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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Editor Voices his opinion on the Apple Watch and MacBook versus the corporate Dell desktop

Every Dog has their day, every blogger has their say.

I haven’t published an opinion piece in some time. I decided to wait before saying much about the MacBook and the Apple Watch. 

I should state that I haven’t held or used either device. Well, that didn’t stop lots of other bloggers from an opinion. So here goes mine.

People, these devices are the first generation! Expect bugs in the firmware and the hardware upon cold-eyed inspection. I didn’t buy the first generation iPhone and iPad, but waited until Apple worked out the kinks and introduced new features.

These devices blur the line between fashion and utility. Anyone who can afford an Apple Watch right now probably wants it to show off to their friends and enemies at Coachella or other fashionable venues. I would expect a substantial portion of the market for Apple Watches to have to decide whether to wear the Apple Watch or the Tag Heuer or the Rolex. If you want to go scuba diving, pick the Rolex over the Apple Watch.

As for the MacBook, it’s the new super-skinny notebook. It’ll take some time before it finds its niche in the Apple ecosystem. Given the choice and depth of your pockets, do you go with the MacBook Air, the MacBook, or the MacBook Pro? 

I won’t dump my MacBook Air. I figure I still have several years of life left in it. I could wish for a higher resolution screen than 1366 x 768 in my 11” model. Lots of people, though, still get professional work done with the 11” model. I also like the fact that it comes with two USB 3.0 ports that fit my portable USB 3.0 hard drives and all the stuff I bought with USB 1.1/2.0 plugs.

If I may venture an opinion, super-skinny notebooks with only 1 or 2 USB 3.1 ports won’t make sense until wireless docking between these notebooks and their peripherals becomes mundane. Wireless connectivity between notebooks and All-in-one printers & scanners is commonplace. Keyboards and pointing devices use Bluetooth. Now comes video’s turn. 

You need a wired connection to achieve full-motion video display. A wireless video display, such as between an iPad and a notebook, only works for text and still pictures. Music videos exhibit artifacts when viewed on a state-of-the art wireless display. 

Mass storage will present the final frontier in wireless connectivity. You can back up your notebook to a wireless hard drive if you don’t mind waiting for backup to start after you go to bed. You can stream music or a video from a wireless hard drive, too. 

Booting a large app such as Microsoft Office from a wireless hard drive is a non-starter for now. A possible interim solution, of course, is to keep the apps on your local hard drive and access the data from another hard drive. M. Christopher Stevens of Otherworld Computing wrote a procedure for using an external hard drive with either a local SATA connection or an external USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt connection for hosting your data. 

To return to the original topic, a lot of people will buy the Apple Watch and the MacBook as fashion statements as much as for their value as portable computing devices. Dell may hold the corporate market, where your Dell desktop or laptop makes the same fashion statement as your company coffee mug or polo shirt. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


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