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OWC adds thickness and expandability to MacBook Pro with DEC expansion base

Apple concentrated on making their 2016 MacBook Pro line as thin as possible. That resulted in a number of compromises that had Mac fans up in arms, including lower battery life, fewer ports, and a compromised keyboard.

While nobody has directly addressed the battery or keyboard concerns, a host of dongles and expansion ports have followed from both Apple and accessory makers to help alleviate the connectivity and expansion issues. Now, peripheral maker OWC  announced at CES 2017 the DEC expansion base that directly takes on those two issues, the MacSales blog reports.

The OWC DEC is a base that snaps onto the MacBook Pro and adds a host of new connectivity and expansion options. The accessory adds in three USB 3 ports, a Gigabit ethernet port, the much-missed SD card slot, and up to 4TB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. The OWC DEC’s CNC-milled aircraft-grade aluminum is engineered to one-thousandths of an inch tolerance, ensuring a seamless fit with the MacBook Pro.

The expansion base significantly increases the thickness of the package, making a MacBook Pro fitted with the OWC DEC about as thick as a 2012 MacBook Pro model, MacSales notes. That is likely a reasonable compromise to gain back some of the connectivity and expansion that was lost to Apple’s continued obsession with thinness.

Founder and CEO Larry O’Conner described the company’s objectives with the OWC DEC, saying, “We’ve been developing this concept for over three years and feel now is the perfect time for this ground-breaking product. Storage space is always at a premium on a laptop and without the potential to upgrade the factory drive, the OWC DEC brings that option back in addition to cleanly supporting the gear we all rely on.”

OWC is anticipated to ship the expansion base in spring 2017. Pricing and complete feature set have yet to be announced.