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How often can a gadget make you confront your own weaknesses, especially the lies you tell yourself?
Not often, I tell myself.
I can usually resist the latest, greatest, most hyped-up piece of technology.
Until I'm sure I don't just want it, but need it.
Oh, all right, I may occasionally have a flexible definition of need.
I worried, though, when Apple released the M2 MacBook Air.
I've used Airs since Apple came up with them. I've always told myself they were the best laptops for me and that they were the apogee of laptop design.
Yes, there was that horrible moment with the Butterfly keyboard, but goodness, it looks like Apple might finally pay compensation for that hideous assault of form over function.
But the M2 MacBook Air seemed to represent a departure from the old Air design. And yes, as I've confessed before, I began to covet it for pathetically superficial reasons.
Also: Apple's M2 MacBook Air: ZDNET Product of the Year
There were two things I kept staring at: the midnight color and the new, non-tapered shape.
I managed to go to an Apple store and resist buying one. Perhaps I was unduly influenced by an Apple store salesman who once told me the Air was merely a Honda Civic.
But a few weeks before going on a long trip to Europe, I succumbed. Well, my previous Air enjoyed yet another fraying Apple cable and the M2 has a new cable design, together with MagSafe.
That is, at least, how I rationalized it to myself.
And then there was the remarkable fact that an Apple store actually had the midnight 1TB M2 MacBook Air in stock.
Resistance was futile. Actually, it was non-existent, even if I still wondered whether this laptop could possibly be worth it.
With almost every gadget, it's one thing to play with it in a store. It's quite another to bring it into your daily life -- and I use a laptop at least 12 hours a day.
So when I started to use my midnight M2 Air -- did I mention it's a gorgeous blackish, blueish color that seems to change with the mood of the day? -- I endured peculiar feelings.
Gone were the sharp edges of the old Air. Instead, here was something that felt so bizarrely balanced and yet so effortlessly light.
Please, I bathe in cynicism without trying, but this was a genuinely uplifting experience. It incited absurd thoughts, such as, "Why didn't they make laptops like this before?" If your answer is "Sir Jony Ive," I won't pause to disabuse you.
I'd clearly lied to myself about previous Airs. The tapered edges really could be uncomfortable. Holding it on my lap made the sharper edges dig into various parts of my skin. I put up with it because it was light and it looked quite lovely when it was closed.
Can we go back to that midnight color for a moment? It really is quite gorgeous. When closed, it's the most tasteful MacBook I've ever espied. And I do realize how pathetic and ridiculous I'm sounding here.
Also: Meet Rocki, the robot you can use to treat your pets while you're away
Some (like ZDNET's review of the M2 MacBook Air) suggest the M2 Air has slightly worse battery life than the M1. I haven't noticed that. I have noticed that it's fast and that the slightly bigger screen and its Retina entrails make watching videos -- and live football -- more enjoyable.
I've also noticed that MagSafe isn't quite what it used to be. Previously, it had flown out of its socket with minimal force. Now, you have to give it a perceptible tug before it detaches. I can't decide whether this is good or bad. I do like the sturdier feel of the cable, however.
All right, you've had enough of me telling you that my head's been turned by the M2 MacBook Air -- did I mention it's a gorgeous midnight color?
But no tale this positive has a happy ending.
So, as I write this, I'm staring into space, blaring at myself for being so impulsive.
You see, but weeks after I bought my M2 Air, the price began to descend. Then it descended even more. Perhaps this is something to do with the market prospects for laptops in 2023.
Some reports suggest the M2 Air -- yes, the midnight color version -- has been seen for less than $1,000 on Amazon.
Why couldn't I have waited just a little longer? Why did I have to succumb just when my resistance should have been at its strongest?
The whole experience has made me resolve not to be so weak in 2023.
I won't let gadgets lure me like this one did. I've been strong enough to resist all phones since the iPhone 12, so I'm now confident that no watch, no tablet, and certainly no MacBook will get past my defenses so easily.
This is challenge to all gadget makers. See if you can get me to buy one of your wares next year. It won't be easy. I'll bet on myself to win.
Unless, that is, you're selling a perfectly functional robot dog.