The new MacBook Pro announced yesterday is a bad upgrade. I’m sure it’s a fine computer on its own. But if a creative professional asked you, “Should I upgrade right now?” The answer is an easy no.
Apple had a diverse offering when both the Air and the Pro were being regularly updated. The Air wasn’t cheap but it was affordable and a remarkable experiment in how thin and light something could get. The Pro was a premium take on the more traditional laptop, with tons of connectivity, paired with Apple’s build quality and taste.
Somewhere along the way, they decided to only build variations of the MacBook Air. The Pro had to slim down and every existing feature had to adapt to being thinner and lighter (or be removed outright).
Apple have invested a lot into making things thinner and lighter. Designing their own chips and custom circuit boards, pioneering standards like Thunderbolt and USB-C, and all the insane materials science and hardware engineering. But I worry that they’ve invested too much in this image of themselves as the thin and light company. At a certain point, I don’t need my bicycle to be any thinner or lighter, I want safety or versatility or accessibility.
For a creative professional considering this new MacBook Pro, they would need to go to their desk and count up the peripherals they had and estimate how many dongles they’d need (both at their desk and when they travel). They’d need to check their budget to account for the higher price points. And after that headache, they’d need to take a look at the Windows ecosystem and think hard about whether there’s a better compromise there.
If this were a new MacBook Air, this new laptop could wear that name proudly; it’s a sports car version of a MacBook Air. But the only thing a Pro customer can see is a set of uncomfortable compromises.
So, this is some embarrassingly geeky nonsense but I was falling into a pit of despair a week ago and visualizing a scene from Neon Genesis Evangelion helped me climb out.
When I’m struck with sadness or depression, it comes on most strong in the mornings. My brain greets the day with some of the most terrifying and cruel thoughts and I replay these emotions over and over. The thought of getting out of bed seems impossible. I can lay there for hours just stewing in a deep regret.
I was feeling a particularly acute sadness this morning, not the usual fog of depression but a sharp pain in my chest. A thick black void deep inside my rib cage that robbed me of my perspective.
A trick I’ve learned is to give myself permission to rewrite my nightmares and to rewrite them poorly. I dreamt I fell down a hole? Well now there’s ice cream at the bottom and it’s delicious. A dream where everyone abandons me? Turns out they were there all along and we lived happily ever after.
With this in mind, I rewrote my despair. The black void became an unearthly floating sphere that suddenly grows solid. Cracks appear and then an arm bursts forth. A powerful being emerges and starts screaming in terror; it is my refusal to to suffer in silence. Its limbs twist and stretch and tear the sphere apart. They radiate with a cautious orange light and they grow… its arms become my arms, its legs become my legs.
It feels like something new but, at the same time, something I’ve always possessed. It feels scary, in a good way.
The visuals felt so familiar to me. It was only a few days later that I realized I was stealing from NGE.
It’s been six years since I was last in New York and it shouldn’t be surprising that a city of 8.5 million people feels so different.
Last time I was staying with a group of Australians in a spacious apartment in Korea-town, the Empire State Building loomed outside my window. We were starstruck tourists determined to visit every landmark and live the fantasy of living in the Big Apple.
Now I’m staying at an upscale hotel a block away from Central Park. I’m sharing the room with an American, we’re both quietly poking at our laptops, taking time during the slow parts of the afternoon to gather energy for nights of going out. We’re accessing a different part of the city, more of the expensive shows and bars.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve lived for so long in America now. Or, more likely, it’s because we’ve gotten so comfortable with our money and access that we’ve earned throughout our twenties. New York feels like it will always be here and there’s no urgency to try and understand it or live out its promises in the span of a day.