The options if you don't want a new MacBook Pro

3 November 2016, 05:08

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I’ve not sure I’ve seen a backlash this strong against any Apple product, never mind a Mac. But if you simply don’t want (or can’t afford) one of the new MacBook Pros, what are your options – especially if you’re stuck with the macOS/OS X platform for things like developing apps?

  • Get an older generation MacBook Pro: They’re still on sale at third-party retailers, but be quick because everybody else has had this thought too and the shelves are being cleared quickly (not least because some of the old higher-end MacBook Pros have faster CPUs – on paper – than the newest generation). Of course, you can always keep an eye on Apple’s refurbs too.
  • Create a Hackintosh: There are guides a-plenty out there on how to make a hackintosh, which is to say, a PC that runs a hacked version of macOS/OS X (yes, this is about as illegal as it comes – and don’t think already owning a Mac somehow provides you with a software license). Check YouTube for some terrific guides, too. However, to be blunt, although many of us have knowledge of how to build a PC, building a hackintosh requires a slightly higher level of knowledge because you need to ensure the parts you buy are spot-on correct. Additionally, you’ll probably find that iMessage just won’t work – amongst other macOS/OS X system components – and updating macOS/OS X each time can be a nightmare. But it does produce a functional system, and people do work everyday with hackintosh systems on their desks – particularly people like video editors who demand high-performance systems that Apple just isn’t delivering.
  • Run macOS in a virtual machine using something VMware Workstation: The same hacks that allow macOS/OS X to run on a hackintosh also allow it to run within a virtual machine under an app like VMware Workstation, which runs on PCs and Linux. Again, just hit Google to find guides (we’re not going to link to them here – even discussing this kind of thing is legally questionable).
  • Switch to Linux: For developers requiring a POSIX-compliant Unix system the consensus seems to be that the Elementary OS is a good swap-in for those who want to retain the look and feel of macOS/OS X, and the guys behind it have even written a switching guide for former Mac fans. Of course, Linux Mint is another good choice, as is Ubuntu. If you’ve ever tried Linux on the desktop full-time then you’ll know that it’s an often frustrating experience, and while huge technical strides have been made recently in terms of user interface design, nothing’s really changed from a decade ago when it comes down to the annoyance of getting your wifi to work properly, or getting your printer to work. Still, let’s remain sanguine. Why not give it a try and see what you find?
  • Switch to Windows: No. We just can’t do it. Recommend Windows as an alternative to Mac? No. Never, no matter how bad it gets. Yes, the Microsoft Surface line of products is innovative, exciting and interesting. But it’s still Windows. Still head-bangingly annoying, crappy, crashy, freezy, inexplicable-why-are-you-doing-this!!!! Windows. Microsoft’s best plan might be to take a leaf from the Edge browser and introduce a new operating system. If they did that then people like me may flock to this new platform. But that would also be a huge investment – and ultimately the desktop is dying.


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This Windows hate is so old school and it doesn’t even have its place. Windows has become a great product, at least as good as Mac nowadays. Now with Virtual Desktops, Terminals and Cortana (which, unlike Siri for Mac, is pretty useful), Windows is as strong as ever. Hell, with its driver support it is way better than a mac.

But yeah, it doesn’t have Retina, the TouchPad and the wonderful autonomy of Macs, so that’s something to consider anyway. And it doesn’t run XCode which is a must for developing Apple products.

— Eli · Nov 7, 01:40 PM · #

Another alternative I’m considering is purchasing a desktop Mac, such a 4K or 5K retina iMac. Apple really messed up my upgrade path with these new machines…

Cheers,
Rick

Riccardo Mori · Nov 9, 04:08 AM · #

 
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