the writers laptop dilemna

I was given my first MacBook in the spring of 2012 as a birthday gift. It was a computer that I used heavily on an almost daily basis for three years. I used it so much the paint on the palm rests faded to reveal a black finish. Even though the computer was already a year old at the time I started using it, it took about two years for the little guy to show any signs of age.

I’ve never been too attached to one tech company or another, but whenever anyone asked me what laptop they should be looking into I would always point them at MacBooks for a computer that would be incredibly reliable and easy to use.

Last year I found myself settling into a new place and job. I figured that since I was not writing on the go so much that I could buy a desktop. I was flush with money for the first time in my life and splurged on a way too expensive iMac. I have no complaints with the computer, the screen is huge and beautiful and it is faster than any computer I’ve ever used, but for someone who spends most of his time on a computer either browsing the web or in Google Doc’s, there’s just absolutely no reason I need such a monster of a computing machine.

Now things are much more fluid when it comes to my employment. I’m starting to look into doing a lot more freelance writing and with the possible changes in lifestyle comes a real chance I’m going to want a laptop again. I’ve really been kicking myself for not buying a laptop with a secondary display last year, but such is life. I really thought that finding a secondary computer would be easy, but it seems as if Apple is stuck in a transitionary period that probably only affects .01 percent of its customer base, namely me.

After playing around with last years MacBook w/retina display for a couple of hours I could tell that there would be now way I could write on that thing on a daily basis. The keyboard just has too much of a mushy feeling when you type. It’s a shame that the keyboard is so poor on a machine that in so many ways feels like it is built for a writer who wants to have something ultraportable but still capable of doing email and docs in a way that you can not do on an iPad.

In Apple’s press conference yesterday they made a huge deal out of how the 9.7” iPad Pro and it’s bigger, older sibling were designed to replace laptops for most people; and for some people that may be true, but anytime I want to respond to an email, or write a forum post - let alone get some real writing down - I still find myself getting off of my couch and walking back to the office to write on my desktop.

In some ways I like having to come into my office to get work done, it allows me to separate my work life with personal life. But there are just too many moments when I find myself on the road or, watching a game/debate on the couch when I would like to be able to flip open a laptop and get some thoughts written down. I realize that I’m not exactly a huge demographic when it comes to my computer needs, but all it would take from Apple is to release new MacBook Airs with retina screens or MacBooks with better keyboards and they would have as close to perfect a laptop that has ever been created for people who do most of their work in a word document.

As I’m waiting for Apple to give any news on when they plan to refresh their MacBook line I’ve found myself looking at reviews for Windows laptops like the Dell XPS 13” which happens to have everything I would want out of a laptop, probably more than I would need to be honest, and if it wasn’t for it’s price point ($1300 is still a bit more than I want to pay for a secondary computing device) I would probably make the jump back to Windows.

I realize we now live in a world where most people can get buy on using a tablet for their main computing device, hell a large chunk of people I know use their phone for just about everything. I’m wondering what the future is for laptops in general. Is Apple going to keep blurring the lines between tablet and laptop, or will they continue to support their MacBook line for the millions of students, businesspeople and the writing schmucks like me who just want a device with a great keyboard and a nice keyboard to look at.

There’s a big part of me that is glad that I never fully married myself to the Apple brand. I still use Chrome as my primary browser, dropbox for file sharing and Spotify for listening to music. I didn’t think I’d ever switch back to Windows when it came to laptops though, but that may be the brave new world I see myself in.