My New M1 MacBook Air — After Two Days
This is my first Apple product. When I first opened the box, which was an experience itself, I stared at the space grey shell and shiny Apple logo for a few seconds, mesmerized. I chose space grey because my old Dell laptop was silver, and the darker shade of the Air was more my aesthetic anyway.
I’ve been waiting patiently for months to finally have enough money to upgrade the tools I need for work, and this MacBook Air is the flagship.
Setup was easy, but when I finally got to the desktop, I wasn’t sure I knew what to do. Give me a PC and I’ll tell you the first 10 programs to download and which settings need tweaking, but I was utterly lost on the Mac.
I figured I would install a few programs, or at least figure out how to do it. I didn’t want Chrome, because of its memory and battery-stealing ways, but I ended up installing Brave anyway because I couldn’t get 1Password installed in Safari.
After that, I set up Office 365 and Photoshop, and I have to say, the first time I opened the programs was amazed by how fast and snappy they were, even though I couldn’t find an ARM version of Photoshop and was using Rosetta with Creative Cloud.
I love the way Apple renders the interface on Photoshop, so much more luxurious than the PC version. Using Photoshop turned out to be a bit more difficult, learning new keyboard shortcuts and all.
Everything looks so damn pretty on the MacBook Air. I am completely in love with this screen and MacOS. It is so much brighter and more colorful than the Dell, and I know the screen is smaller, but I feel like I have more real estate.
I figured out how to hide the dock and the menu up top but turned them back on after a while because I liked seeing them when I am on the desktop.
Call me weird.
I set up my Apple ID with no problem, so I could download from the App store and do all the other Apple-related things and started to settle in and get some work done. I even got my Bluetooth keyboard and mouse set up without a hitch.
When I say down and opened the lid tonight, I was just as excited as I was yesterday. I remembered that I needed to do the BigSur update, so I started getting that all downloaded for later.
The update itself didn’t take long at all.
I decided after working with it for a while to turn off True Tone because I didn’t like the yellowish tint from the blue light filter (at least I think that’s what it was. It’s gone now).
I still haven’t figured out all the best practices to switch between programs and windows, and how best to get around, and I have barely scratched the surface of all the Apple programs I need to investigate.
I charged the battery to 100% yesterday and I have been using it for hours and I am still at 75%. I’m sure that number would be even better had I not been using the Brave browser. Brave is built on the same framework on which Chrome is built and I have no illusions that battery usage will be any better.
I have a ton of programs open and numerous tabs in the browser and this percentage isn’t budging. Such a change from my Dell that would last about 2 hours if I was lucky.
And even with all this stuff running in the background, this MacBook is fast and zippy.
All this and only 8 GB unified memory.
Why I Got the Base Model
While waiting to get the money for this laptop, I agonized for months about two things: should I get the Mac Mini or the MacBook, and should I get 16 GB of memory?
I cannot begin to tell you how many YouTube videos I watched on the subject, but as the time to buy grew closer, I chose the Air and 8 GB. After listening to my Medium friend Mark Ellis and the trials and tribulations of Dan Hansen, I just went with the base.
The final straw was the YouTube dufus who was such an asshole about the whole thing, and because I hate mansplaining know-it-alls, I decided to buy the base to spite him.
I won’t name names, but you know who you are.
I figured the heaviest work I would be doing was a little 4K video and some audio from my podcasts, so I knew I would be okay anyway.
So far, this thing has been a beast that doesn’t get hot even without fans. I was sitting here in the hot part of the day, in the Philippines, watching 4k videos and it wasn’t even warm.
Oh, and I paid 52,000 PHP (1K USD) because of a 2000 PHP discount for paying cold hard cash, and because I didn’t get the 16 GB memory, I was able to pick it up at the local Gadget Headz instead of waiting a month for Apple to send it to me.
As I figure out the new OS and start remembering all the shortcuts, I will be more comfortable. So far this has been a dream, and for a guy who was so pro-PC that he made fun of Mac users, that is saying a lot. I wish I had pulled my head out of my ass earlier and tried some Apple products because the experience is amazing so far.
I am ready to get an iPhone and iPad next, after being a pro-android person, just because I want to see for myself if all the products in the Apple ecosystem are like my new buttery-smooth MacBook Air.
It’s only been two days, but I love it, and I guess it will have to keep using it and write another article when I hit one month!
See you then.