With an unprecedented number of people now working from home, there’s a temptation to buy new equipment with the idea of being more productive and efficient. And if you’re an Apple user, the temptation might be there to fire up the Apple Store app and spend time (and money) filling your cart with new, shiny things.
But before you do that, it might be a good idea to know when the items were last updated, so you’re not spending money on something that is either outrageously outdated, or is going to be refreshed anytime soon.
Let’s go on a virtual tour of an Apple Store and highlight the things that are getting long in the tooth, so you can make an informed decision before buying.
Hardware last updated: March 2020
Why you should avoid: There’s a lot to love about the Mac mini. It’s small, yet powerful, and a great system for those replacing a PC and who don’t need a keyboard and display.
While Apple did give the Mac Mini a little bit of a refresh in March 2020, doubling the amount of storage on the two offerings (amounting to a $200 value), the underlying hardware is unchanged from October 2018, which means Apple is asking a lot of money for old hardware.
Hardware last updated: December 2017
Why you should avoid: An absolute powerhouse of a system when first released, with an equally amazing price tag. But even for a workstation system, the iMac Pro is now starting to show its age, and with a starting price of $4,999, it’s hard to justify spending that sort of money on something that is now over two years old.
Hardware last updated: March 2019
Why you should avoid: Not old by Apple standards, but there are rumors making the rounds that Apple plans to release an update for the iMac line soon. So best to hold onto your money, folks.
Hardware last updated: March 2019
Why to avoid: Happy birthday iPad mini, now a year old. Still a good product, but at last year’s prices, and with an update likely to come soon, probably not the wisest way to spend your money.
Hardware last updated: February 2018
Why you should avoid: The current HomePod is a first-generation device that was released over two years ago as a response to devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home speaker. Rumors suggest that a HomePod 2 will make an appearance this spring, so if you’ve held out on buying one so far, you might as well hold onto your money for a little longer.
Apple TV fifth-gen
Hardware last updated: September 2017
Why you should avoid: Apple’s 5th-generation Apple TV, built around the A10X Fusion processor and coming with a choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage, was last released two and a half years ago and while it’s still perfectly functional, $179 is a lot of money to pay for something as old.
Don’t be confused between this and the 4th-generation Apple TV HD, which is also on sale. This is a real fossil and was first released in October 2015.
13-inch MacBook Pro
Hardware last updated: The 13-inch MacBook Pro updated in May and July 2019
Why you should avoid: While Apple has released the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, with a number of improvements, including yet another redesigned keyboard, the 13-inch model didn’t get a similar revamp.
This means that the 13-inch MacBook Pro models, updated May/July 2019, are unchanged. This is particularly worth bearing in mind if you dislike the current keyboard (or you’ve been burned by the unreliability of Apple’s butterfly keyboard design).
Some other things I suggest you avoid buying from Apple:
- Cables — Apple cables are overpriced and not that hard-wearing. I recommend looking at what companies like Amazon or Anker have to offer.
- Third-party accessories — Things like cases and other stuff. Shop around, because you can invariably find better deals on these.