Neal Sheeran

Rants, Raves, and Geekery

Upgrading My Apple Gear


In the last few months and up to last week, Apple has introduced Retina MacBook Pro’s (13 and 15 inch), updated MacBook Airs, the iPhone 5, the iPad “4” (seven months after the Retina iPad 3), and the iPad Mini. Throw in revved up Mac Mini’s and new iMacs just around the corner. Given that my Apple hardware consists of the following, what, if anything, am I going to upgrade and when?

  1. MacBook Pro, Mid-2010 15” model, purchased May 2010
  2. iPhone 4, purchased May 2011
  3. iPad 2 (WiFi), received as a Christmas gift in December 2011

Quite Significant Caveat: Aside from my iPhone 4, I have never seen a Retina display in person. Not on the new MacBook Pro’s, or the newer iPads. Based on what I’ve read from others, I’m certain my thoughts would change if I did.


Of my three devices, not replacing my iPad is the easiest decision. I use it almost exclusively for reading around the house, at least until the next version of Kingdom Rush comes out. It does exactly what I need. I’m intrigued by the smaller size of the iPad Mini and will probably upgrade when it gets a Retina display.


My first iPhone was a 3GS and I only upgraded to a 4 out of necessity when the battery pretty much crapped out while I was a trip. I plan on switching to Verizon and getting a iPhone 5 for my wife to replace her current crappy flip phone. I might as well get one too.


What my next computer will be is a tricky question. I love my current MacBook Pro. My previous machine was a 2006 PowerMac G5, and while I appreciate the portability, the screen can be a bit cramped at times. A situation I could rectify if I bothered to hook up my old 20 inch Cinema Display.

The new iMacs are impressive, but I’m not sure I want to be an early Fusion Drive adopter. Additionally, all of my backup drives are FireWire, a technology that Apple appears to be leaving behind for Thunderbolt and USB 3, so the added expense of replacing those would be a factor.

Oddly enough, the new Mac Mini does still have a FW 800 port, and I have been thinking about getting one for a few months now as a home server/media center (to replace my first generation Apple TV).

I could wait for the Mac Pro replacement that may (or may not) come out next year. Or holdout for Retina iMacs. More than likely I’ll extend the life of my MacBook Pro with an easy (and highly recommended) upgrade to an SSD drive, and maybe some RAM while I’m at it.

We’ll see if any of this holds once I actually see a Retina display.

Update (3 Nov) Macworld has a good article about ways to deal with the imminent demise of FireWire.