What's your ideal hardware setup?

I had a bit of an exploration on Twitter the other day regarding my hardware system:

(It’s a tweet thread)

TL;DR – I’ve simplified my system enough that I do not have to fully be on the Apple ecosystem anymore.

I don’t have any current plans to change, but my main gripe is my Macbook Pro’s clumsy, stiff keyboard.

It got me thinking: what’s my ideal hardware setup that I’d like to have?

Here’s mine:

  • A powerful Mac desktop for using Logic and Screenflow (two mainstays I enjoy)
  • A system76 Linux laptop to handle my mobile development computing needs
  • An iPad Pro to handle all of the other stuff (emails, Discourse, etc.)

I’d also have an iPhone in there, possibly an Android phone, and an Apple Watch.

That being said, what’s your ideal hardware setup?

@aaantoszek – I know you have a non-Mac setup. What’s yours look like?

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Interesting that you list three OS‘s. I don’t code, so happy with my MacBook for work (plugged in to an external monitor), and my iPhone with watch for tracking/personal use. Wish my works cloud provider would work better on iOS, and that Office for iOS were more powerful, then I’d go iOS only.

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Main reason for 3 is I’ve been unhappy with my 2019 MBP. I’d love to try a Linux laptop sometime. The iPad is there to handle my hyper-mobile uses (such as staying on top of work support requests where having a laptop is inconvenient). But again, it’s just a setup I’m dreaming of. The reality may be different in practice!

Well, I use an HP laptop with Win10Pro. I do everything on that computer. It goes everywhere with me. Has a lovely keyboard, quite powerful (16 GB of RAM, 512 SSD etc), had it for two years or so. Love the fact that I can just open it and replace any part I need.

My phone is an LG G6. Not very new, but I literally use it only for calls, messages, music/podcasts & Standard Notes.

I’ve used Apple devices in the past, but there’s no iMessage lock-in where I live, and the extra stuff such as Icloud etc. is not worth the extra 40% you have to pay for those devices. I only use crossplatform services that work the same on all OSes

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I’ve actually bought quite recently a 2019 Macbook Pro have been in love with it. The keyboard is not ideal, but got used to it after two or three days. And truth be told, this has the best screen I’ve ever used on a notebook. I can certainly get by without Mac proprietary software - I try to keep it that way for sure - but honestly? Most apps I use - including my company’s own - work best on Mac and iPhone. That’s why I keep coming back to them, even if I have a Windows computer at home and an Android phone.

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Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy Mac hardware just as much as anyone. Screens are top notch! But I’ve been so sad about the reliability of hardware components. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying yours though!

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Interesting thread.

After over a decade on Apple hardware I made a shift back in June to a System76 laptop running Linux. It has a stronger processor than offered by Apple with 32gb of ram for less than half the price. The only apps I have on it are emacs, terminator (terminal), chrome, slack and Spotify. It’s been liberating. Best of all, no more subscription based apps!! I use an LG 34” curved monitor and a HHKB keyboard. Super happy with my current setup.

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That definitely would be a boon of Linux. I’m finding I want to avoid certain apps just because of the subscriptions! It gets so costly. $5/mo adds up over 5, 10, 15 apps…

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SetApp sure is intriguing. A growing bunch of apps that I can access at any time for $10.00 per month.

I’ve been re-orienting myself into thinking of apps not as a physical product but as a service like my cellular service, cable TV service, rent, and utilities. If I make enough money using the apps/tools, I can justify its cost. The apps makes my life easier.

But, yeah, I’ve been reducing the number of apps I rely on. It didn’t make sense to buy Photoshop, Affinity Photos, and Pixelmator Pro. I finally settled on Pixelmator Pro and did not upgrade the other photo apps.

The hard part about going to cross platform apps is that they tend to be generic enough to go on any device but don’t take advantage of specific hardware advantages. An Electron app works well enough but a native app can sink its teeth into specific operating system APIs to take advantage of unique platform features.

Sometimes. Electron apps usually are pretty terrible at performance. The best cross platform apps are like Todoist, where they’ve made native apps instead of a web view. But agreed – not all are like that!

Another thought: there’s cross-platform and there’s platform agnostic.

Cross-platform would be apps like Todoist, Evernote, Notion, etc.

Platform agnostic are things like text files, PDFs, JSON APIs, vim/emacs, etc. They don’t require special software for the platform but are a recognized standard. It’s very doable to put together a system using platform agnostic building blocks and then use apps that are relevant to the platform.

As a manager, I no longer code, so I use a current generation retina MacBook Air (which is great) with 16GB RAM, an iPhone Xs, and an Apple Watch S5. At home I have an iPad for reading, video, etc. I use AirPods everywhere.

If you don’t have very big system needs but want portability, I’d really recommend the new Air as the best of all worlds (proper desktop OS, very portable, retina, has USB-C).

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I vaguely remembering reading an article a long time ago that a Windows user bought a MacBook Air and erased MacOS on it and did a boot camp install of Windows. He preferred Apple hardware but wasn’t familiar enough with MacOS. With the exception of the butterfly keyboard, I do enjoy using my 2018 13” MacBook Pro.

You can still do a Bootcamp install, which is great, but not Linux. The driver situation for Linux on Mac is abysmal at this point.

Good to know! I loved my old MBA.