Having the perfect machine for development and also for stuff I’m doing besides development (Web browsing, online banking, Netflix, …) is always a thing I strive for. As most of you will do.
A special thing about the “dev machine” (and also about my mobile phone) is something that is very hard to explain, but I will try nevertheless.
I always try to have a setup that is achievable by “normal” people. Being gifted with a hobby that I’m quite good at that I can do as a full time job and is also payed very well I can afford almost any setup (dev machine, mobile phone, infrastructure) that I want to have.
But I always try to find the best setup that is not dependent on having much money to spare still considering things that are important to me like privacy and robustness.
My first contact with mobile phones was the iPhone of a friend of mine. At that time that iPhone was ridiculously priced compared to the feature phones available at that time but also compared to the Windows CE devices I had. At that time the main reason to not have an iPhone was simple: money. I simply could not afford having one.
Then the Android devices popped up. My first Smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy S. Me and my wife both bought one by switching the mobile contract we had.
From that moment on I started looking into App development for Android as I really liked that idea to have creations of mine with me all the time (and I still do ;))
I kept searching for the best compromise between cost, privacy concerns and features by switching phones regularly. Often 4 times a year.
Having an iPhone was not really an option for me. Its limitations and not being able to do anything you want was one aspect but the much more important aspect for me has always been: This is something for the rich. I know plenty of people that simply couldn’t afford an iPhone. Regardless what they are doing.
So I stayed with Android over the years always knowing that this is a compromise on many levels:
- Support - Android devices get old very fast. Manufacturers loose interest even in top smartphones quite fast. If you get 3 years security updates you were lucky
- Privacy - Of course this is a very loaded topic. But even if not perfect, at least Apple is trying to preserve as much privacy as it can. Of course this doesn’t prevent users from installing Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram - This is another story. On Googles side of the story privacy is only a topic as long it affects the relationship of their users with other people. Google wants and needs all your data in order to exist.
A similar thing goes for the MacBooks out there. I had a MacBook for roughly a year because it was almost the same price as a comparable windows notebook. Then I wanted to upgrade the specs (it had 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage) and the price of that machines raised into areas that were no longer something that those mentioned people can afford. So I decided to switch back to Windows / Linux.
Over the years I often switched OS and devices. Gave Linux a try more than a couple of times always finding out that there is something not working (battery life of notebooks is one thing, getting that beamer to work another, the list continues).
Then Microsoft made that big step and was opening. It was possible to run Linux applications in Windows. They integrated Android (at least a bit) and did (and still do) so much work for the community. So I switched back to Windows.
Then Apple dropped the iPhone SE in an iPhone 8 body with an iPhone 11 chip and a improved camera to a price that everyone can afford.
My main argument against the iPhone dropped and all the mentioned disadvantages of Android stayed.
Another key situation for me was me looking for a tablet with a pen to make notes during meetings. The cheapest and arguably the best solution to this problem has been an iPad. I never expected that outcome when I started this journey.
Those two things made me thinking about switching back to iPhones and also switching back to Macs.
As I decided that I will switch back to an iPhone with the iPhone 12 I also thought about developing apps for it (even if those apps are only for me)
The MacBook prices are still way too high in my opinion and there is no budget option for getting a MacBook today. But to develop apps for an iPhone you need to have something running MacOS. So I decided to switch back to a MacBook even if it is “something for the rich”
Now I’m sitting here with my brand new 13” MacBook Pro. I know what you think: He bought a new Intel MacBook only months before Apple will drop their ARM MacBooks.
Yes, I know. Of course I thought about that. But as I expect a ~1 year transition phase where not everything works out of the box (x86 only Docker images, hardware compilation toolchains, …) I decided to stick with the proven system and wait until the dust of the transition has been settled.
More on the selection process on the next post.