This week’s been quiet and yet not so quiet. I finished reading Less Than Zero by Bret Ellis, which confronts heavy themes for a relatively thin book. I was sick of all the hedonism and taboo and needed a sea change by the time I was done. Having read American Psycho ten years ago, I subsume that Ellis’s run-on style and detestable characters are pretty similar across his fiction; it’s only the settings and circumstances that change. During that time, I also saw Instant Family with a chum. Instant was a likeable movie with lots of laughs and I heard was based on a true story.
The highlight of the week was getting my new gold MacBook Air (MBA). I’ve been using a mid-2013 Air for the last few years. I loved the battery life, the lightweight size, and the connections. My old Air had a charging port, two USB 3.0 slots, a Thunderbolt port, a headphone jack, and an SD card slot. They were really useful, as you can plug in various cables and having little worries. You could sync all your photos from your camera directly to your comp. The only external that I spent considerable money on was the SuperDrive, given that the Air didn’t have an optical disk drive. To sum, it offers a lot and doesn’t weigh that much.
However, as the years galloped on, the Air was left behind. New keyboards were being included on other MacBooks, retina display was the brand standard, and Touch ID the new norm. USB-C was fast becoming the status quo across the board, and Apple in particular was turning stingy on ports. All this time, the MBA retained its minimalist, silver appearance and tech specs that hardly evolved. Five years since my old trusty notebook was released, Apple finally decided to make some changes. Being released late last year, the newest model had retina display, Touch ID, a new trackpad, the latest Apple keyboard, and just two USB-C slots. The astonishing weight of 1.35 kilos was even lowered to one and a quarter kgs.
At first, I did not consider upgrading. My laptop was still serviceable, and my first impression was that it was overrated. The more I read about it though, the more good things I heard, the more convinced I was that now was the time. I played around with the new Air, and I’ll admit that the keyboard was foreign. Unlike the old scissor-like keyboard that somewhat resembled retro desktops, this one was flatter, and seemed more condensed. The keys were closer, and there was less effort required when typing.
I knew I wanted the gold colour. My other Apple devices were either silver or off white, so gold was a breath of fresh air. The next big decision was whether to get 128 or 256 GB. My previous one was the former, and I know it wouldn’t suffice. All in all, the tech specs were pretty good: 8GB RAM, 256 GB internal storage, Retina Display, Touch ID, Force Touch trackpad, the latest keyboard, in gold colour, all while retaining the same lightweight design. The screen is also slightly different, with slimmer bezels at the side. The same is true of the keyboard, having slimmer sides than before and thus a wider keyboard). Most people wouldn’t splurge on an Apple laptop, but I dare say it’s worth it. If you’ll be spending some time in front of a computer, then why not get the best?
I still find having two ports rather thrifty on Apple’s part, but the other features as mentioned above, make up for this. You either have two and a thinner design or go for the MacBook Pro, which has four. Be prepared to carry around some added weight though, and the same colour schemes. Meanwhile my MacBook comes bundled with various pre-installed programs. From Safari to Mail, Notes to Apple News, iTunes to Keynote, Photos, and Pages, there’s a lot of options for the artist in me. Earlier in the week, I migrated some of my previous content onto this new computer. The process was kind of fast; I guess having double the RAM makes a lot of difference. Meanwhile, the dual-core 1.6Ghz i5 processor is pedestrian. My old one also had an i5 processor but was at 1.3Ghz. To be fair, the former had a fourth-generation i5, while this one has an eight-generation type. Many potential buyers have complained of this sophomoric engine. With most top of the line ultrabooks being quad-core and over 2 Ghz, this is something that needs to be addressed. In this case, you trade a slightly less powerful Mac for portability and reliability. In particular, the battery is almost as good as its predecessor. Touch ID has been quite handy. With the Retina Display, images are crisper and much brighter. Apple fans have waited a long time for full HD (high definition) on an MBA. It’s about time.