to do it beforehand than rushing to do it at the stadium at game time.

Here’s where my problems began
I’ve got everything all ready to go, and I’m packing up to literally walk out the door. I’m excited to be taking my new thinner, lighter and much faster MacBook Pro to do my transmitting, and I grab the essential Kensington Security Cable and lock (you use this to physically lock your MacBook Pro to the table, so while you’re on the field, another photographer, or staffer, or passerby, doesn’t slip your shiny new laptop in their bag and it’s gone forever. Hey, it happens enough that every photographer locks down their stuff, just like you would at Starbucks when you have to go to the restroom).

It was at that moment that I freaked out, because when I looked at the side of my new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro I noticed that the tiny security slot that Apple puts in ALL MacBook Pros just for this purpose, is missing. It’s just not there (see the photo at the top).

There is no way I’m going to leave my new MacBook Pro unattended
I’m searching everywhere for that security slot (it’s about 1/16 of an inch by 1/32 of an inch, if that) but it is just not there. Now, what do I do! I go find my old MacBook Pro, which thankfully I hadn’t erased yet, and I frantically download a new CodeReplacement roster, and reconfigure the metadata, and I have to change card readers and now I’m running late, and sure enough I get to the stadium a half hour later than I wanted, and I literally just made it to the field before the team came out. Whew!

(Above: Here’s my old MacBook Pro so you can see the tiny slot for the Kensington Security Cable lock —- this is a really close up shot so it looks bigger than it is. Taken with my iPhone which does not need a security slot but should probably have one because mine slipped out of my jacket pocket in a taxi and it was gone forever). 

It gets worse
At halftime, I go to start the process of finding, editing, tagging and transmitting my files, only to realize that I don’t have the user name and password for the FTP upload to my wire service, and I don’t have time to get it (halftime is only 12 minutes for preseason games), so I download my images from my two cameras into the laptop so at least that’ll save me some time after the game.

After the game, I rush into the work room (we all do), while two cards are downloading, I’m going through my images and finding my “Picks” (shots that might make the final cut to be transmitted), and then I find them, launch Photoshop only to realize that I had deactivated Photoshop on that laptop when I got my new MacBook Pro (so I could activate it there).

Please, just for a moment, imagine the look on my face. It’s my first gig for this new wire service, I missed the upload during halftime (thank goodness this was a preseason game), and now I’m going to have to leave the stadium, drive 30 minutes home, and do my editing and transmitting from home. I’m really cranked, embarrassed, frustrated, and most of all…

…I just can’t understand how Apple didn’t include this tiny, tiny 1/32 of a inch slot we so desperately need!
This isn’t just a problem for sports photographers â” it’s for schools that have MacBook’s in their labs, and at work, and anywhere we need to have our laptops secured (Starbucks) and now we have to find some other solution (and I’m looking at a few), but I would dearly LOVE to hear why Apple decided NOT to include this tiny slot. While they’re at it, I’d love to know why in Mountain Lion Apple decided to do away with the menubar Display menu, which is another thing that makes me shake my head, but don’t get me started.

There are other solutions (none of which I like so far, and the only one I like isn’t shipping until next month at the earliest), so there is an option or two, but now at least you know. I wonder what I’m going to do this Friday. My old MacBook Pro will need to go to someone else in my company (I think Brad) pretty shortly, so what’s my backup plan for securing my laptop this week.

Now, you’re about to learn exactly what an “Apple Apologist” is
I love Apple products. I have an iPad, an iPhone, an iMac, and two MacBook Pros. I’ve been an Apple customer since 1986; I’ve written books about the Mac (my first book ever), and the iPod and the iPhone (I have a book out on the iPhone 4s currently), and I’ve even written about Apple itself (my book, Macintosh: The Naked Truth, published 10 or so years ago became a cult hit), so I’m a pretty pro-Apple guy. I love their products, how they’re designed, and that they “just work.” However, when anyone (and I mean anyone) says something negative about Apple or an Apple product (as I have here), you will read people commenting on this post that:

(a) It’s not Apple’s fault they removed the security slot. Apple doesn’t make bad decisions. They are a perfect company.
(b) It’s somehow my fault for working in situations that require me to leave my laptop unattended.
(c) That steel cable and lock was no real deterrent, and could easily be defeated by a real criminal.

On that last point — that Kensington lock has saved many-a-MacBook Pro and you do have to be a real criminal, bringing wire cutters or having the intent to steal a laptop coming into the stadium to make away with one, and of course you still run the risk of getting caught. In the end, it’s far better than nothing, even if not “unbeatable.”

How dare we!!!
In 2009 Terry White wrote on his blog that he thought the USB ports were too close to each other on the old MacBook Pros (link), because half the time you couldn’t plug-in two USB devices at once. I totally agreed, and I had this happen to me all the time. Apple apologists lined up on Terry’s blog to tell him that it’s not a design flaw — the manufacturers just need to make their USB plugs thinner.

Or back when Apple first added the rotation gesture to the MacBooks and I complained that I kept rotating my canvas in Photoshop and InDesign by accident on my trackpad. I mentioned that I would love it if there was a way to turn off that gesture in the Mac OS, and Apple Apologists lined up to tell me that I was literally stupid for using Photoshop with a trackpad, and that “nobody uses Photoshop with a trackpad.” I guess nobody uses Photoshop on a flight.

The flip side
Because I mentioned Apple, it will also bring out the haters. There will be the requiste “You should be using a PC” and “That’s because Mac’s suck” and the whole “You’re locked into a closed environment and that’s what you get” stupidity, because mentioning Apple is like mentioning HDR, Nikon vs. Canon, iOS vs. Android, Sony or Bose — it just brings out the worst in everyone. If you own a Mac, or a PC. Nikon or Canon. You shoot HDR or not, you DO NOT have to defend your choice by attacking everyone elses. It’s OK to use the products (or techniques) that appeal to you. Grow up.

