Many things changed for me in 2012: I've become tech bilingual, continued working with Apple devices, while still firmly using PC at home. I've become smarter about upgrading tech, ensuring the upgrade cycle doesn't cost too much, while continuing to optimize my daily workflow so that I'm more productive each day...
This year was the year that I really ramped up by freelance writing. Freelancing started out as a sideline almost 5 years ago, and it has become a significant part of my revenue streams. This year, I've gotten into iOS, including iPads and iPhones. While I do upgrade when new versions are released, I don't mind waiting a couple of months for the hype to die down and for kinks in the tech to be worked out. The fact that I'm in Taiwan also pushes back the release dates for Apple tech, so it works out for me. However, I do purchase my tech from all over the world, so that's never been an issue. 2013 will be a significant tech year for me, as I'll finally upgrade my aging PC, which I've been using since 2007, and get some new cool gear for a laptop workstation.
I upgraded to the new iPad when it was released and resold my iPad 2. Overall, for using an iPad 2 for 6 months, I paid $200. This included the upgrade to a new iPad with 64GB. With a new iPad having been released recently, I'm not sure I'll upgrade again this year. I don't think it's beneficial to upgrade too often, and although I use my iPad a lot, I'll probably wait until the iPad 5 is released next year before changing. Ever since I discovered Chinese streaming services, like PPS and PPTV, I've been using my iPad in bed to watch movies a lot more. While the Mandarin subtitles get a bit annoying, you barely notice them after a while, and they've got lots of interesting stuff ready to stream at a touch of a button.
MacBook Pro 17 2011
These days, when I'm not writing on the road, my MacBook Pro 17 stays at home. At home, I tend to use my PC most of the time, but I do have my MacBook running as well. I'll probably upgrade to a Retina MacBook Pro 15 in a couple of weeks, as I've found that a 17 inch laptop, while having an awesome battery life and a great screen, is way too heavy to lug around daily. I was thinking about using it as part of a laptop workstation, but it makes more sense to upgrade to a new MacBook and resell it since it hasn't been used much since I bought it.
These headphones were a nice surprise. After my Shure 110 broke down, after 4 years of use, I was glad to try on a new pair. These headphones have a braided cord, which tangles less, and it's quite long, about 5 feet, which I also like. The earbuds come with several ear tips to fit almost any ears, and they insulate outside noises quite well. They outperform many higher-priced earphones, like the Beats Tour.
iPhoneI've had my iPhone 4S 64GB for this whole year, and I've enjoyed it quite a bit, maybe even too much. I use it to take lots of photos, get some work done when I can, and read my feeds. I play games quite rarely, but I do have some installed just in case. There are many installed productivity apps, and I tend to use Twitter and Flipboard the most, as well as some photography apps. These days, I no longer use Instagram filters, usually post-processing my pics through a couple of different apps before posting them on Instagram, which then posts them on Twitter and Facebook.
Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio
The Logitech Zagg Keyboard case was a bit disappointing, and it didn't really work well with the new iPad, so I decided to get the Solar Keyboard Folio, having read some good reviews. The folio is a bit expensive, but the batteries recharge themselves, thanks to a solar panel, and it's supposed to last for years before giving up. The case worked well for a couple of months, and then it broke down. It's currently being repaired, and I have to say that I was disappointed by this. It also doesn't protect your iPad much when you use it.
Golla iPad Sleeve
I'm a bit paranoid about keeping my tech pristine, because usually when I upgrade, I sell off my tech. Plus, it's always nice to try and keep your tech looking new for as long as possible. This has helped me to cut down on upgrade costs. I had a laptop's cover scratched up in a backpack a few years ago, so I'm trying to avoid this from happening again. I purchased this Golla case so that my iPad, including a keyboard folio, could be slipped inside of it. The added protection does make it a bit thicker, but I've never scratched my iPad so I'm fine with this.
Incase MacBook Pro Sleeve
I haven't changed MacBook sleeves much, simply because 17-inch sleeves are rarer than other sizes. Then again, this Incase sleeve has done its job quite well over the last year. It has kept my laptop quite safe when I transport it around, from meeting to meeting.
Moshi Silicone iPad Sleeve
When I use my iPad at home, it's in this silicone sleeve that I bought for the iPad 2. It still fits the new iPad and makes the iPad easier to grip. It's perfect for using the iPad in bed or when you don't have to type much at your workstation. Otherwise, I use the Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio.
Bluetooth speakers have been around for a while, but until this year, they were somewhat expensive and I always had something else on my list before this. Getting one of these was definitely a pleasant surprise, because they can be used in many different ways, and don't take up much space. This Braven also doubles as an extra battery, so I can charge up my devices when I'm running out of juice.
I probably have too many apps installed on my iOS devices, but there's nothing better than free apps. A lot of great paid apps eventually are free, even if it is only for a day. Checking this curated list's free apps has become part of my daily habit and I install quite a few apps. I don't keep all of them, but there are plenty of productivity apps and games available.