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Tela leased MAC Laptops

Started by Paula Jamieson 18 Feb 2014 9:47pm () Replies (18)

Evening all,

I'd like to gain some feedback (and evidence) as to how schools using TELA leased Apple laptops are feeling about their current options, reliability, 'power'.

I would like TELA to reconsider the leasing options for teachers (to include Macbook Air's - lighter, more efficient and more features. Also Macs with faster processes). Those of us working on applications which require more 'grunt' eg ibooks author are sick of the dreaded spinning wheel!

I'd like to be able to use your feedback to support a case to put forward to TELA.

So what are your thoughts?


  • Shona Poppe (View all users posts) 18 Feb 2014 10:54pm ()

    I agree. I have found the 'new' laptops to be sluggish and rather disappointing. We seem to have outgrown our present device. 

    I know our Principal was wanting a variation to the 'appointed' MacBook Pro, but his request was rejected.

    A choice would be most welcome. Will be interested in the outcome of your discussions with TELA.

  • Susan McMillan (View all users posts) 19 Feb 2014 6:11am ()

    How interesting this discussion is for me. I'm just in the process of compliling a list of faults re. my Mac for the tech guy at school tho' I don't believe they are really his concern.  I've been disappointed with my MB Pro right from the start and if I was to calculate the time I've wasted waiting for pages to load, restarting, googling for fixes, getting random apps appearing uninvited, waiting for the spinning wheel (multi coloured or blue) to disappear I'd think I was mad to put up with it but really what is the option.  I thought it was just my computer so while still annoying it's reassuring to know that there seems to be a major fault with these machines.

  • Peter Eaton (View all users posts) 19 Feb 2014 8:05am ()

    Just a few thoughts that may help our 'campaign':

    I think that we need to realise that we are probably not going to get a 'pick any mac you want' approach because of the logistics involved, so we need to think strategically about what we ask for.

    The current lineup is 2 models:

    - The 'base' 13" MBP

    - The 'step up' 15" MBP

    The 'step up' costs a little extra (pricipals get it fully funded) and is the now discontinued 15" MBP.  It would seem that the replacement for this can only be a 'retina' MBP, wither 13" or 15" - both of which are a world better machine, so I don't think we need to talk too much about this.

    The 'base' 13" MBP, you could speculate will eventually disappear from the apple lineup, would naturally be best replaced by the 13" Macbook Air which has about the same retail.  

    I want to talk briefly about 'grunt'.  We need to be careful when we think that a newer model with a faster processor is going to make our spinning beach-balls go away: in most cases it will not - I would suggest that you need to investigate this further before making this assumption.  Other, more likely, causes are:

    - That your machine is waiting for information to come off the (slow) hard drive.  A model with an SSD will help a great deal here: this is one of the reasons that the 13" Macbook Air feels much faster in use than the 13" MBP.  My own experience after replacing the HDD in my last two TELA MBPs with an SSD confirms this.

    - That your machine is waiting on a network resource.  In a few schools, especially those with Windows Servers for shared files, I have noticed that if you have a network file open in an application and either sleep your machine or move out of wifi coverage that your mac will pretty much hang until it reconnects with the server.  This can also be why when you wake your computer up at home, it spins for a while until it sorts things out.  The Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) are particularly bad for this: they hang even if a recent document is on a network share - not even the one you have open.

    - That you have lots of files on the desktop (even in folders).  Yes this makes a difference.

    - That your iPhoto library now has 3 years worth of files in it - I suggest creating a new library every year


    So to summarise, I think we should simplify our discussion to 'campaign' for the 'base' 13" MBP to be replaced by the 13" Macbook Air (with 256Gb SSD) which for most people is a much better machine for no extra cost to the MOE, or logistical issues for the supplier.  My rationale for this would be:

    - Less moving parts (no HDD or optical drive) = more reliable

    - Better real-world performance due to SSD

    - Massively better battery life = a whole day between charges

    - Slightly better resolution display

    - Lighter and more portable

    - The 13" MBP is soon to be end-of-life (speculation) anyway

    A possible con that people will suggest is storage space: that they can only get a 256Gb SSD.  This is not in reality going to be an issue for 95% of teachers.


    I was going to add a 'my 2c' line, but this looks more like a dollar or two.



  • Glen Storey (View all users posts) 19 Feb 2014 11:11am ()

    It's really frustrating the the current line up of MacBooks are so frustratingly slow, something that seems to be caused by the requirement of the ministry that Apple computers have CD Drives and (of all things) firewire ports. From a technical perspective (as Peter has mentioned) the issue is caused because all the Mac portables with CD Drives have spinning harddisks, rather than the current Solid State Drives favoured by the (modern) MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs.

    Practically, this means that the following things, on the current versions of software (which you need if you use iPads at all) are frustratingly slow (upwards of 30 seconds of wait time every 2-3 minutes) or impossible for teachers:

    • creating an iBook using iBook Author (try it - I dare you)
    • using Pages '13 or Keynote '13 with more than one document at a time
    • using Safari
    • running more than 4 apps at the same time

    I'm embarrassed when I see teachers in our school being driven to frustration that are new on lease. Rather than opening doors the current line up appears to be turning off staff toward eLearning. I'm not willing to recommend our school taking on any more lease macs (we currently have over 100) with the current Telecom line up as there is absolutely no way they will last the 3 year lease period, as the brand new models are not coping with today's technical requirements. 

