Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Mac smack

The new iMac in, what is that, banana yellow?

Last month Apple released its new version of the iMac, and since my old one, vintage 2011, has recently passed away, I’ve had my eye on a replacement. Problem is, the new iteration might be a step in the wrong direction. 

I’ve used Apples for a long time, going way back to the mid-‘80s when I had an Apple IIe, with a double floppy disc drive and a tiny monitor with weird green-on-black text. It’s a wonder I’m not legally blind. Later I got a Mac Mini, but after a few years the Apple display I bought to go with it failed, so I decided to pop for an iMac, and I loved it. 

I added a MacBook Pro laptop to my collection six years ago, but a while back, when I upgraded the software to Catalina, it pretty much wrecked it as a usable tool. Slowed it way down, caused constant crashes, made backups hard to do reliably, etc. It’s no fun anymore. 

So here comes the new iMac, thinner than ever and available in a bunch of adorable new colors (I couldn’t care less about that), and featuring the new Apple M1 chip instead of the old workhorse Intels. But, as this review points out, you can’t add memory to this computer, and you can’t upgrade the storage at a later point because they’re both permanently soldered in. I’ve added memory to all my Apples over the years because it’s cheaper than paying Apple for the added memory when you make the purchase. 

Also, the new iMac doesn’t have standard USB ports. All my gizmos have standard USB plugs. My desk’ll be covered with hubs and dongles if I buy a new iMac. 

What I conclude is that Apple is all about planned obsolescence now, so they can get you to replace your devices sooner than you’d like to. And the iMac in the configuration I’d need costs $1500.

You heard me—$1500 for the model with adequate storage and memory. 

I’d go with a basic Windows laptop if I could run my music recording software on it—Logic Pro X (an Apple product, of course). There are similar apps that run on Windows, but they’re pricy and hard to learn how to use, so my bank account and my brain would get overtaxed. 

I guess what I’m saying is that I might be getting ready to break up with Apple. 

It’s a company that doesn’t want users to repair their own machines but instead buy new ones. It’s a company that seems to sabotage its devices so you have to replace them frequently. And it’s a company that makes everything in China, where employees commit suicide because of the working conditions. 

But I wonder: Are Microsoft, HP, Intel, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus any better? Are we pretty much trapped as consumers? Is this just the way it is in the 21st century? 

[Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash.]

9 comments on “Mac smack

  1. kingmidget
    June 18, 2021

    As a longtime IPhone sufferer, I get it. It’s amazing how the phones start to break down right when the two-year contract ends.

    And Apple’s elimination of USB ports is a clear shot across the bow designed to prevent you from making the device your own and adaptable to you. That really sucks.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 18, 2021

      It’s also now stunningly transparent. We all know what they’re up to, but they just keep reeling us in with pretty colors and ultrathin design and super cameras and speakers and all that frilly stuff. I just want the thing to run apps and do its work fairly fast. Is that too much to ask?!

      • kingmidget
        June 18, 2021

        It’s like when Apple got rid of the plug in for earphones on the IPHone and then suddenly AirPods came out. Why would they do that? Ooooooh.

      • Kevin Brennan
        June 18, 2021

        What a strange coincidence … 🤬

  2. Marie A Bailey
    June 18, 2021

    I bought a new Macbook Air a few months ago. I was hesitant because of the new and limited USB ports but I took the plunge anyway. Sorry, I’m never going to buy Windows if I can ever help it. I guess I’m just opting for the slightly lesser of two evils.

    I’ve gotten around the USB ports by buying a relatively inexpensive adapter from B&H that has USB ports as well as a HMDI (?) port for my monitor. I was spitting bullets for a few days, pissed at myself and Apple. But I’ve adapted, yet again, as Apple wants me to. That said, I no longer sing Apple’s praises like I did in those early days. The best I can muster is at least Apple updates don’t occur as frequently as Windows updates (my husband uses Windows and the updates are too frequent, too time-consuming, and always happen when he least expects it).

    There is an incredible amount of waste involved. I had to get a new cover since dimensions of the new Air are slightly smaller than my old one. I get it. Laptops are supposed to be portable so people want them lighter and thinner. The thing is, I don’t take mine anywhere. It’s my stay-at-home workhorse so … meh.

    My iPhone 8 Plus has a jack for power and earphones so I guess the company got enough grief about the iPhone 7. I’m seeing more non-Apple products with USB-C ports so it’s not just the company, but I’d argue there’s room on my new laptop for one more USB port and that it should be an older version. That is a huge oversight by Apple. But then, what does it matter? I’m just a customer.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 18, 2021

      I have an 8 Plus too and I want Apple to know I don’t need whatever’s on a number higher than 8. I’m good. And I loved both my MacBook Pro and my iMac and would love to just have them repaired, but that’s almost stupid considering the cost these days. It’s so diabolical!

      What kills me is that products used to be built to last, like refrigerators and washing machines and mixers and even cars. That’s because everything used to be made out of good American steel! Even a mixer was made out of good American steel. Now … Plastics, Benjamin. Plastics.

      • Marie A Bailey
        June 29, 2021

        I’ll admit I’m waiting for prices to drop for the iPhone 12 Max Pro. Yup, I want it for its camera. Greg will probably take my 8 Plus cuz that works for us.

        It really shouldn’t cost as much as a laptop to fix a laptop (or any other computer). Apple (and all other manufacturers) are missing an opportunity to help the environment and endear themselves to an elite group of consumers (I consider us elite because we think through our purchases rather than mindlessly grab and buy).

  3. Audrey Driscoll
    June 18, 2021

    They’re all evil. Those Windows updates someone mentioned–the last 2 “feature updates” fail to install if your computer happens to have some particular drivers. You can find instructions on how to fix this: sign on as an administrator, go into the black screens and type in lines of gobbledegook and pray. Am I about to do that? Not on your life. Right now I’ve put updates on pause, but I gather I won’t be able to do that forever. Right now, the machine works just as I want it to, but I suspect a day will come when I see the Blue Screen of Death again.
    My conspiracy theory is that Microsoft puts out all these updates to mess up the computers of low-level non-geek users. You can’t live without a computer these days, so what will those frustrated users do? You got it–buy a new computer. And five or six years later do it again.
    You shouldn’t have to be a geek to use a computer, any more than you have to be a mechanic to drive a car.
    And there’s no way I’m ever going to buy any “smart” appliances or any of those “assistants” like Alexa.
    OK, rant over. My apologies, Kevin, and thanks for the opportunity.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 20, 2021

      I know what you mean about the Windows updates. My wife uses Windows and these damn updates are constantly interrupting her workflow. With Windows you really have to worry about security updates, so it’s risky not to let them install.

      I agree with you on “smart” appliances too. I’m leery of my smart TV, but that’s the only smart gizmo we have. No Alexa for me! Who really needs a smart refrigerator? And now there are even smart light switches and smart home security systems. Big Brother is watching you, kids!

      I love rants. Always feel free to unload here. 😉

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