Thursday, January 31, 2008

On not pulling the trigger

I was thisclose to clicking "place your order now" for a brand-new Macbook Pro from the Apple Store when one of my colleagues forwarded me a blog post about rumors of new Macbook Pros coming soon from Apple. After talking to him, I closed the browser window.

I've been waiting for a while to buy a Macbook Pro. I've been thinking idly about it for about a year, and when I decided last fall that my next computer would be a laptop, a Macbook Pro was a natural choice. I don't want to use Windows Vista, I've gotten to like the software that comes with Mac OS X, and many of my friends have Macs and love them. A Macbook Pro would have the RAM and processor requirements that would be equivalent to my last few desktop PCs. And with a laptop at home, I could finally sit in front of the TV and use my own laptop instead of the one from work that isn't quite mine no matter how much I tweak it.

But a Macbook Pro would cost about twice what I paid for my last PC. It would be the most money I've ever spent on a computer. I bought a custom-built PC in 1998 that cost about $2500, and the only reason it cost that much was that I bought it through a vendor friend of mine and I wanted to give him some business. (Actually, the Macbook Pro would only be slightly more expensive than that PC, but with the warranty and the tax the difference is significant.) I know that for the price, I'm really getting two computers: Macs can run Windows as well as as OS X.

I guess what I'm really afraid of is that I'll buy a Pro now, and then in a week or two Apple will announce the new lineup and there will be some hot new feature that I really want but can't have. One of the rumors is that the Pro line will get the same multi-touch trackpad that the new Macbook Air has. Another rumor is that they'll update the hardware with the latest Intel processors. I know that every technology purchase is obsolete the minute you get it. On the other hand, if I'm one of the first ones with a new piece of hardware then I get to be one of the first ones to figure out what's wrong with it. The advantage of buying a Pro now is that the hardware has been tested by the user community and most of the issues are known. I'm not sure I want to be an early hardware adopter when I'm not that familiar with the OS either.

So I'm waiting for now. I'll give it a few more days. Maybe I'll do my taxes in the next few days and see how that affects my financial situation. Maybe Apple will decide to announce the new Macbook Pro specs next week and I can make a truly informed decision. Or maybe my gadget lust will overcome me, I'll click that "buy" button, and I'll hope that whenever the new laptops are announced my reaction is "meh."

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