To give a bit of a back story in 2013 we decided to go and live in Cyprus, basically because we could and of course the weather. After two years we decided to return to the UK but again after two years, there seems to be a pattern developing, we have decided to go back to Cyprus. A healthier way of life, a less stressful way of life and a lot cheaper way of life and of course again, the weather. So on August 30th we leave the UK with no intention to return but who knows in two years...
So, we needed to review our computer use, shipping two 27" retina iMacs was going to cost around the £500 and we would be without them for about 10 days, it seemed that if I was going to spend that sort of money I might as well buy new machines and kick start the regular upgrade cycle so the research began. Over the last twelve months I have come to rely more and more on my 12.9" iPad Pro, which seems to have rekindled my love of fiddling on computers, the challenge of bending an iPad and its clunky OS10 into a usable and effective system has brought hours of frustration and fun, and taught me a bit of Python programming language skills in the process.
Now the original idea was too buy a 13" MacBook Pro with of course the new touch bar, give my existing iPad Pro to my partner and get a spiffy new one for me, and in fact thats was the order we originally placed. However while waiting for stock, part exchanges, private sales of existing stuff etc to all fall into place I had an idea. Honestly I was really reluctant to cough up nearly £1,800 on a MacBook Pro for a paltry 13" screen, (Apple) hardware seems to me, a long time user, to be getting prohibitively expensive for certain ranges given a realistic working lifetime of two to three years, so with my scrooge hat on I started again.
The main problem is we need a Mac with MacOS to compile SASS code and develop with MAMP and PHP, which is probably given OS11's new file handling and interface the only thing we need MacOS for
Enter the MacMini, after trying to think of the most flexible options the combination of a MacMini used as a file server and iPads as gateways into it (we store nearly everything on the cloud) we have the compiling abilities of Mac apps like Codekit, with the flexibility of the iPads. The plan now is for two new iPad pros, one 12.9 one 10.5 both with smart keyboards and one medium spec MacMini. My existing iPad Pro as before is going to my partner.
This makes future upgrading much easier, the costs of these individual items is way less than the MacBook Pro, so replacement costs can be spread out better. We have a lot of both portability and flexibility and the cost of even pro grade apps like Omnigraffle and Affinity Photo are not prohibitive. Additionally we only really need to buy apps for one platform rather than two, reducing costs further. The MacMini is really only going to be used as a file server, with Dropbox Google Drive and the new Transmit 5 giving us access to all our files as if we were on the Mac Itself. Duet App can not only be used to turn the iPad into a second Mac monitor but also as a monitor for the MacMini for the odd times we may need to work on it directly.
Am I happy with this? Yes so far but we start using this in earnest next week so we will see. What was interesting was last week I read an article from a highly respected ex-Apple engineer who came to pretty much the same conclusion for his set up so I sort of feel vindicated and even a little bit smug. Meanwhile adventures lie ahead, so an update will follow soon.