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Mac Necessities

I was reading this article by Fraser Speirs as a follow-up to Bradley Chambers’, and he made a great point about iOS devices and Macs towards the end:

I ask myself what it would take for me to completely eschew owning a Mac. I’m not there yet and I’m not even all that close to it in practical terms. Like your pal that doesn’t have a car but who can only do so because you give him a lift, I could possibly do without my own personal Mac only because I have access to Macs at school.

One of the reasons for this is that the Mac is how you recover an iOS device. If your device turns up its toes completely, one way to get it back is to plug it into a Mac and perform various incantations to revive it. If your iOS device ends up totally full of images and video, the fastest way to solve that problem is to plug it into a Mac and download them all through Image Capture.

I’ve been thinking about not repairing my MacBook Air and going 100% iOS-only with an iPad Air this year. Because in spite of trying to get all my work done on iOS, I still have to use a Mac for specific tasks that can’t be done on iOS.

I’ve been putting together a list of tasks that I still my Mac for. So far, I have these:

  • Local device backups with iTunes;
  • Photo and video extraction with Image Capture;
  • Screen recording (currently possible with either AirPlay Mirroring or Yosemite’s upcoming QuickTime player);
  • Generating GIFs from screencasts;
  • Browsing versions of documents;
  • Recording podcasts with Skype;
  • Cyberduck (for Rackspace Cloud Files);
  • Downloading torrents;
  • Installing betas of iOS;
  • Following Apple live streams and taking notes at the same time;
  • Xcode;
  • 4 GB of RAM (multiple Safari tabs that don’t time out).

There are many other reasons why a Mac could still be preferable to iOS, but, for me, these are the main limitations that force me to keep a Mac around. I believe some of them are unlikely to change (torrents and installing iOS firmware betas), others are simply missing apps (where are Cyberduck and GIF Brewery for iOS?), but, in general, it looks like I’ll have to finally fix my broken keyboard.