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Mac -my 1st love!

Following on from yesterday’s story of neglecting the obvious…

Macs- I'm still a Mac fanboy!

Although technically the Mac wasn’t my first Apple device – that was an iPhone 4 – the Mac is the reason I am here today writing!

If you’d told me back then that my affinity with Apple would have led me to spend my days writing & making videos about them, well…I’d probably have suggested that you go and lay down in a quiet, dark room!

And yet, here we are…

Yesterday’s story was all about my overlooking how much I love and use my Apple Watch – I’d just felt that I’d been neglecting it and needed to show it some love – by the way, yes, I am loving that new watch face! But the same is oddly true for my Macs. When did I last write about them?

Recently I’ve written a lot – possibly too much about phones as they are a highly focal part of our daily carry. Companies spend so much time each year dreaming up new ways to make us part with our cash for the latest & greatest phone. But you know what – something odd struck me last night…I don’t actually use the phone that much!

I’m probably using it less now than at any other point – partly from digital burnout and partly because of the watch.

But what I do use a helluva a lot is my Mac – and for that my love has never wavered.

Early doors

My very first Mac was a 2010 MacBook Air – the one you can spot just behind me in my videos. Oddly when I bought that Mac, I wasn’t much of a computer user, never mind a Mac user. I wanted one for all the wrong, vanity-driven reasons – they just looked bloody cool!

In my defence, I was exposed to them day-to-day. My business back then was a printing business and all artworkers and repro departments back then used Macs exclusively! I think but stand to be corrected, that Photoshop and In Design were pretty much Mac-only way back before Adobe took to the cloud as were many fonts.

And even outside of work many of my mates were musicians – jazz musicians for their sins, so I ended up in recording & session studios. Again Macs ruled the day in those environments as well.

So you can imagine when I left these cool temples of aluminium-clad Macs and went back to sit in front of my PC it felt pretty second-class. Because of that ‘exposure’ I just fancied a Mac! How could I have known how that first MacBook Air would start to dictate the last decade of my life?

Macs more than phones have fascinated me for the longest time. They look gorgeous and I’d wager a bet on the fact make me more productive and want to work more. Didn’t Stephen Fry once say much the same thing? Their sheer grunt and ability to shift work without complaint – at least the work I get through without skipping a beat – is astounding.

Life changing

Because of that first Mac, I started artworking myself for my print company rather than outsourcing it. The hard fact was that the Mac meant I was making better margins on my work and I was more in control too – something that always sits well with me.

I began to learn Photoshop, Illustrator & In Design skills – in old terms, I was now a Mac Op – hands up if you remember that job title!

Of course, it wasn’t long before I’d outgrown that first Air and bought an iMac – – again you can see that behind me in my set too.

And you know what – both those Macs still boot up – slowly, but they do both boot up and sort of work! Not bad more than a decade on eh!

And again, because of the Macs and the fact I’d subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud I then started to use other apps – in particular Audition. I spent almost a decade presenting shows on the radio – which led to podcasting.

Even though I know that being a Mac boy I should have gone the Logic route, I was happy with Adobe on the Mac and loved the way they worked together. And for podcasting, I’d also say Audition is better suited to the task anyway. If you need midi and instruments, sure, Logic, Ableton or Pro Tools wins, but for spoken word podcasts Audition reigns supreme in my opinion – but enough of that argument, back to the story…

I swear none of this would have happened had I not bought that first Mac on a fancy and a whim. What started as a fashion purchase turned out to be life-changing.

More ways than one

Nowadays most creative apps work on PC as well as Mac I know, but I just wouldn’t want to change – why would I?

I am an average Joe – not a coder, programmer or computer engineer. I’ve never torn apart a Mac or PC and fixed one or built my own – so I just want whatever machine I am on to work every day, and my Macs do.

I’m sitting here writing this story trying to cast my mind back and think of any serious issues I’ve had with my Macs – and possibly speaking too soon I know, I don’t think I have downtime due to the Mac not working. I’ve been purely Mac for over a decade at this point so that’s not a bad record.