  • Paula Jamieson (View all users posts) 20 Feb 2014 8:27am ()

    Thanks for your feedback so far,

    re the 'grunt' Peter - thanks for clarifying this for teachers (a few good tips here too, re the files on desktop and iphoto).

    I don't currently have a leased laptop (but am about too and want more than the programme offers) but I do work across more than 30 schools (90% are Mac schools) and come across frustrated teachers, struggling with slow processors and machines that aren't keeping up with the tasks. 

    In these times when we sare 'creators' working with rich media content surely we should be catered for? 

    What does everyone else think?



  • Matthew Thomas (View all users posts) 20 Feb 2014 10:22pm ()

    Hey all -

    I agree with all of the above. The 13" non retina MBP is the only current Apple product with an internal CD / DVD drive (which surely is hardly ever used by most teachers!).  So something is going to have to give eventually (once Apple phase out this model).

    Also Mountain Lion and Mavericks seems to require way more than the stock 4 GB of RAM that comes with the TELA 13" MBP.  I have upgraded mine to 16GB, and have way less of an issue with the spinning wheel of death.  

    I'm all in favour of the base TELA Apple laptop being a 13" or even 11" MacBookAir.  That would be wonderful.  We have had discussions at school as to whether we even need TELA laptops now, and whether they should add a TELA 128GB iPad Air as an option.

    I hope someone at TELA is listening to this conversation!

  • Maika Te Amo (View all users posts) 26 Feb 2014 10:43am ()

    Peter, people have been known to charge a lot more than $2 for what you shared! Thanks!

    A few things to add:

    • My organisation's Mac specialist recently got rid of anitivirus software from my non-retina 13" Macbook Pro, and that spinning beachball appears to have been popped! Much better all around performance for over 2 weeks now, no spinning ball of death in sight!
    • I've been a Macbook Air user since 2011 and will probably never purchase any other type of laptop again. At least that's what I thought until...
    • my wife recently received her new Tela laptop, a 15" retina Macbook Pro - I've never seen anything so fast! The fusion drive (ssd & optical drive hybrid, more or less) is so quick! Puts our 2012 iMac to shame! Also it shipped with an external "superdrive", basically a cd/dvd drive you plug into usb, so if anyone is using physical media you can still get it done. It is also incredibly light, much closer to Macbook Air than previous Pros. 

    Food for thought.

  • Greg Carroll (View all users posts) 26 Feb 2014 11:28am ()

    resetting the P-RAM makes a BIG difference too.  Hold down cmd+option+p+r on startup until it 'dings' a couple of times

  • iDave (View all users posts) 26 Feb 2014 1:50pm ()

    Interesting discussion! Yes I do agree about the speed - but Pete's comments are also very relevant - if your computer is not working efficiently then a faster computer will only be a faster not efficient computer… ;-)

    Depending on the usage, we have found that some of our Macs do not seem to handle (endlessly it seems) upgrading the OS and transferring (or migrating) users.  Over time some machines become sluggish and odd things happen for some users.  The fix for most (which has worked well for us) is to rebuild the user account.  This means recreating the account and specifically leaving out the old User Library folder - so a new one is created for the User.  We transfer the other data folders across (Desktop, Docs, Pictures etc) manually.  Mail and some other odd bits like Safari Settings also need to retrieved out of the Users old (hidden) Library folder.

    Unfortunately this is a 'manual job' which means time and a bit of expertise but we have had great success with it making a big difference to the user experience and has fixed some (seemly unfixable) issues for teachers.

    Note:  the new user startup takes a bit of time as the software recreates its entries in the new User Library.

    (None of our teacher laptops authenticate to a server - this can take time - and as mentioned already antivirus software can impede perfomance...........)

    Yes it is a last resort but ask your tech - hopefully they will play nice!

    Of course backing up is essential before any drastic measure

    Everyones computer use varies (what they do with it....) and some of our users machines still run smartly  after three years (including some updating) with no fixes at all!  ( and a student showed me hers this week - 5 years old and running 10.6  - and running really well).   

    Do agree - each new OSX release seems to demand more from the hardware.



  • Paula Jamieson (View all users posts) 17 Mar 2014 11:15am ()

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and feedback in this forum.

    Interestingly last week a new Mac Book option was added to  TELA's list of choices.

    You can now lease a Mac Book Air - either 11 or 13 inch.

    In my opinion this is a step in the right direction although after discussing with schools and 'people in the know' there is still doubt that this option will last the 3 years with the amount of creative content and development many teachers and educators are now demanding.



  • Judith Smallbone (View all users posts) 31 Mar 2015 9:00pm ()

    Hi everyone,

    I found this discussion really helpful and ordered my Tela Mac. BUT I am the only Mac user at school - and the Network manager took a bit of persuading to let me have one! And of course there are problems!! Does anyone else use Kamar?? and can it be installed on a Mac - or do I have to use 2X (only want to use that if I have to at home...) Also, will I need to get the photocopier guy to come and install printers or should that be straight forward on the network...nearly regretting the whole thing...except I do love it!!!

    These things have my lovely Network manager stumped so any help would be much appreciated :)




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