Before I had any real awareness of the Macintosh phenomenon, my first actual computer (not counting my Atari 2600 game console) was a Commodore VIC-20 my parents bought for me around 8th or 9th grade (mid 1980s). It wasn’t long before I upgraded to a Commodore 64 which, along with some chores for my elementary school, was later traded for a Commodore 128. That computer got me through the last two years of high school, all of college, and the first couple post-college years.
For many years, I participated in various local BBS communities, dialing up with a 300 baud modem at first, and a 1200 baud upgrade not long after. In the early 1990s, I had my first taste of the internet via a 2400 baud modem and a Linux shell account from Orlando Online. My first e-mail address was email@example.com. Before I jumped to broadband connections, I had progressed all the way up to 56k modems, including the one built in to my first Macintosh computer.
Since that time, I progressed through the following Macintosh computers:
- Performa 577—First personally owned mac, though I had, of course, used Macs during college.
- PowerBook 3400—Laptop workhorse for many years. It performed better than the IIci I was using at the office, prompting me to use it more for work than for personal needs (a decision I only lightly regret).
- PowerBook G3 (Pismo model)—Purchased used from a colleague and served me well for just a few years before I bought a brand new Titanium PowerBook G4.
- 1GHz 15″ Titanium PowerBook G4—This was a great machine I used the daylights out of until I could simply no longer stand not having an Intel-based Mac.
- 450MHz G4—I purchased this tower from a colleague in October 2003 to use as a server. Until I retired it in July 2009 and moved everything to a newer Mac Pro tower, it hosted my iTunes library (accessed via networking), the first incarnation of my photo album server, and miscellaneous other remote-access storage.
- 2GHz 15″ MacBook Pro—After a few years of use, this machine became my wife’s computer in 2010 when we married. It was still running OS X 10.5 Leopard when she upgraded in 2015. It’s now on OS X 10.11 El Capitan and doesn’t support anything newer. I think it still runs, albeit slowly, and has sometimes been useful when I need a laptop and my wife’s isn’t available. However, I’m not sure I even power it up more than once a year.
- Quad Core 2.66GHz Nehalem Mac Pro—Served me many wonderful years as a powerful machine used as a server (having permanently retired the G4 tower) for hosting my photo albums and managing my iTunes library. But it has become a relic and currently just serves as a networked file share location. I’ve moved my iTunes management to a 2018 Mac mini (see below), but the library points through the network share to the files that still live on the Mac Pro. Over the years in the mid 2010s, I retired the self-hosted photo server that lived on this machine and moved everything to Flickr. Self hosting was fun, but was getting to be too much hassle. After completing the migration, I created photos.ALBj.net to act as a customized front end which is a bit friendlier to navigate.
- Most all my home/personal computing needs are easily accomplished with my iPad (see below).
- Core i5 2.5GHz 13″ Retina MacBook Pro—Purchased this 2012 MBP from a friend as a replacement for my wife’s badly aging 2007 model. Currently, it has a completely shot battery and won’t hold a charge more than a few minutes. After a period of time of trying to decide whether to invest in a battery replacement, I ended up instead buying a replacement laptop for my wife (see below).
- Core i5 3GHz Mac mini—Purchased this Apple-refurbished machine to handle my occasional standard computer needs which is mostly just Flickr album and iTunes management. The 256GB SSD won’t even hold my entire iTunes library, so eventually I’ll repurpose the Mac Pro’s hard drives into USB-C enclosures and attach them to the Mac mini. Basically all my home/personal computing needs are easily accomplished with my iPad (see below).
- Core i5 1.1GHz quad core 13″ MacBook Air—Purchased for my wife to replace the MacBook Pro that would no longer hold a battery charge. It’s purring along nicely.
These days, I basically only use a desktop computer for intensive tasks including mass photo management, iTunes syncing, etc. I’m pretty well content to do most of my computing tasks on my iPad, and I’ve progressed through several models of those as well:
- Started with the original, Wi-Fi only, 16GB. I know this device is laying around somewhere in my home, but I haven’t a clue where.
- Upgraded to a white, Wi-Fi only, 32GB 3rd generation model which was almost immediately lost :-(
- A benefit through my office soon replaced it with a black, Wi-Fi/LTE, 32GB model. Like the original model, this one is somewhere in my house, but unknown exactly where it got stored.
- Upgraded to a 2014 Space Gray iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi/LTE, 128GB which served well for several years and is still in decent condition. Apparently this is the oldest model that can still take iPadOS 15, but my stepdaughter is leaving it on iOS 10 to use a couple old 32-bit apps that she still likes and never were updated to 64-bit.
