I’m not the biggest Apple fanboy on the planet, but I’ve certainly sent a lot of money to Cupertino over the years.
My first computer was an Apple II+. I used Mac Classics in high school when I worked on the school newspaper. I was studying computer science when OS X launched with Unix-underpinnings, and I bought an iBook in 2002.
Fast forward to today, where every employee at Rocket Matter is issued a Mac, not a PC. Even our engineers, who develop on Windows servers, run virtual machines inside of souped-up MacBook Pros.
However, I’m due to replace my laptop this summer, and I’m not so sure I want another Mac. I still love the ease and effortlessness of the platform. Going back seems like a chasm I’m not ready to cross.
But on the other hand…
Macs Seem to Be Losing Their Luster
Unfortunately, there’s been a slide Mac design with their hardware, in my opinion, which I wrote about last year when I purchased an iPad Pro. The little design details I used to marvel at are being replaced with head-scratching decisions.
Our first MacBook Pro replacement came in last month, the one with the TouchStrip. The machine does not have MagSafe, the clever magnetic charging doohickey that prevents you from knocking your machine on the floor if you snag the AC cord. The machine only offers USB-C ports, which require all sorts of adapters to connect to monitors and whatnot.
The result is an expectations vs. reality clash: Instead of the sleek machine you envision on your desk, you end up with what looks like a recovering surgery patient with wires coming out of them from all sides.
Plus, if you’re anything like me, you may harbor a deep-seated resentment about the cables and adapters you’ve had to buy over the years to change the ports on Apple devices.
Redmond is on the Rebound
While Apple is slipping, Microsoft is rising like a Phoenix rising from hardware ashes. The Redmond, WA company started launching some of the hottest hardware around. The Surface Book is a thing of beauty:
And this week, Redmond announced the Surface Laptop, which is due out in June. And it comes in my favorite color: Red.
Considerations Before Grabbing the Shiny New Object
If you decide to switch from Mac to PC, keep in mind that you’re not just buying new hardware. You have a new operating system to reckon with. Connecting to WiFi, configuring printers, troubleshooting common headaches, and other things like that change. You need to prep yourself for the transition.
Furthermore, you have to assess how tied in to the Apple ecosystem you are. This is where I’ve tread very carefully. For example, if you use Spotify or Amazon Music, then you’re decoupled from Apple Music. If you use Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, or Google Drive, you can sidestep iCloud.
My biggest concern is Windows. Remember all the headaches that went away when you switched to a Mac? Driver issues, blue screens of death, and crashes. I am optimistic that if Microsoft develops both the hardware and the software and totally controls the computing experience, errors will be reduced to Mac-like levels.
Bottom Line: You Win Either Way
With Apple finally getting a run for its money in terms of amazing computer design, let’s hope it rebounds to the visionary force it used to be. Microsoft is becoming a formidable competitor again in the personal computing market, churning out incredible machines.