This week in Mobile Computing, two things happened. New Macs arrived; so did an iPhone.
First, Apple finally revealed the start of its move to the new brains and brawn of its Mac devices: their in-house custom built chip called “M1.” The hype was high in the announcement, with claims of high power/speed plus crazy long battery life. Initial benchmarks look promising if not surprising. Did Apple under-promise and over-deliver?
Second, after passing on my iPhone 7 to join the Android life with a new Moto G Power phone earlier this year…I switched back! Now I’m enjoying my new-to-me iPhone 8 Plus; I missed iPhone.
Not gonna lie: the new M1 MacBook Air and Mac mini are compelling devices. Apple kinda gushed on the big-picture tech specs during their announcement this week. This geek was impressed.
Apple already has big mind-share and market prowess as an aspirational brand of just-works mobile computing, and I see no signs of abatement. It’s hard to resist. Only time will tell, though, if their new custom Mac chips will land well. Will this be just another iterative change or a transformative one?
What’s the big deal, really, about an M1 MacBook Air, for example? Well, on top of what’s already good about the device, now it’s:
- Quieter or silent (fanless)
- Faster (speed)
- Stronger (more powerful)
- Longer (much better battery life)
So if the MacBook Air was only very good before, now it’s great. Or if you thought it was great before, now it’s superb. To me, it’s all looking to be a bigger change than the mere annual spec bump, by far.
And this is just the start.
iPhone 8 Plus
Over the years, almost all of my Apple purchases have been of used devices. Because Apple stuff is such high quality to begin with, buying a three year old iPhone like I did this week is hardly sacrificing anything. In fact, I got a fantastic smartphone for a fraction of its initial price tag.
The particular one I bought is in serious like-new condition too! It had been encased and screen protected, and it even included the original unused EarPods. It’s truly immaculate.
I’m extra happy for this iPhone since it’s my first dual-camera and phablet version (I previously owned an iPhone 4, 6, and 7).
While I did trade off a few things in leaving behind my Moto G Power Android phone (most notably the nice ultra-wide camera and mega-long 2 to 3-day battery), I gained some great stuff: NFC for contactless payments, great water resistance for spills and pool drops, a 2x telephoto lens, and wireless charging for saving wear and tear on re-plugging in a cable a million times.
Above all, though, I got an iPhone. I missed it. The system and apps and hardware are just so nice and easy to use. And the main draw in switching back, for me, was the fact my wife and son had kept their iPhones.
I was hoping and kinda planning on leading my family to switch over to Android with me, but that didn’t happen! So with my kids using my old iPhone 7 under the Family Sharing I had set up, and with my wife sticking to Apple Music and iMessage etc, I kinda had to go back. Practically, it just made more sense and works out better overall.
It’s the Apple ecosystem that pulls you in and keeps you. And frankly, I really like it. I had even quit using Spotify, embracing Apple Music beforehand. The switcheroo was a no-brainer.
For a moment, when I was prepping to leave my Android phone, I had some anxiety. I wasn’t sure I could de-couple from it, being so entrenched in the Google-verse. Long story short, I just went for it. And right away, I was so glad to be using an iPhone again.
So yeah, I guess I give up. Take my money, Apple. I’m interested in more, because the Apple ecosystem of hardware and software gets better the more invested you are. AirPods, HomePod mini, Apple Watch, iPad, MacBook Air, MagSafe, rumored Tile-finding devices… What do I want for Christmas this year? Hmmm…
Yet I’m not too enamored. I’m still loving my simple and affordable Chromebook and, so far, am still relying on many Google apps and services or other 3rd-party ones.
Mobile Computing is my thing. It’s also Apple’s, and I think they do it best. Yet Google is strongest at cloud services. As always, I hope to pick what works best, not break the bank, and resist some marketing hype. But in the end, I’m still only human.
Hey, Siri! It’s me, Jason; I’m back.
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