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Brown’s Bytes – The Windows to Apple Mac Challenge – First Impressions

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

17th May 2019

Regular readers will know that I have decided to try moving away from the world of Windows to Apple Mac.

This is my Week 1 Update.

So, I took delivery of a MacBook Air as described last week… and sat down with a cup of coffee to start things off…

Apple Mac first impressions

As you would expect of an Apple product it wasAndy's Apple Mac - First Impressions of a MacBook Air perfectly packaged and the box revealed a well-designed and thought out laptop within. It’s heavier than you might expect, but in a premium sturdy way. Overall pretty impressive.

This is a retail bought device. More on why that’s relevant in a later week, but for now the experience of turning it on for the first time was very familiar for an iPhone user. Select language, get connected to Wi-Fi, sign in to Apple, and very shortly after I was at my Apple Desktop.

As a consumer, this was a pretty impressive experience. And I think that’s the key point for now… as with an iPhone, it was a consumer-centric experience… not one designed with Admins in mind (again, more on that in later weeks).

Thunderbolt and Lightning – very, very… different

This device has two Thunderbolt 3 ports… or are they USB-C ports?? The good news appears to be that it’s both!

Just as well really, as the only thing I have that plugs into them is the charger. So that’s one of the ports gone for quite a bit of the time. This leaves me 1 port – for everything.

Having quickly looked at the accessories on Apple, I decided to see what was available elsewhere.

Suffice to say Amazon to the rescue with a USB-C to HDMI adapter (needed for when I’m out presenting) and a set of 3 USB-C to USB3 adapters (for plugging just about everything else in). Cheap and easy and all working precisely as expected.

The USB-C to USB3 has also come immediately to the rescue of my desktop working experience. Here at Mobliciti, we use USB docking stations powered by DisplayLink software. Previously, I used this on my Surface without issue. On the Mac, I needed to download and install the DisplayLink Software, put a USB-C adaptor in place and plug it in… and it worked first time! I was instantly working across two screens with my existing Keyboard and Mouse… impressive.

Subtle differences

In fact, so much is instantly familiar thanks to the docking solution that muscle memory quickly kicks in and carries on working as before…until you don’t. Mouse wheel scrolling the wrong way and keyboard oddness where the @ and “ keys are reversed quickly jar you back to reality and that reality is a very different operating system underneath. I’m not saying it’s better or worse – it’s just different.


My final point for this week is about installing my Apps. My needs are fairly simple to get started – I need:

– Microsoft Office 365
– A browser
– The printer to work
– DisplayLink software
– Our standard anti-virus for Mac

Now, apps is an area that Windows 10 remains pretty confused about. On the one hand, there is an App Store on the device, but it mainly still uses software installed from elsewhere.

Given my previous experience with iOS, I had assumed that the App store would be my first port of call on the Mac also, but it has been a similar experience to Windows 10 – a mixture of App store and direct downloads. Not the end of the world, but messy all the same. As with Windows, I guess this is the legacy of a longer-lived OS where side loading has been the norm.

Anyway – I’m up and running… this blog is being typed on Word for Mac! More to follow as I try to manage this device as an Enterprise would want me to.

And a Reminder…

Mid-week, we did a special Byte about the WhatsApp vulnerability. Please do read this and get in touch to discuss Mobile Threat Defense – those that have it were protected against precisely this kind of thing.