The Apple Gadgets You Should—And Shouldn’t—Buy Right Now
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The Apple Gadgets You Should—And Shouldn’t—Buy Right Now

It’s a bad time to buy a fancy iPhone, the AirPods Pro and really any Apple Watch. But it’s a good time for a MacBook Air.

By JOANNA STERN
Thu, Aug 18, 2022 10:08amGrey Clock 4 min

Anyone attempting to buy an iPhone right now should receive a mild but meaningful electric shock.

How else can I finally condition the world to remember my iPhone No-Buy Rule™? You know, the one that states that when school’s out for summer, everyone should stop phone shopping and wait for September’s Apple news.

And it’s not just the iPhone anymore. In recent years, the fall has been packed with Apple Watch, AirPod and iPad announcements as well. Plus, this year there’s even more reason to wait, as inflation hits every part of our budget. Price drops on older Apple gear—which come when the new stuff is announced—might be the real deals.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see more aggressive bundles and discounts on last year’s iPhone models from the carriers,” Carolina Milanesi, a technology analyst with Creative Strategies, told me.

So right now, put that extra cash toward pricey potatoes (up 13%!), put your dying phone on life support, and consult my annual Apple Do/Don’t Buy list to plan your future spending:

iPhone

No. Nope. Nein. Nyet. No iPhone buying right now.*

*Unless it’s the new iPhone SE, which was upgraded in March with 5G. It’s the last remaining iPhone with a home button.

Don’t expect big changes to the body design of the next iPhone, presumably called the iPhone 14. Do expect some significant screen updates, however.

Reports indicate that Apple has been working to shrink the notch, that little black camera/Face ID area at the top of the screen. The higher-end Pro phones are expected to have always-on displays, which show key information, such as time and date, but dim the rest to save battery. The Pros are also expected to get significantly improved 48-megapixel cameras.

One of the big questions: Will it be bye-bye, iPhone Mini? According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is expected to drop the little one and instead offer a big 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max—so a phone the size of an IKEA parking lot but without the Pro features.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on any and all future Apple products.

OK, you don’t care about the new stuff, so why not buy now? In the words of ABBA, “money, money, money.” Apple typically drops some prior-year models by around $100. Plus, carrier trade-in deals have gone bananas over the past few years, with some offering hundreds off if you have an older phone in good condition.

Not that $100 in savings means you need a new phone: My colleague Nicole Nguyen makes the case to skip the upgrade and tune up the phone you have.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch hasn’t been significantly updated since dinosaurs roamed the earth, looking for a place to charge their wrist computers. Sure, the display has gotten bigger and better and the processors faster, but there’s now talk of an Apple Watch Pro (from Mr. Gurman, again), which will have a new more durable design, a bigger screen and, finally, a multiday battery.

In addition to that, the company is expected to add a temperature sensor for the Series 8, and refresh its lower-end Watch SE. (Avoid the cheap Series 3—Apple cut it out of the next WatchOS upgrade.)

Wait for it all—if only to get a better feature-to-price ratio. Apple will likely tweak the lineup as it has in years past, bringing the newer watches to lower price points. And I’ll bet you all a bottle of lemon-lime Gatorade (absolutely not the gross blue Glacier Freeze) there will also be some new watch bands, which can make an old watch seem new again.

AirPods

Back in the Before Time, October 2019, Apple released the $249 AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation. The wireless earbuds are overdue for a significant update. They’re expected to have better sound quality and a more compact design—possibly losing their signature sticks entirely.

My colleagues have also reported that future AirPods would get temperature and heart-rate sensors. More likely this time around? An improved charging case with built-in speakers so I can locate them in the Upside Down that’s beneath my couch cushions.

Apple will likely discontinue the older AirPods Pro. People who don’t need noise cancellation could still choose between the two less expensive standard AirPod options.

iPads

We now come to the four-way iPad intersection.

