ThinkPads and MacBooks


A couple of digressions aside, I’ve always alternated between Apple notebooks, and BSD (or Linux) powered ThinkPads. If you have nothing better to do and check out the archives, you’ll likely find writing from iBooks and X40s, to MacBook Pros and T420s. My first laptop was a hand-me-down ThinkPad 600E from my dad, and my first new one was an iBook G3.

This seems to confound people: surely you can’t like both! While they differ in several critical ways, they’re also similar in the ways they’re different:

  • Both were aspirational to me. The rounded black PowerBook with that white Apple was so cool, and the ThinkPad screamed utilitarian class.

  • They’re premium/expensive, at least compared to junk laptops.

  • They both unapologetically serve their target markets, and have fircely-loyal followings. Read into that what you will.

  • They’re instantly recognisable and a clear lineage; arguably not an easy feat when you’re essentially dealing with a hinged screen and keyboard.

  • They’re often pitted against each other in reviews, probably due to their similar price points.

  • They tend to draw ire or praise from anyone who see them. They’re either attractive, well designed machines, or overpriced and stale.

I’ll admit my use case is a little odd, because I don’t run Windows on ThinkPads, and until recently my Macs were dual-booted. Either way, I’m sure I’ll anger at least a few people in both camps with this.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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