10 Years on a Mac
It’s hard for me to believe but it was 10 years ago today that I was up alarmingly early to travel across the Pennines to collect my first Mac.
It was only 4 days after attending an Adobe event locally in Manchester where Adobe demonstrated a new unreleased application called Lightroom. After seeing that demonstration I had to try out Lightroom and that was when Adobe announced the free public beta programme was Mac only. Unfazed, I decided in that instant to go and buy a Mac! So it was on the way home I bought a Mac magazine, and after spending the evening perusing the options, I rang Gordon Harwood Computers in Derbyshire and placed an order for a 20" iMac.
I wasn’t always a PC user. I started as many did with a Sinclair Spectrum, moved on to a Commodore 64 and then my beloved Amiga 500. It wasn’t until I found myself working with a PC in the workplace that it finally made sense to acquire one. I acquired my first PC in 1994 and the one I was using 10 years ago I had built myself.
So back to that fateful day 10 years ago. We arrived before they even opened but Meyer made sure they knew we were waiting! After they fitted extra RAM we headed back home with an iMac that would change our lives in more ways than we could ever have anticipated.
Setup in seconds and soon purring away the first things I tried were the awesome included apps, PhotoBooth, iMovie and iDVD. In 20 minutes I had a DVD of us fooling around setting up the Mac. I distinctly remember considering what a nightmare it would have been to achieve the same on my Windows PC, now sat looking forlornly at the interloping iMac.
Back then of course no iPhone, no iPad, no Apple TV and no Apple Watch but I did take the opportunity to acquire my first iPod, a white 40GB iPod Classic.
Since then it seems to have been 10 years of Apple tech acquisition! That first iMac was joined by a 17" MacBook Pro in September 2006. The iMac was also replaced only 8 months later with a shiny new 24" iMac released in December 2006. The original iMac wasn’t put out to pasture though as it became Mike’s first Mac.
2007 was a huge year for Apple. It started in January 2007 with the iPhone keynote at Macworld. Oh boy did I want one of those! It was also the year I experienced my first new OS X release with Leopard. By the time of the iPhone and Leopard release in the UK in autumn 2007 I’d become a Mac podcaster with the launch of MacBites and we covered the launches live chatting with many of the people queueing. That was when the extent of the fabulously supportive Apple community became a reality for me.
By 2008 I had my first iPhone. I sought opinions as to whether I should get a black or white iPhone 3G before settling on a white one and then spending over 6 hours at the head of the queue attempting to buy it! Seriously, if you want to reminisce about how difficult it was to buy a phone back then check out my Finally!! post from the day. I’ve just re-read it and there are tears running down my face I’m laughing that much!
2009 started with the arrival of another iMac. This was to replace my ageing 2006 model. Sadly that iMac was subject to the AppleCare repair from hell that was too horrendous to recount here but feel free to check out the full horror in my AppleCare … Do They? post and the follow up More AppleCare Woes.
After endless speculation 2010 was the year the famed “Apple Tablet” arrived. Introduced by Steve Jobs at the Macworld Keynote in January, it was an agonising 4 months before it actually arrived at my door. Bought sight unseen its arrival was more than a little disruptive! A Friday launch meant I had cleared my diary for a long weekend making Thursday a busy day. That was when I realised delivery had been bumped up and it would be arriving on the Thursday instead. A swift realignment of priorities was in order! I started preparing my breakfast just after 9am expecting the delivery to be later in the day.
I’d aimed to get most of my work out of the way clearing the decks for play time later in the day. Best laid plans as they say … because at 9:25am UPS arrived with my iPad.
I dropped everything and the rest of the day was spent testing it out in every way imaginable. And that breakfast I was preparing? Oh yes, I found that later, still fermenting in the kitchen LOL
As if my iPad 1 launch day wasn’t eventful enough Mike’s was even more so. He returned home to find his iPad waiting for him but on opening and checking it he found a dead pixel. That meant a trip to Manchester on the Saturday to attempt to replace it. Rules meant the only thing Apple could do was sell him another and get the online store to refund the original.
Simple enough you’d think but that didn’t take account of the fact that the replacement also had a dead pixel and so ensued an entire day at the Manchester Arndale Apple Store buying and returning iPads until a perfect one was secured. We don’t do things by half here at MacBites HQ. Check out Mike’s Magically Multiplying iPads post for the entire nightmare.
2011 proved to be expensive … no I mean more expensive than usual! New iMac for me and the launch of iPad 2. If iPad 1 was a big deal iPad 2 was even bigger. No guarantee of launch day delivery meant we headed off to the Apple Store in Liverpool. Unusually the launch time was late in the afternoon meaning a long queue and an even longer wait. 7 hours to be precise! Yes longer than the wait for my first iPhone. Add to the fact that it was March and freezing and you’ve got a recipe for a stressful day. However, the whole experience was a joy, at least it was in hindsight! A good humoured crowd and much amusement from passers by meant it was probably the launch day I most fondly remember. Read all the details at iPad 2 Launch — What a Day!
2012 started interestingly with the introduction of iBooks Author. I love that app and I spent the first half of 2012 training it almost constantly.
