On Apple’s Current MacBook Lineup

Apple’s current MacBook lineup is a mess. There, I said it. That’s not to say that the computers that comprise it are bad, but they are confusing. As it stands now, here’s the laptops that Apple currently sells (in order of Price):

  • MacBook Air
  • MacBook
  • MacBook Pro (without TouchBar & Thunderbolt 3)
  • MacBook Pro (without TouchBar)
  • MacBook Pro (with TouchBar)

The first thing that stands out as an oddity is the MacBook Air. Many people have already pointed out that this is only there to hit a price point. Apple wants $999 to be the entry level into the MacBook line, and they can’t (or won’t just yet) reduce the price of the MacBook to meet that price. It still has a CPU that is two generations behind and a non-retina screen. It’s also no longer really “Air”-y. The MacBook Pro is now thinner, smaller and almost as light. The MacBook is even smaller, and definitely lighter than the Air. This computer should be axed, but likely won’t be until the MacBook comes down in price.

The other oddball to me is the previous generation MacBook Pro without the TouchBar or Thunderbolt 3. It would seem that they wanted to be able to hit the $1299 price point that the MacBook starts at, but with a more powerful machine. It might also be there to appease the people that want to have physical ports and don’t want to live in Dongle Town. But this is just me speculating. Beyond those possible reasons though, I don’t see a reason for this machine to exist.

The MacBook makes more sense from a hardware perspective. It’s the purest incarnation of Apple’s “Thinner, Lighter” Strategy. But the branding seems to me to be a bit off. It’s the thinnest and lightest computer Apple makes, so this machine should inherit the “Air” moniker.

The MacBook Pro without TouchBar also makes sense from a hardware perspective. But this shouldn’t have gotten the MacBook Pro name. MacBook Pro and TouchBar, in my mind, should go hand in hand. This should be the new MacBook without a modifier. It’s not super thin and light, but it’s also not as beefy as the higher level MacBook Pro and also doesn’t have the TouchBar. Hardware-wise, it sits between the only other models that I feel should still exist, the MacBook Pro with TouchBar, and the MacBook.

So here’s how I think the MacBook lineup should look like:

  • MacBook (Re-Named to the MacBook Air)
  • MacBook Pro without TouchBar (Re-Named to MacBook)
  • MacBook Pro (with TouchBar)

That’s much simpler both from a marketing perspective and a consumer perspective. The MacBook Air is now your thinnest & lightest machine, the MacBook is the mid-range machine, and the MacBook Pro is your most powerful machine with all the bells and whistles, like the TouchBar.

Really, this is nothing new. This would bring the MacBook line philosophy back to what it was when the MacBook Air was first introduced by Steve Jobs in 2008. Three Laptops, a thin & light, a mid-level model, and a pro machine.

Welcome to the #Ramily

I’ve got my tickets!!!! I’m an #LARams season ticket holder thank you @LARamsServices Jessie you have been a Saint. pic.twitter.com/1CULhPDCC7

—Rams Addict (@OmiNay287) June 9, 2016

That’s the wife. She’s a tiny bit excited. We just bought Season Tickets for the the LA Rams.

It’s been a long road to here.

My wife an I have been hoping the Rams moved back to L.A. since we were in High School. Admittedly, I never saw them, or even knew who they were, the last time they were in L.A., my family wasn’t into sports when I was growing up, unless it was soccer, and that never much interested me. My first exposure to the Horns was fairly recent, Super Bowl XXXVI, I had gone to a Super Bowl Party, and you know, you have to pick a side. The side I chose was based on two factors:

  • The Rams were favored to win thanks to The Greatest Show on Turf
  • The Girl I liked, my future wife, was rooting for that team. (Yes, my wife got me into Football)

I had no clue what the hell was going on, up until this point, I’d only watched Football in passing and had never watched a High School Football game. But I had fun. I enjoyed watching that game. I couldn’t tell a Tackle from a Pass, and half the time, I didn’t know who was on Offense or Defense, but I still Enjoyed the experience.

Fast forward thirteen years, and my wife and I attended our first live game. It was the San Diego Chargers against our then St. Louis Rams. You want to talk about an experience, Man. I was Hoarse after the game, I had started getting a migraine half-way through (it was hot and I have a issue with drinking water, but hey, lesson learned), but man, I didn’t care, it was great. The Fans, even though they were /gulp/ Charger Fans. But to experience that game live, literally FEELING the excitement as the cheers echoed and vibrated through the stands. Wow. We’ve always talked about wanting the rams to come back to LA, have them close to us, but more so after we went to that game.

