The Apple Gadgets You Should—and Shouldn’t—Buy Right Now
The annual Do/Don’t Buy list is here.
The annual Do/Don’t Buy list is here.
Regular readers should have the iPhone No-Buy Rule™ committed to memory. Once June begins, it’s time to stop phone shopping and wait until September for the release of Apple’s new iPhones.
Last year, I expanded that guidance to other Apple products, and I’m glad I did. Things are even more nuanced this year.
First, we’re right on the heels of an Apple April bonanza, where the company launched new editions of products ranging from the iMac to the remote on the Apple TV. Second, earlier this week Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference with details about iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey and WatchOS 8 coming this spring. The company didn’t announce any hardware, but the software news certainly gave hints of what’s to come.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on any and all future Apple products.
So right now you might want to spend any extra cash on a superyacht or a fully loaded hotdog at the ball game, or just save it for the spring. No matter what, consult my Apple-product Do/Don’t Buy list first.
The answer is no. No, not even that new purple one. No iPhone buying right now.
I don’t expect a radically new iPhone this fall, something that triggers what the industry calls a buying super cycle. Last year Apple completely overhauled the iPhone design and added 5G. That means this year we’ll likely see a few key updates while Apple keeps the same overall design.Reports point to a screen with a higher refresh rate and better cameras. Maybe even bigger batteries. (A while back, I suggested looking at the latest Samsung phone for some signs of what’s in store.)
If you don’t care about the cutting edge, why can’t you just buy an older model now? Money, that’s why. Historically, Apple drops the price on popular models as they age out. Last October, the iPhone 11 dropped from US$699 to US$599 and the XR dropped from US$599 to US$499. Sometimes the price drop is even bigger.
Plus, iOS 15, due in about three months, will come free to all iPhones that currently run iOS (iPhone 6S and later). The new FaceTime, notification, messaging and weather features might be enough to make your current iPhone feel fresh and new.
It’s been 1,000 years—in Apple years (which are like dog years, only shorter)—since the entry-level white ear sticks have been updated. That seems to be set to change this spring. The next earbuds are expected to have shorter stems, a new case and improved fitness-tracking features, according to a Bloomberg report.
Plus, Apple said that iOS 15 will make the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max easier to find if they are lost. Like AirTags, they will work with Apple’s Find My network and have better alarms to help locate them if they are lost nearby. Noticeably absent were the regular AirPods—more evidence that they are outdated.
What about the AirPods Pro released in late 2019? Those fall into the proceed-with-caution zone. That same Bloomberg report says a new version is in the works but might not arrive until 2022.
If you’re looking for bigger noise-cancelling headphones, you’re fine with the AirPods Max. Those were released last December and aren’t likely to be refreshed soon. But do you really want to spend $899? I’d recommend $300 Sonys instead.
Apple Watches don’t get redesigns very often: In fact, it’s only been redesigned once in a big way since its launch, and that was with the Series 4 in 2018. We’re due for one in the next year or two, and noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that it’s in the works for this year.
Various reports say the next watch could have some new health-tracking features, including glucose monitoring.
Either way, I’d wait until the spring, if only for the price drops. Last year, Apple confused things by introducing two models, the $599 Series 6 and the $429 SE, while dropping the Series 3 price to $299. I even preferred the SE to the 6: most of the features, $170 less. Apple will likely tweak the lineup again, bringing the newer watches to lower price points.
You’re good to go on the iPads—the regular-size ones, anyway. In April, the iPad Pro got a new screen, M1 processor and some new webcam tricks. The iPad Air was significantly improved last October with a new design, including a fingerprint scanner in the edge.
All of those models and more will also get iPadOS 15 in the spring. I’m excited for the new multitasking controls, which no longer require some sort of “Parent Trap”-like secret handshake to place two apps side by side. The new home-screen layout and Quick Notes look cool, too.
One iPad that you should absolutely not buy? The Mini. Last upgraded—minimally—in 2019, it’s overdue for a real rejuvenation.
OK, pay close attention, Mac buyers. Lots of nuance ahead.
If you want a beautiful and fast iMac, the new 24-inch iMac, powered by Apple’s M1 chip, gets the green light. I just reviewed it and have loved working on it for the past month.
If you want a replacement to the current 27-inch iMac—something with a bigger screen and more power—hold off. Bloomberg and others report that Apple is working on a chip that’s even faster than Apple’s current M1, and that it will be in this new machine, possibly with an even larger display.
That brings us to the laptops. Apple kept the design of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air but swapped Intel chips for its own M1 chips last November—making them virtually the best laptops out there. They’re fast, but run cool and quiet.
Yet they’re expected to get even better this spring—at least the MacBook Pro is. Reports from Bloomberg, Taiwan’s DigiTimes and Mr. Kuo say that Apple is readying Pro laptops with 14- and 16-inch screens, powered by that faster chip. The update sounds big: new designs plus the return of MagSafe charging and other ports, including my favourite, an SD card slot. Also, you can probably say goodbye to the mostly pointless Touch Bar.
If you really need a laptop for back-to-school season, I’d opt for the cheapest Air.
If you need a new streaming box and aren’t tempted by a more affordable Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire stick, Apple just refreshed the $249 Apple TV 4K with a faster processor and new Siri remote.
If your Apple TV is fine, however, and you just want to stop the pain and suffering caused by the old remote, the new one, sold separately for $79, is the must-have upgrade of the year. It’s bigger (so it no longer lives in the couch cushions) and it has a touch-enabled click pad at the top (so you can tell which end is up).
Speaking of media devices, Apple’s $149 HomePod Mini is also safe right now.
As I say every year, if your current gadgets are on their last legs, look to repair what’s broken, or find a deal wherever you can. Don’t pay full price! And just know that in the years to come, like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day,” I’ll be back saying the same thing, over and over and over again.
Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: June 9, 2021
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.
Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.
“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.
“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.
While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.
“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.
While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.
Anti Ageing and Beyond
“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.
On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.
Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.
Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.
Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.
Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.
“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”
Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.
Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.
Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.
Sanctuaries for Longevity
Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.
Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.
The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.
“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.
Resetting the Mind and Body
Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.
Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.
“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.
Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.
While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”
“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”
This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’