Mistake One: Marco Arment buys a MacBook, Marco sends it back within the day
A fair bit of fence sitting has been taking place at MacFilos Towers over the past month or so. In common with probably a majority of Mac fans, I have fallen in love, hook, line and sinker, with the svelte little retina-screened MacBook. I've written before about the dilemma, whether to go minimalist with the MacBook or buy the relatively boring 13in MacBook Pro that is far more likely to suit my purpose as a road-warrior laptop.
Frankly, the only reason I haven't yet bought the MacBook is that I haven't managed to find it in stock at any Apple Store. They come in and go out the same morning, which must tell us something about its popularity. I could have ordered from the on-line store and I would have had it sitting on my desk before now. But waiting to find it in stock for over-the-counter sale is part of the process of procrastination. Perhaps, I think, I am not meant to have one.
I was taken with David Sparks's eulogy. While he has reservations about the keyboard and the processor speed, he feels that the benefits of extreme portability and sheer lust far outweigh the negative features. I had more or less decided that I would follow David's example, buy the MacBook and try it out for two weeks. If I didn't like it, I could swap for a more powerful computer.
But I keep getting second thoughts. Today I read that Marco Arment has gone through the same process:
....in a brief period of questionable judgment yesterday, I impulse-bought the new MacBook, which I call the MacBook One. My theory was that I could use it for roles in which I’ve failed to use iPads because they don’t work for me: writing and email around the house or in bed, and bringing on most trips that wouldn’t involve Xcode. It would be my iPad Pro. I’ve been waffling for years about finding a cheap 11-inch MacBook Air to serve this role, but I didn’t want a non-Retina machine.
Unlike David Sparks, however, Marco cannot live with the compromises. And, again unlike David, he hates the new keyboard (which he likens to a collection of iPhone home buttons) and despises the new Force Touch trackpad.
Maybe Marco is the exception, but his views are important and influence opinion. He has returned the MacBook to Apple and has gone for a MacBook Pro. Not, I should add, either the new 13in with Force Touch trackpad or the just-announced 15in version. Instead he has taken advantage of the price drop on the old 15in MacBook Pro Retina and snapped up one (sans Force Touch) to replace his previous version.
This is serious stuff and I feel a whole new bout of procrastination coming on. I do have a very good get-out clause: I can continue to soldier on with the three-year-old 11in MacBook Air that has been a faithful road companion. It is far inferior, both in terms of performance and display to the new MacBook Pros, but surprisingly not all that tardy in comparison with the new MacBook. The sensible decision, I know, is to continue using the 11in Air for the time being. Let the dust settle on the new models and then decide.
It's worth bearing in mind, however, that I am looking for a portable travel computer. Back at base I have the superb 27in iMac 5K with 32GB of memory and the fastest processor. If you are looking for one computer to do desk duty as well as being a congenial travel companion, then choose the 13in or 15in MacBook Pro. Having owned a 15in Retina MBP for a couple of years, before buying the iMac, I can tell you that it makes a wonderful desktop work-horse. You can also take it out and about, but tone up the muscles first. For most people, the 13in MBP is the ideal compromise between portability and performance.