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Tech

I Bought A MacBook Air M1. I Like It.

There’s a fantastic quote in Isaac Asimov’s The Naked Sun that sums up the disparity in experience enjoyed by macOS and Windows users alike: Any world is queer to people who do not live on it. I suppose this sums up my journey when it comes to explaining my experience (Asimov’s quote is also quite relevant to another post I wrote on this blog) on both sides of the pond. But it also explains why I bought the MacBook Air M1.

My old MacBook Air

My 2014 MacBook Air was getting long in the tooth, and had some battery issues that affected my productivity; this was one of the main reasons why I opted for the MacBook Air M1. I think the main reason for this issue was that I upgraded to Big Sur. But, to be honest, I was pretty bad when it came to looking after the battery as well. I always used the device while keeping it plugged in. I understand that this issue is not applicable to the M1 since this was possibly an issue with the Intel chip as well. (I stand to be educated on this issue, and would appreciate any feedback, which you can provide by leaving a comment below.)

I know that there are many opinions being bandied about, and what you’re reading on this right now is an opinion as well. One life lesson I’ve learned is that it is good to function from two extremes — scarcity and excess. In a way this defines Windows and Apple. The reason I say this is because Windows is ubiquitous while Apple is still residing on the edges of niche-dom.

The Purchase

One of the greatest inconveniences as a writer is lugging around a heavy laptop with a charger when meeting clients. Add insult to injury here when the battery crashes to 75% within seconds and then blips out into darkness within a nanosecond or two. I loved this device while it lasted and couldn’t see myself choosing anything else. But it really was time for a change.

The packaging remains uninspired

They said that in your youth you start out as a liberal and become a conservative as you get older. In other words, you become set in your ways. I used to have Windows laptops throughout and buying a MacBook was like upgrading from a Nissan to a BMW. I just didn’t have the cash. Competition is great, and it is this requirement to push boundaries that has led Windows to come up with some excellent devices. But more on that later.

Inconspicuous yet aesthetically pleasing

One of the most endearing aspects of an Apple product is how minimalist their design philosophy is. Compared to the older MacBook, the packaging of the newer MacBook Air M1 seems, well, uninspired. The big reveal isn’t such a reveal either with the device being smaller while the backlit Apple logo being absent. I prefer the aesthetics of the MacBook Air M1 since it is finally inconspicuous (well, sort of).

The older Mac was bought from Abans while I decided to check out some other outlets and found that Techmart had some great user reviews on Google. The owner was super helpful and I made the purchase. The MacBook Air M1 cost LKR 238,900 while the 2014 MacBook Air in 2017 cost LKR 157,999. That’s quite an increase, but, hey, what can I say except that tech costs.

The Main Benefits

There’s been a huge hue and cry about the new MacBook Air M1 ever since it launched and there’s been a great deal of advertising on its speed etc. It’s all good stuff. Even Windows fanboys and Apple haters had to admit that this device is something that’s extraordinary.

1. Big Sur

For an entry level laptop, the premium quality really does shine through on this Mac. The macOS Big Sur update was the Achille’s Heel for my older Mac simply because its hardware just couldn’t handle the update. Yet I experienced Big Sur on the older Mac and on the newer Mac there’s no difference. There’s just the comfort of everything being same, and this is one of the highlights of Apple products. It’s a comfortable and easy transition from one device to another.

2. M1 Chip

I’m not a hardcore techie by any stretch of the mind, and while everyone says that this is a fast device, I’ll accept it. There have been no major issues per se. I just need my work done, and this new MacBook Air delivers on all fronts. The battery is fantastic as is the charging facility which is fast. The battery lasts forever and one really cool factor here that helps a lot when it comes to productivity is that you can just flip open the laptop and you are ready to Touch ID your way to action.

3. Retina Display

There’s no doubt that the screen on the MacBook Air M1 is fantastic, and watching YouTube videos and Netflix is a thrill. The brightness is great as is the viewing experience. It’s easy on the eyes, and just makes the world seems a better place (and it is all thanks to the super cool retina display).

4. Touch ID

Now, this is a feature that I’m relying on a lot. When it comes to privacy and easy access, Touch ID is certainly far better than anything else that I’ve used. I’m seriously impressed by its speed, and it has not faltered even once. This is probably not a fair comparison but the fingerprint scanner on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite sucks BIG TIME! The fingerprint scanner on my iPhone 7 is still functional and works much better than the Lite. This is just one example where Apple can justify the high prices that it commands.

5. Magic Keyboard

This is a nice touch. What is even nicer is the shortcut key for dictation, which is something that I use a lot. And compared to the older Macbook Air, this is far more effective and precise. The shortcut keys are easy to access and really does help when it comes to functionality.

