Over the years I have had a LOT of computers. From a Commodore Vic 20 & 64 back in the dark ages, luggable portable computers, way too many Windows-based machines, original Apple Macintosh, MacBook Pros, MacBooks in the MLTI teaching project, and several Chromebooks. I even loaded Linux on more than a few my older computers when I got bored or was that adventurous, and recently have been using the iPad Pro. So I have a lot of experience with all the different operating systems and computer brands/silos that are around.
Why on earth did I pick Apple’s M1 MacBook Air as my next shiny thing?
It came down to whether I am considered the product or the customer.
While all of the “big” name tech companies collect all kinds of data on us when we use their products, Apple has a commitment to privacy that the others don’t in my experience. Plus the integration and interoperability of their product lines is a big plus. No, Apple isn’t perfect, but at least I have the impression that I am their customer and not their primary product.
Saying all that, I knew that I have wanted a new Apple Mac (something or other) since last summer when my Chromebook started to have problems and I had to go back to using my iPad Pro despite its battery not being dependable. However, I wasn’t ready to go out and get a new or used Mac without figuring a few things out, plus I was hearing rumors of Apple doing something pretty spectacular with their Mac line-up that would shake-up the tech industry.
I knew that I would be able to nurse the iPad Pro along well enough that I could wait a few months to see what was going on. I also knew that using it was a stop-gap measure until I figured out which Mac laptop I would get next.
Too often in the past, a shiny computer has caught my attention, and I have gotten it into my head that I have to have that computer come hell or high water, and not wait to get it either. This time I wanted to take my time to figure out what I needed versus what I wanted. I didn’t want to waste money on something over-powered for how I use a computer now or, worse, get one that didn’t do everything I want or wouldn’t be supported by the company in a year or two.
Skip ahead to this week, the iPad Pro battery issues hadn’t gotten any better, and Apple had released the M1 MacBook Air to rave reviews last November and they continued to the present. However, the more I thought about things the more I knew that I wanted the M1 MacBook Air versus a new new Intel Mac or used Mac model. So after a bunch of research, the M1 MacBook Air was at the top of my want list.
At $999 plus tax, for a base model, it was at the top of my price range too.
So I waited and waited some more, hoping for a price drop or a fantastic sale price. The M1 MacBook Air was too popular and even with the occasional sale here or there, the prices were not coming down anytime soon or else the timing of the sale was wrong for me.
Typically I am not a patient person, especially when it comes to getting new computers or running shoes. My waiting for over six months was a new experience for me and was starting to get pretty old. It was beginning to be a question of when, not if I would get the MacBook Air.
The other night, I had an old-fashioned brain-fart and thought, why not check-out a refurbished M1 MacBook Air from Apple. I have had good luck with buying Apple refurbished (Apple itself not some other re-seller) products in the past and felt confident that I would still be getting a quality product. Apple actually had some in stock, and I had my Veteran’s discount.
I talked it over with TheWife, and she agreed that the price was about as reasonable as I was going to get, and I should go ahead and get one. While sitting at the supper table on Tuesday night, I ordered and got it on Thursday. Getting it here that Thursday was a bit of an adventure and tested my patience mightily, but UPS delivered it at 8:30 PM, and I got to do the initial setup that night.
Though it didn’t give me much time to play or get too familiar with it before it was time for bed. Probably just as well. 😩 Not really, I wanted it earlier in the day, so I could have done more with it on Thursday.
Since then I have been setting things up, exploring different settings, applications (software), and all that wonderful stuff. Stuff I love to do with a new computer. That experiment and see what works for me routine, and if it doesn’t, change it to something that does.
What did I learn about the Apple M1 MacBook Air?
That once I get used to the difference between my iPad Pro’s external keyboard and the Air’s, I will really love the Air’s. It is vastly superior to anything I have used recently and was pretty reminiscent of the old 2009 MacBook Pro’s keyboard, which I loved.
Even though I haven’t played around with a Mac since 2015, many of the tricks and settings that I used before are coming back to me as I re-familiarize myself with what is now called MAC OS. When I get under the hood, while many things are different, many more things remained the same.
There are more similarities between IOS and MAC OS than ever before, making the transition back more seamless than I thought it would be. Also, most of the Apple applications are basically the same in either operating system. I am purposely staying in the Apple tech silo for most of my computing needs (at least until I know that I have to have something else), so how to use the applications was an easy move.
I figured that it would be a weeklong project to get my MacBook Air set up how I want it. In the short time I have had my Air, I feel pretty confident about where I am with it and now most of the changes will be tweaking minor things here or there as I find them or when I attempt to use an app or website that doesn’t work quite the way I want it to.
The biggest thing that gets me is the lack of a touch screen. I have had one with my iPad Pro, Windows, and Chromebooks laptops for several years now. While drafting this post, I found myself reaching up with my finger to place the cursor in a different position to edit something. I know that I will get used to not have a touch screen pretty quickly, but it would have been nice to have a touch screen too. Apple will eventually bring that feature to the Mac, but it would cut into the iPad Pro sales, so I don’t see it happening that soon.
Overall, I have been very impressed with the ease of the M1 MacBook Air setup process and how well it responds to whatever I have done with it so far.
Now to get beyond the initial shock and awe of having a new laptop and get down to working on it, playing some games, and doom scrolling some more. Who knows maybe even starting to write again.