Would I Buy A Mac?

Those who know me know I’m somewhat anti-Apple. Most of it is because of how it treats the owners of and developers for iOS devices. But I’ve always found Mac a little annoying too. I owned one for 3 years in the aughts and used one for work for a few months this year. So with the possibility that Apple would announce new Macs around my birthday and there’s NOTHING in the PC laptop world compelling enough to warrant a purchase, I thought about what issues Apple would need to overcome to make me consider buying a Mac for the first time in 10 years.

1: Peripheral support

I have a wonderful mechanical, backlit, clicky keyboard and dual monitors hooked to a USB 3.0 docking station using DisplayPort drivers. I have been able to slot any PC laptop I’ve owned or needed to use into this setup. My most recent MacBook Pro wouldn’t work AT ALL with the keyboard, and because Mac has explicitly denied the makers of the DisplayPort drivers the ability to trigger “clamshell mode” (where it turns off the laptop screen), it runs slowly and jankily because it’s overtaxed trying to run three screens. I can’t get into clamshell mode and turn the laptop screen off because I’m not using a thunderbolt display, and that is not a technical limitation, that’s a CHOICE Apple made.

Both of those would need to work, and work well, with the new Mac.

2: Faster start and easier start-up optimization

My Windows 10 machines are ready to go within 30 seconds of pressing the power button. The Mac would hit login and then need 3+ minutes to boot into OS X. I tried multiple tutorials on improving this, but none worked. It was just a dog-slow startup.

3: Make XQuartz good or get rid of it

I love me a couple of open-source apps that run natively on Linux and Windows, but take advantage of XQuartz to make porting to Mac easier. Unfortunately, that just makes them run slowly and messes up the UI. While the developers should avoid XQuartz, as long as Apple makes it available and the developers are volunteers, I can’t blame them for taking the path of least resistance. Apple needs to up their XQuartz game or dump it. It’s a terrible middle ground.

And that’s about it

I got over all the stuff they used to give you for free, but then started charging for. I found better alternatives to Quicktime and got over my issues with Finder (somewhat). I got over them taking over the /home folder so I couldn’t exactly mirror my server. I even got over the muscle memory issues of switching back and forth between platforms.

They do make good hardware. Some might even say it’s sexy. And I could see myself using it. But 1 & 2 are absolute requirements, and 3 is just a pet peeve I’d really like to see dealt with.

So if they do announce a new Macbook Pro (and/or Air) next week, this is what I’ll be looking for.

2 Replies to “Would I Buy A Mac?”

  1. Hey Greg! 30 seconds to start? I’m pretty sure my two-year old MBP boots in 5 seconds or so, maybe 10. That’s thanks to an SSD so maybe it’s apple and oranges. I hardly ever reboot (once or twice a month) so it’s kinda a non-issue for me. Coming out of sleep every morning takes only a second or two.

    As far as your #1, I’ve never used a dock so I don’t feel your pain. I just plug in power, external display, and backup drive in a few seconds. Everything else is Bluetooth or on the network.

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