It turns out my laptop’s USB port is repairable, in theory. At least, for a few more months.
The kind folks at the Genius Bar were able to figure out which specific varietal of MacBook Air I have (which, I submit, they should have been able to do from my Apple account as this box is the only machine I have registered with them) and then figure out what parts they need to order. When the parts come in I bring in the laptop and they should have it back to me within 4 days.
One of the bits of information I was able to extract was that my hardware will likely no longer be supported as of sometime next year. Not too surprising – it will be 5 years old then. The real question was – should I spend $300 to get the repair done if it will simply be unrepairable in a few months, or save the money toward buying a new machine?
Well, a quick estimate on a new box with an i7 chipset and expanded ram was $2700; that’s about $540 depreciation per year for a 5 year life expectancy, so $300 is a not-unreasonable repair cost. Of course if anything else happens to the machine it will almost certainly not be worth repairing.
Which only begs the question of why not buy a new machine now? Price point, of course. And availability. The machine I want would need to be a reasonably current i7 chip, and the Touch Bar MacBook Pros[en.WP] can have Kaby Lake[R] set which meets that requirement. I run VMs, plus I do a surprising amount of compiling (using Homebrew with local compile as default for package management) so I need a larger amount of wired RAM; one of the weakest points of the Apple line-up which is limited to 16GB. And I would love to have a 512GB or 1TB drive, but I can live as little as 128GB if I have plenty of ports and/or great internet speeds.
Which I will probably have to do, since the 1TB drive unit is advertised for $2,899 by Apple. An insane price, but it is generally admitted to also be the absolute top of the laptop computer heap. Going with the smallest everything except the RAM and ensuring the i7 chip saves me $600 for an MSRP of $2,299.
And it is not available. It has to be custom ordered. (Although, interestingly, Adorama advertises this machine for $2,279 and for $20 more one can get the 512GB drive which is a $200 option from Apple.)
But this is a dream machine. So as long as we’re dreaming, what would a Mac Pro set me back? for my preferred desktop, $5,199 without monitor, keyboard, or mouse, and with a measley 256GB SSD.
Or I could spend a third as much and build a decent tower with far less graphics ability which I do not need.
Or I could do what I plan on doing: salt away some money each month until I can buy the laptop.