- Upgraded to a 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi/LTE, 256GB. I’d thought about getting an Apple Pencil (first generation) as well, but never did. My stepdaughter is now using this device for her tablet needs except when she pulls out the old iPad Air 2 to use some old 32-bit apps.
- My current model is a 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi only, 256GB. Whereas the last few iPads included LTE data, I finally decided there was no need to spend the extra on the LTE chip and data plan. My phone is always with me and easily tethers for data. I instead splurged on a 2nd-generation Apple Pencil. Probably doesn’t use it as often as I should for the money, but it’s still fun.
Unlike the Macintosh computers, I still possess all these iPads except the lost one.
My phones prior to the existence of iPhones were an old Nokia 2160i, a Mitsubishi T250, and then a series of Sony Ericsson models: T68i, T616, and S710a. The Ericssons were great phones I’d have been happy to continue using if not for the iPhone.
- Original, 1st-generation iPhone—It was several weeks (maybe a couple months?) after initial release before I finally had seen other people’s devices enough that I decided I wanted one.
- iPhone 3G—I was in line for this upgrade on the day of release. Purchased on AT&T’s two-year contract subsidy, I never obtained the following year’s 3GS (The 3G is also the first phone I bought for my then-fiancée when it became AT&T’s $99 subsidized model.)
- iPhone 4—This phone was next in line when my two-year AT&T contact renewal was up.
- iPhone 4S—Only half way into the two-year iPhone 4 contract, I wasn’t directly eligible for an upgrade, but my wife’s ailing 3G was eligible, and upgrades can be applied to any member of a family plan. She decided to take my iPhone 4 and I picked up the 4S (her idea, not mine—I was going to let her have the 4S).
- iPhone 5s—(I didn’t make an error. Apple styled the 4S with upper case and styled the 5s and 6s with a lower case.) I had skipped the iPhone 5 because I wasn’t yet ready to replace all my dock connector accessories with Lightning connector versions. Along with the 5s for me, my wife opted for the less expensive iPhone 5c which Apple had to replace twice—first for a faulty/swelling battery, and second for a defective screen.
- iPhone 6s—Ordered the day it became available at the end of the last two-year cycle I ever used (which is why I skipped the iPhone 6/6 Plus models). I got on AT&T’s NEXT program starting with the 6s with annual upgrades for a few years. Although the enhanced camera of the iPhone 6s Plus intrigued me, I simply had (and still have) zero interest in a phone of that size. (The iPhone SE was also released at this time and is the model my wife used for a few years.)
- iPhone 7—Swapped out on AT&T’s NEXT program. The dual camera/telephoto feature of the iPhone 7 Plus was tempting, but I still have no interest in a phone that size. I never had any issue with the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, and while the new clickless home button was weird at first, I grew to like it a lot.
- iPhone X—My last annual AT&T NEXT upgrade before the program was retooled. I fell in love with Face ID and never once wished I’d gone with the iPhone 8. (I could have used the AT&T NEXT for an annual upgrade one more time when the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xr, and the much-too-big iPhone Xs Max came out. I was still quite satisfied with the X and felt no need to upgrade. I did, however, upgrade my wife’s iPhone SE to an iPhone 8.)
- iPhone 11 Pro—This was a great phone. Awesome new Midnight Green color. Amazing super wide angle lens. Night Mode rocks, except that I often wished the super wide lens supported Night Mode. Unfortunately, this phone marked the end of my ability to upgrade annually. AT&T retooled its NEXT program where you now pay across 30 months instead of 24, and you have to add an additional $5/month (greedy little goobers) for the option to upgrade at the halfway point (15 months). I went ahead with that since my entire mobile phone bill (minus my wife’s line) is subsidized, but I’m really confused at the decision to force an upgrade plan that completely ignores the known annual new device cycle. Because of this, I skipped the iPhone 12 Pro, but my wife was ready for an upgrade. She’s been dealing with some visual-vestibular issues and figured a larger screen would help her, so she’s currently using an iPhone 12 Pro Max.
- iPhone 13 Pro—Once again enjoying a splendid new color on my current phone, Sierra Blue. Camera quality is visible improved, including a 3X telephoto rather than 2X. As before, the size of the iPhone 13 Pro Max simply doesn’t interest me. But unlike before, other than the Pro Max having longer battery life (obviously due to the larger size for a bigger battery), as best I can tell, the standard Pro and the Pro Max are matched in features/specfications.
