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MacbookI wrote earlier this year about my upcoming need for a new computer. My aging Macbook is, well, showing its age, and I was no longer sure if the price premium on Macs was worth it for me given how much of my day-to-day work I have offloaded onto my iPad these days. I also wasn’t sure if I would not be better served by ditching all the Mac gear and buying a tablet solution with a full Microsoft OS…

Well, I have been doing a ton of comparison shopping, and here is my verdict—I am buying Mac again. Here’s why:

1) The ‘price premium’ is only really a premium if you buy on the bottom end. When I looked at Windows-based ultrabooks, they were indeed much, much cheaper than a Macbook was— I found an Acer model that was under $300. But here was the kicker: that fine piece of technology had a 2-3 hour battery life! Not good enough, even if I do use my iPad more when I am on the go. When I started looking for tough yet light Windows machines with a comparable battery life to the Macbook, I found that those models did tend to have more comparable prices too. So if I have to pay $1000 anyway, why not stick with what I know?

2) There is something to be said for the devil you know. I found that the more I talked about it, thought about it and compared specs, the more I was twisting myself into knots trying to find a scenario that would let me keep the setup—both for hardware, and for workflow—that I have now. And I finally decided that if I was going to keep it, I should just keep it. I was debating all sorts of compromises, including dumping my ebooks into a Dropbox folder and loading them onto my devices from there to avoid needing Calibre, and offloading my iTunes library to the Beloved’s computer so I wouldn’t need one at all. And it just got too complicated. In the end, I decided that what I needed was pretty much what I have now, just not five years old and getting sorta pokey.

3) There may be only a few things I really need to do on my computer, but when I need to do them, I need to do them. Yes, I can write and email and web surf just fine on a tablet. But I can’t work out with one—I’ve invested some time over the last year or two ripping all my workout DVDs onto my computer so I can stream them via Air Video onto an iPad or television anywhere in the house. I value that ability. And sure, the scanning and ripping may only involve a handful of new purchases a year, but when I need to do it, I need to. Same with Sigil—I am not a major ebook producer by any means (although one of my new year’s resolutions is to learn!) but I can’t abide typos in any of the ebooks I buy, and I value having the capability to fix them. I need Sigil—not for hours and hours a week, but even so…

I do think we are getting close to the time where a tablet might be all you really need. But, after some soul searching, I decided that for me that time has not yet come. If it were not for the Calibre library—or the iTunes music I use for school—or the exercise videos—or the handful of minor, but vital tasks I do which still rely on a proper computer—then maybe. But, for me, not yet. By the time I am ready to buy the computer after this one, it might be a different story. We already have full Windows tablets. Maybe we’ll get full Mac tablets too. Or maybe, by the time I am ready for my next one, the landscape will have changed in some significant way I can’t yet predict. Right now though, I need another computer. And I am sticking with what I know.

 
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