I get a new laptop every two to three years. My laptop doesn’t stay on my desk - it gets toted around almost every day, often across the country and around cities. Three years of constant use would destroy the old plastic laptops (the polycarbonate MacBooks dissolved even faster) but the metal ones last a lot longer. So the main reason to trade up is speed, memory, and storage.
Two years ago I got rid of my then-two-year-old 13” MacBook Pro. There wasn’t anything wrong with it - it was in perfect physical condition, and plenty fast, and had lots of memory and expandable storage - but I’ve always been an ultraportable kind of guy, and I found myself leaving this fine piece of aluminum at home because of size and weight, then wishing I had it with me.
So I got a 2011 11” MacBook Air and never looked back. Except that isn’t true, because I had to compromise both memory (8GB -> 4GB) and storage (500GB -> 256GB). Less memory means more swapping, though the speed of the solid-state storage helped mitigate that. But 256GB just isn’t much storage these days, and I waste a lot of time managing free space. On top of that, the battery life is pretty sucky, because there’s just not much room for battery.
So I’ll be looking hard at the revamps of the MBA expected to be revealed at WWDC on June 10. The last round of upgrades got 8GB and 512GB, but I’ve held out for Haswell, Intel’s new chipset which should bring substantially increased battery life at similar speeds.
(There’s some buzz about Retina displays too, but I’d rather have the battery life)
UPDATE: I’m taking the plunge, even though every voice in my head is letting me know that the lack of other changes to the MBA means that an entirely new version is probably coming next year. But I have a lot of work to do between now and then.