Eight months ago Elliot Jay Stocks switched from a single-powerhouse-laptop setup to an iMac-plus-MacBook Air setup. Here he shares the pros, cons, and tips for keeping two machines in sync.

His previous setup was similar to what mine currently is: A MacBook Pro as the only computer and then a big Cinema Display to connect it to when at the desk. Ever since I realized that, for me, having a Mac Pro and MacBook Pro was superfluous, this has been my setup for several years (though last summer I replaced the MBP with an Air).

However, in a way, I once again have the same setup as Elliot. But for me it’s on a different scale.

My MacBook Air is now my “desktop” and my iPad is now my “laptop”. I’ve spent the past month using and testing different apps so that my iPad can function as a work device when I’m away from my desk. This is, primarily, so that I can travel without the MacBook Air. As light and thin as the Air is, it still doesn’t match the iPad.

It’s fun to look back at how the trend of computer setups over the past decade has ebbed and flowed as the costs of computers have gone down, the performance of laptops has gone up, and the ease of cloud-centric computing has increased, and as new devices have stepped onto the playing field.

April 16, 2012