From the shiny to the dark side
A year ago, I was stood in the Apple store in Princes Street, mesmerised. It was the most beautiful piece of tech I had ever seen, it was perfect and I was falling for the sales patter. “And you can do precision editing in iMovie with the Apple Pencil” and I’m stood there thinking, “That’ll be awesome, I could edit a movie on the move! And that pencil, I can draw thing, use it to take notes as well, this is a no brainer!”.
Of course, it was the new iPad Pro. It was £900 of shiny and it was oh so shiny. £900 lighter, I skipped off up the road, mind boggling with the possibilitiesa that new device would bring. This was a game changer, especially with that Pencil thing, awesome! Editing and uploading pics will never be the same again!
Fast forward a year and my iPad pro is basically a occasional games machine and a super sized Kindle. It’s been all over the place with me, I carry it every day. The number of times I’ve done real work on it? Well, a one armed man would have enough fingers to do this count. I’ve taken in on holidays, once I think I connected a camera via WiFi but it was a pain in the arse to do so never done it again, not that it mattered as the app store isn’t exactly dripping with really good RAW editors anyway. This is where the device fails, it’s fiddly. It’s fiddly to get stuff from a camera onto it. It’s fiddly to work with the files. The Apple Pencil is just fiddly full stop. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a glorious device for movie playback and for gaming but I bought it off the back of the Apple claims it could replace a laptop.
The last straw came when on holiday in Barcelona. A photographers dream location. Despite being on hols, Real Edinburgh continues to roll along. I still need to speak to customers, I still need to update the page. Stop updating and you soon fall off the radar of the timeline and it’s a bugger to get the reach up, so hols or not, I need to do this stuff. Answering customers with an on screen keyboard is a pain but that wasn’t the biggest problem.
For this trip I had had acquired a Fuji X100s, a fine camera but not the newest model. It had slipped my notice that the x100s didn’t have WiFi which was an issue. I had content for the page but no way at all of getting of from an SD card to the iPad unless I visited the Apple store for an adapter at about £30. That was the point that struck me that the iPad while a glorious device is lacking in some areas, connectivity being a biggie. No SD slot is another, especially for a photographer. Carrying about a range of bits to plug into the lightning port kind of defeats the purpose of using such a device?
So, for the first time in years, I found myself stalking the aisles of PC World today, not drooling over the Mac selections but immersing myself into the world of Windows 10 laptops. It was a strange and bewildering place, where most items appeared to be out of stock but I got the solution to what I need for my photography on the move and abroad. It came in the shape of a Dell Inspirion 13 laptop. It sports 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and 7th Gen i5 processor but what really makes it useful, 2 USB slots and an SD card reader. It’s a little larger than the iPad Pro, a fair bit thicker but crucially, it does what I need it to do and it’s small enough to travel with. It’s running Photoshop and Bridge CC just fine as well.
I have to admit I had a look at the Macs but at nearly double the price for the lovely 12” and small MacBook for the first time I felt I couldn’t justify Apple prices especially as I have a powerhouse MacBook pro that is perfect in every way, it’s just too big and heavy. Windows also gives me some flexibility to run some of the Astro software apps out there and get back into the CCD camera imaging again with a telescope.
So, what now for the shiny? Well, I still want an iPad but maybe back to the usual size one an Air 2 will be more than ample. I’ll still probably take it away as well, loaded with games and the Kindle app but at a more manageable size. I’m looking forward to traveling again and giving the x100s a good workout and being able to see and edit shots while away. I’ve a few trips lined up including a return visit to Barcelona, it’ll be interesting to see how it all works.