I’m curious what people here think about that old question: to have separate Macs for laptop and desktop or to have the one (laptop) Mac to use with an external display?
Personally, I’ve been going back and forth on this one since at least 2006, but the question is always timely. The introduction of the Studio Display and the untimely death of the 27" iMac, have reshuffled the cards in a way that even just a few months ago was hard to predict…
If you’re a double-Mac type, what’s your rationale? What frustrations (if any) do you encounter routinely?
Viceversa, if you’re a single-Mac+display type of person, do you see any trade offs? What tricks do you implement to make the transition seamless?
Personally, although as I’ve noted recently I have been iPad only for a large portion of the last seven years, right now I happen to have two Macs – an iMac 24" and a 14" MBP. But with a Studio Display on the way, it’s highly likely that the former is going to end up on eBay.
My rationale for having two Macs is/was rather thin. Primarily it revolves around the fact that it’s conceptually neater and that the always-on iMac can perform certain automations at any time, even if I’m triggering them from abroad using an iPad and my MacBook is not with me.
My main frustration with the double Mac life has to do with incomplete iCloud Drive syncs (those phantom pesky little arrows that never go away), and a few apps that are much happier if you only use one Mac at a time. Also, with too many devices, sometimes iCloud just struggles to keep everything in sync: tab groups, for example. I never ever have the same tabs show up on all my iPads and Macs.
At the same time, from past experience, I disliked having to transition from a “everything in full screen!” mode when using my laptop to “everything windowed!” mode when plugging in. I also find that things like Time Capsule can only really be relied upon with a desktop Mac – on the laptop the backups seem to happen most of the time. On the hardware side, I disliked having a less neat desk thanks to the laptop, which, whether docked vertically or horizontally, or open as a second screen, is just visual clutter to me. (From that angle, the iMac’s neatness is hard to beat).