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Old or vintage?

Topics/tags: Rants, technology, Apple

As many readers know, whenever things go wrong with my MacBook, I switch back to my old MacBook. In fact, the last time I switched to it [1], I just stuck with it. I believe I’ve said that I bought my old MacBook as new five years ago. But a part of my brain tells me that I bought it as a like-new refurbished machine from Apple [2].

In any case, my old MacBook, and the one I’m writing on right now, is a 15-inch [3], Mid-2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display. I think it’s the first model of MacBook Pro with a Retina display.

However, it appears that I am no longer allowed to think of it as an old machine. Apple has now marked it as vintage. In about two years, Apple will decide that it is obsolete. What does that mean, other than that I will now refer to the MacBook on which I’m writing this musing as my vintage laptop? It means that Apple will no longer provide service for it.

Chrysler still services my twelve-year-old minivan. Whirlpool still services my decade-old fridge [4]. The no-name stove manufacturer for my decade-old stove still sells replacement parts. Why don’t computer manufacturers provide similar periods of support?

It’s not like the MacBook doesn’t work well. While my now-vintage laptop isn’t perfect and there are times that I overwhelm it with the number of things I try to do simultaneously [5], it generally gets the job done. That’s one of the advantages of buying a powerful laptop [6]; it continues to work for many years. Although my new laptop has the bit of extra power I need [7], I expect that it also will become vintage in a year or so.

I wonder what I’m going to do when I next need repairs.

Postscript: You might think that I would be ranting about Apple’s policies. But I’m not. It costs money to keep production lines in operation and supplies in the warehouse. They’ve made a business decision about how long they want to keep manufacturing [8] and storing parts for older machines. That’s one of the things you accept when you buy a Mac. And there are others who find it valuable to provide parts and repair services.

Postscript: One of my students thinks I should switch to cheap built-it-yourself Linux laptops. They are almost certainly more straightforward to fix and upgrade than MacBooks. But I’ve been using Macs since the first Mac [9,10]; it’s hard to give them up. And, in contrast to some Linux file managers, the Finder doesn’t stupidly delete files without the hope of recovery. Plus, the form factor of MacBooks generally feels better than that of other machines I’ve encountered.

[1] About two or three months ago, right at the beginning of summer research.

[2] Whether the machine was new or slightly used, five years have passed since I bought it.

[3] It may possibly be 15.4" along the diagonal. I still refer to it as a 15-inch laptop.

[4] At least I assume they would service it; I haven’t tried to get service for a while.

[5] Eight or so Firefox windows, each with a dozen or more tabs, are usually what seems to do it in. The other eleven or more applications that I have open almost certainly don’t help.

[6] Not that mine is all that powerful.

[7] More precisely, the 8 Gb of extra memory.

[8] Or having others manufacture.

[9] I think the first Mac I owned was a 512Ke.

[10] We also owned a IIe in high school.

Version 1.0 of 2018-08-17.