I’ve often thought a lot about the fact that limitations on our computer hardware, such as ports not appearing where they should, are often a side effect of people not being compelled enough to create something better, to be unwilling to jump through the proprietary hoops to get to that end stage.
A prime example of this, in my mind, is the I/O board that the 2013 Mac Pro
uses. Technically, if you look at the design of the machine (here’s an example on eBay
), all of the I/O, including Ethernet, USB, HDMI, and its six Thunderbolt 2 ports, are all located on a single PCB. It could probably be replaced with more modern I/O options, extending the life of a device that has half a dozen dead-end ports on it.
If a company like, say, the Mac upgrade firm Sonnet Technologies
, was so compelled, they likely could build a new version of the printed circuit board with a better selection of ports. There would probably be a market for this if something like that existed, because the upgrade paths for the 2013 Mac Pro are limited, and most people don’t need six Thunderbolt 2 ports (but they could probably use a few more USB-Cs, an SD card reader, or even a Thunderbolt 3 port or two instead).
But the challenge and complication levels are likely high—you would have to work through a lot of proprietary morass to pull it off. And actually installing the upgrade would be somewhat difficult, requiring a near-full teardown of the machine. At that point, you might as well buy an M1 Mac Mini, which already has everything you want at a cheaper price.