Why do we chase Apple hardware specs?
Like a lot of my peers, I follow Apple.
I have used a Mac for over 10 years outside of my day job, because it just worked better for the kinds of things I like doing in my spare time. Last year my venerable Late 2007 BlackBook finally died, so I was left with a Surface Pro 2 and a Mac Mini as my main home life devices. I got the Surface on a whim as a colleague at work was selling it after 6 months at a knock down price. I meant to use it for drawing, but it ended up filling the gap for any Windows apps I needed access to. The Mac Mini ended up being impractical due to there being no sensible place to keep it set up.
So I watched the news for MacBook Pro updates. And when they finally arrived, I was extremely excited. But excitement faded after standing in an airport around Christmas time, and using the 13" with escape key. The keyboard simply sucked. It was completely awful. Worse than the Surface type keyboard. Almost as unusable as the Surface Touch keyboard I had recently picked up as a spare at a rock bottom price.
For the next few months I procrastinated. I looked at alternatives. I priced up a Dell XPS13. But, I couldn’t bear to use Windows 10 exclusively.
Two weeks ago I decided that enough was enough and I went to a local PC World store fully intending to get the 13" without touch bar. But I stood there trying it again and the same emotions rose up.
The keyboard is so awful I can’t do this to myself.
I looked online for a 2015 model with 256 storage. I couldn’t find a new one, and used computers with no user serviceable parts is something I’m not willing to deal with.
But looking on eBay gave me a revelation. The 2012 non retina MacBook Pro is less than half the price of the used 2015 MacBook Pro retina. Hmmmm. YouTube revealed that it was super simple to upgrade. I could even have a second hard drive in place of the DVD drive? Wow!
A week later, I was the owner of a used 2012 non retina MacBook Pro. It’s a revelation. It has USB 3. My Mac Mini was the 2011 model and lacks USB 3 – something that was always a pain in the arse. It is a later i5 model than my Mac Mini, and I never had an issue with that computer’s speed, so I’m fine with that. Hell, I was using a Core 2 Duo and was pretty happy with that till last year. It’s a little more bulky, but it has SO much more expandability. I replaced the spinning dusk with an SSD in day one and it now boots in under 15 seconds. In time I’ll replace the DVD with a second SSD, up the RAM to 16GB, and probably boot camp Windows.
What can you take away from this? Being in control is awesome. Very awesome. Retina is all I lost, and I can deal with that at the next upgrade. But not buying an inferior product gives a strong message to Apple. “No thanks! Love your hardware, but I’ll skip this revision”.