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Don't Waste Your Money on These Apple Products: January 2023 Edition

techsm5

Entrance to the Apple Store.

Getty Images

2022 has been a busy year for Apple, with the company updating just about everything from the iPhonethe AirPods Prothe apple watchand the iPads and iPad Pros.

That means it enters 2023 with a very strong product lineup and far less “old stuff” than what we’ve seen in previous years.

That said, there are still some Apple products you should avoid, either because they’re live for a refresh or because they just won’t be updated because Apple is phasing them out.

Now that 2023 is here, we can expect a whole new cycle of updates over the next few months.

As well: Apple MacBook Air M2: ZDNET Product of the Year

The “naughty” list:

  • ipad mini:With this tablet now approaching the 18 month mark (and likely to be refreshed in a few months), it’s hard to justify spending even the starting price of $500 here, unless you really want to, really, REALLY the smallest form factor for something specific (like flying a drone or using as a video monitor).
  • 24 inch iMac: Now that the M1 chips have been pushed aside by the M2, Apple is asking big bucks to pay for a Mac that could see a refresh in the next few months (likely April 2023).
  • mac mini: Released in November 202, it’s the oldest of the M1 Macs, and it feels so forgotten that Apple still offers a “high-end version” powered by Intel processors when the M2 would do a much better job. I really hope this is live for an M2 upgrade soon, and until then I highly recommend you steer clear of it.
  • MacBook Pro M1 14 and 16 inches: Now that the M2 chips have landed, it’s a safe bet that these laptops are now on borrowed time, and will probably see a refresh at the start of the year.
  • Mac Pro: With the transition to Apple Silicon underway, this huge monetary investment just doesn’t make sense right now. Avoid this big time unless you really need to replace a broken machine.

Also: The Apple iPad Pro 2022 M2 is my (drone) co-pilot

The “Nice” list:

Apple MacBook Air 2022 laptop with M2 chip

untitled-2

Apple

Apple’s latest MacBook Air powered by M2 is a laptop powerhouse, offering a huge performance boost over the old Intel-powered MacBook Air, like 15x faster video editing — (yes, video editing on a MacBook Air!) — and 18 hours all day of battery life.

Review: Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022): sleeker, faster and more expensive

  • 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display offers over 500 nits of brightness, wide P3 color gamut, and support for 1 billion colors
  • Next-gen 8-core M2 processor 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 audio system with Spatial Audio
  • MacBook Air features a MagSafe charging port, two Thunderbolt ports, and a headphone jack
  • Weighs only 2.7 pounds

2nd Generation AirPods Pro

Airpods Pro 2 in hand.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Apple’s best AirPods just got a whole lot better! the Second-generation AirPods Pro are a massive upgrade over the previous model and give the 2nd generation AirPods Pro a massive edge over the competition.

As well: AirPods Pro could be an inexpensive solution to your hearing loss

  • Active noise cancellation reduces unwanted background noise.
  • Adaptive Transparency lets outside sounds in while reducing loud ambient noise.
  • Custom 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, tap to direct media playback, answer or end calls, and long press to switch between listening modes.
  • Sweat and water resistant for AirPods Pro and charging case.
  • MagSafe charging case with speaker.
  • The case features a lanyard loop.

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

Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra on the wrist

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It’s the apple watch that I always wanted. A bigger and brighter screen, better waterproofing, more screen space for complications and exciting new features for explorers.

As well: Why the Apple Watch Ultra has been my favorite Apple product for years

  • Rugged and capable, designed to meet the demands of endurance athletes, outdoor adventurers and water sports enthusiasts – with a specialist band for everyone.
  • 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.
  • An always-on, bright 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 in-depth insight into your health. Fall detection and collision detection can automatically connect you to emergency services in the event of a sudden fall or serious car accident. Hold the Action button to activate a siren that can be heard up to 600 feet away.

Note that the orange strap gets dirty very quickly… mine already looks very worn. You should also take a look at Nomad’s band options for the Apple Watch Ultra.

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

Airtag

Hand holding airline tag.

CBS

Crushing the competition, Apple Air beacons 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.

As well: How to hide an Apple AirTag on your bike (and why you should)

Well-designed, rugged and with a replaceable battery, those lost keys or wallets will be a thing of the past.

As well: It 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, it’s a workstation in a form factor not much larger than a Mac Mini.

You can choose between the M1 Max and M1 Ultra (unless you’re handling extremely high workloads requiring massive GPU capacity, you should be happy with the M1 Max offerings) and can spend between $2,000 and $4,000 on this hardware.

As well: The 6 Best Macs

Paired with the Studio displayit’s a total beast of a system.

Keep in mind that despite being a powerhouse, the M1 chips are on borrowed time as we enter the era of the M2.

iPhoneSE

iPhone SE 3rd Generation

CBS

An economical iPhone with a whole series of interesting features. Sure, it comes in at that one-year mark, but if you want a budget iPhone (and don’t want to buy second-hand), then this is the iPhone for you.

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

For this price, it’s a great value iPhone, and still worth buying in 2023.

Review: Apple iPhone SE (2022): You simply can’t find a better phone at this price

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