Life with a Series 0 Watch, Older Tech, and COVID-19

I have mentioned this before, but I am a huge fan of Patrick Rhone’s enough, and Minimal Mac. Patrick is probably the closest I have to a minimalist sensei.

Patrick still uses his older 11” MacBook Air as his daily driver. Back in 2014 he wrote an excellent post: Not for Me. The thesis was that he decided the products Apple released are not worth reaching for his wallet, and his existing tech still worked for him.

I still use my Apple Watch Series 0. It’s five years old, and every year I think the newer Apple Watches will finally get me to reach for my wallet. This year, like other years, I decided my Series 0 is still, well, enough for me. It’s not that I think the new Watches suck. It’s that they don’t solve $400 worth of problems for me. The only thing that makes me think of getting a new watch is the EKG sensors.

Likewise, my iPad is a 2015 12.9” iPad Pro. The battery on it is kind of shot and doesn’t yet register under 80% health for a cheap battery replacement. This is probably the longest I have kept an iPad. My iPhone 8+ still trucks along just fine and I don’t see a burning need to replace it as well.

In 2016, I bought a new 15” MacBook Pro. This device is the likely upgrade candidate with the new M1 Macs. There are times I feel like I am pushing the power constraints on it, and, yeah, that damn keyboard. When balancing out power vs portability, my old 2014 11” MacBook Air still wins some usability battles1. This makes me think that maybe I will get a 4-port, 13” Pro when they come out.

I have a strong aversion to getting rid of tech that still satisfies a use case. The likely catalyst to buying a new iPad will be when a new version of iOS stops supporting my iPad. My relationship with my tech is dichotomous: I want to use the best tool for the job; but I also Quixotically continue to bang away at a One Device to Rule Them All2 mentality. Even with my 11” Air and my daily driver 15” Pro, maintaining both computers has a mental overhead. If I don’t use my Air for a bit, the first use is a miasma of app updates and iCloud syncing. As Matt Gemmell said, devices have “a weight that’s not from its mass.” The ascetic lifestyle of iPad-only lifestyle appeals to me, but these days so much of my social interactions are online games and weekly Skype gaming sessions with my friends, the monastic lifestyle of only having an iPad would be unpleasant. When I periodically purge my space of cruft that builds up, the stereotypical empty room with just a desk and a laptop appeals to me. This tends to be an overreaction for when I realize I have 3 computers going, with two games running as a switch between them like a dog chasing a flock of squirrels.

We don’t live in a non-COVID world, as much as some people would like to pretend we don’t. I don’t really leave the house these days. Gone are the days of working for a few hours in a coffee shop. I made an appearance in the office thrice since March. Mobile these days means I might go down to the family room, or the patio, and do some work. Since the big issue with my iPad is battery life, and I am rarely away from a power outlet, resolving that issue isn’t a high priority.

This current-state isn’t going away any time soon. When I look ahead to 2021, every instance I think of where I’d need a more mobile solution isn’t going to happen. My big gaming convention I spend 4 days in a hotel geeking out? They already announced it will be virtual next year. I love going into Boston for the day, wandering around and getting some good food. The idea of getting onto public transportation and doing all that seems so foreign to me.

  1. There exists a scenario where I upgrade the 256gb SSD in the 11” to a larger drive.
  2. The scales continue to shift to the Mac. Instapaper now has a version that runs on even Intel-based Macs.

Author: Mark Crump

A long-time Mac user, Mark has been writing about technology in some form for over ten years. Mark enjoys his Kool-Aid shaken, not stirred. He also believes the "it just works" slogan from the ads should have an asterisk: except when it refuses to. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/crumpy. His personal site is www.markcrump.com

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