With half of 2023 behind us, it’s been a very busy year for Apple, kicking off with a January refresh of the Mac Mini and MacBook Pro that equipped these systems with the latest-generation Apple Silicon M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max processors. The first 6 months of 2023 also saw Apple update the MacBook Air and roll out the M2 Ultra to the Mac Pro, finally updating that behemoth system and completing the move away from Intel.
And as for the Vision Pro mixed reality headset, well, that’s not going to launch until early 2024.
But don’t let a busy six months of updating fool you into thinking that everything Apple is fresh. That’s not the case, and there are still a few Apple products that you should avoid buying right now, either because they’re in line for a refresh, or they’re just not going to get updated because Apple is phasing them out.
The ‘Naughty’ list
- 13-inch MacBook Pro: This is now overpriced for what you’re getting. Unveiled a year ago at WWDC 2022, this is due for a refresh to an M2 Pro or M2 Max chip.
- 13-inch MacBook Air: With an M2 version of the MacBook Air now available for only $100 more, it doesn’t make sense to be buying one based on the M1 chip anymore.
- 24-inch iMac: Now that the M1 chips have been superseded by the M2, Apple is asking a lot of money to pay for a Mac that could see a refresh in the next few months.
- iPad Mini: Released in September 2021, it’s worth keeping in mind the age of this tablet. Over 20 months is a long time in tech. Would you pay full price for an iPhone 13, which was released at the same time? No, you wouldn’t.
- Joining the iPad Mini is the iPad Air. Released in March 2022, this isn’t as old as the Mini — but it’s still over that 12-month mark, making it a dubious buy for the price.
- iPhone SE: This handset is now well over a year old, and while it could be 2024 before we see an update released, it’s worth bearing in mind that the current model was released in March 2022.
- iPhone 14: Sure, it’s still less than a year old, but we’re into the final few months before the iPhone 15 makes its debut, and if you’ve held out this long buying one, then perhaps it makes sense to make your existing handset last a few more months until the fall.
- Apple Watch and Apple Watch Ultra: Like the iPhone 14, these are in the final few months before being updated; if you can, I’d suggest waiting for the updated versions that will release this fall.
The ‘Nice’ list
2023 Apple Mac Pro
This monster system finally gets the Apple Silicon treatment. With a starting price of $7,000, it’s not cheap, but once you start adding the extras it’s a lot cheaper than its predecessor.
- Apple M2 Ultra chip, with 24-core CPU and up to 76-core GPU
- Up to 192GB of unified memory
- 32-bit Neural Engine
- Up to 8TB of storage
- 2 x HDMI
- 2 x 10Gb Ethernet
- Rack or desk mounting options
2023 Apple MacBook Air
Apple’s “thin and light” laptop gets bumped up to a 15-inch display and an M2 chip.
- 15.3-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology
- 2880-by-1864 native resolution at 224 pixels per inch
- 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores
- 10-core GPU
- 16-core Neural Engine
2023 Apple Mac Mini with M2 chip
Apple’s “starter” Mac gets the M2 Apple Silicon treatment, bringing it into 2023.
- Apple M2 or Apple M2 Pro chip
- Two Thunderbolt 4 ports (M2) or four Thunderbolt 4 ports (M2 Pro)
- Two USB-A ports (up to 5Gb/s)
- HDMI port
- Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet)
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- 8- to 12-core CPU
- 10- to 19-core GPU
- 8GB to 32GB unified memory
- 256GB to 8TB storage
2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip
Apple’s M2-powered MacBook Air is a powerhouse of a laptop, offering a huge performance boost over the older Intel-powered MacBook Air, such as 15 times faster video editing — yes, video editing on a MacBook Air! — and up to 18 hours of battery life.
- The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display features over 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide color, and support for 1 billion colors.
- Next-generation M2 8-core CPU with 8-core GPU and 8GB of unified memory
- Up to 18 hours of battery life
- 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array, and four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
- A MagSafe charging port, two Thunderbolt ports, and a headphone jack
- Weighs just 2.7 pounds
2nd-gen AirPods Pro
The second-generation AirPods Pro are a major upgrade over the previous model, giving Apple’s premium buds 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 a lanyard loop.
Blowing away the competition, Apple’s AirTags are the perfect gift for someone who constantly loses things. You can add them to your luggage, your bike, your remote, or even your moving boxes — the possibilities are endless.
Well-made, robust, and with a replaceable battery, these will make lost keys or wallet things of the past.