I use and love an “Early 2016 12-inch MacBook” every day. Except for the part where it has a long dumb name. Thanks Apple.
It’s my main writing machine, and my main portable doing-computer-work-stuff machine.
I’m using it right now to write this words thing.
A few years ago, when Apple launched the iPad Pro, the pitch was “replace your computer with an iPad!” It still is the pitch, in fact.
I was sitting here thinking about it, and they’re right…I could totally do everything I do right now on an iPad Pro with a keyboard.
But then why the hell does the 12-inch MacBook exist? And why did I buy one?
Come with me on an introspective journey as I try and figure this out with lots of exclamation marks.
The MacBook is more flexible, technically, since it’s a “proper” computer with a “proper” operating system.
I can install shit on it straight from the internet that didn’t come from the app store, and I can plug in USB devices.
My sole USB-C port lets me plug in USB devices like this Schiit Fulla DAC/Amp. But Apple’s official USB adapter is stupid, and so I had to buy that little aluminum one you see in this photo. It’s a life-saver.
The iPad Pro doesn’t have any USB ports. Well, it has a lightning port, which is like a USB 2.0 port dressed up in fancy clothing by Apple engineers. But it does me a fat load of nothing.
I guess I could plug my lightning ear pods in there, and the iPad Pro does have a headphone jack, so I wouldn’t really need my little amp.
Of course, the MacBook also has a totally fine headphone output system, and yet I still like being able to use the DAC and more better powerful good headphones.
And sometimes I might want to plug in a USB drive or something. You never know. Future Alex is unpredictable.
The MacBook screen is 12-inches, and the biggest iPad Pro is…
Huh. Well then.
The iPad Pro screen also has more pixels in it.
Well crap. That’s…hmm.
I really like the butterfly switches on the MacBook keyboard. For me, they are a perfect blend of mechanical precision and laptop tinyness. I like that they respond on every part of the key, because I am a sloppy typist.
I didn’t learn to type through traditional means. I just kind of figured it out on my own. Basically, I memorized the position of all the keys on the keyboard at a young age. Then, I trace an imaginary visual path around the keys in my head that contains the letters I need for the word I want to write, and then I make whatever fingers are available hit those keys. Sometimes I even think about words this way when I’m not actually typing them.
Every time I explain this to someone they look at me like I’m crazy.
But anyway, I think the MacBook keyboard is nicer than the iPad Pro options, and I love the Force Touch Trackpad (tm). I also have a mouse I never use stuffed in my bag.
The iPad Pro has touch input. I wish that the MacBook had this!
The MacBook lineup is the last premiere portable computer lineup in the world that doesn’t have touch input. And no, the touch bar on the MacBook Pro doesn’t count. That’s basically just a strip of keyboard, not full touch input.
Why Apple. Why.
Was it so I would write rambly articles like this one and have an existential meltdown and ultimately buy more devices than I really need? O…Oh.
Okay I get it.
Haha no I’m just kidding the MacBook doesn’t play games. Well, it can play a limited selection of the limited Mac library. Sometimes I can use it to play Torchlight or whatever.
With an iPad Pro, I could rip the display right out of the keyboard when I get bored and instantly be playing Crossy Road or Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed. And I wouldn’t even have to take my phone out of my pocket.
Thanks to its small form factor and use of off-the-shelf Intel hardware, the MacBook is…
Hold on a second, I’m being handed something here.
The 12-inch MacBook is more expensive than the iPad Pro???
Guys I Screwed Up
I probably should have bought an iPad Pro. But I wasn’t really thinking about it when I bought this MacBook. Which I still love!
I wanted something that would be like my Chromebook, but more.
I wanted to be able to run the Mac version of Scrivener…and then a few months later the iOS version came out. Crap!
I wanted to have something that would quickly sync with my desktop…and then I switched back to a Windows desktop machine. Blast!
I wanted something thin and cool that I wouldn’t have to plug in very often.
Well. It still does that one.
Okay, time for me to build a time machine and go back in time and convince myself to buy an iPad Pro. In that alternate reality, this very article is about how the keyboard is frustrating, about how I have no USB ports, and about how I wish I could install third party apps…and ultimately, about how I should have bought a MacBook.
Apple, you clever bastards.