I remember recommending a MacBook to my girlfriend when she wanted to buy a new laptop. She came from a Windows world, and she’s a bit apprehensive to transition to Mac. She has a lot of questions about the learning curve, the software, the OS, will her devices work on a Mac, and of course compatibility with the rest of the computing world. After Apple betrayed me with [according to them] a "radically different MacBook Pro", I mean who are they kidding!? I find myself with the same conundrum as my girlfriend, just the other way around.
I was first a DOS boy then a Windows kid before becoming a man building his design profession with a Mac. I’m coming from a Mac world. But after the lackluster release of Apple's MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I found myself looking at the other side of the world. As I watched Apple's October 2016 keynote, I get this very odd sensation that I'm being pitched by a used car salesman.
As a professional designer I ask myself after my long wait (4 years to be exact), do I really need that touch bar to work on my design projects in Photoshop? It’s nice but at the cost of an arm and a leg and a tail and an ex-girlfriend??? As a design professional I don’t know how useful Apple's touch bar will be.
Most of us in the office use a Wacom tablet or a Cintiq or, more recently, an iPad pro tethered to a MacBook Pro via Astro. Judging from that kind of workflow, what we really need is a touchscreen, an accurate pen, and a touch-based/gesture-based interface. A super thin hermetically sealed box with a touch bar is not it!
"My workflow and the graphic design profession are evolving. I need new tools. And sometimes I wonder how I can improve the "traditional" means of interacting with my machines."
There's also this question of “survivability.” When my 15” MacBook Pro late 2008’s battery broke down, I just popped the battery out and inserted a new one. When things got demanding, I just got more RAM. When SSD drives promised increased performance I simply inserted one. And when CDs became obsolete, I bought an OWC's data doubler that allowed me to use the old HDD in place of my MBP’s Super Drive. They don’t build Macs like that anymore. The Surface may not be as "survivable" (if that's even a word) as my old stalwart machine but at least Microsoft offered us some future proofing. Microsoft also said that they would only release a “new” Surface device and call it “new” when there’s really a significant change. So I think it’s logical to think that we will be seeing longer product cycles. Just how professional devices should be! With the discrete graphics card on the base on the Surface Book, we could technically keep the head and replace the legs (so to speak).
If Microsoft don’t do that, I’m sure some smart 3rd party manufacturers will! Also, did you notice Surface’s dock? It offers some future proofing should USB-C become the new standard.
Microsoft's Surface Studio, the first of its kind. This is how Microsoft is changing the game. They've stepped closer into gesture-based interaction with our machines. My workflow and profession are evolving. I need new tools. I'm not bound on just a desk. I also write and create other things. I don't only do graphic design. I draw. I create videos. And sometimes I wonder how I can improve the "traditional" means of interacting with my machines.
So should I ditch my MacBook Pro for a Surface Book? The shift wouldn't be easy. I would have to reformat all my external drives to exFat for a start. That will take an eternity! Then I would have to look for a litany of Windows version graphic design softwares (not to mention that I would have to start worrying about viruses again!). There’s also that question of how good will Windows 10 perform? Surface Book also has some annoying quirks: the gap made by the hinge. While both Surface Book and Pro has an annoying 3.5 jack position. Can’t they put the damned jack on the lower corner of the machine?
"Gesture-based interaction with our computer is the future. Can you imagine doing graphic design like Tom Cruise on Minority Report? We kinda see a preview of that with Microsoft's Surface
lineup, specifically the Surface Studio."
Will I ditch my trusty steed? Honestly, I don’t know (maybe I’ll write about it in the next entry). The Surface Book doesn’t come cheap either. A MacBook Pro offers more horsepower. Quad-Core vs Surface’s Duo-Core, that means the MacBook Pro has 2x the processing power. Not to mention the ever-reliable OS X.
Read Here: Know why graphic designers are hating on Apple!
I’ve dreamt of designing with my hands like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Microsoft’s Surface brings me closer to that dream. So going back to the Windows world might be worth the risk. But maybe I would wait until they announce Surface Book 2 next year or until the prices drop.