Another Technology Dilemma

I like buying new Tech, I get excited about it, I spend a while researching what to get, bore my wife senseless talking about the different options that are available to me, the pros and cons of each one, make charts trying to work it all out, come to an informed decision and then usually go and buy something else instead.

Most of the time, I’m pretty happy with what I end up buying.

I recently bought a Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard to accompany the iPad Pro I bought last year. I’m using it now, it’s great, it’s about twice the size of my phone and 1/4 the size of the iPad so it’s very portable (about the size of an old fashioned CD album, remember those?).

Since I bought the enormous iPad I pretty much only use my old Macbook Air for software development – iOS is still pants for development, it’s great for almost everything I do everyday (Netflix, Shopping, Sketching, Reading, Browsing, Music, etc) but when I need to write a load of code and switch between terminals, servers, DB admin and Github then I need a real keyboard and a real OS. The foldable keyboard is close enough, I think I could use it for coding but iOS is just not good enough for development, I need desktop software.

So my Macbook Air is getting old now, I think it’s a 2011 model, it’s getting a bit slow, the screen’s not as crisp as newer devices and the battery lasts about half as long as current models.

Last year I considered switching to the Surface Pro 4, it looked great and the tablet mode meant I could start doing digital sketching on it – but I bought the iPad instead and decided to hold out for the new Macbooks, which finally arrived this October.

I just don’t want one though. In the year while I’ve been waiting to see what Apple were going to release I’ve been keeping my eye on the Microsoft Surface Book, and it looks brilliant, and I want one. I also want the Surface Studio, which I’m not sure has even been released yet but it looks like an iMac killer. Big 28″ Touch screen that is apparently as good as a Cintiq

So Microsoft announced all these lovely things the day before Apple finally revealed the Macbook Pro updates. As every company does every time they update their hardware, they made the screen better, processors, memory, all that stuff that they obviously will do anyway… and then they dropped the function keys and added that weird touch bar thing.

Maybe, it’s really useful, maybe the contextual buttons are great and really help with development or work flow or something like that. That’s not really ground breaking, or amazing though. It just seems like a gimmick. I mean it’s unique on a laptop, sure, but it’s just a smaller touch screen, that doesn’t do as much as a full touch screen would.

What if they’d made a hybrid laptop/tablet AND added the touch bar thing! That would have been cool, different, ahead of everyone else.

I switched from Windows to Mac years ago, I really did think MacOS was better, the laptops were shinier, the eco system felt nicer with my phone and to be fair to my little Macbook it is still doing a pretty good job.

Windows 10 though, I think I prefer it to Mac OS. I never stopped using Windows in the Office, and I’m really enjoying using it now. Because of my iPad being so useful, I barely use MacOS now and remembering the different keyboard shortcuts and OS settings is just annoying, a once a week inconvenience to use MacOS for no gain over Windows.

I think within the next year, I’ll be using a Surface Pro 4 (maybe 5 by then?) and with the money I’ll save by not getting a Surface Book I’ll be able to upgrade my Xbox 360.

I’ll keep the Macbook Air, I can dust it off to occasionally generate an iOS dev key if I get back into that, and my iPad Pro will hopefully last me years as my main internet consumption device (I still find iOS and all its apps the easiest way to do most internet tasks) but I think I’m going to go back to Windows for my main freelance work device soon.

Apple have about 12 months to do something laptop/tablet/hybridish to keep me, but they haven’t really done anything to interest me for a couple of years now, plus I don’t think they have any need to please me specifically.

Now my main problem is, I can’t really afford to replace the Macbook right now, BUT Microsoft are bundling in an Xbox One S if you buy a Surface Book or Pro right now… so, maybe I can’t really afford not to right? I’ll just be spending that money next year anyway…


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