Two Loves: Mac or Pad?

The right tool for the job is the guiding principle for how we choose cars, homes, and computers. With greater awareness of the job, and our own skill sets, we gradually learn what tool best matches what job.

In 2010, iPhone 4 removed my need to carry around four separate tools: a ridiculous Samsung Omnia which couldn’t actually operate as advertised, an electronic dictionary because of the Omnia, a 3rd generation iPod, again because of the Omnia, and I eventually got an iPod Touch to try out a crazy new thing called ‘apps’.

The 4 was an amazing tool which leapt past all four previous daily tools I employed, embodying more too – a calculator, a torch, Internet accessibility, texting – and it was beautiful! The Omnia looked lovely, luscious red with silver highlights, but Windows Mobile shoved behind a resistive screen murdered that skin-deep attraction.

Where that combination served to also murder my brand-loyalty to Samsung, it birthed my interest of Apple. For years I had never specifically focussed on Apple, yet the permanent haze of negativity surrounding the company in blogs, the news and from people’s mouths coloured my opinion.

After using the 4 for two years, and the 4 is still my favourite iPhone, I saw the progress Google had made in its efforts to copy Apple and in trying to murder the company that had helped it so much, with code it had stolen. I also didn’t really understand any of that in 2012, but this was the beginning of the end of my ignorance.

While the iPad launched in 2011, it wasn’t until the iPad mini changed my attitude to both computers and Apple in 2012. The Mini, combined with the nasty, horrible disaster of the HTC whateveritwas, I finally began to ask questions:

1. Why do people say good things about Android?

2. Why do people say bad things about Apple?

3. What do I need and want?

The hugely pointless court case about Samsung’s theft of Apple IP was perfectly coincidental with my own questions, and with the pain of betrayal – and huge expense – still fresh in my mind with the Omnia, I began analysing public opinion about all related companies.

Despite having in writing that they had done everything they could to copy Apple, Samsung gradually paid virtually nothing for its infringements. Despite lying repeatedly throughout the entire process, blustering and poisoning the well, the general media, and bloggers in particular, not only down-played Samsung’s culpability, but derided Apple with the most callous and scathing remarks – which of course were all baseless.

Having done a research study of news services in Australia at high school, this public media discourse of Apple began to trigger my values, the same values which lead me to no longer own a television: I despise liars.

And following the court case and the wilful stupidity in the media surrounding it, I realised that American-sourced media and news is absolutely full of bullshit. That goes for the bloggers paid by Samsung, Microsoft and Google to be on message about their horrid, cheap-yet-expensive, insecure and anti-privacy products and services.

The iPad mini and the iPhone 4 demonstrated their worth to me day and night, and with the liars in the media and the ignorance from people’s mouths, I felt set against the world in a way. Certainly not a new position, but having technology as the basis for isolation was a new thing.

As the meme of Walled Garden sprouted up, I became convinced that people who bad-mouthed Apple were basically quite stupid. And let’s define stupidity to clarify my perceptions.

Stupid is the absence of thoughtfulness. Since about the mid 90’s, spreading from TUSA via the Internet, entertainment, and policy, being stupid has gradually become some sort of benefit for many people, I assume in part due to their being of low IQ, but mostly because many people do not want to take responsibility for their own behaviour, thoughts, or feelings.

The plagues of people who regurgitated the fear, uncertainty and doubt about Apple’s App Store was boggling. After thinking about it a while, I concluded that, yes, I would rather be in Apple’s Walled Garden, where everything is safe, beautiful, manicured and wonderful, as opposed to Windows’, Android’s, or Linux’s Diabolical Jungle Nightmare.

I don’t need a flashlight app – no, not included with the smartphone’s operating system (wtf???) – to access my contacts, network, phone number, or have access to the bloody kernel! Google is a reprehensible company and guilty of myriad criminal conduct.

Much like Microsoft and Samsung.

Back in the Walled Garden, no apps required access to anything except sometimes location services. And even this was advertised by paid assholes as a bad thing as an ‘…Android does this too!!’ Albeit with absolutely no context or real comparison. Ten years later, I still have ‘people’ angrily demand I defend Apple’s location services function.

Meanwhile, back with iPhone 5 and iPad mini, I was enjoying continuous updates and security patches which no Android phone gets. As I moved on to iPhone 6 Plus and iPad mini 4, the ridiculously newly-named Google, ‘Alphabet’, was still shooting itself in the foot, leg or face in its stupid attempts to bring Apple down.