So why did I open this can of worms?
Because I want anyone to know who is thinking of buying a MacBook Pro with the Retina display, that something’s missing. It doesn’t have a Security Slot, and for some people (like me) that’s a real problem (and one I’m now going to have to deal with somehow). So, that’s it. A heads up, and here’s hoping that Apple adds them back in future models, and that someone comes up with as elegant a security option as Kensington did (who obviously teamed up with Apple on that slot). Hey, we can always dream. :)




  1. I have a love-hate relationship with Apple. I love their products, design (etc.), but I hate that they make decisions based on … um … what? Exactly? They just decide “for us” that we will now start doing things another way. (Like, I’m seriously scared that they will discontinue the MacPro (tower) line for no good reason.)

    If Apple had the community and openness that Google+ has with the beauty and style of the Apple products it would be the perfect company. :)

    1. Hi Nicole: I figure they must have a reason, I’d just like them to tell us, so at least we have a chance to wrap our head around it. It might me a perfectly legitimate design issue, but we’ll probably never know. 

      1. Because they haven’t had security locks on the MB Air since day 1, or things like the iPad, my “guess” on the reason is the security lock actually anchored itself in the DVD drive infrastructure.  They always used to be next to the DVD drive… 

      2. Are you sure about that? It certainly looks like it is the actual unibody enclosure itself that provides the strength for the lock.

      3.  they secretly tracking all mac’s no matter who, why and how but they just can’t tell you how, where and when because then you thinking they “spying” on you. Otherwise you could have a track my mac function that tells you where your mac is at any given time…. and wipe it remotely

      4. Their reason for jettisoning the security lock may be because it’s too tall for the slim form factor. I hadn’t thought about what Shawn said, though. Could be. Thin wins, I guess.

      5. It really is a very thin slot. Even on the Retina MBP there is surely enough physical strength in the enclosure itself to house this slot.

        I agree that thin wins for Apple’s engineers, but I’ve been questioning how sound that axiom is lately. My iPhone 3G was easier and nicer to hold than my iPhone 4 is (although clearly not as beautifully made) because it was a more full-figured shape in the hand.

        Would we rather a thinner laptop or more battery life at the same thickness? These are ‘pro’ laptops after all. Just spitballing.

    2. Nicole, look for the gizmodo article posted the day of the last wwdc.
      Someone emailed Tim Cook and he responded saying they are in works of making a all new MacPro. I assume this means it’ll have thunderbolt finally.

  2. As an avid PC fan and a photographer, I appreciate your understanding that people have different tastes.  You are right that every person has their reason for why they like what they like.  I honestly have never used the laptop lock, but I could see how someone who does would feel lost without it.  I hope this doesn’t turn into a Mac vs. PC debate.  I just like how you point out that people are entitled to their opinions.

      1. This very comment of mine that you are reading disappeared.  Either that or it did not!  :-)

  3. Scott,

    There’s already a solution for the retina macbook pro but unfortunately I don’t think its particurlarly elegant:

    But I guess it’s better than nothing. For what it’s worth, and I’m not apologising (honest) but I’ve read a few comments from people saying the casing on the new macbook pro is really thin so perhaps Apple felt it would have been too thin to effectively support the security slot. Who knows. It does seem like an odd decision though

  4. “Apple…The evil empire that everyone loves.” ha. I agree with Nicolesy about the love-hate relationship. They have to have their super tight control death grip on everything “Apple”. But I do love their products and can’t see myself not using them especially when it comes to design work. I just bought a brand new MacBook pro retina. Took over a week to come in (on Friday) only to return it 2 hours after I got it. A new one has been ordered with higher specs. That was completely my own fault for not researching enough but I was very frustrated to find out EVERYTHING was proprietary to the rMBP (again my fault for not knowing). Even the battery can’t be replaced because it is glued in. Hope this doesn’t sound like a rant. I just know the feeling about Apple. They “know” what we want and if not they tells us what we want.

    Good post though, very informative.

    1. I do find it hard to justify the opinion that Apple is in any way evil, tongue in cheek though these remarks often are. They are smug, they are cock-sure of themselves, but that’s fine as long as their stuff is great. They only make a small selection of products and that means they can’t cater to every person’s precise needs. Sometimes that gets labelled as a death grip. I don’t get it.

      I’d be very interested to hear how many people ever replace the battery in their MacBooks though. I’ve never done it and making the battery non-replaceable does save a great deal of weight and space. I guess it’s about tradeoffs and for me, Apple made the right call with that one.

      1. My MBP is also 5 yrs old, and I now need to replace the battery a THIRD time… (It maintains a charge for maybe an hour, but then unreliably shuts off without sleeping whenever it wants to, well before the battery left timer expires–yes, I’ve recalibrated the battery.)

        I love that I can keep my Mac laptop 2-3 years longer than a PC laptop (and still run fast with current software like LR4), but if the battery is not replaceable, I will find it hard to buy a new one…

        Other things in my “OLD” MacBook Pro that Apple has deemed I no longer need: Firewire 800 port, external battery level indicator, matte (non-glossy) screen.  Gee thanks.

        I also don’t understand why they don’t use these features to differentiate the Pro models from the standard models.  Other than screen size and processor speed, there really are few notable differences these days…

        Why can’t Apple just make these things custom options for us?  It would be so nice to just custom order a MacBook with Kensington lock (+$20), with replaceable battery (+$50, and 3 ounces heaver), etc… 

      2. That’s a 2007 laptop though. I have a 2010 MacBook Pro and the battery still holds its charge extremely well. Perhaps it’s newer battery technology? It’s a consideration. It might have been a bad idea to be non-replaceable in 2007, but not in 2010?

  5. I have never used the security lock on my MBP’s but I do appreciate you pointing this out as I am now better informed. Since I have never used the hole I wouldn’t have looked for it and never known it was removed, until such time I actually needed to use it. Then it would be too late.

    I appreciate the heads up.

  6. It must be missing from the Retinas only.  My lowly 13 inch mid 2012 has one.  Also, I think I would have just taken the lock and pretended like I was locking it up and taken my chances–or worse case, just take it with you while shooting and sat it down beside you??  

  7. I dare say the reason is because of the structural requirements around the lock and fitting that into the case. The “tiny, tiny 1/32 of a inch slot” 
    has to be attached and backed up by something. This is also why the Air doesn’t have one.

    I agree it’s a shame they left it out. There is third-party lockable cover solutions out there.