The $929 iPad Air gets a green light. It was updated in March with Apple’s M1 processor, 5G capabilities and a 12-megapixel camera.

Green light on the iPad Mini. Last upgraded in 2021 with an all-screen design, faster processor and Apple Pencil support, it likely won’t get considerably better soon.

But there’s a big red light for the most affordable, $499 10.2-inch iPad. It’s likely getting a new design, refreshed processor and a USB-C charging port like its iPad siblings, plus a 5G option.

And another red light for the iPad Pro, which is reportedly getting the new M2 processor and wireless charging.

These iPad updates are expected in October alongside iPadOS 16, which includes an overhaul of the tablet’s multitasking controls.

MacBooks

You’re good to go on the all-new MacBook Air, starting at $1,899. Released in July, it’s a fabulous choice with a MagSafe charger, a bright 13.6-inch screen, thin design and M2 processor. If you’re looking to save, the M1 MacBook Air is still a solid choice at $1499—you just won’t get that sharp new look.

With the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, proceed with caution. Sure, the chance of Apple changing their design soon is as good as my spotting aliens at my local Target. But power-hungry visual professionals should know these M1 Pro and Max laptops could level up to M2 before the end of the year.

iMacs

Looking for a compact all-in-one desktop like the 24-inch iMac? Slow down. The machine was completely redesigned with an M1 processor in April 2021—it’s also due for the M2.

To you big-screen desktop lovers who keep asking where your 27-inch iMac is, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my 5-year-old when he asks why a cloud looks like an elephant holding an ice-cream cone: I truly don’t know.

Apple discontinued the 27-inch Intel-powered iMac in March. People who wanted a huge desktop setup could replace it with the new Mac Studio and Apple Studio Display, though at around double the cost. (Personally, I’m not a fan of the tudio Display—its webcam has improved since its launch, but you can buy similar monitors for less.) Now there’s chatter that Apple is working on a new large-screen iMac Pro, but no estimated time of arrival.

Apple TV

Look, if you want Netflix, Hulu, even Apple TV+ on your TV, a Roku stick or Amazon Fire stick are simpler, more affordable choices than the $149-and-up Apple TV. But some like Apple’s interface and integration with other Apple gadgets. If that’s you, wait. It’s been over a year since the Apple TV’s last update—a minor processor bump—and there are now reports that Apple is looking into releasing a more affordable version.

As I say every year, if you need something right this moment, try to repair what’s broken or find a deal on whatever you can. Don’t pay full price for stuff we know is already outdated. And don’t make me zap you iPhone buyers, because so help me, I will.

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RMIT expert says a conflation of factors is making the property market hard than ever to predict

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Oct 6, 2022 9:52am < 1 min

A leading property academic has described navigating the current Australian housing market ‘like steering a ship through a thick fog while trying to avoid obstacles’.

Lecturer in RMIT’s School of Property Construction and Project Management Dr Woon-Weng Wong said the combination of consecutive interest rate rises aimed at combating high inflation, higher property prices during the pandemic and cost of living pressures such as the end of the fuel excise that occurred this week made it increasingly difficult for those looking to enter or upgrade to find the right path.

“Property prices grew by approximately 25 percent over the pandemic so it’s unsurprising that much of that growth ultimately proved unsustainable and the market is now correcting itself,” Dr Wong says. “Despite the recent softening, the market is still significantly above its long-term trend and there are substantial headwinds in the coming months. Headline inflation is still red hot, and the central bank won’t back down until it reins in these spiralling prices.” 

This should be enough to give anyone considering entering the market pause, he says.

“While falling house prices may seem like an ideal situation for those looking to buy, once the high interest rates, taxes and other expenses are considered, the true costs of owning the property are much higher,” Dr Wong says. 

“People also must consider time lags in the rate hikes, which many are yet to feel to brunt of. It can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months before an initial change in interest rates eventually flows on to the rest of the economy, so current mortgage holders and prospective home buyers need to take this into account.” 

 

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