I read an interesting article by Mark Ellis the other day which got me thinking about my biggest Apple purchasing regret.
To be clear up-front, I’m very happy with most of their devices, and quite snug in their ecosystem. While they do have their faults I’m happier to have them making my phone than Google or any of the interchangeable Android OEMs.
The runner-up has to be my previous laptop, the MacBook Pro 2012.
To be clear, the MacBook itself didn’t really do anything wrong. What really let it down was the keyboard, and the freaking Touch Bar.
The keyboard had no travel to speak of. It was horrible to type on. I really should have trusted my instincts when I was in the shop, rather than thinking I’d get used to it. It was never good for typing - and as someone who writes code as well as starting to dabble in writing text, that was a major drawback.
The Touch Bar also was not a good thing. It looked good, all fancy and stuff, but having things move around on you destroys muscle memory. It’s much better now I can rely on shift-F6 being in the same place the whole time, rather than having to think “what’s the Touch Bar showing at this moment? Am I going to refactor my code, or launch iTunes?”, and it's much more productive.
For reference - I’m currently happily typing away on an M1 MacBook Air - light, responsive, great battery life, and the keyboard is a pleasure to use.
However — the winner has to be the Apple Watch.
I got hooked on the idea of it, and it looked all nice and sleek when I got it. It was only after a while that I realised that the UI was clunky, and it was really useful for only a couple of things:
- subtly letting me know of notifications
- measuring your heartbeat, and maybe your steps.
A Fitbit can do the second two much, much more cheaply. Setting my phone to vibrate on the notifications I cared about approximated the first one.
I’ve also never really liked big watches on my wrist - I thought I’d get used to the Apple Watch, but I never did. (It has that in common with the MacBook - I really must learn to listen to my instincts more.)
It’s spent pretty much the whole of lockdown on the charger, and honestly, I haven’t missed it.
What has taken its place is the Pulse HR from Withings. Great battery life, light, and does what I need much more cheaply.
How about you folks out there? Any tales of “buyer’s remorse” to share, be it Apple gadgets or otherwise?
Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash.
Top comments (1)
I've bought three different versions of the ipod nano and two MacBooks over the years.
Two were good, one was dead on arrival, and when I got it replaced (next day), the replacement didn't enclude the engraved message I'd specifically had put on the original, and was clearly a used item put in a new box, no longer suitable for a gift.
One of the MacBooks was second-hand, and when I tried to upgrade its optical drive the machine bricked itself. I had been a laptop repair technicial for a few years at the point I tried.
The other MacBook was quite good, except that for the first month the WiFi didn't work for more than 60 seconds at a time, until Apple released a patch for it. I bought it for my partner, to replace the old one I'd broken. The experience pretty much put her off Macs entirely.
At one of my jobs, someone had their brand-new MacBook picked up, "repaired" and returned next day. They tweeted about it, saying how great Apple's service was. It was still broken, so they did it again. Another week, a third "repair". They continued to say how great Apple's service was, because what other manufacturer would be this responsive?
I said if it was any other manufacturer, I'd have had my money back by that point.
I don't hate all Apple products. Like I say, I liked the nano, and I appreciate a few things about the MacBook Pro I used for work. I just don't use the UI if at all possible; I SSH into it, use a real keyboard and mouse via barrier from my desktop PC, and pretty much use it as a docker server. It's decent at that, though docker is still an order of magnitude slower on a Mac than Linux if you're mounting large volumes from the filesystem.