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The 3 Apple products you shouldn't buy this month (including this iPad)

The 3 Apple products you shouldn't buy this month (including this iPad)
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iPad Mini with onscreen mini graphic
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

June is Apple’s developer conference month, with WWDC 2024 kicking off on June 10. This highly anticipated event marks the first official look at the updated operating systems that will power iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more over the coming year. Stay tuned for exciting announcements and innovative features that will shape the future of Apple’s ecosystem.

Also, Apple has addressed — in part at least — the great iPad wasteland, updating the iPad Air with M2 silicon, and fitting the iPad Pro models with its new M4 chip. The iPad now also features an updated price tag — everything else remains the same — so that’s back on the menu, but be aware that you’re still buying hardware released in October 2022. 

Also: I’ve used every iPad since the original. Here’s my buying advice for the new 2024 models

Interest in the Apple Vision Pro seems to be fading after the rocky start, and it remains to be seen if Apple can inject new interest in this product at its developer event next week.

Beyond that, Apple’s lineup seems pretty strong, from the M3 MacBook Air systems and the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops powered by the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips (but still no M3 Ultra… yet). 

Note that the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch line are now in their final months; by summer I’ll start recommending that you hold off buying them until new products are released.  

But don’t let the shiny new tablets distract you. Not everything Apple sells is fresh. There are a few things that I recommend giving a wide berth in the store.

The ‘Naughty’ list

  • AirPods: As much as I love AirPods, they’re getting old. The 3rd-generation model was released two and a half years ago and is overdue for an update. Apple still sells the 2nd generation AirPods, and those were released five years ago! My advice here is to stick to the 2nd generation AirPods Pro (technically, the version with the USB-C charging case are more of a 2.5 gen as they feature a few small updates), or buy something not made by Apple.
  • iPad Mini: Released in September 2021, this tablet’s age is worth keeping in mind. Two and a half years is a long time in tech. Would you pay full price for an iPhone 13, which was released at the same time? No, no you wouldn’t.
  • iPhone SE: This handset was released in March 2022 and rumor has it there won’t be another one. Other rumors say the next one will launch this year, or sometime in 2025. We’ll see.

The ‘Nice’ list

Apple M3 MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air M3

Apple MacBook Air M3

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Apple has updated its MacBook Air with its M3 line of processors and given them more oomph to tackle heavier-duty AI tasks.

Review: M3 MacBook Air: Apple’s AI computer for the masses has arrived

Along with the updated processor, this MacBook Air can also power two external monitors with the lid closed, making it a great desktop replacement — just add two screens!

With prices for the 13-inch M3 MacBook Air starting at $1099, and the 15-inch version starting at $200 more, these systems represent some serious processing power for an extremely competitive price (especially when you consider these are Apple laptops).

Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro on a stand

Apple Vision Pro on a stand

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

All eyes are on Apple’s newest product and the company’s foray into mixed-reality spatial computing.

Also: 10 reasons the Apple Vision Pro is secretly brilliant

It’s hard to bet against Apple, but a futuristic set of goggles with a starting price of $3,499 doesn’t feel like the easiest thing to sell. Still, Apple is Apple, and if any company can convince consumers to part with large sums of cash (and developers to create apps for a new platform that could fall flat on its face), it’s Apple.

Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 15 Pro (in blue), held up in one hand in Steve Jobs Theater

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Last year brought a much-anticipated refresh of the iPhone lineup. 

Review: iPhone 15 Pro: Coming from iPhone 12 Pro or earlier? This upgrade will wow you

The standard iPhone 15 line gets the processor that’s currently in the iPhone 14 Pro line, a new 48-megapixel main camera, and USB-C, while the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max get a new A17 Pro chip, a titanium structure, and updated cameras — including a 5x telephoto.

Apple 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro

This lineup of MacBooks debuted the entire lineup of M3 chips — from the powerful M3 to the insanely powerful M3 Max.

  • Powered by the M3, M3 Pro, or M3 Max chips, Apple’s most advanced chips for personal computers 
  • Up to 22 hours of battery life
  • 8GB to 128GB of unified memory
  • 512GB to 8TB of SSD storage
  • Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Ports galore, with up to three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SDXC card slot, an HDMI port, a MagSafe 3 port, and a headphone jack

Also: M3 MacBook Pro buying advice: Who it’s really for (and who should stick with M2 MacBook Air)

Apple iMac 24-inch

Apple refreshed the iMac, and while it has the same 24-inch, 4.5K Retina display, it received the M3 chip upgrade. 

  • Apple M3 chip (no M3 Pro or M3 Max option)
  • 24-inch 4.5K Retina display
  • 8GB to 24GB of unified memory
  • 512GB to 2TB of SSD storage
  • Super-thin all-in-one desktop 
  • Seven vibrant colors

Also: Apple’s M3 iMac disappoints 27-inch display devotees, but does anyone really need that?

Apple Watch Series 9

More power thanks to the S9 SiP chip, new features such as double-tap gestures, and a new brighter display come to the Apple Watch. If you want to buy this watch from Apple, you should act quickly. Apple is involved in a legal battle with a medical technology company, which caused a temporary halt on Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 sales.

Also: Apple Watch Series 9 review: Don’t settle for the less expensive models this year. Here’s why

At the time of this writing, Apple resumed sales of both smartwatches, but more legal issues are on the horizon and another ban could occur. However, if Apple has to stop selling the watches again, you can still find them at other retailers like Amazon and Best Buy while supplies last.

  • S9 SiP chip
  • 45mm or 41mm aluminum or stainless steel case
  • Up to 2000 nits display brightness
  • 50-meter water resistance

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple’s flagship smartwatch gets an upgrade in the form of the new S9 SiP chip, more storage, and a brighter display.

  • S9 SiP chip
  • 49mm titanium case
  • Up to 3000 nits display brightness
  • 100-meter water resistance

Also: Apple Watch Ultra 2 vs. Ultra: Is it time to upgrade?

2nd-gen AirPods Pro (now with USB-C)

Airpods Pro 2 in hand.
Christina Darby/ZDNET

The AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) offer a major upgrade over the previous model, giving Apple’s premium buds a massive lead over the competition. Apple has now refreshed the charging case to use USB-C rather than Lightning — great if you have a new iPhone, but yet another cable or dongle to carry if not.

  • 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 the 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 includes a speaker.
  • The case features a lanyard loop.
  • USB-C charging.

Also: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) review: Two major upgrades, tamed by one familiar flaw

AirTag

Hand holding Airtag.
CNET

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. 

Also: How to find out if an AirTag is tracking you

Well-made, robust, and with a replaceable battery, these will make misplaced keys or lost wallet things of the past.

Apple

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