As always, Teej is my hero.
One question: I’d get an education discount, and getting the regular Pro would be cheaper than the Air, but I’d get much more storage space with the Pro. Do you think it’s worth it to pay $500+ more for the Air with the upgrade to 500gb flash storage, compared to getting the heavier Pro with a 750gb hard drive?
For me, any computer with a non-SSD is just no longer an attractive option.
Most computer upgrades are fairly minimal increases over previous technology. The difference between an SSD and a traditional “spinning disk” hard drive is huge.
It’s like the difference between ‘rabbit ears’ and cable TVwhich you probably aren’t old enough to remember.
Ok, um It’s like the difference between music on tapes and CDswhich you probably aren’t old enough to remember.
Um it’s like the difference between VHS and DVDwhich you probably aren’t old enough to remember.
Oh! I know, it’s like the difference between dial-up Internet and cabl—OH FFS YOUR GENERATION HAS IT SO EASY!
FINE. So none of my analogies work on you whippersnappers.
Here’s the thing: you probably have no idea how many times you end up waiting for your hard drive to do things. Think about an app that you think of as ‘slow’ — for me that’s iTunes and Microsoft Word and iPhoto.
On an SSD, they’re no longer slow. Microsoft Word launches about as fast as TextEdit. I can scroll through iPhoto and iTunes much faster (although eventually they both still seem slow, because they’re mostly crap).
Launching apps is faster. Switching between apps is faster. The computer is quieter because the fans never (hardly ever) run. It’s lighter. I can put it on my lap without burning my jibblies through my pants. It’s light. I sometimes pick up my laptop bag and have to double-check that my laptop is actually in it.
To me, the SSD changes almost everything about how I use a computer, and the upgrade to an SSD is the biggest upgrade to any computer over the previous version that I can remember, and I’ve had my own computers since 1991, which is probably when you were born.
However I do have an iMac which I can use to stick all my really large files, so I can get away with a smaller hard drive in the MacBook Air. So to me, the extra hard drive space isn’t as big of a consideration.
I have heard that the retina MacBook Pros look great, but I haven’t looked at one myself for the same reason I didn’t look at an iPhone 4 when I wasn’t using one: seeing how much better it was would only make me want one. As I said in my buying guide post, the problem with the retina displays is that because it is the ‘cutting edge’ a lot of apps are not yet up to date, so everything is going to look worse on them until apps are updated. That seems like it would be frustrating, to me.
You mentioned having seen a MacBook Pro, I would definitely check out the MacBook Air at the Apple Store before you buy. Quite frankly I don’t think you can go wrong with either one, it’s just a matter of preferences. But once you go SSD, you’ll never want to go back.