Review : Apple Machines - for a designer

I'm an avid Apple user, from my first iPod shuffle, to iPod Touch, to iPhone 4S, and also my first Macbook Pro to iMac *previous office and Macbook Air *current office. It's fair to say that I can roughly summarize the machines that I've been using in this post. Because I am still considering which machine to buy to replace my dying Macbook Pro.

I'm going to spend some money on this so I need to do a huge amount of research before making a decision. So the research begins ! :


Macbook Pro :
Based on 2010 version, 2.4Ghz Intel Core i5, 15 inch, Snow Leopard OS

Pro - 
  • Powerful - I have no problems on any designing softwares I used before.
  • The 15-inch screen size is big enough for designing. 
  • I just love it. 
Cons - 
  • Ridiculously heavy - including the wires and adaptor might take around 4kg on your back. So it is not suitable for frequent travel. Not quite sure the latest one, that one time I tried to pick it up at the Apple store, the alarm went off =.=' 
  • Super expensive - The one I used was is around RM6k in 2010, the latest one is much pricier. 
  • After the 3rd year, I had a massive problem - the blue-screen death, so I changed my hard-drive, downgraded it and it was okay. This is the 5th year, it starts to go black almost all the time nowadays - for any reason. 
  • Only 2 USB ports
The rationale in buying this :
Maybe I can afford to buy the 13-inch one because it is powerful enough for my freelance works, portable and easy to bring to places - *hello Japan! But it is around RM5k, quite small for any designing works. Maybe?

Current price range - RM 4, 999 to RM 11,299


Macbook Air :
Based on 2014 version, 1.4Ghz Intel Core i5, 13 inch, Yosemite OS

Pro - 
  • Really light, it's portable and easy to bring to places and meetings.
  • The battery can be up to 9 hours :D - I don't have to bring back the wires and adaptor back home everyday to use at night after work

Cons - 
  • Slow, especially when I do digital illustration on Photoshop, most of vector works on Illustrator works fine. Perhaps you might want to find a lighter substitute application for digital illustration on App Store. 
  • Quite small, not quite suitable for designing except if you have extra extended monitor. 
  • Only 2 USB ports
The rationale in buying this :
No, it's not for designing. It is too slow, too sluggish for my likings. Maybe one day I will decide to be a full-time writer and not do any designing anymore, I might buy one because it is so slim and light. It's great for everyday life, but definitely not for designing purpose.

Current price range -  RM 4,099 to RM 5,449


Based on 2014 version, 1.4Ghz Intel Core i5, 21 inch, Yosemite OS

Pro - 
  • The size, it's huge. I love designing on iMac, I can see everything and use many artboards for designing at once.
  • Got 4 USB ports. 
Cons -
  • Not portable.
  • A bit slow on Maverick OS, haven't tried El Capitan yet. Ditto on Photoshop, and huge AI files. 
The rationale in buying this :
If I want to work as a full-time freelance designer and manage to find several long-term contacts with clients, I'll make a nice studio at home and having this machine would be great. But for now, I'm searching for something portable.

Current price range - RM 4,999 to RM 10,399 


You might want to upgrade these :
  • Apple Care for another 3 years : Around RM 850
  • Time Capsule 2 TB : RM 1,329
  • Wacom Tablet : RM 699 +
  • Monthly Adobe CC : Annual plan , RM 155 per month for all app.

So yes, I know we need to spend some money on the machine and softwares before even starting to make our investment pay-off. But, that's the life of a designer lah, if you choose to be one. And perhaps you choose to use PC and windows, the powerful machine will usually cost some money as well. Did you checked the price for Alienware? - everything is RM5k ++

This, will make sense if you are an active freelance designer/illustrator and in need of a powerful  machine in making extra money rather than waiting for our monthly salary from the formal working job. But if you don't want to work outside of the working hours, you don't have to spend so much of personal machines lah, untuk apa kan, membazir.

What do you think?

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