April 10, 2015 was a big day for Apple as they re-released what would become the new-ish version of their MacBook line, redesigned and re-engineered to be altogether different and most likely the beginning of an new generation of notebook computers.
There have been (and still are) many prognostications about what this meant for Apple, the MacBook Air line, and even its effect on the future of desktop computing, but this post doesn’t really care about any of those things.
What this post is all about is just chronicling my experience with it and my utter disappointment with the product as a whole. Atypically, I didn’t go out and buy the 12-inch immediately and wasn’t sure if I’d ever get one.
Overall, I didn’t get the sense that it would be as performant as I needed it to be with just an Intel Core M processor. And the cord management (or lack thereof) wasn’t super-enticing either. The only thing that really got me going was the Retina display, which, once you go there it’s really, really hard to go back.
But a few weeks ago I found an opportunity to try one out and I gave it a good solid 2 weeks.
I suppose it was doomed to fail since I had to eventually purchase two of them because the first one never fully booted out of the first startup sequence (and I’m still not sure exactly why it failed – I think it was hardware related).
So after having to manage a broken device, return, and then get another, I gave it a serious run through a typical work week. And then, I gave it one more week and it just didn’t perform like I wanted it to.
A few top-end things of note for me:
- Speed – It’s noticeably slower than my 11-inch MacBook Air and I wouldn’t even attempt any video editing of any sort on it or even open more than a handful of tabs in Chrome or Safari. As an engineer, I’m hypersensitive to speed in general and if I experience any lag of any kind it’s revolting. Being able to perform just basic tasks were not up to snuff. But, this wasn’t totally unexpected.
- Butterfly Mechanism Keyboard – I really wanted to love this new implementation but in short it didn’t work with my fingers and hands. I may eventually be forced to accept this new implementation and experience but, for now, I still have a choice and it’s just not for me.
- Retina – Oh gawd, I already miss it on the size and weight of that device.
- Battery Life – This was not as advertised. It didn’t last nearly as long as Apple said it would.
- Power Cord / Brick / Cable – The USB-C was neat but having to get one of those large and bulky Digital AV Multiport Adaptors (a few of them) is such a pain. I’m not going go whine and say that I really needed more ports, but, it would have been nice.
- Sound – The quality of sound is noticeably better, like significantly better. I really appreciate that in a box that size.
In the end, though, I’m returning it (both of them…) and I’ll wait until the second generation to give it another look. Until then, I’m still very much in love with my 11-inch MacBook Air and am anxious to see what they do with that particular product line.
We’ll just have to wait and see. In other news, I still have yet to test the new iPad Pro and the Apple Watch…