Being a poweruser on low powered gear

Hey guys.
Interested in your thoughts on this:
I am a passionate user of Apple gear, and consider myself a power user, in that I am always looking to improve workflows and use apple gear to make my job and home life more streamlined and efficient.
However, I live in Africa, in a developing country (Lesotho), and while we are close enough to the developed world luxuries that South African cities offer (Apple stores and availability of most Apple products), there is a significant price difference on what is sold here, and what is sold in the USA (Which you all know is already not cheap). For example, when the iPhone Xs is $999 for the 64GB model in the USA and goes for around $1,350 here. And its the same through all the products. Added to which, there is the fact that salaries here are not in dollars! Making the whole Apple thing sometimes out of reach.
So, what I find, is that I am a power user (or at the very least working towards that ‘status’) but with pretty low-end gear. By the low end, I guess I mean its low end when compared with the power users on the show. I am running:
-Macbook Adorable 2015, 1.1 Ghz and 8 GB ram (so the entry level one)
-iPad 6th gen (the 32GB with WIFI only) and apple pencil
-Iphone 8
-Watch Series 2
So, a good collection for sure, but as you can see, kinda on the lower end of each product line.

What amazes me is just how much the lower end gear can handle. Im not doing much with video production, but I am making good use of the above gear in lots of other workflows.

Who else out there finds themselves in a similar boat: pushing into power user work and managing to do it with lower end gear?


I wrote a long thing thing about how the title is misleading and explaining what I thought being a power user meant, then I reread what you wrote and saw your explanation.

Basically, try to avoid comparing your purchasing habits to people on tech shows as it’s their job to comment on the latest thing, so it’s their job to stay up to date with the latest and greatest.

Phones and computers became fully capable of normal user tasks a few years ago, which is why people are upgrading less.
Your iPhone 8 and iPad are incredibly powerful machines. Personally I feel like shouting out every time some says the iPad Pro is the baseline when choosing what to buy. iPad 6th Gen can do everything the Pro can do as far as I know, so it should be the baseline (but that just seems to be my opinion).

Anyway, humans are social animals and rather than looking at what we have, we tend to look at what others have and think we need that. My advice is to learn to not confuse lower powered with low powered, and enjoy what you have.

Hmm, this turned out long, too.


I appreciate that. Thanks for your good input.

I’d have to echo the sentiments already expressed, (IMHO) being a power user isn’t about what you’ve got; it’s about being able to proficiently use what you have (or can get hold of) to get the job done.


You are absolutely right.

And this is something that I tend to forget. I would go even one step further: many of us choose gear that is way over-powered for their needs. And I most definitely have to include myself here… I honestly do not think that I achieve significantly more than I would with the collection you listed above.


I have a 2018 MacBook Pro because my place of work provided it. Otherwise, I own a 9.7 inch iPad Pro and an iPhone 6. No Apple Watch. I live in New Zealand, and the exchange rate does not work in our favour. I definitely consider myself a power user, and I will update when the hardware can’t do what I need it to do. And yes, that might be soon for the iPhone 6, I was disappointed to say the least to hear it won’t be able to run iOS13. :frowning:
Still, I’ll probably keep it another year or so before I pony up the $1300 or so for a new one. To be honest the price of Apple product is getting ridiculous, and even a long time Apple lover like myself is tempted to go over to the Dark Side occasionally.



I just came back from African safaris, which has turned me into a devoted Africa lover. And yeah I know Africa is a huge continent; I was being somewhat figurative.

Already starting to think about going back.

What are some of your workflows? What kind of work do you do?

I think you’d be a good candidate for a guest on MPU, simply because of your background as a power user in a developing country.

I’m always happy when MPU gets out of the routine of interviewing bloggers/podcasters/developers/artists (though some of those interviews are also some of my favorite shows). Like for exaple when they interviewed @OogieM, a farmer.

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Hi. Glad you enjoyed Africa.
So I am from South Africa originally and live in Lesotho now. My wife is American and we work with MAF, which is an aviation and technology focused ministry. I am a pilot flying small 6 seater Cessnas into the rural mountain airstrips, mostly for medical work. My wife is the director of an orphanage in the country as well.
I use the iPad everyday for flying. I have been using GoodNotes and my Apple Pencil on the 6th gen iPad to keep track of all my flight logs. The iPad is strapped to my knee and gives me quick access to all the airstrip info and flight info I need. It’s been awesome.
I have helped my wife with developing some cool systems at the orphanage by using iPads for the staff. They are rurally based, and so written reports and finances would be hard for us to access. They use the iPad for reports on the happenings at the orphanage, as well as accounting. They have cell service in the last couple years and so this all allows us to live in the capital city where the airport is, and my wife can manage things from a distance. It’s been so fun to explore apps and workflows to make things work for them in a rural setting.
Anyway, that’s a quick summary of a few things. I’d love to be a guest! Not that I would think myself worthy of it, but just that I love this element to the work we do, and would love to share more.
Thanks for your interest. If you were interested in pictures and such, head on over to!

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It sounds like you’re doing great work, and would make excellent guests on MPU.

We got to fly in a lot of small planes on our recent trip. Took a little getting used to but it was hard to go back to commercial flying after that.

If we’d had this conversation six weeks ago I could have asked you where to find great coffee in Johannesburg and the parts of Botswana and Namibia we were in.

During our trip I was particularly interested in how sparse Internet connectivity is in rural areas. One of the lodge managers we talked to mentioned “bush WiFi,” which meant you’re lucky if it’s working.

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Well let me know if you visit again!

Ditto - Auckland power user here - until the next update. MacBook Pro 2015, iPad Air - no iPadOS , iPhone 6 - no IOS13. But I use Omnifocus sync’ed , notes sync’ed , everything sync’ed. What to do ? Just when I have all the guides from Sparky, I realise I can’t use the soon-to-be current versions of KBM, OM, Shortcuts - the lot.
Disappointed doesn’t really cover it. Disgusted is closer to the way I feel. There is nothing like a forced, very expensive upgrade to make you re-assess the options.


We had 2 iPhones 6 in our household and I just got an XR, my wife is going to keep hers. It’s not really a forced upgrade to me as the working versions of all the software all continue to work exactly as before.
I have chosen to upgrade to modern hardware that is powerful enough to run the latest software, my wife is content with what she has and probably will be for a couple of years.