For the last couple weeks, I’ve been writing on my old 2015 MacBook Pro again. No surprise, I enjoyed almost every single moment of it.
Above all I was, you know, happy–the difference was obvious in my work: my daily word count skyrocketed. It felt so good to use some of my favourites apps again. Apps that have no true equivalent on Windows (or they’re not as good):
- Ulysses. Is this the perfect writing app? Nope. Are there things that drive me nuts in this app? Yup. There will never be such a thing as the perfect app. The right question to ask is « is there any better app available? » I will let you answer this for yourself, as it is a highly subjective matter.
- Day One. I’ve been using this app for maybe 7 or 8 years. I immediately felt at home using it, and I still do years later.
- The Dictionary, the one that comes with macOS. It’s always overlooked, but it’s such a great app, and so well integrated into the Mac.
- PDF Expert. Preview, is my go to app for image viewing and is a great PDF viewer. But PDF Expert is so much better. Plus, it comes with an inverted color mode that helps a lot with my poor eyesight.
- Vellum, for creating epubs and Kindle ebooks. Yeah I know, it’s expensive but there is a good reason some of us consider this app alone worth owning a Mac.
- Edit: there is also SpamSieve, the best spam filter there is.
All other apps I use regularly have an official Windows version, or there is some alternative.
The Mac and the iPad
The other great thing about the Mac–and about Ulysses and Day One–is the iPad.
Both apps work great on the iPad: their iOS version is as good as the Mac version, while being optimised for touch/tablet use. And the iPad itself, well, it still is my favourite tablet out there, by far. But what do I use it for?
- Writing longhand (Apple Pencil) for research and drafting (using Microsoft OneNote or Notability),
- Typing (Ulysses, Day One), with or without an external keyboard,
- Reading (Books, Kindle, Marvin, the best epub reader out there),
- Listening to music (Apple music),
- Watching stuff (Apple TV or whatever its name is),
- Drawing (Procreate).
- No gaming, beside a chessboard (Chess Pro and Lichess), as I’d rather use a PC for that.
My iPad is an oldish 9.7 Pro from late 2015/early 2016, but it still works perfectly well as is the Apple Pencil–as soon as you put a matte screen protector over the glossy screen: drastically lowering glares and making the surface feels much more like actual paper.
Not only is it a great ereader–one where I can easily zoom, and take notes–and a great TV/jukebox, but it also is an amazing portable typewriter on which I can work for hours.
That said, I don’t multitask on this iPad. I’d rather use macOS or Windows and have, you know, not one, not two, not even three but as many windows as I want, a fully-fledged Finder/File Explorer, and so on.
Why did you left Apple then?
My old Mac was, and still is, dying, and I need to trust my hardware. At least, I need to know that I can replace the hardware the moment it fails, without any interruption or fiddling around. Alas, I also knew back then I could not purchase a newer MacBook Pro because of their shit–did I just say shit? I meant to say ‘poorly designed’–Butterfly keyboards.
Even more discouraging than Apple incredible failure with this keyboard, was their contempt for customer complaints and their stubbornness in keeping selling this poorly designed keyboard, for way too many years.
Then there was my eyesight problem and the way Apple puts its design obsession so much above anything else that it feels to me like they refuse to make macOS as accessible-friendly than it ought to be–much less accessible than Windows 10 is nowadays, imo.
What has changed for me since then?
- Thanks to a lot of surgery, my eyesight is better today than it was a year ago–even if my eyesight would still be considered terrible by the majority, it’s incredibly better than it was. Those doctors are magicians. As a result, I’ve much less problem using macOS nowadays than I had a year ago.
- The recently released 16 inches MacBook pro is giving me hope that Apple has not completely forgotten why we use laptops (not to stare at them in awe, like we could in front of a thin jewel-like but useless marvel) and has not forgotten how to build laptops right–like they used to.
What about tomorrow?
I’m willing to see how it goes with Apple. I hope they will keep on changing all that went wrong.
But I’m also slightly less naive than I was in regards of my dependance on Apple. So, I’ve created a setup that will let me change hardware and OS in a heartbeat, or so.
The only exception here being Ulysses because of its somewhat lacking Export tool (guys, I know you can do much better). So I wrote my own ‘Ulysses to docx’ converter. It’s rough and not suited for anyone but me, but it gives what all the features their own tool lacks–and it gives me peace of mind.