The tech gear collection expanded again with the arrival of an iPad 3 named iPad Cyril! It’s a long story involving a MacBites Live and a vote to name my new iPad.
I also bought the first new laptop I’d had in 6 years with the arrival of a MacBook Air. Strangely for me I went for the smaller of the two models and I’m still using that 11" MacBook Air as my primary mobile Mac. Hopefully it’ll last as long as it’s predecessor, the venerable 17" MacBook Pro. Incidentally that MacBook Pro is also still fully functional, albeit a little slow and unable to go beyond Lion as its OS.
What? No new iPhone for me? No new iPad for me? I’m afraid not! Neither the iPhone or iPad appealed sufficiently for me to upgrade either. So I stayed with my trusty iPad Cyril (an iPad 3) and my iPhone 4S.
A quiet year on the iMac front too. Family circumstances meant I was away from my desk more frequently meaning the MacBook Air got more use.
I did of course upgrade to the latest OS X iteration with Mavericks and subsequently spent longer than I’d have liked upgrading apps … for which read fixing stuff that shouldn’t have broken!
My primary iMac was fast reaching the stage that I couldn’t even see half the screen in early 2014. It was suffering from a known issue related to the connector joints between the screen display and the logic board. Not a huge problem except for my previous experiences with AppleCare and contemplating how long a repair might take. I decided it would be prudent to acquire another iMac before returning the existing workhorse for repair. That I did in March. Work commitments meant I didn’t actually get round to returning the original iMac for repair until the end of October. AppleCare process any better than last time? Let’s just say I did not receive a fully working iMac back from repair until late January 2015 … another long story best left for another day!
It was also time to finally upgrade my iPhone 4S in 2014 and even more expensively my iPad. So within weeks of each other an iPhone 6+ and iPad Air 2 arrived in the autumn.
2015 didn’t start well on a personal level and was a challenge health wise too so it was well into November before any new tech toys arrived. It was well worth the wait though as the kit in question was an iPad Pro 12.9" replete with something I’d been waiting a long time for: The Apple Pencil.
The Pencil meant I could finally use OneNote the way that made most sense to me; by drawing and doodling my notes. I rationalised the cost by considering how much I’d spent over the years on notebooks, all of which needed scanning or otherwise making digital in some form.
The iPad Pro also meant I began taking time away from my trusty iMac for writing using just the on screen keyboard. That was something I had never expected to be doing.
Filed under “they called it what?” September marked the launch of El Capitan and for me sanity took precedence over adventure and I installed it on only a test machine. Long gone are those heady days of 2007 when I was prepared to throw caution to the wind and install a new OS the second it was released.
Even now, 7 months on, I know I made the correct decision as my scanner is no longer supported on El Capitan and I feel disinclined to spend in the region of £400 for a new one when there’s nothing wrong with the one I have save for it not working on El Capitan. Apple can bang on about their green credentials until they’re blue in the face but until they realise their seemingly irresistible desire to render anything over 3 years obsolete is obscene I’m not buying it.
So far this year the only new arrival kit-wise has been the 9.7" iPad Pro. I was in two minds as to whether I needed an upgrade from my iPad Air 2 but since when did “need” ever come in to it? 😉
So Let’s Recap
Since 2006 the following Apple kit has been part of my life:
- 20" iMac — First generation Intel
- 17" MacBook Pro
- 24" iMac — First white 24" model
- 24" iMac — Silver model with the black plastic back (what were they thinking?)
- 27" iMac — Late 2009 model
- 27" iMac — Mid 2011 model
- 27" iMac — Late 2013 model
- MacBook Air — 2012 model
- iPod Classic — 40GB
- iPod touch — 5th Generation — Late 2012
- iPhone 3G
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4s
- iPhone 6+
- iPad 1
- iPad 2
- iPad 3
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Pro 12.9"
- iPad Pro 9.7"
Luckily I’ve never attempted to total up how much that little lot has cost me and I don’t intend to now. Whatever that amount might actually be the important thing is the journey and it has been a heck of a ride.
Without switching back in 2006 I wouldn’t have met so many members of the fantastic Apple community or become a podcaster.
So what wouldn’t I be without? A difficult decision given I love all my kit but probably my iPhone 6+.
It’s much easier for me to tell you what I consider to be the worst thing I’ve ever bought from Apple, but even then it would have to be two things.
Both of these relate to the first iPad. The first is the Apple stand that shipped at the same time as the iPad 1. It was useless! It only held the iPad in portrait mode and it didn’t even do that very well. It didn’t fit the Apple cover on either. I think I used mine once before deciding it was:
- a complete pain to use
- unstable to point of being unsafe
The second item was that case I just mentioned for the iPad 1. What was wrong with it? Well how long have you got?
- It wasn’t a good fit
- It was difficult to put on
- It was even more difficult to remove
- It wouldn’t charge in a cradle with the case on
- It attracted fingerprints in a way I’d never have thought possible
Given how many profound changes we’ve witnessed in tech in the last 10 years I can hardly wait to see what the next 10 years brings.
Here’s to those next 10 years!
Originally published at elainegiles.co.uk on April 8, 2016.