Apple Watch History
Yes, I am also a proud Apple Watch user:
- Series 0—I didn’t jump on board in 2015 when it was first released, but the following year when the original Series 0 was slightly tweaked to become the Series 1, and the Series 2 was also released, the remnant inventory of Series 0 watches dropped in price and I bought one. It immediately prompted me to be more active. I reach 10,000 steps most days, and I blew past 1,000 consecutive days of reaching a calorie goal, originally at 500, later upped to 770, but back to 500 for now. That streak included more than a full year of an intentional 5K walk every single day.
- Series 4—I passed up the Series 3 since my Series 0 was still adequate. But by late 2018, its battery had gone from lasting all day to needing to set it on the charger for 30-40 minutes in the afternoon at work to finish out the day. I was leery of the new 44mm size of the Series 4, and I briefly considered buying the 40mm version until I tried one on and it felt too small. Not to mention, my 42mm bands wouldn’t have fit on the 40mm watch.
- Series 7 (Stainless Steel)—Although the Series 5 and Series 6 boasted some nifty new features, I never justified the expense. Even when the Series 7 was released, the money just didn’t seem to be worth the upgrade. Even the battery in my Series 4 was still at 30% or 40% when I put it on the charger for the night. It wasn’t until a while after the Series 8 was released and my Series 4 battery was ending the day below 20% that I was ready for an upgrade. But the Series 8 used the same CPU as the Series 7, and the only additional new features were crash detection and temperature sensor which was pretty much intended for women and cycle tracking. So, when I saw a great Amazon sale on a new Stainless Steel Series 7, the “pretty/shiny” urge kicked in—I’d always wanted one instead of alumin(i)um! I did seriously (but briefly) flirt with the idea of buying an Ultra. Loved the look, but simply didn’t need the features, or price! I actually ended up keeping my Series 4 to wear overnight while the Series 7 charges. I’m enjoying the sleep tracking that I never previously did since I charged my watch overnight. The Series 7 should serve me well until Apple finally figures out how to do glucose monitoring in the watch—no more finger pricks!
Apple TV History
Like the Apple Watch, I didn’t immediately jump on the Apple TV, but have been a satisfied user of these models:
- 1st Generation—I thought it was a really great device at the time, though looking back, it was rather paltry. No apps and a very basic interface that was essentially just an iTunes navigator of sorts. But because my computer was in a different room than the living room TV, it worked well for streaming my music and the rare movie rental.
- 4th Generation with Siri Remote—The 2nd and 3rd generation models intrigued me, but never quite enough to actually buy them. But when the 4th generation came out with the all new tvOS that ran various apps, I was totally on board. Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t mind the original Siri remote. Worked well enough for me. I still have this box which is connected to a small TV in the guest bedroom.
- 6th Generation with 2nd Generation Siri Remote—Even though I thought the original Siri remote was fine, the new one is stellar! And 4K HDR is ahh-maaa-ziiing!! I never felt the need to buy the 5th generation 4K model because I still had a 1080p television. When I did get a 4K TV, there were strong rumors of a new Apple TV with a greatly improved remote, so I waited for it, and the rumors were, of course, true.
Workplace Macintosh History
At work, I have progressed through the following machines:
- IIci—Purchased by the youth department but installed in my office. I’d offered to do their newsletter for free provided I could use it for projects I wanted to do for the communication department.
- 300MHz G3—This machine was a joke. Ethernet circuitry failed soon after it was purchased. Since ethernet was integrated into the motherboard, the entire board had to be replaced, and it never worked right again after that. Repeated trips to Apple for repair proved worthless, and it eventually fell out of warranty. This machine is the reason I used my personal PowerBook 3400 at work for so long.
- Dual 800MHz G4—I actually don’t remember much about this machine. It finally allowed me to stop using my personal computer for work, and did its job well.
- Quad 2.5GHz G5—After I used this machine for several years, we had planned to repurpose it into a dedicated video editing station for freelancers and intern workers to our office, but it began exhibiting problems, likely power controller related. It was donated to a tinkerer who got it working again, but I have no idea what he ended up using it for.
- 8-core 2.4GHz Intel Xeon Westmere—This machine had 6GB of RAM and four 1TB hard drives on a hardware RAID card. When I updated to my next office computer, this tower served several years as a guest/freelancer machine. After that, it was stored in IT’s closet and, last I checked, is still there. I suspect it still works fine other than needing a new battery on the hardware RAID card.
- Core i7 27″ Retina 5K iMac—When it was new, outfitted with 32GB of RAM and a 3TB Fusion Drive, it felt like a beast. But approaching a decade old, it was getting pretty long in the tooth and was ultimately retired.
- 10-core 3.2 GHz M1 Max Mac Studio—Although I personally own an iPad with the M1 CPU, this is the first M1 Mac I’ve used. Paired with a 27″ Studio Display, 64GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and 4TB external HDD, this machine is glorious.