Freshly Squeezed OpEd: First World Conundrum

Apr 1, 2020 | OpEd | 0 comments

The lines between tablet, laptop, and desktop machines are becoming increasingly blurred with each passing year. As a result, I‘m having difficulty deciding what direction to take when upgrading my set up.

I have a late 2015 model iMac. It has 16 GB of RAM and I recently retired the 1 TB internal Fusion Drive in exchange for a Samsung T5 1 TB SSD as an external boot drive. But even though my iMac is still usable after five years, I need to upgrade so I can review current software and hardware. Choosing which form factor to go with is where the problem comes in.


When people ask which device to buy, the first question you always ask is ‘what is your workflow.’ But I’m having trouble addressing that issue when turning the question inward.

I’m bleeding edge at heart. But I know the reality of my true workflow. Mainly consuming, emailing, social media, light video and audio editing, conferencing, plus writing.

But I wind up mixing in what I would like to do, even knowing full well I’ll reach none of these aspirations, because of time constraints or some other issues (some manufactured).

And it doesn’t help that I crave the latest and greatest. (I can dream… and dream… and dream…) Not buying the latest and greatest feels akin to admitting defeat. So, back to reality.



Screen real estate, primarily. I watch You Tube and other videos on my iMac as it’s 4K, whereas my HDTV is not. And there’s the occasional video or audio edit.

I also have several external drives and a printer. On one of those drives I have a collection of uncompressed audio, specific albums near and dear to me. I play those through a pair of [Audio Engine 2+ speakers](

And it’s a safe bet that the newer hardware will run circles around my late 2015 iMac.


The internal drive is a Fusion Drive. In technology years, my GPU and CPU are from the Paleolithic era. To get more performance out of the iMac, as I said earlier, I use a 1TB Samsung T5 as an external bootable drive. Now I boot up in a minute instead of a calendar day.

Desktop real estate. My desk would do Oscar Madison proud. It’s an impressive collection of all of my hardware, used and abandoned, combined with every piece of paper I have ever laid hands on.


I get all geared up to work, go over to the desk, take one look at that heap, and lose all ambition in a nanosecond.

iPad Pro


Been watching a lot of You Tube videos of people who sold their desktops or laptops and now perform all of their work on an iPad Pro. (I have a 10.5” but it has a Lightning port. Need my USB-C fix!)

As I don’t do any heavy lifting any more, the iPad Pro 11” would fulfill my needs fine. And I am confident that in the next several years (I’ll wager the farm) that many macOS apps will be retooled to take advantage of the ARM processor (the latest iPad Pros hold their own against some recent MacBook Pros).

I must figure out a method to get the uncompressed music to the speakers (I honestly know how it can be done. It’s just a matter of seeing if it works.)

So, I feel safe in believing that at this moment a new iPad Pro would be future-proof for my needs.


To make this all a reality, I have to clean up my hardware and go through all that paper on my desk (to be honest, that probably should be a Pro). The hardware that I don’t need anymore I can sell. The paper that I don’t need anymore I can recycle. But that takes time and I am in the running for “The Laziest Person on This Paltry Orb.”

There’s also designing a new hardware layout. In my head, I have it all figured out. But acquiring the iPad Pro and necessary accessories, assembling it, and getting it to work may be a whole different matter.

I know how to back up to iCloud but then how do I go about backing up everything to an external drive and make it bootable? And how does Backblaze work with all of this? There’s a lot I have to research.

Which of my apps I depend on have already been recoded to take full advantage of the Pro’s power and which haven’t?

And from a job perspective, I’ll no longer be able to review apps for desktops and laptops! (Will Don still have me? Stay tuned.)


I absolutely need to do something. Either I’m gonna have to upgrade to a  newer iMac or the latest iPad Pro. Either way it will take a good chunk of dosh plus time to plan and assemble.

But there are many positives. Chief amongst which is I finally _have_ to go through all the cruft and get rid of what I don’t need. But this will take a chunk of time. I’ll be all the better for it but still – decisions, decisions.

Absolutely a first-world problem. But first, the biggest problem is deciding and then pulling the trigger.


©2020 Frank Petrie


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