Reaching peak Apple: the Macbook 2016

I have not wanted to post about the really pretty miserable political news even though it has been much occupying my thoughts (for I have nothing new or insightful to add about Brexit,  about the incompetent narcissist supposedly leading the Labour Party, or about the new UK government, let alone about the disasters in the wider world). And I’m afraid that spending a lot of time tinkering with little presentational issues in the early chapters of my introductory text book as I slowly work towards a second edition doesn’t exactly provide inspiration for exciting logical posts here either.

So let me tell you about my new MacBook instead.

Headline news: if you are thinking of splurging out on new Apple kit, the revised 12″ Macbook is just terrific. Go for it.

Slow news: I’d been using as my portable (for libraries, cafés, sofa-surfing on my lap) a Macbook Air, now approaching five years old. Still a great bit of kit. But, and it’s quite a big ‘but’ for someone spending a lot of time writing, the on-screen text on the MBA now does seem decidedly blurry. Compared with modern retina screens on my iPhone, iPads, and a big and not-very-portable MacBook Pro used as my main home machine — yes, I really am reaching peak Apple here  — the elderly MBA screen is just not so great. Hence, initially pretty much for that reason alone, when a larger-than-expected royalty cheque arrived, I splashed out on the recently revised 12″ MacBook. Space gray, since you asked.

Six weeks in, I’m more than delighted. Some have commented adversely on the keyboard. But unless you are a very heavy-handed typist, you should find it excellent. Despite its different feel, going from this keyboard to the MacBook Pro and back really presented zero problem after just a day or two ‘s use. The screen is simply amazing. The lack of ports is also no problem at all for me, since all my work files live in DropBox, and everything else lives in various clouds too. And — now this was a very big surprise — the added portability (and added ease of use on a lap!) seems completely out of proportion to the actual change in size and weight compared to the MBA. Finally, the MacBook is even more gorgeous than the MBA, and I think aesthetics matter if you are spending so much time up close and personal with something!

Whether it would suit you as a sole machine, I can’t say: read the usual forums for advice on that. But for anyone looking for a very portable second machine to take out and about, this works a treat in every way. You’d have to be very hard to please not to be delighted!

Nerdy note: I initially got the entry-level model, but then returned it for the upgrade to the fastest m7 chip which does make a noticeable difference working with LaTeX: I’d recommend the small extra outlay for that reason. More on this, with some timings, here.

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