My Three Favourite Giddy-Worthy Apple Products

Saturday, May 21, 2022

I was chatting with a friend recently about my three favourite Apple products of, say, the last five years. “Three” is an arbitrary number and “five years” is an arbitrary length, but you have to cut things off somewhere.

Defining “favourite” is also a chore. “Favourite” can mean “let’s me get the most work done”. It can also mean “brings me the most joy”. It can be “my favourite design” or “My favourite Apple device to show off”.

For me, “favourite” means “brings me the most joy” or “giddiness” — which Apple devices make me want to rush home and use them at the end of a long day of work? Which devices have me wanting to reach for them over and over just because they are so much fun to use?

To an extent, my “favourite” does mean “allows me to get a crapload of work done each day” as well. I can’t be entirely whimsical.

Here are my three favourite and giddy-worthy Apple products of the last five years.

M1 Pro MacBook Pro

Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.
Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.

Let’s quickly get the work-first device out of the way.

The M1 Pro MacBook Pro may be the most impactful device I’ve ever used in my life. It’s surely been career-changing. I can do everything from this one device each working day. It never used to be this way.

I’ll tread carefully, but I also think I’m blazing a new trail. At least to an extent. I don’t think there are too many accountants out there who use Windows-specific software on a Mac each day, all day. I use Windows and macOS perfectly interchangeably, and there are very few files you can throw at me that I can’t volley right back to you. I’m incredibly proud of the workflow I’ve built to use a Mac in my enterprise/business-first career and I hope it can continue to blaze new paths for me in the future.

AirPods Max

Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.
Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.

I’m far from the correct person to be raving about the AirPods Max. I have no business owning a pair, nor do my ears have any capability to understand how good the Max truly are.

But I don’t care.

When folks ask me in the office why I use such big headphones, I tell them I use them for two reasons:

  1. They are a huge sign to anyone passing by that I’m in the zone and I’m working. Basically, it’s a huge sign on my head that says “Do not disturb!”
  2. They have an incredible Transparency Mode, which enables great music listening combined with an amplification of the ambient sound around you, ensuring you never miss a beat in the office or coffee shop.

So basically, the AirPods Max tell other people I’m busy and don’t want to be disturbed, but they have a listening function that enables me to stay in tune with what’s going on around me.

Needless to say, I love wearing the AirPods Max.

Studio Display

This may be the fastest any Apple device has made it into my top three. But I’m in love with this Studio Display.

It’s expensive.

It’s also an amazing product. I have the nano texture version, which makes it easy to shoot photos of. It’s also very easy on the eyes — I swear the ever-so-slightly fuzzier nano texture version takes off some blaring eye strain by the end of the day. I swear!

Everything else is Apple like. The Studio Display starts up right away with an M1 Pro MacBook Pro. The display has amazing speakers. It has an amazing design. And it has a pretty good panel — one you won’t hear me complaining about any time soon.

Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.
Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.

My Studio Display is my home display and I use two 24-inch LG UltraFines at the office. I always come home at the end of the day and opt to work from home for the last hour or so — just so I can use the Studio Display.

Special Mention: iPad Magic Keyboard

Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.
Originally shot for The Sweet Setup.

The iPad Magic Keyboard came out of left field unlike any Apple product I can remember. Nobody really expected it. Nobody saw the point-and-click interface fully built out in iPadOS. Nobody knew anything about the Magic Keyboard’s design.

Despite the incredible secret keeping, Apple was able to nail the iPad Magic Keyboard experience. The keyboard itself has an incredible feel, with very few laptop keyboards feeling as precise and comfortable. The trackpad is small on the 11-inch model, but completely changes how iPadOS can be used. Even the extra USB-C charging port enables the iPad to reach a new level.

At this current place and time, the three above mentioned Apple devices are more important to me than the iPad Magic Keyboard. But the Magic Keyboard was probably the first Apple accessory in years to tempt me away from a laptop computer. I looked for ways to get everything done on an iPad. I did all my writing on the iPad (I still do a ton of writing on my iPad, thanks to the Magic Keyboard) and I was looking for ways to extend the display to those LG UltraFines I mentioned earlier.

The iPhone 5 was the iPhone that kickstarted my love affair with Apple devices. The iPad Pro sort of did the same, but it wasn’t until the iPad Magic Keyboard debuted that I finally found a niche in my life perfectly fit by the iPad.

I really hope the next iPad iteration still maintains support for this impressive Magic Keyboard accessory.

Supported By

Disney’s Gallery: The Book of Boba Fett

Thursday, May 05, 2022

A day late and a dollar short! May the 4th be with you!

I sat down and watched Disney’s latest Gallery episode, outlining the making of The Book of Boba Fett. The hour-long episode is compelling, artistic, and thought-provoking. It showcases the depth to which Star Wars creators are going to build out the Star Wars story around the films.

The Gallery episode is, of course, 10 times better than the TV season itself.

The Book of Boba Fett is chalk-full of swings and misses. Episode 1 is great. Episode 2 is mesmerizing. The Mando-only episode world-builds like the best of them. Luke and Grogu are stunning together (though I wish Ahsoka hadn’t appeared here).

Yet somehow, the bulk of the season fell flat.

All told, these Gallery episodes are spectacular and worth your time. The work put in with Grogu and Luke is perhaps the best Gallery work yet.

My Apple Studio Display Setup

Sunday, May 01, 2022

The Apple Studio Display with nano texture finish.

I recently tweeted a tongue-in-cheek comment about the photographer over on The Sweet Setup. It was surely meant to crack a joke at myself, but at least one of the comments didn’t take it as such:

@joshuaginter Most of the time when I see a photo from this group, I think they're unwittingly saying: "We make so much money, look at all the expensive accessories we have!" 👨‍💻 🖥 🖥 📱 🎧 ⌨️ 🎤

Ouch.

I don’t think it’s ever been about “I make so much money” as it is “We literally write about cool Mac setups”. And, well, cool Mac setups often need some of the latest and greatest devices.

There was almost zero chance I wouldn’t pick up the Apple Studio Display at some point in time. It’s snazzy. It’s full of functionality. And it’s Apple — Apple products just work so well with other Apple products.

What took me awhile was determining the specs I wanted. Initially, the height-adjustable stand seemed like a no-brainer and there was little chance the nano texture display would provide any meaningful value to my setup.

But after realizing the height-adjustable stand is a $400 one-time set-it-and-forget-it height choice, I knew the upgraded stand wasn’t a good idea. And the nano texture’s ability to cut down on glare drives right up my alley to eliminate glare when shooting photos of the display.

The result was an Apple Studio Display with tilt-adjustable stand and nano texture finish.

I couldn’t be happier, so far.

I’ll get into more detail one day. For now, here’s how I have my home office setup.

The Studio Display is sitting in a Twelve South HiRise Pro stand I had from my old iMac days. It’s connected via a single Thunderbolt 4 cable (more on this cable in the future; the Studio Display is more cable-fussy than others are leading to believe) to the 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro. And beside the MacBook Pro is an external Microsoft Number Pad.

That’s it. Easy peasy.

I have numerous keyboards in the house which I enjoy using from time to time. But I can’t seem to shake the everyday-edness of this built-in MacBook Pro keyboard — it’s the best laptop keyboard I’ve ever used and it has increasingly felt like “home base” whenever I come back to it. The external Microsoft Number Pad just ensures I can continue to have number pad functionality while enabling use of this built-in MacBook Pro keyboard.

I’ll provide additional insight into the Apple Studio Display in the near future. For now, I’ll say the Apple Studio Display is one of my favourite Apple products in recent years, and I am so happy it will stay on my desk for years to come.