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Monday, March 15, 2010


My MacBook is now a bit more than 4 years old, and I'm looking to get a new computer. I want to get a fairly fast one, so that I can use it for video editing.

I tend to mull over large purchases for months before actually going through with them. I had been thinking that I would get a mid-range MacBook Pro. I also looked into PCs, since I think the gulf between PC and Mac usability has narrowed. But although they're much cheaper, I'd have to spend more on software to get something equivalent to the Mac's Final Cut Pro, which I already know how to use. And I'd prefer a Mac anyhow. Then, looking at iMac desktops, I was reminded how much more computer you can get for less money, compared to a laptop. Since I tend not to carry my computer with me all that often, I started to come around to the idea of getting one of those.

Then, I realized: With an iMac, I could afford to get an iPad along with it -- as long as I got the cheap one, it'd be the same total price as a MacBook. I had initially dismissed the iPad as something I don't need. The several people to whom I've mentioned my plan have greeted it with a groan...there's significant skepticism about the iPad, and for good reason, since no one has used one yet. But I think it would actually make a good bit of sense for me. I often sit at the kitchen table or on the couch interacting with a somewhat claustrophobic version of the internet on my iPhone, and I'd read e-books if I had a comfortable device to use. The iPad is so thin that I think I'd be willing to put it in my bag and take it with me. And there's the potential for some pretty cool and/or useful apps that take advantage of a touch screen that big.

So, I think I'm going to try one out after they become available next month, and if it works for me, take the plunge. Feel free to try to talk me out of it...


eric said...

I think your comment about having a desktop mac is right on, especially if you're getting into video editing (which you should be using a mac/Final Cut Pro for regardless; there's no real discussion if you can afford it $$-wise). I personally enjoy taking a computer with me, and with the inexpensiveness of laptops that can do the basics these days, I think the dual computer model (inexpensive portable machine to complement a desktop with all you want to do on it) might be the thing of the future, and I doubt you'll be the only one trying such a plan.

When we take computers with us, we're maybe doing word processing and Internet applications (maybe some video watching, so that has to be considered, though since you can do that on things the size of cell phones, it's not much problem with that these days) -- we're rarely doing anything that needs all the features you might do when you actually sit at home or in the office with a desktop. Maybe the iPad won't be your portable devise, but I highly recommend the dual-machine model you're planning on embarking upon!

I figure in 10 years, the plan would be the obvious choice.

Teague said...

I agree, and I think notebooks with the same capabilities as desktop systems will move toward being a niche product in coming years, since (as you note) most of us don't need a full computer when out and about.

Given that the tasks are different when we're mobile, I'm wondering if the iPad and similar devices will be better suited to those tasks, as well as the spaces we do them in. E.g., when you don't have a desk, it may be easier to use your hand on a screen to browse the internet. I know I've always been a bit frustrated with attempting to use a laptop on a train or plane. But if you're doing email, for instance, you'll miss the keyboard, since it appears it will be pretty hard to type on the iPad without a surface to lay it on.