It’s been about 3.5 years since I bought my current MacBook. That’s usually when I start thinking about what to buy next. I like to own the same machine for at least three and possibly four years and so historically I have spent a bit more money and then not a lot of time switching and fiddling. But as I think about the next laptop I am beginning to rethink my strategy for a number of reasons.
First, I am using less and less “desktop” software on my laptop. Really the only thing that I run consistently is a web browser (in fact I have Safari, Firefox and Chrome open all at the same time). I have happily stopped using Microsoft Office as we have gone towards Google Apps at the office. The only thing I find myself running occasionally is a local image editor but even that can increasingly be done in the browser.
Second, disk space is not as important to me as it used to be. I increasingly have files sitting in the cloud, especially when it comes to things that take up a lot of room such as photographs.
Third, one of the best parts of the switch to a Mac has been that I am on a Unix box locally. I am a fan of the command line and use vim for editing code. For the bit of hacking I do on the side I prefer Linux servers and so having a Unix locally is great. Running Linux does not require a super high powered machine.
So for the first time instead of “buying ahead” as Bijan just did, I am thinking about “buying behind” by going for a 13” MacBook Air. I love the form factor and weight of that machine and feel it can do anything I will need for years, although some people feel that having a Retina display will be a must.
But one thing is bugging me about this choice: the increasing iOS inspired control that Apple is bringing to MacOS. So a part of me is tempted to try a fairly radical experiment, which would be to find the nicest non Apple laptop and run Linux + Chrome/Firefox on it. If anyone out there has this as their setup I would love to hear what you are using how you like it.