Since a recent post on a decision to wait for the iPhone 6 generated a comment or two, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at what Apple kit we own and why we chose it. So, what have I got on my desk?
Short answer: a MacBook Pro 17 with 27-inch Thunderbold Display, bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad; a MacBook Air 11 (hiding behind the MBP in a BookBook case); an iPad 2 (since replaced with an iPad Air); and an iPhone 4S. So let’s look at each …
The MacBook Pro 17 is my main computer. I used to spend half my life travelling, so wanted a true desktop equivalent in portable form. The MBP 17 was almost that, it just needed a bit more storage capacity. So I replaced both the 750GB hard drive and Superdrive with two 1TB hard drives. I upgraded the RAM while I was at it, and voila: i7 processor, 1920×1200 17-inch screen, 2TB storage, 16GB RAM. It runs rather well as it is, and I see those hard drives being swapped out for 1Tb SSDs Real Soon Now.
One of the joys of writing for a living is you don’t have to be in any particular place. When I’m away from home, the iPad with Splashtop software acts as a small second-screen.
The iPad doesn’t normally sit on my desk – I just put it there in the first photo to complete the picture. It doesn’t get used much at home other than for reading ebooks in bed. It does, however, go with me pretty much everywhere else. It’s my go-to device for mobile data, which is why my iPhone doesn’t see anything like as much use. Oh, and that’s the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Case with it.
In my home office, the MBP itself becomes the second screen, and a 27-inch Thunderbolt Display becomes the main one. Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad complete the picture.
You may have gathered from my choice of Bluetooth peripherals that I’m of the view that wires are evil. Which is one of the things I love about Thunderbolt: there are only two wires running from the Mac to the display. Both display and USB links are provided through the Thunderbolt lead, with a power flylead powering the Mac without a separate power adapter. Naturally, both leads disappear out of sight as swiftly as possible.
I operate a completely paperless office, so all paperwork gets scanned on arrival on a bus-powered Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. The USB cable likewise disappears from sight, as do the speaker cables, though those are in any case hidden from view from my chair.
The desk was custom-made to my design by a friend, to achieve minimal cable visibility. All I wanted to see was a solid hunk of oak with my kit on top of it. All of the unsightly stuff sits on a rear under-shelf: power-strips, power-blocks, USB hub and external drives.
The iPhone lives in a dock on my desk during the day. No need by now to explain that the cable drops down below the dock, the power cable running back to the rear undershelf.
The iPhone is my most under-utilised device. With the iPad my mobile device of choice, my iPhone is mostly just that: a phone. On my desk, it runs the Wemo app to control various bits and pieces in my office and around the house, and it does run a few apps when out & about, but not that many.
Which brings us to the MacBook Air 11 in its gorgeous BookBook case. Um, yeah. I’d love to pretend that I have a rational reason for owning one, but in truth, I don’t. Sometimes just wanting something and being able to afford it is reason enough. It’s fantastically portable, an extremely capable machine and absolutely gorgeous. I saw, I wanted, I bought.
I don’t carry it around routinely like I do the iPad, but it does get used on the move at least once a week, when I want a bit more power than the iPad and a bit more portability than the MacBook Pro.
Future plans? An iPad 5 for sure. The UK has been far slower than the US in adopting LTE, so there hasn’t been much of an argument for upgrading my iPad before now, but 4G has now finally made it across the pond. Given that the iPad is my main mobile data device, an LTE iPad makes much more sense for me than an LTE phone.
A 4K display is clearly going to be irresistible at some point, but that will pose a dilemma: it’ll need Haswell-powered Macs to run it, and I adore my MBP 17. I keep hoping that Apple withdrew it only temporarily, until a Retina model became practical, but that’s more a hope than an expectation.
I could even consider a MacBook Air as my main machine given I have plenty of screen-space on my Thunderbolt Display and don’t travel as much, but as a photo and video guy, I do need that storage. What I really want is a Haswell MBA 11 with 2Tb of SSD storage, and I’m not expecting that to become a possibility anytime soon. We shall see!