Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens
The first computer I remember loving was my 12-inch “second generation “dual-USB” iBook.
I owned many computers before it, hand-me-downs from an eccentric grandfather. All of them ran Windows XP, often poorly. When the last of them crapped out, I was given the iBook. This was in 2007, and by then the machine was going on six. It too was recycled, this time from my schoolteacher grandmother. It was my first experience with a Mac, and it was great.
If I was handed an equivalent machine today, I’d probably toss it. Back then, I dealt with the quirks that come with owning an aged, outdated machine because I didn’t know any better. It had a 10 gigabyte hard drive and a PowerPC processor whose speed was measured in megahertz. The ethernet port demanded constant upward pressure to maintain a connection1. If you dared to alter the position of the hinge, the backlight would eek revenge and shut off. To adjust the angle of the display, you had to put the machine to sleep, make your adjustments, and wake it back up again. My iBook’s idiosyncrasies were nothing if not infuriating.
But god dammit, those details didn’t matter. That machine was reliable. Every single day I trusted it to boot up and run Firefox and AIM2 and TextEdit and every single day it did. I was involved with a couple internet communities (far too deeply than I care to admit) and my iBook was my only method of connection. And it did. I’ve never since used an Apple product for so close to its intended use. I was uninhibited by the computer and its components, and I just used the damn thing.
With college coming this fall, a laptop was at the top of my shopping list. When the MacBook Air was updated two weeks ago, I made a purchase. I’ve been using it for a week now, and it’s great. It’s the best computer I’ve owned. In so much of it I see my punchy little iBook.
I’m savvier now, but I find myself just as uninterested now in the specifications and details of my laptop as I was then. Rest assured, the storage is measured in triple digits and the clock speed in gigahertz. Many laptops on the market are boasting about their super high-resolution touchscreen displays. The Air might seem archaic in comparison. Its screen is small and low-resolution. It isn’t even and IPS panel. As with my iBook six years ago, these details don’t matter.
My machine is reliable and solid. It runs the best operating system in the world. It runs all of the apps I need, and runs them well. Most importantly, it gets out of the way and allows to me do my best creative work. That’s the essence of every thing Apple makes. Six years ago I missed this remarkable distinction of Apple products. Now I’m fully aware.
While the 2013 iteration of the MacBook Air isn’t too different from the last, and though it might not match up in a checklist comparison to other Windows notebooks on the market, it is the best computer I have ever owned. Perhaps the best in the world.