On October 27th Apple held one of their new product unveiling conferences & I was instantly disappointed. I was sat in a coffee shop in central Manchester watching the stream & almost shouting at Apple in public. Apple hardware has been iOS focused for a long while now & any real innovation in the computing hardware side of things has been seriously lacking. I bought a 24″ top of the line iMac back in 2009 & I’ve used it daily ever since. The new hardware just doesn’t warrant the outlay & the performance gains are negligible in my opinion for the price.
To me, however, this has always been a selling point for Apple. The fact that you invest heavily in their hardware, but expect it to last as long as you want it to without ever breaking down has always appealed to me. My 2009 iMac has a 2.93Ghz dual core processor & 8GB of ram. I also opted for an uprated Nvidia GT120 in this iMac and for the most part I’ve never needed any more power. It’s still on the original hard drive & using SMART shows me that the HDD in the iMac has been in use for 32314 hours. That’s 1347 days of actual use. I’m just now considering upgrading to an SSD & intend to remove the superdrive & have two hard drives in the iMac.
My wife has a 2011 Macbook pro & again with uprated ram to 8GB and an SSD, it just doesn’t warrant the upgrade. That laptop has also required component changing, such as a faulty keyboard after a water spillage & that can be achieved with cheap parts off the internet and a basic precision screwdriver kit. Repairability is super important to me, and the later Macbook pros & those with Retina displays lack the ability to repair & upgrade which put’s me off. I don’t want my ram soldered in at time of purchase. I don’t want pci-e SSD storage over standard & much cheaper SSD hard drives. I don’t want my batteries glued in place, requiring apple servicing and disposal of big parts of the laptop just to change the battery cells. If something breaks, I want to repair it. I don’t want to pay a fortune for apple techs to repair it with proprietary tools & methods. I certainly don’t want a disposable laptop & a huge price tag. If that is the price to get the laptops so impossibly slim, I’m sorry, I’m not interested.
So after being totally disappointed at the new Macbook’s, with their relatively non pro specs & removal of keys I use daily, I decided to save my money and buy one of the last true Macbook pros. I managed to source a mint condition, used, Macbook pro in 2012 specification for £550, a bargain when you think the new ones are starting at £1449 with a similar spec. This machine doesn’t have hard-wired ram. It has a SATA port so I can put in my own SSD, and the battery can be changed. Along with the Macbook, I have a Crucial 525GB SSD on the way & 16GB of brand new Crucial ram. Combined, that will be a pretty beast spec for Photoshop & web development work. And all for £720. A bargain for sure.
I’ll do a post when the machine is all ready to go & I’ll also post some benchmarks. Until Apple stops creating disposable appliances & starts making real computers again, I think most of their engineer customers & professional/hobbyist computer users will steer clear. Plenty of people I know wanted faster GPU’s, faster processors & oodles of RAM. Instead we got thinner, lighter & mediocre power wise. They should lose the Pro moniker on these laptops. They are really just casual consumer grade laptops at an astonishing price. Since Brexit became a thing in the UK, the spiralling pound has driven up the cost of tech & apple have added 20% to their hardware, making mediocre hardware even more expensive. I personally don’t think this will fly with consumers & they will be forced to change tack at some point.
I know a lot of people are switching to PC based machines. For a comparable price you can get a hell of a lot more hardware spec wise. For me, the iMac has always been a solid & dependable daily workhorse & my new Macbook Pro will allow me to break free of the desktop and work on the go. I do hope that Apple will change their minds & start catering to the Pro market, but in the meantime I’m sure most of us will just stick with what we have. Hardware & processors aren’t developing at the rate they once did, so it is much more feasible to stick with hardware for many years. I for one can attest to that, having used my iMac for 7 years solid.
What are your thoughts on the new Macbook Pro’s? Especially the model with the touch bar?