A new home a new Mac

A few years before our move to Utah I had purchased an iMac.  For those of you that don’t know an iMac is Apple’s all in one desktop computer.  It is a great computer.  Very powerful with a fantastic huge screen.  But after having it for a while I realized one problem, it isn’t too portable.

You see for the past 20 years, or so, I have always had a laptop as my primary computer.  So I was used to using my computer wherever I was.  But with a desktop it is the other way around, you have to be where the computer is.

I don’t really recall why I purchased the iMac.  Maybe I wanted more power than you can get in a laptop, for sure my iMac is very powerful.  Maybe I wanted a bigger screen, the iMac screen is amazing and huge.  Maybe I just wanted something different.  Whatever the reason was, I replaced my laptop with a desktop.

At first it was great.  I loved the big screen and I never had to worry about not having enough power.  Though I rarely worried about that with any of my other Macs, it was nice to know I had power to spare.  Since I had remodeled my den in Seattle I had a great place to use it.  The den was close to everything. Of course our house was so small everything was close to everything.  My den was reasonably quiet, at least as quiet as you can expected for a family of 12.  Over all the den and the new iMac worked quite well.

But when we moved to Utah things changed.  I still have a great den.  In fact my new den is quite a bit bigger than my den in Seattle.  However unlike in Seattle this den is not so centrally located.  It is down in the basement in a corner of the house.  Because of this it is nice and quiet, but I always feel isolated from the rest of the family.

While there are times that I like being isolated so that I can focus; sometimes I like to be with the family.  In Seattle that was a few steps away, here it means going down the hallway, up the stairs and then finding out what room everyone is in.

Beyond all that the desktop iMac just wasn’t working out the way I had hoped.  Mainly in that a lot of what I do is somewhat creative and I like to be able to work on things when inspiration strikes and where it strikes.  That requires being portable, a laptop.

I had figured all of this out a few months after moving to Utah.  I had considered purchasing a new MacBook then but the one I wanted, a Mac Air, hadn’t been updated in years.  While it was still a good computer, after all it was a Mac, it was showing its age.  So I decided to wait and see what the future held.

Waiting turned out to be a good thing.  In October Apple had their second fall event.  As I was watching the event I was so excited to hear after years of neglect Apple had finally decided to update this popular laptop.  The new MacBook Air had everything I wanted and none of the things I didn’t with one minor exception.

It had a new Retina display.  It had an updated processor.  Although not nearly as powerful as the CPUs in the MacBook Pros, it is plenty powerful enough for what I wanted to do.  It has the new bigger touch pad.  They added touch-ID.  It is even lighter than the old Mac Air.  It doesn’t have the touch-bar which I don’t really care for.  The one thing missing off of my wish list was the price.  Unlike the old Mac Air that was around a thousand dollars the new one started at $1,200 and the one I wanted was even more.

After careful consideration I decided to go ahead and get one despite the price being higher than I had hoped it would be.  I have had it for a few weeks now.  So far it is living up to all of my hopes and then some.

It is very light.  Even compared to a MacBook Pro it is small and lite.  Compared to a Windows laptop it is unbelievably small and lite.

It is so easy to just take it wherever I am.  Since it is a Mac there is no need for a power brick, mouse, mouse pad, external fan, etc.  I can just grab it and go anywhere.  I am really loving being totally portable again.

I haven’t actually tracked my use but the battery seems to last quite a while.   I usually use it for a few hours each day after getting home from work.  At that level it goes for several days before I have to charge it.  Even at that it usually still has well over 25% left.

One concern I had was the keyboard.  Having grown up, computer wise, with good old true blue keyboards (don’t know what that is, Oh, I guess you will have to wait for a future post on that) I really like a positive click when I hit a key.  But having had laptops for so long I have resigned myself to adapting to minimal “click” in my keyboards.  But the new “butterfly keyboard” was made to focus on having practically no “click” at all.  But after weeks of typing with it I am finding it works for me just fine.

I really wanted touch-ID because I am lazy like most people and hate to have to constantly enter my password.  On the other hand I am not much of a fan of the Touch-Bar.  I have one on my work Mac and I find I constantly have to look for where the key I want to use has moved to.  I am sure for some it is a great feature but for me it is just an annoyance.  Fortunately for me Apple decided to include Touch-ID but not the Touch-Bar, PERFECT!

Power wise it is seems good.  That is to say I have yet to find it slowing down because I am asking too much of it.  However I haven’t done anything much that would demand a lot of power yet.  I am not trying to edit huge graphics or video files.  I haven’t even done much coding on it yet.  So to be fair I will have to say that I haven’t really explored its power abilities yet.  But so far so good.

As to the screen what can I say other than it is an Apple Retina display, i.e. it is great.  Everything is easy to see and the color is great.  Of course being a Mac Air the screen is small.  Compared to my iMac it is down right puny but since the color is so good and since Mac has spaces I can do pretty much anything I would do on my iMac.

The case, like all Mac laptops, is gorgeous.  Extremely well finished and very sturdy.  One odd thing is the color.  I ordered the “gold”.  Well it isn’t quite the golden gold I was expecting.  Some have said it is a rose gold, but compared to my wife’s Rose Gold iPhone it isn’t as pink.  I kind of think of it as orange gold.  But whatever adjective you chose to put in front of the gold, I like it.

While the trackpad isn’t as big as the one on the MacBook Pro it is quite large given the size of the Mac Air.  As one would expect it works perfectly.  The larger size makes it easer to drag things around and it does everything with smooth precision.

An unexpected plus is the easy of “docking”.  As you may know Apple has always chosen to NOT have docking stations for their laptops.  I have never understood this and I think it is crazy but there isn’t much you can do.  For me the pluses of having a Mac far far out weigh not having a docking station.  But this Mac comes about as close to a docking station as any I have ever had.  Since it uses USB-C I had to get an adaptor to go from old USB, whatever it was called to the new USB-C.  Since USB-C is so much more powerful my adaptor does everything.  It connects to my desktop monitor, keyboard, power etc.  All I have to do is connect one USB-C cable from my adaptor to my Mac Air and I am done.

In closing let me say I have never considered myself a “Mac Head”.  In fact I have always said when something better comes along I will gladly jump ship.  But it the past 10 plus years that I have been using Macs that hasn’t happened.

Believe me I have looked.  Because as everyone says Macs, all Apple products, are very expensive.  So just like every other time I have purchased a Mac I first consider is there anything else I could get that would save me a lot of money.  I considered everything from high-end Chrome books to PC Ultralights.  But everything I looked at, by the time I got the features and specs I wanted, was nearly as much as the MacBook Air without any of the advantages.  So as of now there is still nothing I would consider better.

For sure others come out with look a likes that have better technical specs.  I am sure in the next few months we will see Toshiba, or Lenovo, or HP, or some other PC manufacture brag about how their new laptop is even better than the new Mac Air.  And I am sure they will be right, from a given perspective.  If you ignore quality of build.  If you ignore the OS.  If you ignore the ease of service.  If you ignore enough of the great things that every Apple product comes with theres is a better deal.  So it all boils down to what is important to you.  As much as I hate the higher price when I consider the total cost of ownership and what I get out of it, for now, I am sticking with Apple.


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