6. Trackpad

The trackpad got some getting used to, but it has touch variations that are super useful. There is not much to say in this front since I’ve accepted this facility and it has reached a sense of normalcy where I don’t see anything special in it. This is just another perfect Apple feature that, well, works perfectly.

7. Siri

I rarely use Siri. I know it’s great, but there has been no need for it at present. (A note to self: Learn to use it more often.)

There Are Issues

I created a YouTube video using Filmora on How to Install Hyvor Talk on WordPress. It came out pretty well, but had a few issues mainly thanks to the screen size of the MacBook Air M1, which is a 13.30-inch display that has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

Some applications like Filmora are best used with a bigger screen

There were a few instances where the spinning wheel of death stopped my productivity in its tracks. Most of the time it was caused when rendering took place. The spinning wheel happened quite a lot on my older Mac.

This is a headache

The spinning wheel usually appears when an application freezes, or overloads your Mac’s processing power. Checking the Mac’s available storage space and RAM capacity can shed light on the potential causes of a frequent spinning wheel. But all is well that ends well. I suspect this probably wouldn’t have happened on a MacBook Pro M1. One other issue I face with the older Mac( and sometimes this Mac) is that Safari freezes. This is why Chrome is my go to web browser.

Enter The Mouse

I was always curious about the Magic Mouse 2. It is a fantastic experience with the whole novelty of swiping gestures promising a seamless and intuitive experience (yeah, I know, it’s all Apple lingo I’m throwing here, but it has been true to date). The mouse, which was also bought from the same place as the MacBook Air M1, cost north of an exorbitant LKR 20,000. Is it worth it? No, not really. But neither is a BMW, but I’m paying for the experience more than anything else.

Not such a big deal, but it’s certainly an enjoyable experience

Once the novelty wears off, it is just peaceful co-existence that you can look forward to with the Apple Mouse 2. There’s just one down side to this contraption and it’s known as being on the heavier side, which can be tiresome on your wrist.

Why I Left Windows

Remember the allusion to Nissan and BMW above? The truth is that both cars can get you from A to B, and that’s the main requirement, right? The same thing applies to both a Windows and Apple device. To put it succinctly the main reason I left Windows is because I was bored, and just required a change. That said the macOS ecosystem is a comfortable place to be in, and is something I don’t see myself leaving.

The Dell XPS 13 was in the running to help me make the switch to Windows

Actually wanting a change is not the only reason why I switched to Apple. I had a very bad experience with one particular Windows laptop in the shape of a HP ProBook 4520. I used to call it Hot Plate since it heated up so much that you could literally fry an egg on it. Add other issues like malware and a system that slowed down and crashed one too many times, it ended being physically abused out of pure frustration.

That said I wanted to check out the Dell XPS 13, but, the prices in Sri Lanka were just crazy. I came across the base model, which commanded north of LKR 300,000. This made no sense whatsoever, and so I decided to stick with Apple. So far no regrets at all.

Psychology Led To This Purchase

The Romans coined a term: de gustibus non est disputandum, which means tastes are not to be disputed. I think we’re drawn to call something beautiful whenever we detect that it contains in a concentrated form those qualities that are deficient within us.

I think the above paragraph gives a justification as to why people choose what they choose. I think this is why people choose religions as well. Our understanding of the psychology of taste can in turn help us to escape from the two great dogmas of aesthetics, the view that there’s only one acceptable visual style or that all styles are equally valid.

The diversity of styles (in this case either Windows or Apple) is a natural consequence of the many fold nature of our inner needs. It’s only logical that we should be drawn to styles that speak of excitement as well as calm, of grandeur as well as coziness given that these are key polarities around which are own lives revolve.

Final Thoughts

The real deal is that all Apple products offer you an experience and it promises ‘a something’ that goes beyond just pure functionality. If you want just functionality, which based on most complaints I hear, is a flawed functionality (aka Windows). I’m not going to bash Windows too much rather I will say that based on my experience thus far Apple certainly does things better. Yet this blog post is an opinion based on personal experience and comes from a person who is mainly a writer and a content creator. I’m sure Windows does a lot of things better and certain things like Power BI does not cater to Mac devices. Different strokes for different folks is what I’ll leave you with, and I’ll just say that the decision in choosing the right device ultimately lies in your hands.

Categories
Tech

Here’s Why I Switched To Android

Here’s Why I Switched to Android isn’t a tale about how bad iOS is. Rather it is a tale of boredom. Tolstoy defined boredom best — a desire for desires. Boredom does lead to terrible things like: starting a relationship, whoring around, busting up the last few thousand rupees on your credit card, or drinking a bottle of arrack while gurgling a melody in some ditch. 