  8. Nothing a steady hand a drillbit and couple holes can’t fix right?. It’ll be like shooting a 200mm lens handheld at 1/60th. Maybe Larry can use it as a Cheap Shots post.

    I hope you share the solution you decide on if you find one you can tolerate.

  9. The security slot is missing from the Air as well.  Had to go look.  I’m anal retentive so I never let the thing out of my sight, so it isn’t an issue for me.  Curious about the missing menubar display menu.  I have Mountain Lion on my Air and everything seems to be there.

  10. I noticed this lack on the MacBook Air I used to have, so it’s not a new trick from Apple. I had disintegrating hinge troubles with the Air so eventually replaced it with a MacBook Pro and thought no more of it…

  11. I had the same chok as you when I had to use mine backstage at a concert. It really is a set back and I do agree they should bring it back on future models. 

    Do please share the solution you, I am sure will find :)
    As for all the hatred – sad that people feel the need to do that :(

  12. Scott, it get’s worse. I just bought a Retina Macbook to replace my trusty 2 year old 17 Macbook Pro. I’m service corporate internal comms teams. 50% of my time is spend on photography. The other 50% is spend on web, application and print design. While in theory Retina is a great idea in reality it’s been implemented very poorly.

    If you open an 800 pixel image in Photoshop at 100% magnification it’s displayed either super tiny or super fuzzy. Thinking this was an issue of applications not being Retina ready I bought Pixelmator. There images are loaded in the right resolution. At Retina res it’s somewhat ok but you don’t get enough screen but the interface uses up a huge amount valuable screen realestate. You can run it at 1920×1200 but now the image is even smaller than it was in Photoshop at 100% magnification.

    While this isn’t that much of an issue for Photography it’s almost a complete deal breaker for any screen design. Yes I can attach an external monitor to cross check everything but that doesn’t help me when I go to a clients office and use the laptop as a laptop rather than a “portable desktop”.

    Maybe they will release a 17 laptop that will a little bit more usable but so far I am leaning towards returning it. The lack of a cable lock is obviously another major bummer.

  13. That sucks. Another aspect I don’t like in the MBP Retina is that you can’t replace anything: even upgrading your RAM memory after buying your laptop has become impossible.

    I’d suggest getting a Rottweiler but that may prove difficult in such a crowded room…

  14. How dare you Scott!! You should by a PC, a Canon and stop doing HDR :-)))))

    Now for real. Is Apple out of the freaking mind?? No security slot for me is really a show stopper!!! I need to lock my laptop at work (is some kind of semi-open access place). No lock, no laptop! I’m actually informing the company about it, since they were considering upgrading the internal laptop standard to the new MacBook Pro.

    I totally share Nicole’s love-hate relationship. Specially since my iPad doesn’t recognize my Apple Bluetooth keyboard …

    I probably missed Terry’s comment on the USB ports, and indeed they are too close to each other and also at the wrong side (on the older models) … unless you’re left handed :-)

  15. Scott, I found this thread over at the Apple forums that mentions you can call Kensington for a solution. I obviously have no idea how valid this is, because the person hasn’t followed up yet, but probably worth a call to the company.

  16. I think you have a valid concern, albeit what might be a rare workplace issue. I did some searching online. Based on the number of posts in Apple forums that I CAN’T find with people complaining about the absence, (only a very few compared to what I would expect if it was a real “issue” with many people,) and the fact that they left the security slot off of the Mac Book Airs since 2008, I’m guessing they’ve determined it’s not a big enough issue vs. the design issues to keep including it. (Still, I think it’s going to become apparent that for a select group of professionals in certain work environments, this is going to be a problem.) But as for the reason it’s missing –  one person commented  (and I don’t know their credentials but not an official Apple response,) “It’s because it takes a rather significant amount of body strength to put it in, which requires a certain amount of thickness and takes up space that could be used for other components and cooling. They also provide only very minimal security, as anyone with a pair of easily concealable wire cutters can get past one in less than a second.”

  17. Couldn’t agree more. Apple has made a very expensive, super portable, super laptop and by omiting a tiny, tiny, hole they nearly made it obsolete and negated the benefits. I only realized its missing after I made my order and then I’ve had really hard time deciding whether to keep it or return it. One more thing that’s missing is the IR receiver. So when I connect projector to watch a movie I need to stand up and walk to my computer whenever I want to rewind or pause.

    1. If you don’t mind a slightly different perspective, I don’t think the lack of a security port makes the computer obsolete. My personal belief is the departure of the DVD drive removes the effectiveness of the port for the Air and MBP Retina. Therefore, if this is true, a basically unreliable security port is worse than nothing at all, because it gives a false sense of security.

      That said, I do sympathise with Scott. A laptop is a heavy device to carry while you’re shooting. Maybe the stadium can organise a security guard or locked office for the photographers. It’s a hassle, but a room full of unattended state of art laptops is a rich target for thieves.

  18. Hey Scott,

    You just made me give my HP laptop an examine and I don’t have a security slot either. Considering this type of equipment is supposed to be used on the move all manufacturers should include some form of outer security not just inner security ie. software. Hopefully people realize that this post isn’t a Mac vs. PC post but a “I don’t want my stuff stolen post” and the domino effect of missing a security feature.

  19. I think that the reason they don’t have the port is because something strong has to be on the other side of the metal case. That used to be the DVD drive, but that has been removed (same as the Air). Since everything else in a laptop is light and fragile, defeating the lock is just a matter of yanking it out.

    Just a thought…

  20. I’ve had an iPod touch a couple of Nanos and a macbook and  other than the nanos I can say I hate apple.  I would never buy another apple product if my life depended on it.   I’m actually waiting to see how they spin the new iPad when they finally include an SD card slot into a “we’ve listened to our customers and given them what they want” only after Microsoft is about to blow the iPad out of the water.  

    But enough about that, I do have an legit question.    Those security holes that you put your lock into, do they really do anything?  I mean it looks like a 5 year old could yank the cheap lock out of those plastic holes.  We have them for the office here at work and looking at them I’ve always kind of wondered, why?  

