I sat waiting for my mid 2013 MacBook Air to finish processing my latest podcast. It was taking forever.
"Ping" shouted my iPhone. I scooped it up like the caped crusader scooping up its distant flashing, red ancestor, and read:
"Apple releases new MacBook Pros!!"
This was what I'd been waiting for, ready to go, ready to pounce like Cat Woman, though in a looser fitting body suit with less makeup.
My new machine arrived mere seconds later (exaggeration) and, with trembling fingers, I pealed back the glossy skin, waited... Waited... As the inner box slowly, so slowly, fighting the back pressure of its former mate, came free.
There it lay, a flat piece of cosmos, imbued with such hope, such potential. I felt like a new parent with a very flat baby... Which could do stuff... And was only expensive once... Okay, nothing like a baby.
First of all, the good, just so I can lull you into a false belief that I'm a positive sort of guy.
The audio system on this flat little spawn is delightful. It creates an airy 3 dimensional sound which is clear and sweet. Even the bass isn't bad considering its slender body. It won't be replacing any purpose built and decent bluetooth or airplay speakers any time soon, and JZ won't be using it to pump out his shouts at any festivals, but it's good. I can certainly imagine using this for audio editing whilst on the go.
Next, the new keyboard. I, until recently, was using the old type of keyboard, the one with tiny pin pricks of caps between which unwary typists could plunge to their doom amounts crumbs, dust and former users.
I really like this new keyboard, it took a little time to get used to with the smaller travel, but it has a very satisfying click when the keys are pressed, the keys are wide and, gosh darn it if I'm not typing faster and with less orrors.
I know it goes, the good, the bad and the ugly, but I'm going straight to the ugly because I live in a binary world. here is where I let rip... Verbally that is.
The setup process crashed twice with voiceover hanging and bellowing out it's last spoken phrase until I depressed the Touch ID button. I expected the reassuring chime from my MBP to confirm restart, nope, silence... Now, Apple, silence is a bad thing when it comes to blind people... Really bad.
Because I had reached part way through my setup and file volt had been turned on, the hard drive was locked. I spent a million (exaggeration) frustrating hours attempting to restart the machine in recovery mode so that I might reinstall the whole OS.
Using Seeing AI (A blessing in such situations), I was able to discern what was on the screen and finally... Finally, 4 hours after opening up my new machine, I was in business.
What a thrill. It was fast, it was smooth, it was like downing a chilly strawberry milkshake. I felt a rush as the sugar hit my brain, files loaded quicker, processing was faster in Amadeus pro, I even seemed to be typing and thinking faster... Then the sugar crash.
The touch bar, and I can't emphasise this enough, is DUMB!!! D U M B... Dumb. For sighted people, yeah, a touch sensitive screen that can be customised is awesome, really awesome. For someone who just wants to be able to press stuff and things happen like they always do, it stinks of sour milkshake.
Fingers clip the bar when using the number strip, changing volume requires searching for the illusive volume button, double tapping, then changing the volume. The escape key requires a double tap and, joy of joys, when trying to watch a video of a cat hiccuping and farting, I accidentally muted all sound... ALL SOUND!!! INCLUDING VOICEOVER.
"Hey, no problem big guy." I thought as I broke out my older and now surprisingly dated feeling MacBook air, "There's a way to turn off mute with just the keyboard, of course Apple aren't that stupid."... Nope, Apple are that stupid.
Now, I'm left searching for a mute button on an ever changing bar of flat glass, double tapping like the frustrated mouse in boxing gloves punching a telly, and no joy, nothing.
Finally I hit that touch ID button, the computer restarts, WITHOUT THE CHIME, and, joy of joys, Alex starts gabbling away.
I Let out a held breath.
Immediately I change the Touch Bar to show the good old function keys... So now I have a fancy strip of touch sensitive nonsense imitating some good old fashioned keys... Increasing the cost of the computer by about £300.
I'm going to keep it... Despite all my annoyances, it's just so fast and fresh. I'll have to learn to live with the ever present and mistrustful touch bar sitting just there, above my frantically flying digits, but, laughs manically I laugh in the face of danger, and possible mutings.
The touch bar isn't new, the MacBook isn't really new... But what do you think? Do you enjoy the touch bar? Do you think it's a good thing?
And Apple, puts hands on hips sort out your software, two hangs of voiceover on first setup of an £1800 machine is inexcusable. Shame on you, I expected better.
Find me on twitter yelling about other such nonsense here...