Apple has just announced a new iMac powered by Apple-owned M1 silicon. Among the many updates and improvements is a new Power Brick representing something special for Apple’s lineup: an Ethernet port. On the outside, this seems like a silly arrangement of a critical Input/Output port, but there’s a good chance that this feature could use in future Apple laptops that make more sense.
The M1 iMac features a new design that is much thinner than the previous generation, and Apple doesn’t seem to want to make room for an Ethernet port. It seems that the only Input/Output ports are a 3.5mm jack and some USB-C ports. The power adapter has a new magnetic connector and does not use a USB-C port on the computer. The Ethernet port relegates to the energy supply.
There are many benefits to this placement. It decreases clutter on the back of the machine and streamlines connectivity — even more critical items in a portable machine.
Apple famously shares parts and accessories across its product line, offering it likely this power brick will come to other products. Apple began removing the magnetic MagSafe energy connector when its laptops adopted USB-C in 2016, and it would be great to see a similar product back in the product line. Apple removed the Ethernet port on the MacBook Pro in 2012.
Many companies offer add-ons for Apple Power adapters. Like the Twelve South plugBug Duo, it adds a USB port to the adapter, but no one offers Ethernet yet.