jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

My Next Mac

So, yesterday I cleared off my desk and tried to work with nothing but my MacBook again. No standing desk, no external monitor. It looked great, but honestly, it felt terrible. I wound up hunched over the desk staring down at the screen. After an hour or so of this I decided, yet again, that this style of work is just not appropriate for me.

This leads me to a few interesting conclusions when considering what to buy for my next Mac. For one, I find a larger screen much easier to work with. The smaller screen is fine for when I’m loafing on the couch or traveling, but for day-to-day work it just makes getting things done harder. Secondly, the screen needs to be lifted to an ergonomically appropriate height. Photos online of beautiful desks with a single MacBook Adorable, a notebook, and a cup of coffee are nice, but I can’t see how anyone gets any serious work done on the computer in that environment. I always assume that whoever works that way doesn’t spend the majority of their day staring at the screen like I do.

So what’s next for me? I’ve been toying with the idea of only using an iPad Pro, and while I think I could work on it just fine, the overall experience would be ergonomically strenuous, and the workflows frustrating. The iPad shows promise, but until I can hook it up to an external keyboard, monitor, and touchpad, it’s not for me, not yet.

I love the look of the MacBook, but I just can’t work with it. I could leave it plugged into my external monitor all day, but there are a host of issues with that too. My monitor, a 24” Dell 4K, looks great, but it doesn’t have a built-in speaker or iSight camera like the old Apple Thunderbolt Display I was used to working with. The resolution is good for staring at text all day, but every time someone I work with wants to do a video conference or something similar I’ve got to either fish out my USB webcam or unplug the laptop. I could leave the laptop open to the side of the display, but I like having a single monitor to concentrate on.

Then there’s the wires. I’ve got a USB hub stashed in my desk drawer, which is plugged into a ScanSnap and a hard drive. The monitor needs power and a plug into the MacBook. The MacBook needs power. There’s too many wires.

Finally, since I have no speakers when the Mac is closed, I have an Amazon Basics bluetooth speaker on the shelf behind my desk. That works fine as long as I have sound being streamed to it. If I go for more then a few minutes without sound, the speaker turns off, which means I have to flip the switch on it to get it to pair again. Not ideal.

So, when considering my options for the next computer, I think there’s really only one choice considering my requirements.

Sounds like an iMac to me.

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