Less More – Macbook

I've heard the accusations, that Apple is into anorexic design and that the 2015 Macbook is as powerful as a 2011 Macbook Air (though that is an i7 Macbook Air). Since I actually use every day a 2011 Macbook Air (4gb ram, i5, 256gb SSD), I want to comment on this.

Performance and Performance

For one, performance is measured largely through i/o which is not very accurate regarding day-to-day tasks (yes, I do play some games and watch video, do some video transcoding and editing, but it is not much of the life of use).

Limitations over the Years

Second, the only real problem I have with my current device is the ram limitation (it cannot support more than 4gb) which the Macbook 2015 nicely bumps to 8gb. Yes, that is correct, my processor is generally not a problem for me, but ram consumption is. The screen still looks great, the build is fine. 95% of the time I use this as my desktop so it connects to a second 23" monitor and I have a two screen system, with a separate wifi apple keyboard and magic mouse.

Ports and Connectivity

Third, the removal of ports is an interesting issue. Currently, I was in the habit of having an external USB HDD on one port and a splitter with printer, kindle usb connector and ipod shuffle usb connector. Then there is the display port, the audio connector, and the power connector. When I have to disconnect everything to move the laptop into the other room, it is a bit of a pain with five plugs. The challenge that is being presented by the two connector Macbook 2015 (audio + usb-c), is actually quite interesting.

There are two approaches here:

  • First, use a USB-C Multiport which is a 3-in-one splitter to HDMI or VGA, USB-3 and USB-C. This tidies up power, display port and a USB into a single cable.
  • Second, I've got to move some devices to other computers or the network.
    • The printer will move to a dedicated desktop (Mac Mini) in the next room. We print from both rooms about the same amount, so no biggie.
    • The external hard drive which is only used for Time Machine backup can be reformatted and moved to the Almond Plus router as a remotely mountable device (as how I used to use the Apple Time Machine device that was replaced by the Almond Plus).

And so, this challenge is actually quite good in terms of simplification and reorganization of resources and connectors. The only thing that should be done next is to get the audio to come out without a cable, which should be on the horizon at some point (within the next 5 years), and then wireless charging and connectivity (that is, some kind of NFC charging + video/network connectivity). This last one might take a while longer (say about 10 years).

Summary of the Upgrade

So, what I will do (next year, in 2016) is get a 1 year old Macbook 2015 (at some discount) and trade in my still very functional 2011 Macbook Air (currently worth about 10-15,000 THB). The model Macbook 2015 I will get is the 8gb ram with 512gb SSD. That retails for around 55,000 THB which is about what I paid for the Macbook Air back in 2011. I should get possibly 20,000 THB off with the trade in, so it will cost me 35,000 THB or around 1,000 USD for my next computer, which I expect to last another five years. Really, a bargain.

Or, I could hold onto the Macbook and pass it along to family members who would use it for light browsing, audio, video, etc. Really still quite functional after all these years.