Brief Thoughts on the New MacBook Pro from a Casual Mac User

As a tech enthusiast, but not a professional in the industry, I tend to have a very different perspective than the various podcasters, YouTubers, journalists that have made the tech community such a vibrant community.  The latest update to the MacBook Pro has received intense scrutiny from truly Pro users that is a combination of entirely valid and slightly over-dramatic that has become a custom with any kind of change Apple has made (see: removal of the headphone jack in the iPhone). 

My experience is different from people that professionally work on these machines, but I find myself questioning whether the Mac is for me for different reasons.  Note, I did not say anything like “Why I think Apple is wrong” because this is a very personal perspective.  

My MacBook Pro is from 2012, upgraded from the original spinning hard drive to SSD, and without a Retina display.  I was due for a change, and like many I was excited about the October event in which the laptop of my choice received a much needed refresh.  Here’s how I currently use my laptop: I use Chrome, Microsoft Office, use it to record the occasional podcast, iMessage, Slack, Notes and that’s about it.  It’s my work computer and my personal computer.  At work, I have it docked into a monitor, it’s propped up on a stand and I plug in my Apple Wired keyboard (need my number pad!) and use it with a Logitech mouse.  Occasionally at work, I am unplugging it and walking around with it to different desks and meetings around the area.  I’m charging my phone usually once around midday with it and I’m putting an SD card or a USB stick in it once every few weeks. At home, it’s primarily a writing tool and once a week I plug in a USB microphone and record a podcast about basketball. I use programs such as uBar and BetterSnapTool because I came from Windows and I miss those features of Windows, and I love that the Mac is customizable in that way.  Over the course of these 4 years with a Mac, I have a simple feeling towards my entire workflow and everything this machine accomplishes: “It just works”.  It always has, and I love it.

Now, 2016. The MacBook refresh.  Here’s what I would have to do to make my computer “just work”. I would need a USB C hub at my desk to plug everything in that I currently do – plugging in my monitor, which I already use an adapter for; my mouse, my Apple keyboard.  I would need a USB C adapter to plug in my iPhone on the go, I would need an SD card reader in my bag, I would need a USB C converter to use my mouse at home for the Logitech dongle or plugging in my USB microphone.  These are just things that I’ve thought of off the top of my head.

The truth is, I love my Mac but I’m not a Mac loyalist, this was my first MacBook and I enjoy it greatly – but I’m perfectly OK with using Windows as well.  I will miss the syncing of my Notes and Contacts, I will miss using iMessage, but I will be OK. Everything I need to make the new MacBook work for me requires both extra money and more importantly, extra brain cells. “Did I pack the adapter? Do I need to keep a hub at home and at my office? Should I buy two of these, one for my bag and one for my office? Do I need a new laptop bag? What would I need for my travel? Should I just buy a new mouse?”  

The Dell XPS 13/15 series carries the Apple aesthetic and would require little to no change in my current workflow to adopt, and at a cheaper price.I never imagined that I’d be moving on from Mac, especially as my love for iOS grows – the iPad Pro with Pencil has been one of the more enjoyable tech purchases I’ve ever made, and the iPhone is the most important device to me and it’s not even close.

The Mac may not be for me any more, and I think I’ll be OK, and I’m sure Apple will as well.

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