The MacBook Air and iPad Buying Conundrum

Recently, the trackpad on my 2011 MacBook Air has been acting a bit wonky — right-clicking when I want to scroll, clicking buttons when I’m mousing around a webpage, and moving windows around when I’m trying to get to the menu bar. It’s become clear that it’ll need to be replaced soon.

So, I’ve been having an internal debate about whether I should take it in to get fixed — and have the battery replaced as well, since it’s rapidly approaching 1,000 recharge cycles — or stick it out and purchase one of the 12-inch retina models that have been rumored to be entering mass production early this year.

Richard Padilla, writing on MacRumors:

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook Air and the Apple Watch are expected to enter mass production in 2015 as the company’s supply partners have accelerated component production for both products, reports Digitimes. Supply chain sources note that the 12-inch MacBook Air will feature Intel’s Broadwell processors and a new ultra-thin design.

There’s also the option of replacing the battery and trackpad myself. It would save me some money, but also exponentially increase the risk factor. I’ve done some hardware tinkering in my day, so I know my way around a logic board. But, it’s been years and I’ve never done something this mission critical. If I mess up, I’m out a MacBook. This is something I use for hours a day, every day of my life. And, something that would cost me quite a bit to have replaced.

If I do decide to fix it myself, the repair guides on iFixit will be invaluable to me along the way. I’ll have to study them before I take the plunge and have printed copies on hand during the actual repair job.

All of this while I’m still contemplating the purchase of an iPad Air 2 — something I’ve been thinking about since they were announced in October. I’m still using my original iPad that I purchased on its release date over four-and-a-half years ago. (And, by “using” I mean occasionally getting out when I want to watch something on a second screen while I’m working in my office. “Rarely using” being a more apt description.)

The original iPad is slow and not very well suited for the kinds of tasks I want to do with it, writing being the most important one. It just can’t be used with my current workflow — writing in the WordPress admin area while frequently referencing other webpages. Safari flushes webpages from memory far too quickly on the original iPad and I often lose everything I’ve spent the past hour writing. It’s not good.

Not to mention the fact that the original iPad is still stuck on iOS 5 which precludes it from running most of the newer apps that I’d be interested in using.

Right now, I’m leaning towards the purchase of an iPad and having the Geniuses at Apple replace the trackpad and battery on my current MacBook Air. There’s nothing wrong with the Air aside from the trackpad and battery (which I would guess will cost around $350 to get fixed). It still runs fast enough for what I use it for and choosing this option will free up the necessary funds to get an iPad Air 2, while giving me peace of mind that the MacBook will still boot after the repair.