Boredom: This is the Reason

Boredom can also lead to wonderful things like the start of something new like this blog. It’s fitting then that this is my first post. I would suppose it would be prudent to Thank God for modern capitalism, which has multiplied amusements and consumables. And, capitalism probably is the reasoning behind the statement — Here’s Why I Switched to Android.

I popped my smartphone cherry with a flagship phone (back when virginity was a thing). The first Android smartphone I had was a Galaxy Note 2 that ran on Kit Kat. One inebriated night, I slipped and the Amoled screen fell flat on its face and became a mosaic of shards. Despite a list of fancy vanity specs, there were hiccups like S Pen Notes crashing while typing important articles etc. 

Then I bought an iPhone 5S. This led to a 6S Plus, and finally an iPhone 7. There’s a reason I stuck with Apple products including a Macbook Air, which I bought in 2017. Everything was just better. And predictable. Any writer worth his salt will fall in love with Apple’s catchy terminology. The Apple Watch Sport’s glass is actually Gorilla Glass that had been used by many electronics for so many years. 

But trust Apple to serve up such plainess with a description promising goosebumps: “We used an alumina-silicate glass that’s especially resistant to scratches and impact. It’s fortified at the molecular level through ion exchange, with smaller ions being replaced by larger ones to create a surface layer far tougher than ordinary glass.”

Apple Music coupled with JBL headphones IS fat loss

Before I bought a Samsung, I’ll be honest: I was looking at an iPhone 11, but I was curious about what delights an iPhone 12 would bring. Yet, based on research, I realized that iOS 14, which the iPhone 12 would be powered by, is slated to offer the comfort of predictability, and not the chaos of excitement. Widgets are also on the cards, something that Android had since Adam and Eve romped around Eden. 

The Transition

So, what was the final deciding factor? It was cost. I trundled over to One Galle Face, checked out the iPhone 11, gave it a grunt and a look of derision (similar to one deployed by a Colombo 7 aunty from behind her Gucci spectacles), and went towards Samsung Lanka. 

The iPhone 7 cost me north of LKR 130,000 three years ago. The Galaxy Note Lite was just over LKR 100,000 with a JBL speaker thrown in; this purchase was made in August of 2020. When you have passed the 40 year old mark, you tend to be more pragmatic and conservative. The zeal to be cool is something that you resist (this is mainly because you are guaranteed to fail). It is this desire for pragmatism that leads you to research any future purchase with manic fervor. 

There are a few things that I miss about iOS like the buttery smoothness of the transition from app to app. I miss the privacy features and the industry-leading security that iOS offers. Apple Music is something that I use a lot, and this app crashed twice on the Note while playing Muse, which destroyed my sweaty rhythm on the treadmill. 

2 Reasons Why

Forgiveness can be extended to all these gremlins since the Note 10 Lite is a completely different beast powered by Android 10. Two important factors are key for me: 

  1. The incredible battery life thanks to a 4500 mAh battery and a 25W fast charger, which lasts close to 1.5 days with heavy usage, and 
  2. The ginormous screen at a price that the iPhone cannot beat. I’ve actually moved onto using the Lite for all my article writing much to the chagrin (I suspect) of my MacBook Air. 

I could go on about the camera, which is on par with the camera setup on the iPhone 11, but this is a redundant subtopic. Gone are the Instagram (ahem, foodstagram) days, and now functionality is what I’m after. I don’t hate iOS by any stretch, and I enjoyed how incredibly reliable it was/is. But, for now, the Lite as a midrange smartphone has got my vote. Speaking of midrange phones, the Lite behaves like a flagship, and I do think, at present, that midrange phones are the new flagships

The battery life on this thing is crazy good

Things have changed drastically in the smartphone world, even more so with our individual desires and requirements being all over the place. The best takeaway I can offer you today is that there’s a phone for everyone whatever the budget, and that Android and iOS are on par when it comes to most things.

Stuck wondering what to choose? Maybe a quote in Paco Underhill’s book, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping may offer an idea; an idea that you could unbox like your next smartphone — “How you present your ideas and information is just as – or more – important as the ideas themselves.” 

I’ll Conclude by Saying…

It is after all the idea that you are subscribing to, which you buy. Both operating systems are great like the devices they support themselves. Android, for me, is all about flexibility, functionality, and freedom of choice — it’s the perfect mix of ingredients to keep the spectre of boredom at bay.

iOS, on the other hand, changes people into an audience that has good taste in digital products. If you do decide to transition, remember that there’s a great deal to love in both ecosystems. The level of difficulty adjusting is all based on how long you’ve spent in the comfort of one operating system.

And on a final note, remember that a smartphone (whether it runs on Android or iOS) is merely a tool to access your content that is happily residing on the cloud.