Disaster has struck. After 8 years of hard use, my faithful original retina screen 15 inch MacBook Pro decided it had had enough. What will replace it?
It raised the computer equivalent of a white flag, a folder with the question mark on it. Yeup, the screen really is that bad!
No amount of restarting, safe rebooting, SSD first aiding, or indeed swearing at it managed to bring it back to life. Well, not 100% true. To annoy me even more, after a few days on the flat battery naughty step, it seems to be working perfectly tonight!
It has been said that the Mid 2012 Retina was one of the greatest MacBook Pro models Apple produced. I'd agree. Free from the next generation butterfly keyboard problems, it was built to last. Apple possibly didn't bank on the likes of me running it in to the ground over eight years. A good innings for any device with a plug.
Isn't the move to Apple silicon just around the corner?
Sourcing a replacement would have been easier before this year's WWDC when Apple announced that Macs were going to transition from Intel to Apple Silicon. The Amex card would have been straight out to get the latest and greatest MacBook Pro there is. That really would have done nicely.
But under the shadow of a possible 'new silicon' lineup of MacBook Pros coming out in under 12 months, £3500 is a lot to pay for a computer that will be 'frozen' in the Intel ecosystem and eventually miss out on updates. We know Apple has pledged to support both, but we all remember the PowerPC/Intel move that gave users a few year's overlap. The move happened faster than anybody had predicted.
So the big question- I need a laptop right now, what do I buy?
The answer? A new 13 inch MacBook Pro. For the first time in 20 years, I have downsized from a 15 inch portable. Another little bending of the truth as I was a proud owner of a shiny Titanium G4 PowerBook in 2001. The headline wouldn't have been so clickable if I had said only 19!
I have tested the 13 inch before with loaners, but I've always had a 15 inch model as my main portable work computer. The key word here is portable.
When I'm editing, all the heavy lifting is done with an iMac Pro at the office. I don't do much editing anymore on my MBP. A powerful GPU and slightly more screen real estate isn't needed. I want something that is smaller, lighter and has a longer battery life. Just have to say here that the battery life on the old version MBP is an astonishing 13 minutes before demanding to be plugged in. (Makes note of a good idea for an article on trying to replace a MBP battery)
Why not an iPad Pro? I need to run Final Cut Pro X and Motion and just at the moment they don't run on iOS devices. I need the ability to fire up the Pro Apps to tweak a plugin, tinker with XML or checkout some forgotten keystroke or menu heading.
So I need a Mac and the 13 inch seemed a good fit. It has an Achilles' heel, the GPU which isn't separate to the CPU like its bigger brother.
Am I going to be sitting in the poolside stand rendering an FCPX timeline whilst my daughter does swimming training? Of course not, but the 13 inch buys me more time to do emails, writing, browsing and Wikipedia rabbit-holing. Without having to resort to my iPhone.
I have to say I'm rather liking the 13 inch MacBook Pro, it fits on an edit desk better and eventually when I don't have to carry around two laptops, I'm going to downsize the bag. That's had a good innings as well as I bought it to house the Powerbook G4! Unlike the many different 15 inch Macs it has carried, the Crumpler bag has been in the washing machine three times.