Before switching to Mac I recall one day a Windows update coming down during the middle of a working day that took hours to install and just ruined my day. Thinking back, I even recall a radio host having his show ruined when an update started to install mid-show. I’m sure things have changed & hopefully improved now – but PCs were renowned for their slow and badly timed updates.

Macs just seem to work.

Loving the Mac

While the phone just sits there most of the day the Mac is being used – hard!

That’s why my focus should be more on the Mac than the phone – this is what (hopefully) makes me money and it’s what I spend hour after hour in front of. The work I do these days means hours of desk work but what better way to spend those hours than facing a machine that is built for productivity and seldom lets you down?

I had to wait a couple of years after Apple silicon was launched to finally get a post-Intel Mac. I kept hearing these outrageous claims of how fast they were – could they possibly be true?

Hell yeah, they were true!

By this point, my workflow had migrated to video editing and that is where the Intel Macs were starting to show how dated they had become. You can just about get away with editing on an older iMac, but you try exporting. Geez, that’s where you really see the difference. What had been taking me 40 or maybe 50 minutes to export was slashed to around 8 or 9 minutes. The claims were substantiated – the impossible was true.

I laid down an awful lot of cash last spring on my 16-inch MacBook Pro and a Studio Display. OK, I’m not yet sure if they have paid me back yet, but that’s more my shortcoming than theirs.

Best yet

Deviating ever so slightly, the Studio Display although not a Mac has almost been the most radical improvement to my day.

It’s the Studio Display that I spend all day looking at. I hardly ever glance at the screens of the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro – it’s Apple’s Studio Display that takes centre stage. It’s just so damned lovely to work on and has reduced fatigue and helped make me more productive. For a display it’s expensive I’ll grant you – but you get what you pay for.

Editing video, photos or audio on it is just bliss. While technically I know the MacBook Pros display is better, practically the Studio Display is the winner.

The two Apple silicon Macs I have both perform fantastically for me. The MacBook Air is underused but still comes in handy when I need to be creative away from home or the studio, but this MacBook Pro…the only way I can put it is that I forget it’s there!

Seriously, while I sit staring at the beauty of the Studio Display it’s easy to forget that the workhorse, the bit of kit providing the flex, is the MacBook Pro. I spec’d it to work hard and deliver – and boy has it ever delivered! Only when using some very heavy plug-ins or Using After Effects templates do I ever have issues with it spinning or lagging. Anything else I throw at this Mac gets gobbled up. I swear, it’s nigh-on impossible to make this thing sweat.

My fear

My only possible fear is that it’s too good!

I can’t help but wonder if Apple has shot itself in the foot with this M series of Apple silicon Macs. Why would I need to change? The improvement we witnessed with these Macs is a kind of a once-in-a-lifetime quantum leap forwards. Everything after this will be iterative by comparison.

I can’t imagine my workflow will get that much more complicated – OK three years ago I never imagined I’d be video editing, so things do change, but unless I buy an 8K Red camera then I can’t see that the demands I make from editing will get that much more chunky over the next 3 or 4 years.

I have wondered if Apple realised quite the beast they were about to unleash. It’s been great for us, and initially, it was for Apple as well, but now that early clamour has died down, is their bottom line about to be hit hard? I know it’s not purely as a result of Apple silicon, but Mac sales have slowed over recent times and in part that must be due to Apple silicon being too good.

But before I have you crying for Apple, I’ll leave you with this – the moment I start to earn a good living from this content creation lark I will be trading up one bit of my kit…the Studio Display. But hold on, didn’t I just say I adore it? Yup, I did, and because it is so good, I want the Pro Display XDR. Just picture my happy little face planted in front of that baby! I’ll leave you with that thought…

And none of this would ever have happened without that MacBook Air. Yes, I’ll be interested to see what we get with iPhone 15 next month – but I’ll be making videos and writing about it on my Macs!

Turns out then I’m not an Apple fanboy but a Mac Fanboy. Here’s to the next happy decade spent with them.

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