Fri. Mar 31st, 2023


Apple Store entrance.

Getty Images

Apple has been busy updating most of its best-sellers — everything from the iPhone, to the AirPods Pro, to the Apple Watch, to the iPad and iPad Pro.

So much new stuff to get excited over, ready to empty your wallet.

That said, there are still Apple products that you should avoid, either because they’re in line for a refresh, or they’re just not going to get updated because Apple is phasing them out.

Also: Apple’s worst product has now become one of its best

The “Naughty” list:

  • iPad Mini: Well over a year old, it’s hard justifying the starting price of $500 here, unless you really want the smaller form factor.
  • Mac Mini: The first of the M1 Macs, and probably in line for an M2 upgrade soon. Bear that in mind if you’re planning to buy one now.
  • 14- and 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro: Now that M2 chips have landed, it’s a safe bet that these laptops are now on borrowed time.
  • Mac Pro: With the transition to Apple Silicon underway, this huge monetary investment just doesn’t make sense at this point in time. Avoid this big time unless you really have to replace a downed machine.

Also: Best iPhone: Cameras, battery, and specs compared

The “Nice” list:

2nd-gen AirPods Pro

Airpods Pro 2 in hand.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Apple’s best AirPods just got a lot better! The second-generation AirPods Pro are a massive upgrade over the previous model, and give the 2nd-gen AirPods Pro a massive lead over the competition.

  • Active Noise Cancellation reduces unwanted background noise.
  • Adaptive Transparency lets outside sounds in while reducing loud environmental noise.
  • Personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking places sound all around you.
  • Multiple ear tips (XS, S, M, L).
  • Touch control lets you swipe to adjust volume, press to direct media playback, answer or end calls, and press and hold to switch between listening modes.
  • Sweat and water resistant for AirPods Pro and charging case.
  • MagSafe Charging Case with speaker.
  • Case features lanyard loop.

Also: Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen: 6 tips and tricks | See our review 

Apple Watch Ultra 

Apple Watch Ultra on wrist

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

This is the Apple Watch that I’ve always wanted. Bigger, brighter display, better waterproofing, more space on the display for complications, and cool new features for explorers.

  • Rugged and capable, built to meet the demands of endurance athletes, outdoor adventurers, and water sports enthusiasts — with a specialized band for each. 
  • Up to 36 hours of battery life, plus all the Apple Watch features that help you stay healthy, safe, and connected.
  • 49mm corrosion-resistant titanium case. Larger Digital Crown and more accessible buttons. 
  • 100m water resistance. Customizable Action button for instant physical control over a variety of functions.
  • A bright Always-On Retina display that’s easy to see, even in direct sunlight. 
  • Precision dual-frequency GPS for accuracy, distance, route, and pace calculations. 
  • Advanced health sensors give you deep insights into your health. Fall Detection and Crash Detection can automatically connect you with emergency services in the event of a hard fall or a severe car crash. Hold the Action button to activate a siren that can be heard up to 600 feet away.

Review: I put the Apple Watch Ultra though a Tough Mudder

AirTag

Hand holding Airtag.

CNET

Blowing away the competition, Apple’s AirTags are the perfect gift for someone who constantly loses things.

Well made, robust, and with a replaceable battery, these will make lost keys or wallets a thing of the past.

Also: This helps you find your AirTag in the dark

Mac Studio 

A young woman uses a Mac Studio desktop to edit a video.

Image: Apple

So much power in a small box. In fact, this is a workstation in a form factor not much bigger than a Mac Mini. 

You can choose between the M1 Max and M1 Ultra (unless you are handling extremely high workloads demanding massive GPU capacity, you should be fine with the M1 Max offerings), and can spend anything from $2,000 to $4,000 on this hardware.

Paired with the Studio Display, this is a total beast of a system.

Also: The 6 best Macs

iPhone SE 

iPhone SE 3rd generation

CNET

A budget iPhone with a whole raft of great features:

  • 4.7-inch Retina display screen.
  • 5G.
  • Fast A15 Bionic processor.
  • Great camera.
  • Touch ID biometrics.

For this price, this is a fantastic bang for the buck iPhone!

Review: Apple iPhone SE (2022)

MacBook Air with M2 Chip 

Person using MacBook Air M2

Image: Apple

The perfect buy for those wanting performance and portability in a small, fanless laptop. 

The new MacBook Air features Apple’s latest M2 chip which boasts an 18% faster CPU and 35% faster GPU than the M1. 

The new M2 MacBook Air features a brand new super thin design and comes equipped with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array, and four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio.

Review: Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

iPad Air 

Person using iPad Air

Image: Apple

The iPad Air just got a big update in the form of Apple’s M1 chip and a superb front-facing 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with the “Center Stage” feature that can follow the person in front of the screen as they move.

And with a price tag starting at $449, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get your hands on an M1-powered device.

For a more rounded device, you can kit the iPad out with a keyboard and Apple’s Magic Pencil for a device that gives laptops costing twice as much a run for their money,

Also: iPad 4 vs iPad 5: Should you upgrade?

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