Macs and Integrated Card Readers

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial

Belkin Express Card ReaderOne of the early “Get a Mac” ads featured the Mac being able to communicate with a new digital camera while the PC just looked on, bewildered. Apple computers are supposed to “just work.” Yep, they “just work” with some peripherals if you happen to have a USB cable handy. Why is this the case?

Apple has always been an innovator. They dropped the floppy disk drive much earlier than other PC makers, included wi-fi in their laptops before many others and of course, Apple’s industrial design has influenced many other computer makers.

But for some reason, Apple has not integrated a media card reader into their laptops, nor their desktop lines. I own a MacBook Pro, and a couple of more slots on the side of the laptop would not look odd or ugly. iMacs could also benefit from a few slots for SD or CompactFlash cards artfully placed below the CD/DVD drive. It’s absolutely inexcusable that the Mac Pros do not have such slots. These are pricey computers; they should have features that are available on low-end PCs. However, I am not sure where on the Mac mini Apple could place easily accessible multimedia card slots.

You would think that since Apple is geared towards the creative, with software like iPhoto and iMovie, that there would be an easy, USB cable-free way to get the data on to your Mac so you can create. Who wants to search for cables when creativity strikes?

If you have a MacBook Pro and are dying to have a card reader, there’s a solution from Belkin that keeps your MacBook Pro’s form factor intact. You can view the product over at Belkin’s site. As of this writing, Belkin is out of stock of their multimedia card reader.

There are 13 comments on Macs and Integrated Card Readers:

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  1. alej744 | Feb 22 2007 - 06:23

    Sometimes Apple just tries to be too simplistic and then the products just end up being feature-deprived.

  2. Macinjosh | Feb 22 2007 - 07:09

    The reason why Apple doesnt put built-in card readers on their stuff is because they look cheap & it would gum up the simplistic look that Macs have. Because “cheap PCs” have them is not a very good argument. They dont put things on machines just because there is room for them to do so. They put only the stuff you really need & none of the stuff you kinda might someday need. They just dont do that & I dont ever expect them to.

    Besides, how hard would it be to take your SD card & put it in a usb reader instead of directly in your Mac? It takes what, one extra step??

  3. Craig Gomez | Feb 22 2007 - 09:14

    SD/XD/Memory Stick card slots are very handy and wouldn’t look any more intrusive on a Mac’s design than USB and firewire ports do already. My PC has a small single slot that fits a wide variety of these types of cards and it is extremely convenient to be able to pop the card out of my camera, plug it write into the computer without having to carry around any cords or USB card reader.

  4. Scott | Feb 22 2007 - 09:14

    Has anyone tried one of these (or Griffin’s)? Do they stick out at all? Any sleeping issues?

  5. Wayne | Feb 22 2007 - 09:53

    I hate those PCs that have 5-7 different slots for card readers, I do fine with a PCMCIA card adapter. I hate having things that I don’t need, and if I only need one kind of slot, I’d rather be able to take it out than have 5-7 holes in the side of my Mac. Cheap PCs are just that, I don’t want my Mac to be associated with them.

  6. yogi | Feb 22 2007 - 11:11

    The problem is, as Wayne stated, that there are so many different cards. Whether your camera has CF, SD, Sony MemoryStick or something else, USB will cover for all those types of media. Unfortunately, I can’t ever get my camera chip to mount to the desktop, so the 1GB space it has go “waste” in the sense that I can only use it for photos.

  7. Simon Mirfin | Feb 23 2007 - 05:43

    I am of the mind that Apple should not put a hole/holes in my machine for reading cards but hey Belkin have sold out so that kinda tells us a story.

  8. Simon Mirfin | Feb 23 2007 - 06:06

    Check this out

    and if you click on the support link you will find a answer to the flushness Question.

  9. John Patterson | Feb 24 2007 - 10:47

    I have to agree with the comments above. I’m not at all miffed apple doesn’t include these on the laptops. After all, I own an extremely cheap, small, lightweight, 42 in 1 card reader that cost $15 that fits nicely in to my case. If you look at my macbook case it seems relatively “full.” Not much space for a card reader. I also think they even if it did I wouldn’t like the looks of it. They are flimsy, weak looking spots on a computer’s case. Buck up and buy a card reader, you will never know it’s in your case, backpack, pocket, or on your desk for that matter. Just put it away if you don’t need it.

  10. Dave Cryer | Feb 25 2007 - 03:15

    In case anyone needs to know what this supports, here goes;

    Type of Media Supported:
    ·MultiMediaCard (MMC)
    ·Secure Digital Card (SD)
    ·Memory Stick Card (MS)
    ·Memory Stick Pro Card (MS PRO)
    ·Mini Secure Digital (mini SD)
    ·xD-Picture Card (xD)
    ·Memory Stick Duo (MS Duo)*
    ·Memory Stick Pro Duo (MS Pro Duo)*
    ·TransFlash Card*
    * Requires an adapter (not included)

    System Requirements
    ·Windows-based notebook computer with available ExpressCard slot
    ·Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server
    ·Mac OS X 10 and above

    Package Includes
    ·BELKIN F5U213 Multimedia Reader and Writer ExpressCard
    ·User Manual

  11. DonQ | Feb 26 2007 - 05:37

    No CF? Bummer…

  12. Jason Tucker | Feb 27 2007 - 05:39

    I ended up getting an iDuo which is an ipod dock with a card reader in it. The only thing that sucks about this device is that it requires 2 usb connections, one for the universal ipod connector and one for the card reader.

  13. Drew | Mar 13 2007 - 11:26

    One thing that I was asked for once, was if Apples had a slot to insert a Vodafone slot Card so one can surf anywhere on the GO… as the MacBook does not even have a slot, I’m not sure how the folks go about this.. just my 10 cents worth !