Tech Inventory

I was in a discussion the other day about technology, and realized I haven’t upgraded any of my personal computing devices in a few years. This breaks the trend I’d had for the past few years, and some of the delay was due to meeting the needs of the progeny 1, but I’ve found I don’t have the desire to upgrade my stuff. I’m just not hitting the wall I’d been smacking against the previous decade or so, which leaves with with little impetus to continue the cycle.

I thought it might be fun to order my personal computing devices, from least valued to greatest, in terms of their impact on my workflow. And a bit on why I would or would not upgrade.

Apple Watch

When the Apple Watch was first announced I shrugged. I’ve never been a “watch guy,” and the device didn’t interest me at all. After borrowing one from a friend for a few days 2 I began to see some merits in a wrist-worn compute. So I picked up a refurbished series 1 for Father’s Day a couple of years ago.

I used it for a while, and there are times when it’s come in handy, but I tend to leave it on my night stand more often than not 3. In warmer weather I hate having something strapped to my wrist, and I found the circles annoying after a few months 4. Combine that with slow apps and horrendous battery life and I tend to put it on only when I want to know what time it is with a glance 5. The Apple Watch was a fun experiment, I don’t regret participating in it, but I’ll not be upgrading. I’m not a watch guy.

iPhone

There was a time when my iPhone was my most useful personal computing device. The phone was my Swiss Army Knife. I could message, email, write, control a slide show, play games, surf the web, read news, take pictures, video chat, and make phone calls. It was my schedule, my contact list, and my notepad.

In many ways my phone remains my Swiss Army Knife device, but only when I’m out and about. When I’m home, at Central, or up at ABCNJ my phone will remain wherever I placed it last. Most days I’ll only pick it up if I’m on my way out. I just don’t need it because I have another Swiss Army device which is a lot more fun to use.

I’ll upgrade my phone when it’s becomes end of life, because I’ll have to, but not before. Sure the cameras on the newer devices are better than my 6s Plus, but I almost never use my iPhone camera. I’d rather have my G7 or D7000 with me to get the shot I want to compose. Yes, I know “the best camera is the one you have with you.” I have more fun shooting with my G7, so I make sure I have that with me.

MacBook

The past few years I’ve asked myself if I even need a MacBook. The answer is, “Yes, for now.” There are still things I can only do on a MacBook – use a wired external camera for live streaming, connect a mass storage device to extend my storage, do page layout 6, and access the full suite of functions for certain apps like Accordance and Scrivener 7. You also cannot create new templates for iWork within iOS, which is something I do with regularity.

The number of tasks at which the MacBook excels over my iPad is, however, shrinking. As iOS matures I can imagine using it full-time 8.

iPad Pro

This is my favorite Swiss Army Knife computer. It has a beautiful display, terrific under the hood features, an plethora of professional apps for creativity, touch ID, an easy to connect keyboard, and the Apple Pencil. The pencil alone is worth the device.

Most of my blog posts are written on my iPad, as was the bulk of two novels. Thanks to YouTube.tv the iPad has become my television, and the other streaming apps have made this my go to entertainment device. The iPad frees me play games, keep in contact with friends and work colleagues, edit my photographs, write my sermons, and read. It’s my favorite personal computing device by far.

Tim Cook introduced the Apple Watch as “their most personal device ever.” I disagree. The Apple Watch isn’t personal, it’s a taskmaster. The iPad is my personal canvas, and I take it with me just about everywhere I go.

In fact, at this point I’d be glad to ditch the Apple Watch in favor of one of the newer low-end iPads. 9.7 inch devices make for great readers, and the Apple Pencil support makes it ideal as a presentation tool.


  1. Their phone’s were post support. 
  2. And figuring out I’d been wearing watches on the wrong wrist for decades. It’s a long story. 
  3. It does make a great alarm clock. 
  4. I want technology to be my tool, the whole fitness tracking thing made me feel I was its tool. 
  5. That is, in meetings. 
  6. iOS’ version of iWork still can’t even do paragraph spacing, despite the fact that the web interface has been able to do this forever. 
  7. Scrivener’s iOS app is amazing, in fact I’m writing this post on that version of the app. But the Desktop compiler is so much more powerful. Accordance’s iOS offering is also wonderful, but there are still resources you can’t access on the mobile platform (I’m still waiting for the Atlas!). 
  8. Just let me have local external storage, dang it! 
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