Dec 30

Mac Rumors

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I’ve been using Apple Macs since I started on a IIfx more years ago then I care to recount.

My current Macs (a 17″ laptop and a Mac Mini) are from 2010. They’re starting to show their age and I’d like to upgrade them.

Alas, with the recent exception of the newly released MacBook Pro, Apple has been neglecting their Macs. MacRumors Buyer’s Guide shows the majority of Macs in the “Do Not Buy” category.

MacRumors Buyer's Guide - Macs

Maybe that wouldn’t be too bad if refreshes were happening regularly, except for the fact that most of these Macs are years old and still selling for their original price.

As of this writing, the iMac has gone 444 days without an update. The Macbook Air, 662 days. The Mac Mini, 806 days and the Mac Pro 1108 days.

Many are worried that Apple is abandoning the Mac – with desktops being woefully neglected. Some say that Apple should stop building Macs (even though they make 22 billion dollars selling them). But I argue that’s a big mistake.

I use a PeeCee at work. They get the job done but even to this day they are rough around the user experience interface. Apple provides a walled garden. That’s sometimes bad, but more often it has been a positive experience for me: making my system’s more secure and more plug and play. I can spend less time futzing with the machine and more time producing my own work.

And for me, the foundation of that garden wall, the beginning of my participation in the Apple ecosystem is the Mac. – Specifically, the desktop (Mac Mini.) It is the server of all my media. It is wear I sit when I’m editing photos or writing posts. (My laptop sits in on a coffee table in front of the couch, where I do more casual work.)

Laptops are great and have their place; iPads are good (although no substitute for the way I work) and I’m constantly on my iPhone but none of them are a substitute for a good desktop.

I still very much want a desktop because I want a large screen. (All the pixels in the world shoved into a small screen would still be a very limited experience [which is also why they should bring back the MacBook Pro 17″]).

I could of course, get a second monitor for my laptop. But I still have a slew of peripherals (about 6 active external drives, 2 USB hubs, an external blu-ray burner) that make plugging and unplugging a laptop a very bad experience. That’s why I prefer the ‘headless’ Mac Mini: a machine I should be able to upgrade at a relatively low price point and without the waste of getting a whole additional monitor that is part and parcel in the iMac.

Tim Cook has said that Apple is, ‘very committed’ to the Mac. They have a funny way of showing it. Apple is the world’s largest company. Perhaps, instead of focusing on building a huge spaceship office, they should have a few more of their 66,000 US employees concentrate on the horse that got them there.

I imagine the day will come when desktops are wholly replaced by a different computer user experience, but we’re still a long ways away from that. And in the meantime, if Apple abandons or neglects it too long, this long term advocate will have no choice but to look elsewhere for a solution to my needs. And once I’ve left the walled garden, then my ties to Apple will start to unravel.

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