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by Brian Schrader

An Ode to the 13 Inch MacBook Pro

Posted on Sat, 04 Feb 2017 at 01:25 PM

I got my first Mac in 2010: A base model 13" Macbook Pro. Like lots of people I got it in my first year of college with Apple's Education Discount. I had it all the way through college until 2015 when I got my current 13" Retina Macbook Pro. In that time, I'd dropped it, fixed it, swapped out the spinning platter for an SSD, added RAM, and made it my own. I learned to program on it, I played PC games with it, and I built this website with it. I used every ounce of power that 2.4GHz Core2-Duo could spare.

In short: I loved that machine.

That Macbook Pro turned me into a Mac person. I justified buying it by saying that I'd build iPhone apps with it, but that never really came to pass. I did learn about Unix and Bash though, and that knowledge changed how I used computers forever. Back then I looked forward to 2 things every year: the new iPhone OS announcement and the Mac OS X announcement. I even took time off work one year to stay home and watch WWDC talks in a time before I'd ever worked on iOS apps professionally.

In short: I found what I wanted to do because of that Mac and it changed me forever.

My mac at a donut-shop in portland

In 2015 I got my current Mac. When I passed on my old 2010 MBP it was dented, missing a foot, and had no CD drive (I took it out to save weight and then lost it). Fresh out of college I forked over literally all of the money I had for a specced out 13" rMBP. Two and a half years later I can say, it's the best computer I've ever owned or used. I've taken it everywhere, and it's risen to every challenge I've thrown at it (except modern PC gaming but I don't play a lot anyway).

Excluding a few months when I experimented with building PCs in college1 and at my old day-job, my Macs have always been my primary and only machines, and now my 2015 rMBP is my work machine too. They've both been as flexible, durable, extensible, and powerful as I could ask.

The Part About Apple Nowadays

That long preamble was more than a nice stroll down memory lane. I may not have the pedigree of some mac users but I love the Mac and over the years I've seen Apple seem to forget how much people love, use, and need the Mac to do what they do, and it makes me sad. Maybe they're working on something awesome for the Mac and I hope if they are that it's as great as it can be, but it doesn't look that way from the outside.

I could stand here and say that I wish the 13" MacBook Pro had dedicated graphics card and quad-core CPU options (and I really do wish that), but after 7 years I just don't see that happening. I guess what I want is something to prove that the Mac is still worth something to Apple. The Mac community is strong enough to last for years without Apple updating much, but that's not something I look forward to, it's a last resort.

The Circle Be Unbroken

Growing up, my mom had (and still has) a 17" Titanium Powerbook G4, and she used it for almost 10 years, she was the first Mac user in the house, and though I used them in middle and high school I'd always had a Windows PC at home. In 2009 a coworker and long-time Mac user convinced my parents to get me an iPhone, and a few months later I bought my first Mac.

Since that time I've convinced my sister, several coworkers, friends, and many complete strangers to get Macs. I've always said the price was worth it, and even though I think that's less true now, I'd still recommend the Mac over the alternative. All of those people are using Macs today because some enthusiastic college student convinced them to get one, and he got his Mac and iPhone because of a passionate Mac user who convinced him back in 2010.

That old MacBook is till alive; it's my mom's laptop now. It's worked well for her until this year: she got a GoPro and needs to edit the video. That MacBook can do a lot of things, but rendering 1080p and 4K video comfortably isn't one of them. If and when she gets a new computer, I'll probably ask for that MacBook back. There's not much I can use it for, but just like my old iPhones, it'll be a nice thing to keep around for the memories.

1. I also experimented with Linux in college, but that went from recreational use to professional use.
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