Why I'm Back on a Mac

I sold my Surface Pro 3 a couple weeks ago and bought a MacBook Air. Less than a week later, I returned the MacBook Air and bought the new MacBook. Yes, the controversial, expensive, not very powerful, only has one port MacBook(a review is forthcoming). My problems with the Surface Pro 3 — the less-than-stellar keyboard, the abysmal trackpad, the unreliable WiFi — never became more bearable. Neither did the Windows 8 App Store. Plex struggled to stream SD video. Comixology  needed to be reinstalled monthly. Google outright refused to create a YouTube app.

After nearly a year of trying, because I really do love the concept, I gave up on Microsoft’s grand experiment. Before the Surface, I was always a Mac person. Apple has their faults, not the least of which is the way they have stumbled time and time again in the world of enterprise computing. However, their build quality is second to none, and for home use the Mac shines.

It would be disingenuous to say that Windows laptops never match the build quality of a Mac. We use Lenovos almost exclusively at my place of employment, and they’re all solid and well-constructed. I use a Thinkpad Yoga S1 every day, and it’s a perfectly useable computer, save for the abysmal trackpad. I think Apple builds better hardware than anyone else, but it’s not impossible to get a well-built Windows PC.

There are other issues I have with Windows, though, like the fact that the UI simply doesn’t scale properly. This is as much on third-party developers as it is on Microsoft, but on a high DPI display nothing looks consistent. Apps that were written with them in mind look good, but apps that don’t support scaling look tiny and become nigh-unusable. If you use both a high DPI monitor and a regular one, you have to either work with tiny UI elements on the high DPI screen, or huge ones on the standard DPI one. Apple’s methods for UI scaling waste lots of computing power, but they maintain a consistent experience. It’s never jarring to open an app, because you never find yourself faced with icons smaller than the mouse cursor.

I’d talk security, but at this point security is more about the user than anything else. If you’re careful on a PC, you’ll be safe. If you’re careful on a Mac, you’ll be safe. If you instead decide to download a bunch of pirated software from BitTorrent and install everything your computer prompts you to, you’ll wind up with issues on either platform.

Apple’s efforts to integrate functionality between iOS devices and the Mac OS are nice, but I don’t use them much. In fact, sometimes I wish I could turn them off. Every time my phone rings, my home becomes a cacophony of notifications that continue for seconds after I answer it. I have exactly one friend that I FaceTime with, and even that’s somewhat rare. I use enough cloud storage that iCloud isn’t a good deal, and I moved to Lightroom when I got the Surface Pro 3, so I’ve never even looked at the new Photos app.

At the end of the day, I’m willing to admit that being Mac-centric is as much a personal choice as it is a reasoned one. I don’t feel a need to get swept up into a platform war. Every so often, it’s nice to check out what the rest of the world uses. In the end, though, I’m happy where I am. I really don’t need much more of a reason than that.

Posted on June 6, 2015 .