A Year of Firsts

This year marked the first time I have taken any interest in reading long-form hardware and software reviews of any kind. Previously, as I described in Diary of a Convert, I rarely made it past the first few pages; this time around, however, I not only plowed through John Siracusa’s twenty-four page epic, but many others’ as well. I learned a great deal about Apple’s latest hardware and software offerings through this process, something I look to repeat from here on out. In preparation for next year, then, I paid great attention to reviewers and their work so that rather than shopping around for yet another iOS 8 review next fall, I can instead read the thoughts of a select few writers and in doing so enable myself to devote much more time and energy to my own work, which trends would indicate will increase once more after Tim Cook closes his keynote address.

The day after Apple’s October iPad event, I posted An Amalgamation of Reviews. As the title suggests, I simply pulled together a list of my favorite reviews from the past twenty-four hours. I linked to John Gruber, Jim Dalrymple, and Anand Lal Shimpi’s phone reviews, along with Federico Viticci and Rene Ritchie’s iOS 7 reviews. Although I did not include them in that article — I linked them later on — I also read and greatly enjoyed John Siracusa and Stephen Hacket’s Mavericks’ reviews. Later, when Apple released the iPad Air and iPad Mini, I looked to a similar roster: Federico Viticci, Jim Dalrymple, Shawn Blanc, John Gruber, Ben Brooks, and Anand Lal Shimpi.

For the most part, this list of nine1 contains every site I plan on returning to next year. Unless another article garners a great deal of attention, I plan on sticking to these writers. Unlike Marco, who reads none but John Siracusa for his thoughts on Apple’s latest operating system and John Gruber and Anand Lal Shimpi for device reviews, as of right now I rely on quite a few more sources to aid in forming my own opinions with regards to these annual products. And quite honestly, I’m fine with that: my life is not so busy as to prohibit a few hours over the course of a couple weeks to reading some independent writers share their opinions. I have not yet reached a place where I have to make a decision between reading great work and fulfilling an obligation, whether that obligation be to my family, a job, or something else. Until such a time when I can no longer read all these articles in good conscience, I will continue to await their yearly publication with great anticipation.

The observant amongst you may notice that this list does not contain any major sites, save AnandTech: The Verge, TechCrunch, and none of the traditional news publications made the list. This is no mistake: I place much greater stock in the thoughts and opinions of these relatively small, mostly one-man shops than the massive conglomerates. Fortunately, I think many others do as well, and for good reason.