Dec 18, 2023

I bought a MacBook Air at the worst possible time, and it’s great

The 13” MacBook Air hasn’t been updated in 528 days, in July 2022, and it has a big fat red don’t buy in the Macrumors excellent Buyer’s Guide. New ones, with the M3 chip, is likely early 2024 (my guess is mid-March). It makes sense to wait if you’re in the market.

Last weekend, I bought a 13” MacBook Air (in Midnight, which is gorgeous). The model year is 2022, and we’re weeks from 2024. It’s the exact same one my wife has, which I touched on in the mechanical keyboard essay back in #40.

Typically, I’ll hold out for hardware upgrades. I won’t buy a phone or tablet mid-cycle, I’ll wait. And while I debated this decision long and hard, in the end, I’m happy with my new computer. I picked it up for writing mostly, as my various writing stations warrant.

My reasoning was simple: Mid-March is three months away. How many words can I write on the new device during that period?

While not all words would be direct wins – they might’ve been written on another device – some would be. My writing situation at home, despite having a desk, isn’t ideal. The clicky 60% keyboard I have connected to the gaming PC isn’t ideal for writing, and while iA Writer is available for Windows, I can’t stand the iCloud experience outside Apple’s ecosystem. At the same time, I don’t have a great way to set up my 11” iPad Pro with a suitable mechanical keyboard. There’s room, but there’s not great storage options. So, words written at home would, potentially, not be written sans a new solution.

After having tried my wife’s MacBook Air properly, about a month ago, I decided I’d pick one up when they got the M3 treatment. That was a mistake. I should’ve bought one right away, and moved on. Those are a lot of potential words lost.

And also, waiting for the ideal device is almost always a bad idea. Here’s the thing: Any modern Mac will be powerful enough for writing. If you’re on M1 or newer, chances are the device is powerful enough for you. There are fringe cases obviously, but overall, these computers are ridiculously powerful.

Or, to put in a different perspective: If you could do your work on a laptop, any laptop, 3-5 years ago, you can on these, too.

I’m keeping my 16” MacBook Pro for heavy lifting, like video renders and those huge print projects, but it’ll stay in the office from now on.

I’ve written about 9,000 words since picking up the new computer two days ago. It’s not all fiction, some words would’ve gotten written anyway, but it’s a decent output. Some of it is because of the device being, and feeling, new, but that’s not the whole story. I’ve given myself a chance to write in a more ideal way. Sure, this won’t be the latest model in three month’s time. But, you know, the difference could be a finished manuscript. I’ll take it.