    1. Rich: Do you feel better now about your decision to buy a Microsoft product? It’s OK that you chose something other than Apple. Really, it’s fine. You don’t have to be ashamed, and you don’t have to defend your choice. Do you need a hug? 

      1. Dear Apple Users,

        As a Microsoft user, please stop making us feel that we are underneath Apple users.  We are not ashamed or have no need to defend.

         But here is my rant. We use Microsoft because that was the only thing being taught in college in the early 90’s.  I learned Microsoft WordPerfect in 1993 with no other option but a typewriter.  Maybe Apple was in artsy classes with Adobe Photoshop 1, but not as a everyday use computer system.  Granted, none of us like Microsoft 100%, but then again why do people use IE still?  The one thing that made me stop in my tracks with Apple was no Flash capabilities on the first Ipad. Right after everyone was on the kick of creating flash websites and banners. that was pretty uncool, especially since Flash is an Adobe product. I use a PC Asus 17″ laptop, but have often used the 27 inch Mac Pro at college. I prefer my Asus laptop. :)

        BTW Scott, love your PS books.  College classes required your book 7-point and PS4 for Digital Photographers.  I use them for reference still!  thanks

      2. Nobody is trying to make you feel underneath Apple users. The irritation with Microsoft often expressed by Apple users is aimed at Microsoft, not the masses of people forced to use Windows as the only viable OS for most OEMs.

        If you genuinely prefer Windows to OSX then that’s great, you have that choice. I’d be surprised if you held that opinion after a week’s solid use but that’s just my opinion.

        People use IE because it’s the default. To many users the IE icon is the internet button. People are learning that it’s crumby and Chrome use it exploding, rivalling even IE now. Microsoft was hit with huge sanctions for its behaviour with IE and Windows. People use the default.

      3. Scott, as Rich’s fellow Microsoft user, I need a hug. Drop me a line and I’ll let you know where to send it – along with a copy of your Lightroom 4 book ;-)

        All sarcasm aside – great post!

      4.  I asked for a hug the last time I went to your LR tour in Ft Lauderdale and you just loked at me funny so NO!   haha.    But still, you HAVE to agree, Apple is VERY fan boyish.  I mean come on, I know their design has a lot to do with their products but they want you to do things their way and ONLY their way.   I can play an MP3 on my android phone or my Microsoft computer.  But when you buy a song on itunes isn’t it still that apple proprietary file type?  I know you can load an MP3 into itunes, but buy a song and I think it’s some sort of AAC file?   Oh, and no, I’m not ashamed, I’ve spent less to build two screaming PCs than you
        probably spent on that macbook.  :-P

        But anywho, about that lock thing, ok, so it’s a hole cut into aluminum.  Great, but seriously, can’t I still just yank that think and run?  I heard once that if you did that it would destroy the hard drive, which would keep your files safe I guess but heck I still have a $2000 macbook that I just need to buy a $100 hard drive to fix.  haha.    

        But I am with Scott on the paranoid part, I wouldn’t have left it alone either.  

      5. A little information is a dangerous thing.

        A company cannot be ‘fanboyish’. They can just make superb products and hope that that wins them the loyalty of their customers. You are essentially criticising Apple for engendering brand loyalty. That’s insane.

        AAC files are not proprietary. Like so many irrational Apple haters you assume one of the As stands for Apple. AAC is for Advanced Audio Coding. The codec was developed by a number of companies including Fraunhofer who invented your beloved and dated MP3, from which it has made as much as $100m in a year from licensing. It has been an ISO standard since MPEG-2.

        The Kensington lock slot is not built into plastic but into the solid aluminium unibody chassis of the MacBook. It dare say it would take more strength than the average man possesses to yank it out. As Scott says in the article it is not a protection against a determined criminal with wire cutters and a premeditated plan but it does stop the opportunist dead.

        As for yanking it destroying the hard drive, this sounds like pure, unadulterated BS. The reality is that any sensible person seeing a MacBook secured with a Kensington lock would abandon any notion of swiping it right there.

  21. Wow — the absence of a security slot is the only reason I didn’t get a MacBook Air. I figured that it had to do with how thin it is, but I didn’t realize that in the new versions of the MacBook Pro no longer include the slot. 

  22. I am not a mac user as I find the lack of options a bit limiting but feel your pain at not finding out till it was too late.

    For those that are worried at the cable being easily cut, for years I used a cable made by kensington that included a very loud ear piercing alarm that went off if the cable was cut or removed without the key.

  23. Well I was just about to purchase one for my daughter who is off to USA to study at UCSB. Only because there is no stock here am I still waiting. No security options is a game changer and definitely not worth risking. But guess what… I’m going to see Steve Wozniak here in Edinburgh on Thursday. He’s delivering an inspirational lecture at the Edinburgh International Festival. Surely he’ll explain…

  24. I’m surprised their isn’t security for the photographers work room, perhaps I’ve just been spoiled but covering World Superbikes and MotoGP both in the UK and Europe I’ve never had to lock my laptop to the desk and neither has any other working journalist of photographer that I’ve noticed, also the media centres at the race tracks I’ve been to look a lot nicer than that work room ;-)

  25. Thanks for the heads up.  I will be upgrading this Fal and it gives me time to figure out a solution….. becasue NOT using the MacBook is not an option :-)

  26. Thanks for the warning Scott.  I, too, have used (and supported) Apple since they first brought computers to the market back in the mid 80’s.  Remember those tiny black and white screens?!  Hardly enough room to play “Pong.”  

    Anyway, no security slot means no new computer purchase for me until someone smarter comes up with a work around and/or security product worth trusting.  No way can I afford to trust leaving a laptop anywhere unattended while I’m out shooting, or simply running to the restroom!  

    1. They don’t have professional users, they just don’t make up the bulk of their business. It’s about the masses not the minorities. Trust me, I REALLY don’t like it either, but I’m sure if it keeps up they will just create an opening for a new market and many Pro users will migrate away from Apple to whatever is the better alternative. So sad  ;-(

  27. Do you feel lucky today? Make your own. The radius by the display has dead space. A drill and fresh drill bit with a vacuum at the bit removing debris.  

