For most of my adult life I used Windows PCs. And every year or so, I’d find myself wiping the hard drive and doing a “fresh install.” I’ve owned a ton of laptops, and they would usually last 2, maybe 3 years at the most. The last one was a behemoth Toshiba, and the power adapter broke.
In 2011 I made what was a monumental shift “to the dark side,” getting a MacBook Pro at work. Mac OS X offered a degree of creativity and flexibility to my work that I never had in the Windows world. I soon found myself embracing it, and realized I needed my own personal machine, one which wasn’t just a university machine, and which I could put everything on. So I bought a MacBook Air, in December 2011. That machine has travelled to Israel, and really everywhere. It quickly became my go-to computer. It weighed less than 3 pounds. Its only limitations were 4GB of ram and a 256GB SSD flash hard drive. But it was fast. Even though the MBP had a much faster processor and double the ram, it crawled in comparison to the read-write speeds of the Air’s SSD.
And until yesterday, I was still using it. I have NEVER owned a computer, laptop or desktop, that has lasted as long, and performed as well as that Air. But in the past year, it was beginning to show signs of age. As the software I was using would begin to push the limits of the Air’s ram, and two of the keys had actually had the finish worn off from use. The battery would only hold about half of the charge. And as an amateur photographer, I could not stand being limited by a 256Gb hard drive. But I was waiting for the newest release of the MacBook Pro. I wanted a machine with more ram, and with more storage.
The MacBook Pro line had not been updated since mid-2015, but that was a nice machine. 3.5 pounds, a Retina display, HDMI, USB 3, and thunderbolt ports. But Apple kept hinting the MacBook would be re-born. Last year they released an underpowered, small 12” MacBook which featured no ports, except one USB-C port. USB-C is brand-new and requires adapters for ANY existing USB device to work with it. The rumors were the new MacBook Pro would follow in the MacBook’s lead. Photos leaked on tech sites (this is not the Apple of Steve Jobs where people would be banished for releasing the newest innovations). There would be some sort of an OLED glass “touch bar” to replace the function keys.
But I held out hope that the new MacBook Pro would not eliminate all of its feature-set. Two weeks ago, that hope was dashed, when the Apple keynote announced the new machine. No USB ports, farewell to Thunderbolt ports, no SD-Card reader, no magnetic “Mag Safe” power connector. All gone. Yes, a touch bar, which even included Touch ID. And it was now the weight of the MacBook Air, and had a longer battery and brighter screen. Oh, and its starting price… $200 MORE than last year’s model.
I was torn. I wanted a new mac. I wanted a computer with the latest version of the Intel Core i5/i7 processor. But did I want this computer? I spent two days, debating what to do? How would I function with this new device? How would I get my external thunderbolt hard drives to work with it? How could I afford the steep price-tag? I then went on the Accessory page of Apple’s website, and realized that there were adapters for my USB keyboard, for my external monitor, there were adapters for everything. And then, after doing the math, and adding up everything I would need to function (multiple USB-C to USB adapters, USB-C to thunderbolt adapter, new HDMI and VGA adapters for connecting to projectors, and on and on… and I realized that purchasing a new MacBook Pro would cost an additional $200 JUST FOR ADAPTERS, which I would have to lug around with me. It was unclear to me if the new machines even deserved the title “Pro” — they sure didn’t appear to be machines aimed for professionals.
That alone made me realize that the newest creation out of Cupertino was not necessarily the greatest. And I could purchase LAST YEAR’S MacBook Pro, now called the MacBook Pro 13” – “Silver” for less money than it cost a mere two days ago. And that machine would still have every port I needed. This MacBook Pro would be in use for probably another 4 or 5 years. And for that time period, I would have access to everything I wanted. I also knew that five years from now the tech world would likely look very differently. Apple’s experiment with USB-C would either succeed and it would become the industry standard, or it wouldn’t. It might very well be the next Thunderbolt (which was never adapted by others). But for the next few years, I could have a lightning fast MacBook Pro that offered everything I wanted, and not have to make any compromises, while not being the quintessential early adopter.
Yesterday, my new “old” MacBook Pro arrived. The machine is fast. It is quiet (makes virtually no noise, and its fan, when it runs, is far more quiet than the Air). The keyboard has that wonderful, new spongy feel. The Retina display is all it is cut out to be. Hello again.
I’m certain I won’t miss the emoji keyboard.