Unshelved comic strip for 1/15/2008

The Other Shoe

Like most Mac nerds I spent this morning tuning into the MacWorld keynote to see what Uncle Steve has up his sleeves. Well the sleeve was manilla, it was very thin, and what was inside it was a MacBook Air. And yes, yes, it's very neat.

And so now I have a bit of a dilemma.

I travel a lot. This year I will be on the road at least once a month. And when I'm in Seattle I take my laptop everywhere to write and code and otherwise get things done in cafes and libraries and offices around town. In that way a MacBook Air makes all the sense in the world, and I've been looking forward to it with great anticipation. But in the past few weeks I've gotten used to using my (loaner) MacBook as my sole computer. I run Photoshop, plugging in my Cintiq to draw and just to have a bigger screen. I'm frankly worried the Air may not be powerful enough, with it's slower processor and smaller, slower hard drive, to happily run Photoshop and VMWare, two performance-and-storage hogs.

One option is to have a desktop (like an iMac) and laptop. I think this is the long term direction of technology, as the performance gap between desktop and portable computers will, if anything, increase. And that kind of setup has advantages - when my laptop is in my bag (or in my car) I can still get work done. But even with modern syncing technology it's a bit of a pain to lead a two-machine life. And frankly, two machines is twice as expensive (at least) and I did just quit Ye Olde Day Job, and we haven't yet sold Ye Olde First House. So that's not really an option at present.

So... I'm thinking of waiting a little longer. There's another shoe waiting to drop, and that's the new MacBook Pro line. Their design language looks increasingly out of date, especially the keyboard and trackpad, and I'm sure Uncle Steve won't let that last for long. I expect the new ones to be thinner and lighter than what they've got, with higher resolution screens. I like living la vida ultraportable, but if I'm going to have just one computer it may not make sense. And that makes me a little sad.

This Unshelved strip

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