My Ideal Mac Setup: Aug 2012

I did one of these back in February, but I thought it would be time for a revision … of sorts.

Back then I was thinking of going iPad-only for mobile computing and tethering myself to a Mac mini at any desk that I might need. Sadly, the Mac mini has languished with no updated to include the architectural improvements of Ivy Bridge, which is what I continue to wait for.

However, Apple HAS released new hardware in the form of the 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display … and it is quite the looker.

As a quick aside, I find it funny that the portable lineup currently includes USB 3.0 but the desktops do not. I’m hoping that will get rectified soon, but i get the feeling that we’re at an inflection point right now and the desktop hardware is suffering because of it.

I’m still working with only my 13″ MacBook Pro. No additional hardware has been purchased since then, but some new thoughts have crept into my mind, mainly due to the lack of updates for the Mac mini and the complete revamp of the MacBook Pro.

Ideal Setup

So here’s my “ideal” setup right now … which includes some hardware that hasn’t been released yet but it rumored to be incoming.

  • 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display – I’m not really sure who to believe right now because I was sure they’d never release another 13″ MacBook Pro once they went Retina-only, but the rumor sites keep stating that it is incoming. A smaller-and-lighter chassis sans-optical-drive-and-spinning-hard-disks with that screen would be awesome. This would be my main development machine for at ┬áhome along with my portable workstation.
  • 27″ Thunderbolt Display – Sitting at my desk for the web design work that doesn’t need the Retina touch. Would be even better if it WAS a Retina screen, but the more people think-and-talk about it, the less likely it seems.
  • 27″ iMac – This big guy would sit at work and wait diligently for me to arrive so that I can work. The idea would be for the increased performance of the Ivy Bridge chipset and processor to be around for the little bits of video work that I need to do.
  • 64 GB Verizon iPad – There is just so much reading that I do on it that not having it around feels wrong. I’d love to get the largest version just to have the extra storage, but I’m very interested to see what Apple is going to pull out come next year for the iPad. The iPad (3rd generation) pushed ahead a lot, so it will be fun.
  • Mac mini – Home server for backups and media streaming. I still have in the back of my mind the idea of ripping all of our DVDs onto a mini and then using the Apple TV to stream them. Then I can ditch another component in our entertainment center. I’m really hoping for Ivy Bridge soon.

Realistic Setup

Now that I have that out of my system, I’m going to go with something a little more realistic. I’m going to list only the hardware that is currently released.

  • 11″ MacBook Air – I would go with the higher storage and more RAM here. I love the tiny size of the device so it would be perfect for the road. I’d be tempted to stick with the Mac mini … as soon as I gets Ivy Bridge. This is my home development machine.
  • 13″ MacBook Pro – It works well and it ain’t broke … why fix it? Work machine.
  • 32 GB iPad – No cellular internet, but it will do what I need it to (reading and listening to stuff mostly). This is the device I would grab most often when I leave the house (besides my iPhone).

That’s far more realistic. Sadly, I’m not getting anything right now but this Fall/Winter should be fun.