A few months ago I made a video about how I was leaving products behind. I had a list of reasons that all seemed like they made a ton of sense (you can watch that video here) and for a couple months I made the switch to Windows and it was great. I used my Galaxy Fold 4 and it’s a great phone. But a few months later I went back to Apple. I was ashamed of myself. But leaving Apple (for the 3rd or forth time) and really thinking about what I was losing, experiencing the growing pains of dedicating myself to a new platform, taught me a few lessons and ultimately, the final lesson is one I’ll take with me from here on out.
The first lesson, of course: the grass is always greener, until it isn’t. I love building PCs and I love tinkering with tech, but after a while, once the new car smell wears off, I found that working on a PC and using an Android phone FOR ME, was equally as problematic as using Apple was, just in different ways. It was better in some ways, but in some very important ways it was more challenging. Most of what I do in my work involves audio and video. Windows has come a long way since the days when Apple was the brand for creators and Windows was for accountants. The lines are much blurrier now and that’s a good thing. I know plenty of people who do the same work I do on Windows happily and efficiently. I loved that I could build my PC to spec with parts that were purpose-made for the work, like the elgato CamLink Pro. 4 HDMI ports straight into the motherboard meant I could record in 4K without having any external boxes or doodads hanging off my computer. It was a clean setup in a way that modern Macs haven’t been for a while, although the most recent machines have improved on that by bringing back ports and considering professional needs.
But going to PC meant that I needed to move away from 3 applications I used to get the majority of my work done. And while I’m familiar with those applications, I don’t know them as well, nor do they have the same workflow or feature set as the apps I left behind. I’m thinking mainly of Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro and Ecamm live. I’ve been using Logic since before Apple bought the program from a company called eMagic. This would have been back in 2003 or 2004. I went with Logic back then because it was more reasonably priced than other DAWs and it wasn’t tied to hardware to get a license. For those of you who are too young to remember, ProTools, which was the industry standard then and still is now, was tied to buying ProTools hardware like the Mbox, which was expensive, limited, and not all that great. There were other companies selling audio interfaces with more channels and features for less that weren’t overpriced dongles for expensive software. When Apple bought Logic, they overhauled the whole thing, making it better and easier to use all for a one time purchase of $299. I paid that price once and have gotten updates for the software through multiple versions and new features.
I’m nowhere near as proficient with Final Cut Pro as I am with Logic, but I’ve been using it since about 2016 to edit my videos and of course, I couldn’t continue on PC. I’m somewhat proficient with the Adobe Suite of products and I used to get the whole suite for $10 a year when I worked in education, but now that I’m out on my own that price would have become $30 a month, so I decided to go with Davinci Resolve. Nothing wrong with Resolve, but I knew next to nothing about it and my video edits went from taking an hour or two to twice that or more. The same goes for Ecamm. I film all my videos straight into the computer and ecamm offers a ton of features that are right at your fingertips, and while OBS is the standard for streaming, it’s a very powerful program but you have to set everything up yourself. I’ve lost many hours over the years to trying to customize OBS. Ecamm is a Mac only app and as soon as I started using OBS I really missed ecamm’s simplicity. Many people use OBS on Mac and it’s a great program, but it was causing disruptions in my work flow.
And that’s leads me to lesson number 2: Time is your most valuable resource. That’s true in everything. Time is free and always have some but if you waste it you can’t buy more. Switching to a Windows-based workflow cost me a lot of time. That would have evened out in the long run, maybe a year down the road, but as a solo creator I can only get done as much as I have time to get done and when that time is gone, I suffer. I put out less content. I don’t have time to work on other creative projects and the time I want to spend with my family is challenged. This isn’t a problem for everyone, but it’s something I have to consider. Being with my family, even if we’re just watching TV in the evening is really important to me. Choosing a harder path to getting my work done caused me more stress than I wanted to deal with. Not to mention I already wasn’t doing as much as I planned to do with my channel.
And that brings me to lesson 3: Output is more important than principles or curiosity. My business is an output business. If I’m not making videos, writing, making music and getting those things done efficiently with as little friction as possible I’m not doing a good job. If the tools I’m using are hindering me, for whatever reason, I need to assess whether or not those are the right tools. And ultimately that’s what happened to me when I switched to Windows. I know Windows pretty well, but I haven’t developed the kind of familiarity with it that I have with Apple products, in this case the Mac. I’ve been using Macs since 1992. I have used them in professional settings for more than 25 years. I have created countless piece of work with them. Every time I sat down to do the same with Windows I felt like I was half blind. The muscle memory I have for Macs that I built over 30 years can’t be obtained in months doing the same work with windows.
So, I went back to Mac. There are still plenty of things I don’t like about Apple and their business model. I don’t like that their base models are often great deals, but as soon as you add more the prices balloon to ridiculous numbers. To get the Mac I needed to do all the stuff that I need to do ended up costing me $3500. I could have gotten the work done on a much less expensive mac, but if I wanted to get the work done and not have the computer ever be the bottleneck, I needed to spend on it. You don’t always have to. 90% of everyone buying a Mac could be very happy with a base Mac Mini or MacBook Air. Apple’s very good at getting us to overspend, especially when the Apple Silicon chipps are so good, even at the lowest spec. In fact, I run this whole video setup on an M1 Mac Mini with 8gb of RAM and 256GB of storage and it’s never let me down. But for my main computer I spent $3500 on a 16” MacBook Pro with the M1 Max, 1TB of storage, and 32gb of RAM and it’s never slowed me down.
That’s what I ultimately learned from this experiment. Mac or Windows doesn’t really matter. What matters is getting things done and in the end you should always use the tools that help you do that faster with as little friction as possible. For me, regardless of how I feel about Apple the company, Apple products are the way I can do that. And I’m happier getting things done these days than I am standing on principle and doing less.