There’d been rumors for years that they’d be coming back, but it was always next season, next season.

Well, next season finally arrived. January this year, when the NFL gave the go ahead for them to move back, they wasted no time in taking deposits for season tickets. That was a painful process, first, my wife and I weren’t expecting it, I don’t know why, but the day and time caught us off guard. Secondly, Ticketmaster buckled under the pressure a few times, but we kept trying, because we were getting our season tickets. When we finally got in and were able to put down our deposit, 37 minutes had passed. An eternity. But the excitement set in, it was happening, it was real, we had taken our fist step to buying those season tickets.

Then started the wait. The Long. Torturous. Wait. No information was ever made availabe about when the tickets would start going on sale, just “later in the spring”. Alright Apple.

But we waited, me a little more patiently than my wife (if you haven’t caught on, she’s a bigger Football Fan than me). Last month, the news that sales would start and would be done in waves was announced. The first waive got their emails telling them to get ready. The Rams started the @LARamsServices Twitter account to answer questions and help with problems.

Then the bad news. That first wave covered only the first two minutes. We weren’t ever going to get tickets. Panic began to set in; What if there weren’t any seats left? The second wave came, the first 10 minutes. The third wave, the first 15-20 minutes. That was progress, but still we were convinced that the only season seats we were getting were at a Buffalo Wild Wings, and only of we got there early, because those fill up fast too.

But then a glimmer of light, wave four was our wave, June 9 at 3pm was our window. But still, we couldn’t see what was available, so we had no idea what we’d be getting; Behind a goal post? Outside in the parking lot?. Luckily, the guy and gal running the @LARamsServices Twitter account were amazing. We’d made contact with them because of a little Twitter rant I had gone on bemoaning the fact that there were complete season tickets already available on StubHub, what the hell! But they helped tremendously and helped us figure out what inventory was still available before our window opened so by the time it came, we knew exactly where we wanted to sit.

In the end, we got our Seasont Tickets. The seats are on the Visiting side, and a little higher up than we had originally wanted, but that doesn’t matter.

In the end all that matters is that we’ll be there to support our Rams. Horns Up.

Windows 7 First Impressions

Windows 7 Beta has been out for a little while now, and I finally decided I’d give it a shot. So I downloaded the install from Microsoft (pretty hefty, weighing at about 4 gigs), got my key and was off. After a rather long download (about an hour and a half), I loaded the image to my USB Flashdrive and restarted my computer, booted from it and began the install. That took about 20 minutes, then after the reboot started setting up for first time use.

At first glance, Windows 7 is very reminiscent of Vista (which up until very recently I would’ve had to hold back the gagging at the very mention of), but as soon as the task bar loads and you get to fiddling with it, you start to get the feeling that Vista was the ugly step sister to 7’s Cinderella. Obviously if you’ve been keeping up with any Windows 7 news, you’ve heard praises about the new task bar, and possibly also some stuff about how it’s a rip from OS X’s dock, but hey if it works, why not use it? Yes it is the same concept, but it’s executed slightly different. But regardless of who came up with it first, I love it. Being able to dock frequently used apps for easy access and also combining that same icon as it’s icon for a window’s minimized state…I love it. The fact that the background can be turned into a slide show is pretty cool. The new library system is pretty interesting, you can create libraries in which you can include multiple folders that relate to each other for easy management in one place. The default libraries are the Documents , Pictures, Music, and Videos Libraries.

Something I noticed was that paint finally got a make-over, it now uses a ribbon interface similar to that of Office 2007.

Overall, in the 5 days that I’ve used it so far, crashes have been minimal and since it runs of the same core as Vista, anything that I was able to run in Vista runs fairly reliably (meaning as reliably as it did in Vista) on Windows 7. So far I’ve installed Firefox, Skype, iTunes and Avast! Antivirus, and all are running well, with the exception of a hiccup with the release version of Skype, I had to install Skype 4 Beta 3 for it to run…I guess two beta’s get along. No BSODs thus far, although I’ve read that some have experienced at least one during their trials.

So overall, from what I’ve seen so far and been able to mess with, If Microsoft stays on this course, Windows 7 has the potential to be the best Windows release to date. The GUI improvements are nice, it’s taxation on system resources is reduced from Vista, and it just has an overall comfortable feel. You use it and you feel like this is the way Windows is supposed to be. Microsoft, you may finally have a winner on your hands!