Prior to returning home recently to start a new job I put writing my blog on hiatus. When I went on my trip I struggled with indecision as to what device would be more useful to me - a MacBook Air, iPad Air, or a Windows laptop, specifically the ARM-powered Lenovo X13s and the Microsoft Surface. In a normal situation I would have probably purchased the MacBook Air since it has all I would need, but my experiences with Mac laptops had tainted my desire to purchase the laptop as both of my previous MacBooks failed due to a graphics processor failure.

While in this indecisive state I came across some videos from the amazing Louis Rossmann where he discusses the engineering and design of the soldered SSDs1 on Macbooks. The information he shared was helpful in reconsidering a Macbook Air and narrowed the field down to 3 devices. It became quickly apparent that the iPad Air would probably be the consolation winner here as reviews of the Lenovo labelled it as having poor performance and the information on installing Linux on a Surface felt overwhelming.

While the iPad played a crucial role in my workflow, it had its limitations. It felt like it could handle about 80% of my tasks, but that remaining 20% could at times become significant. Tasks such as running Linux, Steam, and PC software were beyond its capabilities, addditionally, the multitasking feature, though appealing, seemed somewhat incomplete. For example, running VLC on the iPad, while connected to an external monitor, should logically display both the video and its controls on whichever screen the app is located on, this wasn’t the case as the video play on the external monitor with the controls remaining on the iPad’s actual screen. Attempting to share the screen with other apps (using Stage Manager) further complicated things as it would cause the video to continue playing in the background but with audio only. Alternatives like Outplayer, based on the MPV media player, exhibited similar behavior, so it could be a limitation with Apple’s software development libraries.

Upon returning, I faced an additional dilemma - with my blog. I had to restore it once again, fortunately, this time I had the majority of files needed to restore the blog, although the process was time-consuming. Finally, being able to use different fonts on my blog added a positive note.

I’m excited about bringing more content, with upcoming reviews on Super Mario Wonder and my recent experiences using KDE Plasma.

  1. My understanding is that the soldiered SSDs are engineered in such a way that when a related part (that wears down over time) stops working it more or less kills the SSD. This is concerning because it doesn’t appear as though the SSD in the M-series Macs can be replaced or if it can it is a complicated process. ↩︎