Mac Fan

One Week Down

OK, so I finished the first week with my new MacBook Air. I have to say that I am liking it quite a bit. Lisa and I are both surprised at how much I have enjoyed it and how little frustration there has been. There has been some frustration but I think of most of it is just adapting to a new OS and working inside of an entirely different ecosystem.

My expectations were probably a little misguided. Because of the BSD roots of the OS I was expecting it to be more POSIX like then it is. Apple is leveraging that base but they are not trying to make a system that caters to that type of system/user. That makes sense, Android is running a Linux kernel but it's not Linuxy either. I don't expect it to be, it's nice when we can do Linuxy stuff on it but I shouldn't expect it, and at the end of the day that's not what I want my phone experience to be. I just want to grab my phone and have it be intuitive and easy to use. The highest priority in the UX is convenience. Most people want a computer that just works and is convenient, it's just a means to an ends for the most part. Apple, smartly, is creating a product that does that well.

What I Like

The build quality and hardware feels top notch. It feel's like a very nice piece of hardware when I grab it. It doesn't feel as "thin and light" as I was hoping but it trades some of that for quality. I think it's an all metal construction which is nice. The keyboard is really good for being a low profile laptop keyboard. I don't like touch pad's, this one seem's as good or better then any other I have used. I know that's suppose to be a big deal for Apple fan's, it hasn't blown me away but it is clearly good. The speakers are shockingly impressive, by far the best sound out of any laptop I have owned. They are clear and have great range on them. Listening to music on it is enjoyable not just bearable like other laptops I have owned. The screen is great, it looks nice and I can't complain at all about it. Battery life is amazing, I get day's and day's of usage out of it. I think I have only charged it twice in a week and one time was only because I was using the Thunderbolt connection. Thunderbolt, that's a really nice option. It just worked with my Dell 42" monitor, very nice to be able to use that, I never got that working with my Dell laptop. I don't suspect I will use it a lot but when you want that, you just want it to work. Sleep/hibernate whatever it does is seamless and fast, whatever it's doing is clearly helping battery life. It makes it great to just not worry about any power usage stuff and opening/closing the lid. I can just use it. The touch id is pretty nice for waking/unlocking, I feel like the button should have more functionality or I missing something there but it's a nice to have. The OS is very polished and has a lot of nice features. The way that current application shares the top nav bar with the system tray is a great space saver and is nice. Mission control shows all open windows and makes switching workspaces easy. Stage Manager is another application selector that is nice, there is some overlapping with Mission control, figuring out how I use the two of them will be interesting but they help with managing open apps.

Wow, that is a long list of things I like! Like I said I have been pleasantly surprised how much I am enjoying it. It shows that I have reached a place where I just want my laptop to enable me to do what I want. Lately that is browsing, writing, and, email/bill's from the comfort of my recliner. I'm not sure that I would want to replace my desktop with it but those are different tools.

What I Don't Like

The app store, the lack of name brand app's really shows what I have heard for years, working with Apple to publish is difficult. The lack of app's from big brands like Pandora, Discord and, VSCode really show's that working with Apple just isn't worth it for a lot of organizations. I could go on, but I won't, you get the point. Similarly, the package management, or lack of, is not good. I am glad Homebrew exists, but it's a hack, It would be nice if we had some more CLI love. They are shipping Bash 3.2, com'on. It's expensive, I paid $1,405.42 out the door for a laptop with 256G drive space and 8G of RAM. That's ridiculous in this day and age, especially since I have read the drive isn't even fast compared to modern specs. Maybe if I can think of it less as commodity hardware and a holistic product that I am paying for it would be easier to understand what I am paying for. I had a hard time paying "more" then I should have for my Prusa 3D printer but I have seen that it was worth the money not just for the hardware but because of the ecosystem that I bought into with that purchase. I'm not convinced that I am willing to pay to be a part of Apples ecosystem yet, but I guess that is what this whole experience is about. Oh wait, I mean, it's a professional development tool.

I could write a lot more about the issues above, but again, it's not what Apple is trying to do.

Apple has made a good product, they make a lot of good products based on the success they have seen. It has taken me a very long time to give them a try for some reason but I see why they are so successful. I will be curious to try Windows again soon to see if my frustrations with it are still there or if I have been as unfair with them as I have been Apple.

I'm wrapping up this post at the 9 day mark. Now that I have it setup the way I want it's been smooth sailing for the most part. Lot's of great user experience in nice hardware that just works. All in all I am very pleasantly surprised to find out how much I enjoy this product. Apple has a 14 day return policy so we will see how I feel on day 15, but so far so good.