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My MacBook Let Me Down


Yesterday, after nearly six years, my MacBook Air failed me. It hasn't been a perfect relationship, kernel panic issues and graphics glitches nothwithstanding, it has never outright let me down before.

I was only using it as a result of an unusual set of circumstances. However the role I was asking of it wasn't anything unusual, my normal daily setup which my Surface 3 and x360 cope with on a daily basis; and which the MBA itself has handled in the past.

This time things were different. The pressure of running Citrix across two external monitors and OneNote on the internal monitor, plus the extensions required to keep me working at my best (Spectacle, Wunderlist, PushBullet and SideSync amongst them) just seemed to be pushing it beyond its capabilities.

Whilst it's almost six years old, the MBA is still a reasonably good spec - Core i5, 4GB RAM - and my Surface 3 with just 2GB RAM and an Atom x7 never struggles with the same load.

Over the course of the day the MBA got slower and slower, and by midday the cooling fan was permanently on. Then it started telling me I was out of application memory. Despite shutting down applications it didn't recover, and whilst a restart cured the memory errors the thermal issues continued until the only solution was for me to shut it down walk away and do something else. In this case the something else was to drink beer and eat pizza so it wasn't a total loss; and the failure occurred on a day when other circumstances meant it wasn't critical, however a crucial element of trust was broken.

I suspect the issues relate to the recent Mac OS Sierra update and the cynical side of me can't help but think how convenient it would be for Apple if owners of older Macs found their machines running poorly on the newest version of its operating system and started to think about an upgrade.

In any case, whether by design or accident this is more evidence of Apple's inability to maintain a solid upgrade path on both iOS and Mac OS concurrently. More evidence Apple needs to leave Mac OS behind and focus on the iPad as its real computer offering.

For me the decision to leave Mac OS has been made (twenty-three years on from my first PowerBook Duo) has been made for me. The next Apple computer I buy will be a real iPad  computer.

Over to you Apple.

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