  28. Wow, I can’t imagine how you must have felt when you realized you didn’t have the FTP info to upload. What a nightmare. I just bought a MacBook Pro and have loaded PM, FileZilla, Trial version of Photoshop and I am scared as hell to bring it to an assignment for the fear of something going wrong. And I have had a couple of dry runs to make sure everything is in place.  I have a lock but don’t think I have ever used it once. I might have to think twice and start using it. I guess we all learn by our mistakes and mishaps.

  29. Scott – some great points.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the security slots magically appear either in the next gen rMBP or in a minor “upgrade” to the current one.  That’s one of the things that does impress me about Apple, and that’s that they actually listen to the customer base.

  30. Scott, I know exactly how you feel. I feel that Apple is making a lot of big mistakes as of late. I feel that Apple is moving away from smart products and moving more towards shelling new stuff out, whether it is close to perfection or not. I gave a scathing review of OSX Mountain Lion, with all of its flaws here: and the problem is apparent that it isn’t just software. Removing firewire from the new models was a bad choice in my opinion. I feel that it is too soon. This basically forces everyone that upgrades their computer to get a new backup drive as well, using USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.

    My honest opinion is that without someone like Steve Jobs around to crack the whip, Apple tends to slack on their products, forgetting the consumer and forgetting why we buy their products in the first place- because they are beautiful, incredibly designed, lightning fast, VERSATILE, and smart. Without all of these qualities Apple is soon going to be consider just an overpriced computer and nothing more.

    1. I don’t like all the decisions Apple is making, either, but when you look at the way the company is performing, it’s hard to argue that they Need our help in the decision making process. Everybody wants things their way: include this, drop that, I can’t work with this, I need that… And of course that’s why they are having SOOO much trouble selling their products, right? Every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows better how to run Apple than the people who are running Apple. So tell me, James George, what incredibly successful company that I might have heard of are you running? 
      And regarding Scott Kelby: I would expect a professional (which is what he claims to be) NOT to go on an assignment with brand new equipment without having checked every aspect of said equipment first. The absence of the Kensington slot was mentioned by several reviews of the MacBook Pro Retina, in some cases even before the machine shipped. Add to that a non-activated copy of Photoshop, no FTP account credentials… Jeez, I’m just a lowly amateur and I take preparation a great deal more seriously.Anyway, I never used a Kensington security cable with any of the many MacBook Pros I’ve had over the years, so I don’t miss the slot on my MacBook Pro Retina, but if it were that critical to me to be able to secure my laptop, I sure would have bought a model that included a security slot.Daniel

  31. It’s funny when I started reading this I assumed it was a Ethernet port that was missing for you, the security lock never even occured to me, and the moment you said it, I thought, OMG you are right, why the hell isn’t there one.
    The Apple Fanboy in me says, well it’s more a desktop replacement it’s not supposed to be taken out an about… the logical human in me says it’s a 15″ laptop it’s being taken out and about. I’d hate to think that in the quest for thin, they forgot to leave room inside for a security lock. That just seems so silly.

  32. Hey Scott,
    While I absolutely love my MacBook Air, this is something Apple has excluded from day one.  So I’ve had to deal with this “bug” for a while, in that time I have come up with two solutions…

    MacLocks has made an undercase that adds a security lock for MB Airs, just looked and it seems like they’re making one for MB Pro Retinas:

    And the other option is a USB lock…I’ve never tried it…but I’ve always wondered….

    1. I could also hire a valet to watch my car all night because the manufacturer decided not to put a lock on their new model.

      (forgive the bitchiness, just making a point :) )

  33. If you google mac book pro teardown and look at a teardown for a 2011 MBP versus a 2012 Retina MBP it becomes a little more obvious why the decision was made to drop the security slot.  On the 2011 MBP there is a fairly chunky piece of metal behind the shell into which the security device connects.  This piece of metal may also connect into the CD/DVD housing, though this is less clear.  What is clear is that the 2012 Retina MBP has be so thoroughly engineered that finding a place for the chunky metal piece the security device connects with would have been a serious design constraint.  Mind you not something that couldn’t have been overcome, but the cooling requirements alone look like they dictated that more venting was necessary (all down the bottom left and right, plus the rear).  Internally the 2012 Retina MBP is seriously space constrained and it looks like the security slot was viewed as expendable.

  34. Forget about the computers for a moment (which is the point of the article I know), but I just love hearing about the little things that goes on behind the scenes of a sports shoot. Sports shooting is a distant dream for me, but nevertheless really enjoy reading about it.

  35. Dell has the same issue.  I ordered a Dell XPS 15z Ultrabook, which was advertised to have the Kensington lock, but it didn’t.  I ordered it from B&H, not Dell, so the return policy bit me in my butt.  B&H agreed to take it back but I needed for a 3 week trip and I didn’t have any time to swap it.  I agree, seems like a simple little accessory that is most definitely NEEDED.

    I would be interested in hearing about next month’s solution that you eluded to.

  36. Scott – thanks for the info. Just checked my Air and sure enough no lock port there either. Doesn’t really matter in my workflow at this point but it is an interesting omission since it takes up so little space. I was a Windows users for years and came over to Apple when Vista was released. Honestly, I’ve never looked back. The Apple ecosystem has provided me a much more effective user experience. That said, companies have to take risks, experiment with product design and make mistakes in order to deliver what consumers en masse really want and need. Given all the thought that does go into apple designs I doubt they ‘forgot’ this feature. It seems more likely that they made a decision that the negative consequences were outweighed by some perceived positive that we, as consumers, may never understand. I am looking forward to upgrading my Air either to an rAir (hope to see that soon) or to the next gen rMBP and even though I haven’t needed a cable lock yet…you can bet I’ll be checking the next time I upgrade.

  37. Man, why is it that things like this happen at the most inconvenient moment.  You’re crunched for time then stuff starts to unravel.  I don’t have an opinion about the locking doohickey, because I don’t even own a laptop yet.  Sure could use one though.  If I had one it would help to have the locking doohickey.  I guess, at the end of the day- you still were able to produce some outstanding images.  Thanks for always keeping us informed on products.   

  38. Because it is thinner and lighter the only safe suggestion would be a backpack to keep it with you, not the best of things, but you’ll know where it is at all times.

