People keep asking my opinion of the latest Apple gear, with the expectation that I’ll review it here. This week it’s the new MacBook and Apple Watch everyone happens to be interested in, but I think I can write an all-purpose statement that will cover the new things for many years to come.
Let me put this as kindly as I can: I’m not going to write about that sort of thing here, for your own good.
Joe On Tech is not a gadget or news blog, nor is it an Apple fan site, my Apple bias notwithstanding. It’s about developing a healthy, sane relationship with technology. So reviews of new Apple products are out of scope here. There are dozens of other sites that do that sort of thing very well. We truly don’t need another one. That’s what I said in my manifesto and I meant it.
Besides, everyone is saying the same thing: this new product is great in some ways (for me, the reviewer), and lousy in some ways, and just OK in others. The next version will undoubtedly be better, but if you need a thing that does what this thing does now, the way it does it now, and you can afford it, then go buy it, because maybe it’ll be good for you even if it isn’t for me.
That’s the only thing you need to know about a new product: whether it’s a good choice for you. The facts are easy to come by, but whether someone else likes a product is irrelevant, because everyone’s needs and tastes are different.
More to the point, if you have to ask yourself what you could do with a new product—what use you could come up with for it, whether you might find some way it could make your life subtly better—you’re thinking backwards. You’re starting with the technology and trying to find a problem for it to solve, when you should be thinking about what you need and then finding (or making or adapting) technology that does that for you. Likewise, if you know a product is going to be inadequate in some way that’s important to you but you’re trying to convince yourself to buy it anyway because it’s cool in some other ways, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
You need a new computer? OK. Are the biggest problems you need to solve battery life and weight? If so, are those far more important than cost, performance, and expandability? Great, I’ve got just the computer for you. If not, there’s nothing more to say.
Or maybe you need a thing that goes on your wrist to tell the time and relay information from your phone and track your exercise and so on? Fair enough. Buy whichever of the many such devices you like best and can afford. Maybe those features are worth only $100 to you, or maybe having a shiny new Apple product is worth $17,000, regardless of what it does. That’s not for me to judge. You know your needs and your budget. You’re not making a moral decision here, just a technology purchase. It’s not that big a deal.
Really, it’s not. And if you wait a month or a year to decide, that’s OK too. It’s also OK to try something and change your mind when you discover it’s not what you want after all. Don’t waste your energy becoming emotionally involved with metal boxes.
Do I have opinions about the new products? Sure. But they aren’t relevant to you, because you don’t have the same needs, budget, and preferences I do. And that’s why I’m not going to talk about them on this site. The message I’ll repeat here until you believe it is this: The purpose of technology is to make your life better. If you have to ask whether a particular gadget will do that, you probably don’t understand your own needs well enough. Ask not what your technology can do for you. Ask what technology does what you need.