I genuinely have no idea how it happened.
After returning home from the gym, I headed into the kitchen, retrieved my M1 MacBook Air from its soft case and placed it on the breakfast bar, ready for a working lunch.
That’s when I spotted it.
Located on the right-hand side of the MacBook’s casing were several small gouges. They were on both the base of the laptop and its lid. Sharp, too; run your finger too quickly across one of them and you’d probably cut yourself.
I’m so careful with my tech. Or, at least, I thought I was. How could this happen? More importantly, why did the gut-wrenching feeling that follows the discovery of such damage only last a few minutes?
The dent (ok, dents) and my reaction tell their own story and give me the perfect excuse to update you on the best laptop I’ve ever owned.
The damage speaks volumes
I don’t throw my laptops around, but I do put them to task as serious business devices.
Inevitably, this means that the kid gloves period (most Apple device owners will know what this is; you gingerly place the MacBook, iPhone or iPad on every surface, continually wipe away fingerprints and do all you can to avoid other people handling it) only lasts a week or two.
So, this M1 MacBook Air has been chucked into its protective case, placed less than lovingly on desk surfaces and been left unattended on several occasions. At some point, clearly, this resulted in the unsightly damage you can see at the top of this blog post.
It annoyed me. But only for a brief moment. As I surveyed the damage and checked over the rest of the laptop, I realised that it looked used. Not abused, I hasten to add; gouges aside, it simply had multiple fingerprints, removable scuffs and an interminably dirty screen. Clearly, I’ve become comfortable with its workmanlike appearance.
I’m a big fan of people who rock up to coffee shops with ancient MacBooks. Covered in stickers and dents and featuring keyboards so shiny you can practically see your reflection in them, they’re loved. These people don’t really care about their computer’s outward appearance – it is simply a part of them. And, just like we pick up the odd scratch, bruise and scar, they accept those imperfections.
I’ve realised this is exactly what I’ve been doing with the MacBook Air. It’s a total workhorse and follows me everywhere. The fact the damage it has sustained didn’t bother me for much longer than a few minutes reveals just how important this laptop has become for my business. Part of me wants it to become worn like an old trusted hammer.
But why has this laptop become so important to my business? I think there are two main reasons.
The best example of the M1
I first discovered the power of the M1 chip when I ran a couple of Final Cut Pro tests on both the MacBook Air and the Intel-based 16” MacBook Pro.
The results were astounding.
This little laptop without a fan and with what is still one of the lowest profiles available on the market was clearly an absolutely game-changing device. It’s also highly lusted after; my original review remains the most-watched video on my YouTube channel, with nearly 219,000 views to date.
I’ve talked a lot about how wonderful the M1 Mac mini is, but it is hampered by some dreadful Bluetooth issues and remains a computer for a relatively small subsection of Apple’s Mac audience. By comparison, the MacBook Air is still one of their most beloved laptops, and the M1 enables it to be the ultimate expression of mobile computing.
I think it’s fair to say that the MacBook Air has been waiting for the M1 chip for a long time. The combination of low power consumption and latent grunt that enables even the base spec to perform wonderfully complex tasks makes it incredibly good value for money.
It’s important to remind you at this point that I have the base spec version. It has a measly 256GB SSD for storage and a paltry 8GB of RAM. But, as I’ve noted on numerous occasions, none of that matters; it doesn’t feel any different during day-to-day use than the 16GB M1 Mac mini in my studio.
It’s all about the standby time
Now, let’s get one thing straight – the battery in the M1 MacBook Air isn’t magic. It also isn’t quite as “biblical” as I’d suggested during my initial review.
It just needs a healthy dose of common sense applying if you’re not to become disappointed with its performance.
If you use anything other than Apple’s stock apps, it will drain relatively quickly. Not as quickly as an Intel-based MacBook Air’s battery, but quick enough to require a charger on hand during long days on the road, just in case.
But the in-use battery life isn’t the star of the show here – it’s the standby time, which absolutely deserves the word “biblical” placed next to it.
I so rarely charge this thing. If It has 30% battery left, I’ll happily close the lid, leave it for a day and night off charge and take it out the next morning for a couple of hours at the local coffee shop. And that’s because I know that when I lift the lid, the battery will barely have reduced by a percentage point.
That’s all you need to know about the MacBook Air’s battery life. The standby time makes it the most convenient, hassle-free laptop I’ve ever owned.
Be careful with my baby, Apple
I recently updated my buying advice for the M1 MacBook Air to reflect some of the rumours.
Apple is up to something.
Whatever it is they’re up to will hopefully be revealed at WWDC next week, but I hope they’re careful with my baby. Just like the M1 Mac mini (Bluetooth issues aside), the MacBook Air has demonstrated that you don’t need to continually iterate the design or features to make a great laptop any better. Any changes, therefore, need to be incredibly well thought out and respectful.
We’ve heard about white bezels, different colours and the end of the tapered design. None of that stuff bothers me – some of it excites me, in fact – but that’s about as far as they need to go.
We don’t want any silly changes to ports (unless they add more), tweaks to the keyboard or confusing spec options. Just give it a light dusting with the colourful magic wand used on the latest iMac and leave it at that please, Tim.
For now, I’ll continue to treat mine like the workhorse it has clearly become – dents and all.