  39. Scott, I have to agree with you about the touchpad and Photoshop. I’ve had many occasions that I’ve needed to use Photoshop where a mouse would have been difficult to manage. Most recently I came up with the idea of using the nice big touchpad as a small Wacom with my iPad stylus. Literally saved my bacon painting out a mask in Photoshop. Worked great and the client (sitting ever so quietly next to me) loved watching it all come together.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the new retina MBP.

    1. I agree too. I find the trackpad on a MacBook Pro completely usable with Aperture and Photoshop. It’s one of the myriad of reasons I couldn’t use any other laptop at the moment.

  40. Funny, where I live, everyone at Starbucks, Panera, / anywhere goes to the bathroom and just leaves their computer unlocked.  I usually throw on the screen saver, but never physically lock it.  Of course I do subscribe to a laptop find service.  

  41. Interesting…but that is the problem when using a new piece of equipment for the 1st time.  You think you know it but there always seems to be some little thing that can really be an issue because you didn’t know about it.  

  42. Scott, can you comment on your image download process, from camera to laptop (or from CF card to laptop)?

    I think in the Kelby Training video on shooting high school football, you and Dave Black said you shoot both .jpg and RAW so that you’d have a format image (.jpg) that you could quickly transmit (as it’s called). On USB 2.0, it can take me literally hours to download several hundred photos I shoot. How do you beat the image download clock when you’re under a deadline during a typical game? Thanks!

    1. Speed. (1) Lightroom takes time to render previews, PM uses the built-in jpeg previews. (2) PM is very quick in handling metadata like captions and keywords. Much faster in my experience than LR. 

      I use PM for the initial download, metadata, and primary edit, then import the selects into LR4 for raw processing. 

  43. I guess that’s the problem with being an apologist…you spend your time making excuses as to why things are the way they are.  Personally, I could care less who makes what…as long as the functionality I need is there to do the job I need to do. I have used both systems to great effect.  However, Scott (Kelby), you recently went after Adobe for falling short, and THANK YOU very much!  Bravo!  Why not do the same thing with Apple?  Seriously!

    When manufacturers go down the wrong path, they should hear and see the wrath of their end users.   Like you, I have railed against manufacturers, and forced them to listen (parallel industry – PACS). Before manufacturers come out with a new line, they should consult the people are going to use their products – such as yourself.  It’s NOT a secret that many photographers use Apple products, is it? Personally, I think one of their lines should be dedicated to professional photographers rather than catering to some pubescent looking to IM, FB, or whatever the current fashionable social media trend happens to be. My 2¢…

  44. “At halftime, I go to start the process of finding, editing, tagging and transmitting my files, only to realize that I don’t have the user name and password for the FTP upload to my wire service, and I don’t have time to get it (halftime is only 12 minutes for preseason games), ”

    Scott – Try for all your passwords.. you could have opened your LastPass vault from anywhere and retrieved the password. It’s free unless you want the mobile version, then it is only $1 a month.

  45. Scott, I could not agree more with your issue on the lock slot. I just got my MacBook pro 2 weeks ago and searched all over for the slot – I am an Apple fanboy also but this makes no sense at all.

  46. Scott here is an idea you could use to secure your lap top just lock it inside a Thinktank bag when not in use and the lock the bag to the table or post. I’ve done this many times with my think tank airport security

  47. When the first MB Airs came out, I had to point out to the Apple store employees that the Kensington slot was missing and this was going to be a big problem for me when I go to libraries and archives to do research. They had no clue. My 5yo MBP is due to be replaced and I guess now there’s no reason to buy a new MBP over an Air (hard drive storage notwithstanding). Scott, thanks for posting this and hopefully Kensington will come up with some solution, even if Apple won’t.

  48. Sorry you had to go through that, I’ve certainly been in that sort of situation with many companies’ products many times in the past. It’s interesting to note in situations like this that we tend to hold Apple to a much higher standard than we would another company. I know it’s not what you’d like to hear and doesn’t excuse Apple from the omission of that security feature, but it was widely reported hat this new notebook lacks that port… I personally am not sorry to see it go however I am kind of shocked that a superior solution was not engineered in before deleting it.

  49. Scott, Love your posts. 
    I have always noticed the lock slot, never used it myself, but trusted it was there on everything.

    There is a way to get your menubar display menu back in Mountain Lion. I know it should be a checkbox. But I used that link all the time. If you go your system folder in your hard drive. You might have to use the go to folder option under the go menu and type it in “/system/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras” There is a item in there. Put this in your login items, restart and you should have your beloved display menu shortcut back. Not quite the same as it was but at least it’s a quick way to get to the displays preference pane. 

  50. On the Air and the new Retina MBP the body is simply not structurally sound enough for the kensington lock to be effective.
    It was possible even on the older models to stress the case enough to remove the lock. This would damage the laptop but if you just wanted to steal it you could get it. Now it would be even easier.

  51. I am glad that I am done with apple laptops.  I bought recently a macbook pro pre retina display in Feb/2012.  This is a lemon.  Every part is failing miserable piece by piece.  The worse is that apple don’t want to accept it.  Firewire is gone, Fan runs 100% of the time, software glitches, Wifi not working, etc.

    I will keep buying mac, but this time I will go with a Mac pro.  Windows laptops are inexpensive and they will work as tether solution for me.

    I am done with apple laptops.

  52. Neat! If you spend half an article explaining how being an apologist (fanboy) or an apple hater is a waste of time. You get less retarded comments. Distill this down to a few sentences and this would make comments on apple articles readable.

    Well done sir.  

  53. Scott, this only one of several issues with the new Pro. Sorry for the long diatribe responding to your Google post, but this machine is a sore point for quite a few hardcore Mac lovers (like me)!

  54. Good luck! As someone who travels with my MBP I totally understand. You are one hundred percent correct. The lock is really designed to keep honest people honest, rather than to Deter serious thieves.

    So, well said – and good luck with all the fanatics! :)

  55. As a fellow sports photographer I just want you to know it could be worse – my first gig shooting for Getty Images I went in to transmit mid game and after the game realized I sent the first 6 shots to my old wire service… panic ensued

  56. Kensington specs require a clearance diameter of 19.1mm for the lock, however the MBP is too thin for that as it measures about 15mm. It wouldn’t sit stable with the lock sticking out.

