I’ve used Linux for a long time. Since 2001, actually. I’ve dabbled with different platforms over time as well. Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and Chrome OS. All of these have their own pros and cons, of course. However, in line with my digital decluttering and trying to simplify my life overall, I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find something that fit a more minimal and simpler overall workflow. I purchased the iPad Pro (2018) back in February and have used it practically every day. I was amazed at how well it fit my workflow. Even at work I was able to use it to administer servers and perform most of my daily tasks. Outside of work, it has become one of my favorite devices of all time. Having LTE connectivity, an impressive Apple Pencil, the great keyboard, etc. has made for a great experience.
So, in accordance with simplification, I decided to purchase an iPhone XS to go along with my iPad Pro. Having the integration of the two sharing data, apps, and services has been a spectacular experience in my life. It’s almost like a gateway drug of sorts. You get one Apple device and realize what a great device experience it is. Then you look into accessories. I have AirPods and an Apple Watch to go along with these devices. There was one thing missing, though. It was my desktop experience.
So, I purchased a 27-inch 5K iMac (2019) and have been so happy with it.
I was in no need for a new desktop for performance reasons. The personally-built PC that I had been using for some time has an i7 8700K, 32gb of ram, and a GTX 1080 Ti. It has plenty of power, and possibly more than I needed. So, why move to something else? Well, having a desktop tower presented a lot of issues that grated on me over time.
First, the cable mess. Oh man, the cable mess. I had two displays, wired mouse, wired keyboard, USB mic, USB webcam, external hard disk, RGB mousepad, headphones. You get the point. I wanted something that would provide a much simpler experience on my desk. Having two displays has its advantages, but when I was honest with myself, I didn’t use them for productivity reasons and overall they ended up being fairly superfluous. There are occasions where one might need them, but I have a better solution now which I’ll mention later. Moving to the iMac reduced a lot of clutter on my desk. I have the wireless peripherals that work well with the iMac. I have the Magic Keyboard and Mouse that come with the iMac but I also have the Magic Trackpad 2 and it’s been my favorite pointing device. Having the display built in eliminates the need for all the power and DisplayPort cables going down to the tower. There are still cables. My Blue Yeti, headphones, external hard disk (being used for Time Machine now), and a Razer DeathAdder Elite on standby all hang off the back. There’s one really big difference, though. It is extremely easy to cable manage them as they’re all going to a central place behind the display. My desk has never felt better. This has and will continue to pay dividends for my ADHD mind.
Second is the heat and noise. This iMac is silent about 95% of the time. The only time that the fans make any noise is during rendering of videos or during intense gaming sessions. Even then, it is quite quiet for what it’s doing. My PC desktop always had a slight droning sound from the water pump as well as the fans on the 1080 Ti ramping up during sessions. I purchased a new case for my desktop not too long ago in an attempt to reduce the noise. It worked well, but it was still loud enough to bother me when I didn’t have my headphones on or while recording a voice over or tutorial video. The heat, on the other hand, was becoming unbearable. During the winter it wasn’t a problem. We keep our house around 68F but during the winter it can get lower. So, having the extra functionality of a heater was welcome. However, I live outside Atlanta, Georgia. It gets pretty damn hot during the summer and spring, and even into the fall, so having a computer that spits out heat like a car isn’t preferred. The iMac provides a very comfy experience in my room. The heat is nowhere near what would come out of my desktop. I don’t feel the need to remove clothing to seek comfort anymore. I’m sure my roommates appreciate that.
So, why the iMac? Why not a PC all-in-one like a Dell XPS? Well it’s quite simple really. Ecosystem. I was already invested in the Apple world with my iPad Pro, iPhone XS, Apple Watch, AirPods, and Apple TV 4K boxes. So, when it came time to look for a better option for reducing clutter and simplifying my life, the iMac just made sense. It offered an integration with my mobile devices that Microsoft and the Linux community could only dream of. Being able to send both SMS and iMessage messages from an app on the Mac is way more comfortable than typing on my phone and more convenient when I’m working at my desk than my iPad Pro. I have used the Continuity Camera feature on MacOS Mojave to import pictures from my phone’s camera several times and it has been a great tool. Using my iCloud Drive and other iCloud features has made moving from the desk to the phone to the iPad and all around so much easier as all my data is synced across my devices. When people talk about the “ecosystem” as why they stick with Apple devices despite missteps like the butterfly keyboard, they mean that their digital life transcends the device used and just seamlessly allows you to get work done and enjoy your computing experience without a management headache.
Linux will always have a special place in my heart. I intend to be active in the Linux community going forward. I don’t want to abandon any friends that I’ve made over time by moving platforms. I still have Linux around, just in VMware Fusion virtual machines instead of hardware. The hardware isn’t even the point, really. It’s the overall belief in the platform as a whole and, most importantly, believing in and helping the people behind the software. I don’t quite feel at home in the Apple community just yet. There are a lot of things that feel similar to the Linux community, but perhaps their philosophies don’t line up with mine. We’ll see how things change over time.
That’s why I renamed myself to a Pro-Linux Apple User. My life might revolve around Apple now, but my heart will always lie with Linux and the community.