As 2012 draws to a close, I'm happy to report that I am totally in love with my new Mac mini. It boots like a dream. Its Fusion drive seamlessly and invisibly manages my data, keeping the files system snappy and responsive. Even Xcode, bane of my existence, crashes faster and more smoothly than it did on my old system.
My new setup, which set me back just under $1100 after all was said and done, is a fully loaded 2.6GHz Intel Core i7. I self-service upgraded the memory to 16GB (thanks Josh for convincing me that I could do it all on my own!). I connected existing monitors (courtesy of sales at Costco), keyboard and mouse, saving me a bundle over the iMac.
Sure the new mini gives off enough heat to warm my house (bonus during winter months, probably not so much this coming summer), but I'm willing to look past such minor inconveniences because things aren't slow any more. My mini is powerful, and I am really happy with my purchase.
This has been a good year for hardware, in my opinion. Admittedly, I know some people are still a little upset about the whole iPad 3 thing where Apple bumped the product line just six months after its debut. Looking at the hardware out there for sale right now, from the sleek iMac to the great iOS offerings to my lovely mini, I think Apple has done an amazing job.
Software, on the other hand, sort of bugs me. I know that taking aim at iTunes 11 is shooting fish in a barrel, but here's an example of why iTunes just drives me nuts.
I own a lot of apps. A loooooot of apps -- it's a byproduct of my job. So when I want to add a file to one of the apps in my collection, I don't expect my Apps tab in iTunes to turn into some kind of Three Stooges routine.
The following video shows what I have to do to add a file to Omni Graph Sketcher (OmniGS). You see, under iTunes 11, the app column and the contents column scroll together. And since "O" comes in the latter part of the alphabet (heaven help me had it it been "ZomniGS"), to see the files that are in the app, I have to scroll the entire page up to get to the documents list. This is unbelievably poor design.
If you recall, Apple just recently had a huge executive shakeup that particularly impacted the software and retail side of the house. I'm actually pretty excited to see where this leads to next year.
With Jony Ive taking over direction for Human Interaction, I pray this kind of poor GUI creation, along with hiding "Save As" and other unpopular engineering choices, will no longer make it through approval. I want to see this badly designed software replaced by clean thoughtful solutions that match what people want and need to do.
If it takes a bit more time to create that software, I'm willing to wait. Apple always ships software that's not quite baked. I'd like to see things, however, that won't give users the digital equivalent of salmonella.
As far as 2012 goes, I'm thinking that hardware was the overall winner of the year. Here's looking forward to 2013.
What did you love and hate about Apple this year? Join in the comments and share your opinions.