    Here’s the official lock specs for reference (from Kensington’s webpage):

    Only solution would be for Kensington to change their spec (possibly making it even less secure) or for Apple to make the machine bigger. None of those are great options.

    Really suggest something external as RicardoC suggested.

    1.  If that’s the case then my laptop wouldn’t be able to have a Kensington slot on it – it’s a Toshiba Satellite Z830, which is an ultrabook that is quoted as 15.9mm thick. It does, though.

      I’m not trying to be anti-Apple here – I like their machines, and worked in an Apple reseller for a while – I’m just saying that that reason isn’t valid, because other vendors have clearly gotten around the same problem.

      From what I’ve seen of the MBP, it’s probably more likely to be a space issue – I haven’t seen inside the new machines in detail, but they really seem to have used every available inch of space. This is probably a case of the new machine being right on the cutting edge of what they’re capable of – with any luck they’ll be able to save a bit of space with a future iteration and put the lock slot back on.

  57. Scott completely agree with your general comments. I recently got back from a month-long special assignment around the Tour de France and was wrong footed by the rMBP’s incompatibility (compromised previews) with LR and PS. The only solution for me was to use Aperture instead of LR during the four weeks. I’m unlikely to switch to Aperture long term but I was pleasantly surprised with its general usability and utility under the emergency circumstances. There was no way I could make critical selections for my sport (cycling) in LR, wondering how your are managing your way around that problem.

    I should add that when the compatibility fix comes for LR it’s inevitable that it will only apply to LR4. I’ve stayed on LR3.x because the changes to the develop module were going to cost me valuable productivity seconds (under similar deadline pressure) per image. It’s the one aspect of LR4 as a workflow tool I’m worried about. Come the off season for my sport, I’ll have to come to terms with those changes and create a broad range of presets to regain the on-deadline productivity I had in LR3.

    1. I am going to risk being labelled an apologist. I know you’re not attacking, just making a valid point.

      I don’t see what Apple can do to remove the necessity for 3rd parties to update their software to make use of such a huge leap in display resolution. The challenge retina graphics create is unavoidable and difficult of Apple to mitigate.

      We have all known (or at least suspected VERY strongly) for a long time that at some point a retina MacBook was coming. Adobe might even have had hard info that it was coming. They didn’t take steps to prepare their releases for it. I think they deserve some stick for that.

      There was the 64-bit Carbon API problem a couple of years back when they got bitten for not re-writing their software for Cocoa despite years of prompting to do so. Their response was to blame Apple which didn’t really wash and whine about having to do a complete re-write in a year when they should have been planning for it for a decade. For better or for worse Apple does not hold back when it knows it can make an advance. I wish Adobe moved as quickly as Apple does.

      In the end the retina MbP is very new and Adobe will no doubt fix their apps at some point. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes. I suspect far longer than it should. Incidentally, Pixelmator is already updated.

      1. James, I appreciate your thoughts… and it doesn’t sound like you’re acting as an apologist for Apple or Adobe. As you say higher res screens like the retina have been on the wish list for designers and photographers for a long time. I don’t think we necessarily understood or anticipated the problems beyond a brute-force recognition that ui elements etc would have to be recreated at higher resolutions.

        What caught me by surprise was the compromised preview quality. I just assumed that preview generation from information-rich source files would always be optimal. Turns out that wasn’t the case.

        Sometimes work and circumstances combine to give us no alternative other than to be early adopters. My biggest complaint these days is that tech companies provide inadequate communication with customers. There’s no competitive advantage lost in Adobe letting us know when they’ll patch LR and PS for retina support. I think a little more transparency is in order for professional users.

  58. Instead of thrashing Apple, although it is still perfectly capable of making a mistake now and again… Why not look before you buy? I knew the port got taken away and I don’t even own one. It was decently publicized.

    Meanwhile, there’s a good reason the port was taken away – too thin (and no DVD structure to anchor as mentioned above). Put it in a bag, lock the bag. Next.

    1. I don’t buy the DVD structure thing. I’m looking at the slot on my MacBook and it’s the solid metal of the case that provides the strength, not any internal component.

      Fair point that one should look before they buy, but it isn’t something you tend to think about until you come to need it. I have to say I follow Apple’s developments quite closely and I didn’t realise it was missing until I read this article. I’m surprised.

  59. My best solution when I forgot my lock was to lock up a ThinkTank suitcase to something (pipe, table, heater, etc.) and then lock the laptop in the suitcase.  It won’t keep it running while you’re out shooting the second half (unless you bring a second empty bag so it has space to remain open) but at least you can leave it in there (and it probably will be more secure than the previous lock).  

  60. Just about to buy one for my daughter who is off to USA to study at UCSB. Without a security lock this could be risky. After spending 1800 pounds, DIY screws and bolts…really. However just so happens i’m going to see the great Steve Wozniak himself on Thursday here in Edinburgh, he’s giving an inspirational lecture at the Edinburgh International Festival. I wonder if I would get the chance to ask him…

  61. I really thought that Apple being the design innovators they are would offer their audiences choices. 
    Just like Mercedes Benz offers its audience choices on many features one can have in a car. But Apple’s lack of communicating with us is rather annoying. Take Mobile Me for an example: I used its i-disk a lot and its MM gallery quite frequently to show my clients their folios, easily uploaded from i-photo and aperture. Now those wonderful features are no longer available, without any explanation and worse without any referral to another such application. Seriously – what are they thinking?

  62. Sorry – I have no sympathy for Apple phanbois that consistently pay too much to receive too little.   I guess that’s the price you pay as i.sheep to stay in the i.herd. /grats.

  63. Not to point out the obvious, but you should have known in advance that the Retina MBP didn’t have a security lock. They had loads of pictures and tech specs available when it was announced. Also, what’s wrong with just putting it in a backpack? Are the 30+ seconds of closing it and putting it in and then taking it out and opening it that big a deal? (Legitimate question, not trying to be snarky.)