What a great company – full of shit and trying to stab those who helped and still help support them. Google and everyone in the company ought to be sent to live in a third world nation so they may best be familiarised with those whom they exploit. Just for fun.

As I moved forward, I began to discover more and more history, as in actual facts about Gates, Jobs, Schmidt and the shills they paid to write PR. I lost interest in building and upgrading Windows PCs and laptops, and finally bought my first Mac mini in 2015. Having hated OSX since it first came out, I was willing to try MacOS Mavericks simply because it was derived from iOS elements – which is in my opinion the best OS on the planet.

The Mini I quickly upgraded with a dual-drive tray – 500GB SSD + 2TB HDD – and 16GB RAM. Although it was a 2011 model, I have had absolutely no lag or issues with it since then. But shortly after, Apple released the original iPad pro.

Love at first sight ensued, yet despite this, I kept using the Mac as my main computer. iOS wasn’t so good for iPad until two years ago, and I had been viewing iPad through the lens of iPad 2 and iPad mini until that point. My attitude didn’t really change toward iPad until split screen was further developed in iOS11, and it was at this point that iPad became my main computer at home.

Cook had stated repeatedly that he used iPad as his main computing device, and my love for the 12.9 Pro really pushed me to adopt it. Usability improved with 12, ending the myriad dead-ends and misses of iOS9. Finally the iPad was becoming something not just usable, but better to use than MacOS, but this race isn’t finished.

I really love the way Apple keeps refining, adjusting, ameliorating and improving its products. The huge success of iPhone, iPad, Watch and AirPods all reinforce Apple’s continuing investment in these products and their services. The Mac has been a very long-term business, yet due to its profitability and cultural significance, continues to march forward.

The key point which lead me to a direct comparison between Mac and iPad happened at the start of 2019 when I was given a 2011 MacBook Pro.

Perhaps you may consider comparing an eight-year old computer with a four-year old tablet a little implausible, but let’s consider this: most people on the planet do not own a brand new Apple, and more salient a point to consider is that Apple still supports both with patches and updates – and in the case of the iPad pro, new OS updates, too!

After putting an SSD and 16GB of RAM into the MacBook, it runs without pause or delay, and in real-world comparison, I notice no particular difference in loading webpages, documents, photos or doing chats, whether it be Messages or the nasty and ugly Facebook.

Between these two devices, the Mac definitely wins with keyboard and touchpad, and the iPad definitely wins with quad speakers, gorgeous display and silence. Essentially, I have found little to no difference between the software side in terms of interaction and function, but it is nice that I don’t have to keep cleaning the Mac screen so much.

The software difference, however, is less of design and one of my interaction with the operation system designs: the Mac feels so much better at 10.13 than at even 10.10, but the iPad for me has always been vastly superior in terms of simplicity and ease of use, even with 7, 8 and 9. The iPad didn’t really seem well organised until iOS 11, to me.

Yet now, at the end of 2019, Apple will be releasing iPadOS, focussed specifically on iPad as its own computing platform. I have to say ‘about time’ considering there are three times more iPads in use than Macs, and even here the interaction style is being extended to a pointing device.

By using the iPad with a pointing device, perhaps the ugly and unbelievable problems of miss-types, repeated key presses and smudgy screens will be a thing of the past. I fully agree that iPad must be a touch-centric device, but typing is an essential and vital function for any computing device to serve!

Watching the keynotes about iPadOS convince me that Apple has the innovation to bring iPad into the realm of standard computing usage scenarios, further expanding Apple tech across the globe. While the Pro models demand amazing prices, the Air and Mini are more than functional and are eminently accessible to at least two and a half billon people.

I’m certain the MacBook Air will continue floating down in price, also bringing computing to those who live on more than a subsistence income, yet the new computing paradigms and usability of the iPad simply places it on a much more evolving trajectory than Mac.

The question of technology is a two pronged fork – one being software, the other hardware: Unix-based systems simply out-perform the ugly garbage of Android and Windows in every respect; and ARM processors the same in comparison to the feeble architecture of x86. Apple’s prescience with Human Interface Design is also light-years ahead of anything else available.

I love – LOVE – using my old 2011 MacBook Pro, and I automatically keep it clean and operating happily. But I also LOVE my 2015 iPad Pro, which delivers immersive sound with a beautiful display, and the detachable keyboard – the best one of which I’m now using is a Zagg.

I await the sale of an iPad Pro with a detachable keyboard with built-in trackpad. This will be my third love.