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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Is ‘Rizz’ the Secret to Getting Ahead at Work?

Whether you call it charisma, charm or magnetism, some people seem like naturals. Good news: It can be learned.

By Rachel Feintzeig
Mon, Jul 22, 2024 4 min

Great leaders have it. Gen Z has a new word for it. Can the rest of us learn it?

Charisma—or rizz , as current teenage slang has anointed it—can feel like an ephemeral gift some are just born with. The chosen among us network and chitchat, exuding warmth as they effortlessly hold court. Then there’s everyone else, agonising over exclamation points in email drafts and internally replaying that joke they made in the meeting, wondering if it hit.

“Well, this is awkward,” Mike Rizzo, the head of a community for marketing operations professionals, says of rizz being crowned 2023 word of the year by the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s so close to his last name, but so far from how he sees himself. He sometimes gets sweaty palms before hosting webinars.

Who could blame us for obsessing over charisma, or lack thereof? It can lubricate social interactions, win us friends, and score promotions . It’s also possible to cultivate, assures Charles Duhigg, the author of a book about people he dubs super communicators.

At its heart, charisma isn’t about some grand performance. It’s a state we elicit in other people, Duhigg says. It’s about fostering connection and making our conversation partners feel they’re the charming—or interesting or funny—ones.

The key is to ask deeper, though not prying, questions that invite meaningful and revealing responses, Duhigg says. And match the other person’s vibes. Maybe they want to talk about emotions, the joy they felt watching their kid graduate from high school last weekend. Or maybe they’re just after straight-up logistics and want you to quickly tell them exactly how the team is going to turn around that presentation by tomorrow.

You might be hired into a company for your skill set, Duhigg says, but your ability to communicate and earn people’s trust propels you up the ladder: “That is leadership.”

Approachable and relatable

In reporting this column, I was surprised to hear many executives and professionals I find breezily confident and pleasantly chatty confess it wasn’t something that came naturally. They had to work on it.

Dave MacLennan , who served as chief executive of agricultural giant Cargill for nearly a decade, started by leaning into a nickname: DMac, first bestowed upon him in a C-suite meeting where half the executives were named Dave.

He liked the informality of it. The further he ascended up the corporate hierarchy, the more he strove to be approachable and relatable.

Employees “need a reason to follow you,” he says. “One of the reasons they’re going to follow you is that they feel they know you.”

He makes a point to remember the details and dates of people’s lives, such as colleagues’ birthdays. After making his acquaintance, in a meeting years ago at The Wall Street Journal’s offices, I was shocked to receive an email from his address months later. Subject line: You , a heading so compelling I still recall it. He went on to say he remembered I was due with my first child any day now and just wanted to say good luck.

“So many people say, ‘Oh, I don’t have a good memory for that,’” he says. Prioritise remembering, making notes on your phone if you need, he says.

Now a board member and an executive coach, MacLennan sent hundreds of handwritten notes during his tenure. He’d reach out to midlevel managers who’d just gotten a promotion, or engineers who showed him around meat-processing plants. He’d pen words of thanks or congratulations. And he’d address the envelopes himself.

“Your handwriting is a very personal thing about you,” he says. “Think about it. Twenty seconds. It makes such an impact.”

Everyone’s important

Doling out your charm selectively will backfire, says Carla Harris , a Morgan Stanley executive. She chats up the woman cleaning the office, the receptionist at her doctor’s, the guy waiting alongside her for the elevator.

“Don’t be confused,” she tells young bankers. Executive assistants are often the most powerful people in the building, and you never know how someone can help—or hurt—you down the line.

Harris once spent a year mentoring a junior worker in another department, not expecting anything in return. One day, Harris randomly mentioned she faced an uphill battle in meeting with a new client. Oh!, the 24-year-old said. Turns out, the client was her friend. She made the call right there, setting up Harris for a work win.

In the office, stop staring at your phone, Harris advises, and notice the people around you. Ask for their names. Push yourself to start a conversation with three random people every day.

Charisma for introverts

You can’t will yourself to be a bubbly extrovert, but you can find your own brand of charisma, says Vanessa Van Edwards, a communications trainer and author of a book about charismatic communication.

For introverted clients, she recommends using nonverbal cues. A slow triple nod shows people you’re listening. Placing your hands in the steeple position, together and facing up, denotes that you’re calm and present.

Try coming up with one question you’re known for. Not a canned, hokey ice-breaker, but something casual and simple that reflects your actual interests. One of her clients, a bookish executive struggling with uncomfortable, halting starts to his meetings, began kicking things off by asking “Reading anything good?”

Embracing your stumbles

Charisma starts with confidence. It’s not that captivating people don’t occasionally mispronounce a word or spill their coffee, says Henna Pryor, who wrote a book about embracing awkwardness at work. They just have a faster comeback rate than the rest of us. They call out the stumble instead of trying to hide it, make a small joke, and move on.

Being perfectly polished all the time is not only exhausting, it’s impossible. We know this, which is why appearing flawless can come off as fake. We like people who seem human, Pryor says.

Our most admired colleagues are often the ones who are good at their jobs and can laugh at themselves too, who occasionally trip or flub just like us.

“It creates this little moment of warmth,” she says, “that we actually find almost like a relief.”

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