  64. I feel your pain, and as for the issue with the USB Slots being to close together on the other model, its not just Apple products.  I have a whitebook Compal design (FT01) where I cant put two USB Drives from Kingston, side by side.  If you take a close look, at least half of Kingston Technologies USB Drives, have some sort of design where it overflows into the other USB Plugs path.

    Not all USB  Drives are like that, and certainly very few `mouse and keyboard`plugs, but why on our storage devices do they even think about this…?

    To not include the Kensington LOCK slot, would be a major error to me, is it something I need? no, is it something I would use every day if I was computing at the starbucks, tim hortons, or mc-cafe ?  Certainly!

    You can only hope, some Apple department chief, will be in starbucks one day, trying to lock down the exact same model, only to discover.. WTF..  ;)


  65. You could have saved a lot of time and space and just said it didn’t have a security slot.
    I got bored before the 1st paragraph and just scanned through to find where you mentioned the security slot.
    Perhaps if you were a professional, you would have checked for those things that you will NEED before you buy something just because you like it.

    What a shame…

  66. I just read a post here: that talks about new locking dock connectors for ipads etc. that had me thinking… What do they do in the apple store? Are the machines just sitting out? or locked to something? it’s been a while since I was in a store but I will look next time I’m close to one.

  67. You know, I feel even better now that I read your post about getting a non-Retina version of the latest MacBook Pro.
    The main reasoning behind this was getting a more repairable machine, being able to change the battery after my current one dies, matte display, ethernet port and a few other nuances. I’ll wait for the next version when more software becomes available for Retina displays and then maybe I’ll jump onboard the Retina ship as well (-

  68. Scott, don’t be so paranoid.  If it gets stolen, you are screwed.  But only temporarily.  You have insurance and backups right?  Turns out, you just screwed yourself in this situation when you would have been fine without the cable (99.999%).  I’ve shot at Staples Center many times and have never, nor seen anyone, use security cables for their laptops.

    And I’m really just jealous I don’t have a retina pro yet so I have to give you hard time ;)

  69. I often take my Macbook Pro with me when traveling, along with a kensignton lock to secure it in my Hotel room.

    I also do event work every now and then and can’t always leave it in a secure room.

    Not having a slot makes securing it a whole lot harder.

    Looking at some of the options I’m not convinced they are strong enough to require tools to remove.
    Really makes me question the decision to have HDMI now as the slot could have gone there.

    As for cutting the cable, it’s thick enough that a small pair of cable cutters would have trouble with it, and provides a good deterrent to casual theft.

  70. Wow, Scott uses tools other than those made by Adobe! Photo mechanic is the best kept secret out there. I am so tired of how slow it is to cull bad photos when using Lightroom! Photo mechanic lets me go through thousands of images faster than anything on the market. Thank you for the glimpse behind the curtain.

  71. This is what you get for buying a Mac, n00b.

    I also don’t understand why  you couldn’t just… oh, I dunno… TAKE THE DAMN LAPTOP WITH YOU, seeing as how it’s the lightest, thinnest, teeniest, tiniest laptop in the history of humanity, and apparently that alone is worth the $3,000 price tag. Also, an iPhone? Use Droid, n00b.

    It’s hilarious that the article mentions Starbucks, as that’s where I’m typing this right now.

  72. YOU need. You are not the end all and be all of users so your needs do not and should not dictate Apple designs.

    And for someone supposedly so smart why did you not verify such an important detail before you walked out. Clearly it is more important than the thin body or the pretty screen.

    But you didn’t and now instead of admitting you bought it cause the screen is really pretty and didn’t bother to check, you push your ego to the front to claim that the lack of one thing you need is some great flaw.

    Ps. If someone really wanted your pretty new laptop they would find a way around that lock.

  73. If the stadium isn’t willing to do it, couldn’t all the togs chip in to buy a couple of metal lockers, like at a gym so that you can stick your stuff in there and throw a Masterlock on it? Sure you loose a minute or so of unlocking the locker, but it is even better security that the Kensington because it gets everything out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind in the eyes of a thief.

  74. So basically, you bought a new computer without checking if it would satisfy your needs. That honestly is just stupidity on your part. No matter how great a product is, if it doesn’t suit your needs, you shouldn’t buy it.

  75. Hearing that Apple has lamely eliminated the lock slot is truly a stunning and massive security screw up by a company that usually gets it right. How come all are concerned about internet security, viruses, bla bla bla and leave out the ONLY means to reasonably secure your Mac in the field………. CRAZY!
    EVERYONE ELSE has a tiny locking slot…. universal deal!!
    I work constantly in the field and use a locking cable everywhere. If someone wants to steal the damn thing they’ll have to use lock cutters or a saw or break a chair to do it and this will be most thieves honest. Now that Apple has decided to eliminate this I can’t even safely leave my laptop to run to the restroom………….. Somehow Apple executives should be made to shed their offices and get out in the work by themselves in an airport, restaurant, Starbucks, Panera, train station or other public wifi locale and be forced to work for 3-8 hours and have to pack up their stuff every time they need to walk to the head. and yes I know you can’t leave a bag at the airport but many times I notified my ‘neighbor’ that I’ll be gone for a couple of minutes and it’s fine.
    Does anybody at Apple work in the REAL WORLD?
    I will now put off my next high end $$$ laptop purchase to see if they fix this……. if they can’t, I will go back to windows again.
    Moronic to think that thieves might say “hmmmmm, I see too laptops sitting here, the 3 year old laptop is nearly worthless but locked. The valuable Macbook is unlocked…… easy choice”

  76. Hah! I have THE ANSWER! Get yourself a little JB Weld (epoxy) and glue a small plate to the bottom of the MBP with a small security cable slot! Wah Lah, Shazzamm! Done!
    It will impress all of the editors at mechanics illustrated but may not have that “Apple” fashion statement look…… Really, this whole missing slot is stupid. Every laptop I have every used including Dell, IBM, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Apple etc ALL have them….. they are TINY and can easily be missed because no one even bothers to look for something so universal….. NO ONE WOULD EVER EXPECT THEM TO BE DELETED.

Leave a Reply
Previous Post

I Guess It Went Better Than I Had Expected….

Next Post

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Trever Hoehne!