After Apple streamlined the ports on its hardware, having adapters remains a necessary evil. So far, at least, the company has made a remarkable improvement in the quality of life of one of the AV dongles.
Apple recently released an updated version of the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. This dongle has USB-C, USB-A and HDMI ports, and the HDMI options got a little better. The unit now includes support for 4K video at 60 Hz as well as HDR video in either HDR1
This update is available when the video comes from a 15-inch MacBook Pro of 2017 or later, a Retina iMac of 2017 or later, an iMac Pro, or an iPad Pro, and is connected to a playback device that also supports 4K and HDR. The Mac must have at least macOS Mojave 10.14.6, and the iPad must be at least iOS 12.4.
If you buy directly from Apple, you buy the adapter for $ 69. Apple has discontinued the previous version, but you want to make sure you have the right model if you buy it from a third-party vendor.
Apple has shed weight on the value of 4K and HDR video, and has put those options ahead of several products. It updated its own set-top box to have 4K support in 2017, and the company has been pushing to make more advanced video available on iTunes.
This dongle update provides another way for Apple to cover its bases with audiences who own 4K HDR TVs and monitors, but this solution is not an immediate one. Today's Mac displays do not support HDR. The new Apple TV Mac app, due to roll out with macOS 10.15 Catalina this fall, will add support for 4K HDR content on Macs. So while the adapter is a first step, having the video content available is second.
Connecting a Mac or iPad directly to your TV can be a less common issue, but the new adapter and upcoming software change will fix what has long been a limitation for these users.