It’s that time of year again: Apple is going to announce a bunch of new tech at the Peek Performance event later today (March 8), and while we have a pretty good idea of what will be revealed, there’s always the chance of something unexpected making an appearance.
One of the rumors floating around is that we’re going to see a refreshed MacBook Air, equipped with a new M2 chip, and which will be available in a spectrum of colors, along the lines of last year's 24-inch iMac computers.This may sound odd coming from a computing enthusiast, but have to confess that I've never really had an appreciation for Apple hardware; however, I’ve gradually felt that opinion changing over the last two years – and not entirely for a good reason.
I had very little exposure to Apple computers and laptops growing up. They were incredibly expensive compared so many PCs, and living in a low-income household in rural England, the only opportunity I had to play around with one was at the closest Apple store, which was over an hour away by bus.
As our Windows-based family computer and my own rickety Acer laptop did everything I needed, I simply didn’t see any point in investigating Apple's rival machines; to my eyes they were nothing but a symbol of luxury and excess I could never afford.
Phones and audio were a different story though. The difference between the iPod and other MP3 players on the market felt like night and day, and when the iPhone started appearing at my school, everyone was in awe of how it overshadowed other mobile phones that were popular at the time, like the Sony Ericsson W760i.
I’ve owned several iPhones over the years, when I was younger and needed to think I was keeping up with societal trends, but I jumped ship after owning the iPhone 6S Plus. I had no issues with it, but the prices for contract iPhones were eye-wateringly high compared to those for flagship Android phones, and the performance gap had seemingly closed now that Apple had some decent competition from the likes of Samsung and Sony.
The Apple ‘fanboys’ online could also be obnoxious and unbearably annoying, which made me want to avoid the brand purely out of spite. Given that all I cared about was having a big display and a great camera, I upgraded to a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and it’s still serving me well almost four years later.
Still… my next phone will bring me back to Apple, and not because I think it offers better products. Instead, my own laziness is to blame. I love a technology ecosystem in which phones, laptops, wearables and other devices work together seamlessly, and despite many of its competitors, like Samsung, Microsoft and Huawei, developing their own family of integrated products, Apple is the master of the ecosystem, and I don’t see that changing for some time.
Depictions of what the future will look like often show what we now call smart home technology, with robot maids, flying cars that can be summoned at the push of a button, and the ability to control just about everything in your home from one console or system.
We’re a little way off truly futuristic connected homes, but robot vacuums, driverless cars and smart home ecosystems are already here. Apple has its fingers in some of those pies already, and I’ll bet it will only grow into other areas in the coming years.
I don’t want to have to manually program my devices to communicate with each other – I want that to happen out of the box, and Apple's products offer that. Devices within the Apple ecosystem are almost always the most expensive in their respective categories, but the older I get, the more I’m willing to pay for convenience. Huawei showed promise here for a while, but software restrictions imposed on its products in western markets mean it’s no longer a practical choice.
Do I think that Apple is better, or more innovative, than other brands? Not at all – and I still believe that Android mobile devices push the boat out when it comes to cool features. I'll also never expect gaming to be a better experience on macOS than it is on Windows or Linux; but outside of my hobbies that I do like to sink some time into optimizing, I want my everyday tech to work in harmony, without any issues and with minimal effort.
Many of my favorite mobile apps are better optimized for iOS, with TikTok being just one example of that – videos on the app look noticeably cleaner and higher-quality if filmed on an iPhone than an Android device. This is so noticeable that it’s become something of a running joke on the platform, and while there are a few ways you can improve the experience on iPhone, you need to make the effort to do so.
I also purchased an iPad Pro 12.9-inch back in 2020 that I used mostly as a mobile drawing tablet for sketching and digital artwork, so it makes sense to get a phone that will complement it. Sure, the Microsoft Surface range is a tempting alternative, but I’ve grown to love my iPad for content creation, and the ProCreate app that’s exclusive to iOS, so I can’t see myself jumping ship any time soon.
And this is the start of the slippery slope to embracing all things Apple. There are offers for the Apple Watch everywhere I look, as incentives for buying health insurance or optional extras when taking out broadband contracts. Apple TV caught my eye with exclusive content like Ted Lasso and Wolfwalkers, despite my initial reaction of “Why on earth would you need Apple TV?” echoing in my mind from my first experience of seeing it in the Apple store. I’m even in the market for some new wireless earbuds now that the JLabs I own have bitten the dust… hello AirPods.
Buying just one or two of these products makes little sense when you know how comprehensively they're integrated, and I can see that as my non-Apple gadgets start to fail or become outdated, there's a definite appeal in replacing them with something that can offer better features alongside other Apple hardware.
So if we do see a new MacBook Air released in all those beautiful colors, chances are I’ll be saving my pennies and buying my first ever Apple computing product. And after that, it likely won’t take long for me to succumb to the convenience I can enjoy by purchasing more of the company's gadgets – I already have my eyes peeled for the green iPhone that might make an appearance a today's launch event.
Unless rival brands like Samsung and Microsoft start shouting a little louder about the benefits of buying into their respective ecosystems over Apple's, I’ll soon be throwing all my tech eggs into its basket – and perhaps wondering why it took me this long.