Four Months with an M1 MacBook Pro

I wrote an article on November 25th called 12 Hours Or So where I talked about how the incredible battery life of Apple’s new laptop was opening up whole new avenues for me. Instead of having to calculate where I’d find a power outlet, I could go anywhere without fear of running out of juice. Here’s what happened instead.

I like my house

I live in a country without any Covid cases, so I’m welcome to work at the library, coffee shop, or a park bench all day if I choose to. But I don’t usually choose to. I have an office where I work from home, and it’s my go-to. And if I’m at home, I might as well plug in.

I keep forgetting to plug in

Because the battery life is really good, I’m not as good about plugging in. Which means sometimes being surprised when I do run out of power. Which leads to a feeling of unpredictability. If I was religiously attached to power, I’d always be ready for at least ten hours disconnected. But instead I get ready to go to the library, see only a 50% change, and think “might as well not risk it.”

A lot of apps are resource hogs

I revise my previous claim about twelve hours of battery life. After four months, I’d say it’s more like this: you’ll get eight no matter what, ten most of the time, and twelve is a possibility but I wouldn’t bet on it. Why? Because a lot of apps are really tough on the processor and battery, and many aren’t designed for the new chips yet.

Things feel slow again

The computer didn’t change, I did. If I used to get 100 spinning beach balls a day and now I get 1, there’s two ways to process this. One is to say “Wow, that’s 99 fewer beach balls!” The other, which is what I do instead, is to think “come on, you slow computer.” We have an insatiable thirst for performance. This computer could be one thousand times faster and I’d still be able to find things that feel slow.

The computer did everything right

But all of these factors say more about me and human psychology than Apple or its marketing. Apple claimed the computer would be much faster and last a lot longer, and they’ve held up their end of the bargain. They did everything right, and sold me a computer based on facts, not wild claims.

The computer is predicting 11:35 of battery life today. Sounds about right.

But the novelty effect has worn off, and they’ve spoiled me. I know if I used another computer I’d find it unbearably slow. That part I was expecting. What I wasn’t expecting is how I’d still feel a little disappointed four months later, despite having no good reason for it.

Designer, writer, teacher. I love building things.