Apple Shopping Guide: When to Buy Apple Products

Choose Macbook Air Pro Featured

With Apple’s 2020 WWDC in the rear-view mirror, anticipation can start building back up for the rest of the year and new Apple hardware. As is generally the case, Apple shows off its newest software updates in the summer and releases new hardware in the fall. Along with that comes many questions of when it’s a good time to buy Apple products. In this Apple shopping guide, we’ll take a look what you can feel comfortable with buying today and what you should hold off on.

MacBook Air/Pro

What you should do: buy now

Deciding whether to buy a MacBook Air/Pro now is increasingly difficult. Recent 2020 updates have made all of Apple’s laptop lineup much better, including a base storage of 256GB. Eliminating the loathed butterfly keyboard has also made Apple’s 2020 laptop lineup well worth considering.

All of that said, Apple’s decision to move from Intel chips to “Apple Silicon” is incredibly enticing. Yes, there are many outstanding questions about how Apple Silicon will perform. If it runs anything like the iPhone and iPad processors Apple manufactures, it could be an exceptionally strong performer.

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Better battery life and overall performance could be just two of the many reasons Apple Silicon could be worth the wait. However, if you can’t wait for a new computer or still want to run Windows on a Mac, you should pick something out of Apple’s current lineup. The MacBook Air and the 13″ and 16” MacBook Pro computers are really outstanding machines in their own right. The $999 price on the MacBook Air is particularly attractive, and while Apple Silicon looks great, the current Pro and Air models perform exceptionally well.

iMac

What you should do: wait

There is little question you should hold off on purchasing a new iMac right now. The current iMac model is well overdue for a redesign. There is no answer as to when Apple will release a new iMac or if they will wait for Apple Silicon, but if you can wait, you should.

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If you are looking to buy an iMac in the next six months, wait.

iPhone

What you should do: wait

When anyone asks if now is a good time to buy an iPhone, the answer depends on at what point in the calendar year the question is asked. If history repeats itself, Apple will launch a new iPhone (more like multiple iPhones) in the next sixty days give or take (as of this writing).

As is generally the case, they will have faster processors, improved cameras and increased battery life among other new features. It’s also likely that new iPhones will be priced similarly, if not identically, to the current models. The best thing you can do right now is wait. On top of everything else, the upcoming “iPhone 12” is likely to be Apple’s first iPhone with 5G connectivity.

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Existing iPhone models like the iPhone 11 series will drop in price shortly after the new iPhone is released. Now, if you were asking this question in January, the answer might look entirely different. This close to the fall season, wait, wait, wait.

iPad

The iPad Pro, in particular, which was refreshed in March 2020, is a particularly difficult decision. If you follow the Apple news world closely, you know there are always rumors about upcoming refreshes and the iPad Pro is no different.

That said, the inclusion of the A12Z Bionic Chip, Pro display, Pro cameras and LiDAR Scanner makes it an incredibly enticing device. Throw in the Magic Keyboard, and the iPad Pro has never been closer to a computer. Will Apple release another update to their already existing update in the same year? That’s unlikely, so go ahead and grab one.

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The $329 seventh-generation iPad is a solid buy for right now. Yes, it comes with a slightly underpowered A10 processor, but it’s great for families, kids and just general entertainment.

For the iPad Air and iPad Mini 5, both refreshed in early 2019, it’s a little harder to answer. It’s very possible both of these could be updated before the end of the year, so waiting until September/October seems perfectly reasonable.

AirPods

What you should do: buy now

The company’s announcements at WWDC shows that with iOS 14, AirPods will get even smarter. Things like optimizing charging and, in the case of the AirPods Pro, something of a surround-sound effect, are releasing in the fall. For now, there is no reason to hold off on any AirPods purchase.

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Both the “regular” AirPods and AirPods Pro are unlikely to be refreshed this year. Even so, any changes are likely to be incremental at best, so nothing that would have you kicking yourself for purchasing early.

Apple Watch

What you should do: wait

Yet again, we’re stuck looking at an Apple product that is incredibly easy to recommend but hard to say yes to right now.

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The Apple Watch Series 5 is a fantastic smartwatch and easily the best in the category. There is a good chance Apple could announce a new watch at the same time as a new iPhone later this year. The good news is that the release of any new Apple Watch would lead to a price drop for the series 5, which could be yet another reason to wait. Every Apple Watch from the Series 3 on will get WatchOS 7, which includes sleep tracking.

Conclusion

Deciding when to buy a new Apple product has always been a juggling act. It has always been a discussion of how much longer you can wait for a product refresh. While Apple seems to be on an internalized calendar for their refreshes, they can just as easily change things up. Don’t forget that if you are a student, you can get discounts on Apple products, so if you really need something now, do not wait. Buy with confidence that any Apple product you purchase will get both hardware and software support for years.

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