Digital Nomad Tech: 2020 Macbook Air and iPhone 12 Pro Max + Best Headphones

As a digital nomad, someone who works online using tech, a good laptop and phone is pretty much my entire office, production studio and everything I use to built, create, and manage my online businesses and create videos for Youtube. As a full time content creator now, earning close to $2,000 a month from my channel, I've been filming and editing videos from my iPhone 11 and editing them on my 2020 Macbook Air.

Just today, Apple has announced it's new iPhone 12 lineups.

Missing from the announcement was any word on the new Apple Silicon MacBooks, which honestly was probably a good thing for me, as I just replaced my Macbook a month ago and would feel silly if the new one came out this quickly. Big questions people have been asking me are about the two devices and here are my answers.


Best Phone for 2020

Why any iPhone and not a cheaper android? iPhone makes the best video cameras on any phone, period. Also things like Airdrop make it super easy to quickly and wirelessly transfer hours worth of video from my phone to my laptop, and send photos and videos to other people without using data.

My iPhone 11 is still completely fine and I could easily keep it for another year and still make high quality videos for my channel. If I wasn't making Youtube videos from my phone full time, I would skip this update as none of us will be taking advantage of 5G this year and I don't need any other the other features. 

However, since this is my main camera, I will most likely upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, even though I don't actually want the bigger screen. I would only do it for the best video cameras. The iPhone 12 normal is probably the best bang for the buck for most people. But for me since I'd get the 128gb version as I need the storage for video, the different will only be $220 before tax so it's worth getting the ProMax for me. I just hope I can find it here in Sri Lanka at a decent price before 2021 as unfortunately tech here comes out usually 1-2 months later and at a 20-30% higher price than in the USA.

Best Laptop for 2020

Why a MacBook and not a cheaper Windows, Linux, etc. It's 100% because of MacOS. Most people should just buy a $299 ChromeBook as that's what I would recommend as the fastest, most user friendly OS for people who do everything on the web, which is 99% of people out there. Linux is for tech nerds and not the average user. I've tried Windows 10 on my girlfriend's computer and still hate it. I will wait until the new faster ARM Based Apple Silicon Processors come out on either the MacbookPro (ideally 14" if it comes out) or a new Macbook Air hopefully early 2021. 

But at least for now the 2020 MacbookAir base model is actually fine for the 1080p videos I edit using iMovie for my Youtube Channel. My only regret is not upgrading to 16gb of Ram instead of the base 8gb, but the everything else actually works fine, even the base CPU as the higher core ones will just kick on the annoying fans earlier that don't actually cool the GPU or CPU as it's not connected properly like on the Macbook Pros and don't acutally make most things faster. 

If you're looking to upgrade your laptop, the 2020 Macbook Air, even the base model like I have is an excellent laptop and value. Especially right now that it's $899 or less during Amazon Prime Day. I like the space gray version I got and am really happy I upgraded from my old 2013. 

Best Headphones for 2020

Another great deal is the new Apple Airpod Pros for $199 as they have the built in noise cancelation. I use the Airpod Pro 2's everyday and love them, I wish I would have gotten them sooner. Never again will I use wired headphones and have the annoyance of untangling them every use. 

And although I really love my noise canceling, wireless Bose QC35 headphones on flight, trains and other noisy places. It's much easier carrying around a pair of Airpods than big over the ear headphones. So unless you plan on flying a lot in the next year, full sized headphones may not be worth it. The only big benifit of the QC35's over the Airpod Pros is that you can also plug them into airplane TV sets to watch movies with your noise canceling headphones, which is something you can't do with your wireless only ones.

Final Thoughts on Tech 2020

That's it for this year and my thoughts on the new Apple iPhone 12 and the Macbook line up. The reason why so many digital nomads use Apple products isn't just a cool design thing, it's because they really are the best. And now that in 2020 Apple finally brought their prices down for things like the Macbook Air, and the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 11 models, there's really no reason to save money with Android or Windows products. 

At the end of the day, yes there are faster bang for your buck devices out there with other brands, but with Apple, you always know you're getting a great product. I like that even their cheapest phones have great cameras, and even the base laptop is good enough to video edit and do everything you need without having to worry about viruses or annoying forced updates, and other things I hated about using Windows and android. Here's an old video about Macbooks vs. Chromebooks and why 5 years later I'm shocked that so many people are still using Windows. 

2020 Tech Summary 

For 99% of people out there, the perfect setup would be an iPhone SE2 for $399 and either a $299 Chromebook or a $899 2020 Macbook Air base model. For me i'm going to stick to the 2020 Macbook Air and get the new iPhone 12 Pro Max as it's actually my full time job. 

Ask me anything else in the comments below. 

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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  1. What is your current setup and what do you plan on upgrading to next?

  2. I currently got the 2018 MacBook Air and iPhone X while I live here in your favorite neighbourhood Canggu Bali :P (It's quite nice now bc there are no crowds and only locals are staying here now)

    I'm getting the iPhone 12 Pro as soon as I can and will be getting it shipped from NYC along with a care package from my parents. It's going to cost like $200 to ship but it's totally worth it.

    The iPhone 12 pro max looks dope! Why I'm getting it? Because of the camera. Why buy a real camera when the iPhone is just as good.

    1. I'll be getting the 12 Pro as well just fo the cameras.

      A few questions, will there be import taxes if they find it inside the care package? Also would it be possible to buy from a local store in Bali new, if so how much would it be?

  3. For flying check out airfly pro a great Bluetooth adapter by twelve south for the AirPods Pro

    1. Good tip! I had never heard of that till now. I wonder if Airlines will ever just add in individual bluetooth connections on their screens.

  4. I've never used any kind of noise-canceling headset or earbuds. Can you use them to block out noise even when you're not listening to anything? I'm trying to find a solution to blocking out a very loud noise that I have no control over.

    1. Yes, I have them on all of the time in cafes and coworking spaces while not listening to anything. But as a cheaper option, you can also just use foam ear plugs, if they don't bother you.

  5. I've switched from a Macbook Pro to a Pixelbook for everything. My only concern is whether they will keep releasing new models. If that happens, I can always go back to the Mac world.

    1. I really hope that Pixelbook/Chrome OS stays a thing. It's crazy how slow it's caught on. 99% of Windows users should have switched already.


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