I bit the Apple.
I ended up getting myself a Mac. Specifically a Macbook Pro 13" Retina.
I pride myself on the fact that I’ve always detested Apple and its products. I don’t necessarily think they are bad. I am, honestly, quite impressed with the hardware as a whole. But the obscene pricing (esp. here in India) and their fan base is a source of constant irritation. Not to mention the closed-ness of the entire Apple ecosystem. Forcing you to buy an Apple device to be able to even BEGIN developing/experimenting on their platform? Seems a bit unfair.
I have a few Apple fans for friends. The excessive pride in their Apple products and the boastfulness about how much they’ve spent on them, being dicks basically, is annoying. These are, otherwise, very smart people who I love hanging out with. But everytime Apple comes up, we more or less become enemies for about 20 minutes where I’m visualizing mutilating their dismembered brains all over the floor.
I’ve never owned an Apple product before this. Let me be very clear. I did not buy this macbook. I don’t think I can ever justify it.
When I joined Idea Device, I was asked my preference for a development device. I very nearly asked for the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510P (more on that later).
But I didn’t. Most of the guys at ID use a Macbook and the way they generally work with their dev environment is a bit different from what I’m used. I figured it is just safer to do what they are doing, so I’m not left to fend for myself by myself.
The Macbook Pro 13" is definitely very impressive. I got the mid range one available in India.
Intel Haswell Core I5.
256gb SSD disk.
13 inch Retina display.
Display. The retina display is everything they say it is. Everything is so incredibly beautiful and rich and deep.
Design. Its very thin and light. I had been using a Dell Vostro 1450 over the past year and compared to that, I can hardly tell when its in the bag.
Battery. The thing that makes me *punch in the air, high five self* the most is the incredible battery life. On a single charge with moderate usage it carries me through the day. So, that’s about 1-2 hours or charging and using it for about 9 hours. I plug it in once at work till its full and that’s it for the day!
I was travelling recently and I made sure to fully charge it before leaving. Knowing the battery would hold up easily through the journey was very reassuring. Knowing that I could work/watch a movie or 3 while waiting in the airport lounge and on the flight without having to worry about the battery was such a pleasant change.
Performance. It boots from powered off to desktop (including me typing in the password) in about 18 seconds. Sleep/wake is instantaneous. Opening the lid is all it takes. Although, I suspect, that is because of the SSD and the processor and less because of Mac OS. >.<
I haven’t quite pushed it yet in terms of performance but I can give you a basic idea of how it runs. I usually have a 1gb VM, Sublime Text 3 with a few tabs, Chrome with about 7-8 tabs, iTerm2 with a few tabs and Music generally being streamed (haven’t yet copied my music). It has absolutely no issues running this. At times Photoshop is open as well and there isn’t really any noticeable difference. Same when you plug in an external monitor.
Keyboard. I hate it, to put it lightly. I wrote and rewrote this sentence about 6 times before I could finally remove the foul language from it. But yeah, I really hate it. I keyboard hardware is great. Its extremely fun and responsive to type on. But the problem isn’t with the quality but the layout.
Command does what
ctrl did in Ubuntu/Windows. Except when it doesn’t. And in those cases it can be anything. There is no
super key as such. Although command can be super sometimes.
There is no home or end.
Cmd + left/right is home/end.
There is no page up/down. If there is a replacement shortcut, I haven’t figured it out yet.
Backspace is called delete. There is no delete key. Delete =
Fn + Delete (the key).
Command is placed next to the
spacebar. So now instead of using your little finger for
Ctrl + Key combinations, you have to use the thumb for
Cmd + Key combinations.
I’m finally, sorta, used to it after about 2 weeks. But I don’t want to be at all. It still feels unintuitive and very deliberate. And using any other machine afterwards which isn’t Mac has become automatically difficult.
I code for a living so keyboards are everything to me. I still have to think a bit before I can remember that
option + left/right does what
ctrl + left/right did.
ctrl + c/x/v/d is
cmd + x/c/v/d now. Its definitely a constant irritant.
Apple knows this obviously because they give you the option to remap these keys. And its not just me, all the programmers I know who use Macs face this.
Color. But but… I want it in black! This grey/silver is bleh.
Design. The surfaces are slippery. You don’t feel confident holding it in your hand. The texture feels like its constantly a bit dusty, even though it isn’t.
Ports. 2 x USB, 1 x HDMI, 2 x Thunderbolt, SD card reader, headphone/mic combined and the charging port.
3 USB ports IMO is the bare minimum. The 2 Thunderbolts could be 1 instead.
Considering its a 256gb HDD, I have my external hard drive connected to one USB almost all the time for music or something or the other. Mouse on the other port. How do I charge my phone now? In comparison, I am at the most using one display port, of which there are three. May be I’m missing something here.
Screen. I’ve never owned a display with a glossy screen. It doesn’t bother me 9/10 times, but that one time it is more or less unusable. If, for example, I’m sitting with my back to a window during the day, the screen is more a mirror than a display. May be there is some advantage to glossy screens that I dont understand.
Spares and upgrades. I looked for a Thunderbolt to DVI converter so I can hook my Dell monitor at home to it, but that costs nearly Rs. 4000. I might end up buying some local brand instead.
It cannot be upgraded because of the way the body is designed. I would’ve liked the option of being able to upgrade the hard disk or memory at some point in the future.
It might come off like I’m not happy with this. But I am satisfied, if you ignore the keyboard. Which I’m getting used to slowly.
As a daily work horse for a programmer it is pretty awesome. I would have liked some more memory, but I know I don’t need it. I would’ve liked the option of the Core I7 in the 13".
At Rs. 1,14,000 it is VERY expensive. Is it worth it? I don’t think so. Would I buy it? No. At about half the price you can get a laptop with much higher specs. The premium of owning an “Apple” product is just too damn high. Sure, the build quality is better, but that still doesn’t justify a 100% premium.
Seriously though, 9 hours is a bit ridiculous. Phones have less these days.