Thanks, Apple

There's enough complaining about what Apple released, and complaining about the complaining, going around. I'd like to counter all this negativity for a second.

Apple just gave me the computer I've been waiting ~3+ years for. No, really.

Back in 2013 my primary machine was an iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010). I usually have a 4 year upgrade cycle, so it was time to start getting the lay of the land. I was always a desktop kinda guy (had a G5 and then a Mac Pro before the iMac), but laptops were looking increasingly compelling as a primary development machine. Mobile CPUs had gotten a lot better, and I was increasingly traveling / coworking / etc. I had no desire to try to maintain two machines worth of development environments, so a laptop + stronger desktop approach was a no-go.

Retina MacBooks were a thing in 2013 and they looked amazing. But as anyone who works in Xcode knows, you need more screen space than a 13" laptop offers to get any work done in Interface Builder. So rMBP + an external monitor. OK, cool. Except why would I want a beautiful Retina laptop screen with a standard resolution 27" external (#firstworldproblems)? I spend every day designing things for Retina screens in Photoshop, and running the iOS Simulator. Not having to 50% the iPad Simulator window just to get it to fit on the dang monitor would be nice.

4k was becoming a thing back then, but a 4k 27" isn't Retina. I wanted what John Siracusa called the "quad 27": a 27" monitor that was 2x the pixel resolution (so 4 current-gen 27" monitors worth of pixels, in a 2x2 grid) of my current iMac 27". AKA a 5k 27" monitor.

That was my unicorn: a rMBP that could drive a 5k 27" monitor. I knew it was coming, eventually. But, by mid 2014, I realized the dream of getting support for a 5k monitor was still a ways off; at least a year maybe three or more. DisplayPort 1.3 (which had the bandwidth to support 5k) was just approved there was no way it'd be adopted widely enough anytime soon. I couldn't wait that long, realistically.

So when the 2014 models were released I grabbed a rMBP and a decent Dell 27" standard-resolution monitor, and sold the iMac. I've been happy with the setup, resolution of the monitor aside. (Aside, since some always ask: yes, I game via my rMBP too. I built a gaming rig and use Steam in-home streaming from the headless rig. It works really well, and I don't have to worry about studios not releasing things for Mac anymore.)

I went into the Apple event joking that they just delayed the only product I intended to buy: the AirPods. I had no plans to buy a new laptop, mine was only 2 years old!

Oops. I'm breaking my 4-year upgrade cycle early because Apple just shipped my unicorn. The beauty of the Retina 27" 5k iMac when I'm at my desk, the convenience of a rMBP the rest of the time.

My unicorn is even better than I imagined, though. It's keys are a lot closer to that of the Magic Keyboard, which I love (my current rMBP has the old "squishy" keys). The Force Touch Trackpad is great for testing 3D Touch in the simulator, and I always love bigger trackpads. I'm really excited for the Touch Bar since I'm terrible at bothering to learn keyboard shortcuts (I've used Photoshop for 15 years and only know like 5). TouchID + 1Password is going to be amazing; I look forward to not typing "pushover straddle derrick cogwheel frogman" 20x times a day (not my actual master password :P). Both the laptop screen and the 5k screen have the beautiful wide gamut color.

I'm gonna love the hell out of the stupid little details, too. I don't have to worry about which side I plug power into (great for when one is on the couch and you're facing the "wrong" way to not have to run the cable over you). I get 2x the USB ports (something I always seem to run out of). I won't feel bad about waking my wife up if I have to restart while I'm working next to her as she sleeps. Thinner means less of a rise for my palm to bump into when I'm using the trackpad. I get what all the Thunderbolt Display users have had for years: one cable from the monitor to charge the laptop and drive the display. Yeah, these aren't big tentpole features, but they're going to add up to make my experience using the laptop better.

Sure, just because the new MacBooks are my unicorn doesn't mean they should be yours too. You have different needs and constraints than me, and my perfect machine is not yours. You want to see the company you love give you something you want. I sympathize, truly, and I'm sorry this Mac event wasn't targeted at you.

But this is the first Mac product I've been excited to not just to see/play with, but buy, in a long time.