The Apple Gadgets You Should—and Shouldn’t—Buy Right Now
Kanebridge News
Share Button

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

The annual Do/Don’t Buy list is here.

By Joanna Stern
Thu, Jun 10, 2021 2:10pmGrey Clock 5 min

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 Watch

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.

MacBook Air and Pro

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.

Apple TV

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’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

Related Stories
Italy, Land of Uncollected Garbage, Combines Running With Trash Pickup
By ERIC SYLVERS 04/10/2023
Jean Arnault Has New Goals for Louis Vuitton Watches. Profit Isn’t One of Them.
By NICK KOSTOV 03/10/2023
Love Patterns? Try This Design Trick to Pull Any Room Together
By KATE MORGAN 02/10/2023
Italy, Land of Uncollected Garbage, Combines Running With Trash Pickup

At the World Plogging Championship, contestants have lugged in tires, TVs and at least one Neapolitan coffee maker

Wed, Oct 4, 2023 4 min

GENOA, Italy—Renato Zanelli crossed the finish line with a rusty iron hanging from his neck while pulling 140 pounds of trash on an improvised sled fashioned from a slab of plastic waste.

Zanelli, a retired IT specialist, flashed a tired smile, but he suspected his garbage haul wouldn’t be enough to defend his title as world champion of plogging—a sport that combines running with trash collecting.

A rival had just finished the race with a chair around his neck and dragging three tires, a television and four sacks of trash. Another crossed the line with muscles bulging, towing a large refrigerator. But the strongest challenger was Manuel Jesus Ortega Garcia, a Spanish plumber who arrived at the finish pulling a fridge, a dishwasher, a propane gas tank, a fire extinguisher and a host of other odds and ends.

“The competition is intense this year,” said Zanelli. Now 71, he used his fitness and knack for finding trash to compete against athletes half his age. “I’m here to help the environment, but I also want to win.”

Italy, a land of beauty, is also a land of uncollected trash. The country struggles with chronic littering, inefficient garbage collection in many cities, and illegal dumping in the countryside of everything from washing machines to construction waste. Rome has become an emblem of Italy’s inability to fix its trash problem.

So it was fitting that at the recent World Plogging Championship more than 70 athletes from 16 countries tested their talents in this northern Italian city. During the six hours of the race, contestants collect points by racking up miles and vertical distance, and by carrying as much trash across the finish line as they can. Trash gets scored based on its weight and environmental impact. Batteries and electronic equipment earn the most points.

A mobile app ensures runners stay within the race’s permitted area, approximately 12 square miles. Athletes have to pass through checkpoints in the rugged, hilly park. They are issued gloves and four plastic bags to fill with garbage, and are also allowed to carry up to three bulky finds, such as tires or TVs.

Genoa, a gritty industrial port city in the country’s mountainous northwest, has a trash problem that gets worse the further one gets away from its relatively clean historic core. The park that hosted the plogging championship has long been plagued by garbage big and small.

“It’s ironic to have the World Plogging Championship in a country that’s not always as clean as it could be. But maybe it will help bring awareness and things will improve,” said Francesco Carcioffo, chief executive of Acea Pinerolese Industriale, an energy and recycling company that’s been involved in sponsoring and organizing the race since its first edition in 2021. All three world championships so far have been held in Italy.

Events that combine running and trash-collecting go back to at least 2010. The sport gained traction about seven years ago when a Swede, Erik Ahlström, coined the name plogging, a mashup of plocka upp, Swedish for “pick up,” and jogging.

“If you don’t have a catchy name you might as well not exist,” said Roberto Cavallo, an Italian environmental consultant and longtime plogger, who is on the world championship organizing committee together with Ahlström.

Saturday’s event brought together a mix of wiry trail runners and environmental activists, some of whom looked less like elite athletes.

“We like plogging because it makes us feel a little less guilty about the way things are going with the environment,” said Elena Canuto, 29, as she warmed up before the start. She came in first in the women’s ranking two years ago. “This year I’m taking it a bit easier because I’m three months pregnant.”

Around two-thirds of the contestants were Italians. The rest came from other European countries, as well as Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Algeria, Ghana and Senegal.

“I hope to win so people in Senegal get enthusiastic about plogging,” said Issa Ba, a 30-year-old Senegalese-born factory worker who has lived in Italy for eight years.

“Three, two, one, go,” Cavallo shouted over a loudspeaker, and the athletes sprinted off in different directions. Some stopped 20 yards from the starting line to collect their first trash. Others took off to be the first to exploit richer pickings on wooded hilltops, where batteries and home appliances lay waiting.

As the hours went by, the athletes crisscrossed trails and roads, their bags became heavier. They tagged their bulky items and left them at roadsides for later collection. Contestants gathered at refreshment points, discussing what they had found as they fueled up on cookies and juice. Some contestants had brought their own reusable cups.

With 30 minutes left in the race, athletes were gathering so much trash that the organisers decided to tweak the rules: in addition to their four plastic bags, contestants could carry six bulky objects over the finish line rather than three.

“I know it’s like changing the rules halfway through a game of Monopoly, but I know I can rely on your comprehension,” Cavallo announced over the PA as the athletes braced for their final push to the finish line.

The rule change meant some contestants could almost double the weight of their trash, but others smelled a rat.

“That’s fantastic that people found so much stuff, but it’s not really fair to change the rules at the last minute,” said Paul Waye, a Dutch plogging evangelist who had passed up on some bulky trash because of the three-item rule.

Senegal will have to wait at least a year to have a plogging champion. Two hours after the end of Saturday’s race, Ba still hadn’t arrived at the finish line.

“My phone ran out of battery and I got lost,” Ba said later at the awards ceremony. “I’ll be back next year, but with a better phone.”

The race went better for Canuto. She used an abandoned shopping cart to wheel in her loot. It included a baby stroller, which the mother-to-be took as a good omen. Her total haul weighed a relatively modest 100 pounds, but was heavy on electronic equipment, which was enough for her to score her second triumph.

“I don’t know if I’ll be back next year to defend my title. The baby will be six or seven months old,” she said.

In the men’s ranking, Ortega, the Spanish plumber, brought in 310 pounds of waste, racked up more than 16 miles and climbed 7,300 feet to run away with the title.

Zanelli, the defending champion, didn’t make it onto the podium. He said he would take solace from the nearly new Neapolitan coffee maker he found during the first championship two years ago. “I’ll always have my victory and the coffee maker, which I polished and now display in my home,” he said.

Contestants collected more than 6,600 pounds of trash. The haul included fridges, bikes, dozens of tires, baby seats, mattresses, lead pipes, stoves, chairs, TVs, 1980s-era boomboxes with cassettes still inside, motorcycle helmets, electric fans, traffic cones, air rifles, a toilet and a soccer goal.

“This park hasn’t been this clean since the 15 century,” said Genoa’s ambassador for sport, Roberto Giordano.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

Related Stories
The Sustainable Living issue
By Kanebridge News Staff 21/09/2023
The Big Family Fight Is Over How to Work. ‘They Think I’m Insane.’
By LINDSAY ELLIS 23/09/2023
More loss, less profit for short term property holders
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop