I was finally forced to arrange the keyboard replacement that I postponed forever, and that made me think about my next Mac. But let’s start from the beginning …
My 2016 MacBook Pro has long been bothered by the notorious butterfly keys. I get double characters for B and P, and both the space bar and the CMD keys are unreliable.
These things would have made me crazy for a long time, but for two factors …
First I use an external keyboard while working. My home office setup is MacBook Pro to the side, which serves as a second monitor, with my now older 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display as my primary monitor. A Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad serve as my input devices.
I only use the built-in keyboard when I am traveling, when I am mobile and when I use the Mac in a different room.
That would still have been enough to make me despair, but for the second factor: Unshaky, a Mac utility that corrects double presses. Problems with the CMD key and the space bar were less common, so I fixed them with occasional hammering and less frequent compressed air treatment.
Of course I still wanted to fix it, but I kept postponing it, because it would be part of a week without my machine.
I called an Apple Store and they told me they needed it for about five days, and that’s a much bigger deal. I tried an Apple Authorized Reseller, expecting to be more flexible (diagnose the problem with one visit, then let me remove it and call me when they have the keyboard so they can do the swap on the same day), but No. They too wanted it for a week.
It’s not that it’s impossible to be without it – I’ve done it before – but it’s a big hassle. I have set up my most important work apps and bookmarks on my MacBook Air, but I know from that experience that there are countless little things that drive me crazy the week I don’t have the machine.
But last week a new error occurred that left me no choice: a major battery problem.
The first symptom was that the machine was switched off immediately and without warning when the battery was low. That quickly deteriorated until closing by 20%. And within a day the battery started to swell.
The earliest available Apple Store appointment I could get was last night. By then the machine was not running on the battery at all, and the swelling was worse.
There were two good news items. First, the battery problem occurred exactly one day before my AppleCare warranty expired!
Now I could and could have made a claim under EU law, which states that products must be covered by the warranty for a “reasonable period of up to six years”. This sentence has no legal definition, but is interpreted as depending on the nature of the product and its costs. Buy a cheap smartphone and after a few years you probably have bad luck. However, buy an expensive laptop and I would argue that it should remain faultless for more than two years.
There was, however, a second good news. Because the keyboard was covered by the extensive quality program, and because that means that the entire top case (including the battery) must be replaced, it was technically not an AppleCare claim. This means that if the guarantee had expired, this would not have been a problem.
So the machine has been booked under the keyboard quality program, the store has confirmed that the part is in stock and I should have the machine back on Tuesday evening.
MacBook Air comes to the rescue
Like last time, when my 17-inch MacBook Pro needed a new logic board (also in the context of an extensive quality program), which means I now use my old MacBook Air.
It is a model from mid-2013, so now about six years old. My girlfriend inherited it, so it has been used regularly, which probably helped, but the last time I logged into my own account was back in 2015. Which meant there were quite a few updates to do, so I wasn’t wrong here by bit:
There are countless little things that drive me crazy.
I had to update apps, retrieve new passwords and install apps that I had not used in 2015, such as TextExpander.
At the time, Apple’s Mail app had driven me crazy, so I used Postbox. But I was later switched back to Mail on my current computer, which meant that I had to reset my accounts there.
Well, I don’t bore you with chapter and verse, but it was many hours of work.
Just like before, however, the MacBook Air has been perfectly able to accommodate the slack. Of course I notice some performance differences. Opening apps is considerably slower and there are small but noticeable delays in things such as switching between desktops. But my daily work usage is not demanding – browsers, RSS reader, email, a little Photoshop – so this is not a problem at all.
In Chrome the fans do run in the air. To help with Windows management, I use different browsers for different purposes, and Chrome is my WordPress browser, so the somewhat annoying whimper of the fan is something I have to live with.
More about performance in an instant.
Resist the 16-inch machine!
I asked Apple about a loan machine, without any expectation that one would be available, and no, only Joint Venture customers get it. That is far too expensive for a single machine.
However, the technician pointed out that I could buy one and then send it back within 14 days without asking for a full refund when I picked up my machine.
I was briefly tempted to do this with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, but finally decided that it was too dangerous. I cannot justify an upgrade at this time. From a short piece with the 16-inch machine in the store, I don’t think I’d decide I should have it now, but you never know …
But a change of policy for my next Mac
I have chosen a future-proof approach to my Macs so far. I tend to maximize their use based on the fact that a top-spec machine at the time of purchase will still be a decent specification in the years four and five, which is generally when I replace them.
With my current MacBook Pro, I wondered if I was going overboard, especially given the breathtaking price of maximizing, but I decided to do it in the expectation that I would do 4K video work over the life of the machine. This would be the only time that machine performance would make a significant difference.
The reality, however, is that my video work has been extremely limited. I occasionally made a video for the work, as well as a few personal ones, but much less than expected. For those fairly rare times, I could live with slower performance, since it would probably only be noticeable when rendering.
When I consider how demanding my normal use is, I think that next time I will give up my policy to maximize the machine. I like a lot of on-board storage for convenience, but when it comes to CPU, GPU and RAM, my needs are simple and I’ll show that through my following specifications.
Which means that my next Mac will be cheaper. For example, if I picked up a 16-inch MacBook Pro today …
The maximum spec would come at a cool £ 5,769 including sales tax. Even me, with my love for storage on board, would admit that 8 TB is an exaggeration! So if I were to go for 4 TB and maximize the rest, I’d look at £ 4,689 ($ 6,043 including sales tax).
But if I stick to the basic CPU and GPU, and only upgrade the RAM to 32 GB and SSD to 4 TB, it will amount to £ 3,839 ($ 4,948 including sales tax). That is still a lot of money. But if I assume I will sell about half in four years, that’s £ 480 ($ 618) a year.
Of course, as an expert in justifying expensive gadgets for myself, I could argue that the maximum version (only 4 TB) costs £ 560 a year, which is only £ 7 a month extra. But the more sensible side of me would not be fooled by the old trick & # 39; express costs in monthly, weekly or daily terms & # 39; and would also see that max-out machines are harder to sell (you can get their true value from people who appreciate the difference, but those people are rarer than people who are happy with basic specifications).
So I think the plan for my next Mac next year will be a modest 16-incher, hopefully with ultra-fast SSD prices that continue to fall.
Would I regret this? Share your own opinion in the responses.
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