My Next Mac Will Be…



…a specced-out 13-inch MacBook Air.

The previous Macs I have owned include a 12-inch PowerBook, a Quad-Core Mac Pro, and a 15-inch MacBook Pro (my current machine).

I’ve used my Macs for all sorts of things. From running drum loops and audio tracks while drumming, to doing print and web design, to project management and email hubbub. Now, the vast majority of work I do on my computer entails writing.

This MacBook Pro was originally meant to be my secondary computer. I had been doing all my print design on the 12-inch PowerBook, but by 2008 when that little guy was going on 3 years old, it did not like Adobe any more. So I figured I would get the beefy Mac Pro to see me through for years and years of design work (knowing how easily the Mac Pros can be upgraded as needed).

But then my wife needed a computer as well, and she always liked how “cute” the 12-inch PowerBook was. And so I bought myself a mid-level MacBook Pro to serve as my secondary computer. Because I was out and about enough that I needed a portable, and I figured I should get something that I could also do design work on.

However, the MacBook Pro turned out to be quite comparable to the MacPro for the work I was doing. And so it seemed silly to have two professional-grade machines taking up space. I sold the Mac Pro to a local recording studio and have been using the MacBook Pro ever since.

And, believe it or not, the PowerBook is still in use by my wife as her primary computer. Though, as she’s been using her iPad more and more the PowerBook is slowly but surely seeing less use.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro that I am using right now is from early 2008, just before the unibody models were released. It has nearly identical specs to the current 13-inch MacBook Airs: almost the same CPU, same screen resolution (though mine is “stretched” into a 15-inch screen instead of squeezed into a 13-inch screen), same amount of RAM, and I even have an SSD (since my HDD gave out on me last fall).

However, MacBook Pro could use a few ‘upgrades’. I am running low on drive space in my 120 GB SSD, and so I have to keep my media library on an external drive. My battery is crawling towards its grave — only holding about a 90-minute charge now. And the logic board has been giving me troubles here and there — oddities with sleeping patterns and trouble working with bluetooth devices from time to time. I can tell this thing is nearing its end as my primary work machine.

There’s no denying I’m a Mac nerd, but I am not one who upgrades just for the sake of upgrading. I don’t rush to the Apple store and buy the latest gadget unless I actually have a purpose or need for it. I have been trying to squeeze every last ounce of life from this MacBook Pro and after 40 months of use it is about ready to take a break.

I am confident that it will make it a few more months, and hopefully I can time things just right so that I’ll be ready for a new laptop as the next generation MacBook Airs ship.

Reasons Why I’ll Be Getting a 13-Inch MacBook Air

Things I don’t need 90% of the time

  • A 15-inch screen: most of my work is done with my laptop hooked up to my 23-inch cinema display (the awesome matte screen that’s encased in aluminum; the ones that Apple made before they ruined them by putting glass on the front and making them glossy). When I do have the laptop out and about, a smaller footprint would be preferred over a larger screen. Moreover, I would rather carry a smaller bag, one that my 15-inch MacBook Pro can’t fit into.
  • The optical drive: in fact, I nearly loathe my MacBook Pro’s optical drive — or at least the sound it makes every time I boot or wake up the laptop.
  • Ethernet: I use Wi-Fi.
  • FireWire: I don’t even own a video camera.

Things I do need 90% of the time:

  • An SSD drive: once you go SSD you can’t go back.
  • An internet connection
  • A keyboard
  • A screen

The 13-inch MacBook Air has everything I do need, nothing that I don’t, and even a few additional features such as being light weight and having a thinner form factor. Which means that for me, going from a 15-inch MacBook Pro to a 13-inch MacBook Air will be an upgrade.

What if there are 15-inch MacBook Airs? Would I buy one of those? As I mentioned above, I would rather have the smaller size over the larger screen. Especially since most of the time it will be connected to an external monitor.

So then, why not an iMac? While it’s true that most of the time my laptop is docked to the Cinema Display, I’d go crazy if I couldn’t take my laptop with me. I don’t travel all the time, but I’m certainly moving around enough between various rooms of my house or various coffee shops on a regular basis. Moreover, when I do travel I need to be able to take my work with me.

I’m holding out for the refresh because, based on the latest rumors, it looks like it will be a substantial one.

  • We already know that the MacBooks Airs shipping today have faster SSDs than the ones that were shipping a few months ago.
  • Thunderbolt is coming, it’s just a matter of time.
  • The hinge for Thunderbolt will be the Sandy Bridge processor.

Even if I did buy one of the currently-shipping MacBook Airs it would be an upgrade. But it has been 8 months since the Airs were last refreshed, and since I have a tendency to hold on to my computers until they wither and die it’s worth it to wait a little bit longer to get a laptop that will be quite a bit more superior to the current models.