Overhauling My Tech Life

This morning, Shawn Blanc provided a handy Mac media server setup guide that I think is worth checking out. This particular quote at the end struck a chord with me though:

"See? For some of us, all we need to for an iOS-only workflow is a Mac at home doing the heavy lifting."

For several months now, my wife and I have been saving up some money on the side so that we can do an overhaul on our home tech situation, and an iOS-workflow is actually something I've been considering.

Some Background

Each of us owns an iPhone 4S, but we have no Macs or iPads at the moment. This may come as a surprise to some of you considering the content of this blog and the fact that I used to work for Apple, but it's not really something I've wanted to make a big deal of on the blog.

If you look back through the archives, you'll notice that I talk about iOS a lot, but not so much the really nerdy Mac stuff that I'd love to sink my teeth into. I've also had to come up with some Windows workarounds for my Tools and Toys writing workflow in the meantime, which is a bit of a pain.

All of this is going to change soon, which I couldn't be more excited about.

Current Setup

Here's what I'm working with right now:

  • At my full-time job, we only use Windows 7 Dell desktops. This happens to be where I get most of my writing work done at the moment.
  • At home, my wife has a Windows 7 laptop that is servicable, but it tends to overheat and gets bogged down easily.
  • My own laptop completely died over a year ago and we've never had a desktop, so whenever I'm writing at home I'm either on my iPhone or her laptop. Blech.

Decisions, Decisions

We know for sure that we want to set up an office area at home with a 21.5" iMac (probably not the newest slim model but the one prior, since she occasionally requires an optical drive for burning CDs), but for our respective mobile purposes we're still undecided on whether to get MacBooks or use iPad+keyboard setups.

If we've got an always-on iMac powering things at home, we could feasibly do the iPad thing and have no problems at all. She doesn't care about getting into the nerdy stuff, and most of my usage will probably be reading and writing, so really it just comes down to how much I want to tinker with scripts and stuff on the go.

At this point she's leaning toward getting an iPad 4 regardless of what I do, but I'm still deciding between:

  • 13" MacBook Pro (non-Retina, because it's too expensive otherwise)
  • 13" MacBook Air
  • iPad 4
  • iPad mini

If I opt for either iPad, there are further decisions to make, such as what keyboard to use. I've heard great things about using an Apple wireless keyboard along with the Incase Origami Workstation, but there are lots of great iPad-specific keyboard cases to choose from as well. There's also a case to be made for waiting until a Retina iPad mini is announced later this year (as is rumored) before I make a final decision.

Perhaps I'm just thinking about this stuff too hard, but this is a seriously huge expense for us and I do not take it lightly. Any recommendations are more than welcome here.