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It’s been a busy year for Apple, with the company updating pretty much everything, from the iPhone, the AirPods Pro, the Apple Watch, and the iPad and iPad Pro.

So much new stuff to get excited over, all ready to empty your wallet over the holiday period.

That said, there are still Apple products that you should avoid, either because they’re in line for a refresh, or they’re just not going to get updated because Apple is phasing them out.

Remember, 2023 is on the horizon, and a whole new cycle of updates await us.

Shopping tip: Don’t leave buying Apple stuff until the last minute. There’s already chatter about shortages of the iPhone 14 Pro, and I doubt that things are going to get better over the coming weeks.

Also: Apple’s worst product has now become one of its best

The “Naughty” list:

  • iPad Mini: Well over a year old, it’s hard justifying the starting price of $500 here, unless you really want the smaller form factor for something specific (such as drone flying or using as a video monitor).
  • 24-inch iMac: 18 months is a long time in tech, and the M1 chips have been horned aside by the M2, so this is a lot fo money to pay for a Mac that could be refreshed in early 2023.
  • Mac Mini: The first of the M1 Macs, and I’d expect it to be in line for an M2 upgrade in early 2023. I’d avoid it until then.
  • 14- and 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro: Now that M2 chips have landed, it’s a safe bet that these laptops are now on borrowed time, and will likely see a refresh early in 2023.
  • Mac Pro: With the transition to Apple Silicon underway, this huge monetary investment just doesn’t make sense at this point in time. Avoid this big time unless you really have to replace a downed machine.

Also: The 2022 M2 Apple iPad Pro is my (drone) copilot

The “Nice” list:

2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip

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Apple

Apple’s latest M2-powered MacBook Air is a powerhouse of a laptop, offering a huge performance boost over the older Intel-powered MacBook Air, such as 15 times faster video editing — (yes, video editing on a MacBook Air!) — and all-day 18-hours of battery life.

Review: Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022): Sleeker, faster – and pricier

  • The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display features over 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide color, and support for 1 billion colors
  • Next-generation M2 8-core CPU with 8-core GPU and 8GB of unified memory
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array, and four-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
  • MacBook Air features a MagSafe charging port, two Thunderbolt ports, and a headphone jack
  • Weighs just 2.7 pounds

2nd-gen AirPods Pro

Airpods Pro 2 in hand.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Apple’s best AirPods just got a lot better! The second-generation AirPods Pro are a massive upgrade over the previous model, and give the 2nd-gen AirPods Pro a massive lead over the competition.

  • Active Noise Cancellation reduces unwanted background noise.
  • Adaptive Transparency lets outside sounds in while reducing loud environmental noise.
  • Personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking places sound all around you.
  • Multiple ear tips (XS, S, M, L).
  • Touch control lets you swipe to adjust volume, press to direct media playback, answer or end calls, and press and hold to switch between listening modes.
  • Sweat and water resistant for AirPods Pro and charging case.
  • MagSafe Charging Case with speaker.
  • Case features lanyard loop.

Also: Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen: 6 tips and tricks | See our review 

Apple Watch Ultra 

Apple Watch Ultra on wrist

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This is the Apple Watch that I’ve always wanted. Bigger, brighter display, better waterproofing, more space on the display for complications, and cool new features for explorers.

Also: Why the Apple Watch Ultra is my favorite Apple product in years

  • Rugged and capable, built to meet the demands of endurance athletes, outdoor adventurers, and water sports enthusiasts — with a specialized band for each. 
  • Up to 36 hours of battery life, plus all the Apple Watch features that help you stay healthy, safe, and connected.
  • 49mm corrosion-resistant titanium case. Larger Digital Crown and more accessible buttons. 
  • 100m water resistance. Customizable Action button for instant physical control over a variety of functions.
  • A bright Always-On Retina display that’s easy to see, even in direct sunlight. 
  • Precision dual-frequency GPS for accuracy, distance, route, and pace calculations. 
  • Advanced health sensors give you deep insights into your health. Fall Detection and Crash Detection can automatically connect you with emergency services in the event of a hard fall or a severe car crash. Hold the Action button to activate a siren that can be heard up to 600 feet away.

Note that the orange strap does get dirty real quick… mine looks very worn already. You should also take a look at Nomad’s band options for the Apple Watch Ultra

Review: I put the Apple Watch Ultra though a Tough Mudder

AirTag

Hand holding Airtag.

CNET

Blowing away the competition, Apple’s AirTags are the perfect gift for someone who constantly loses things. You can add them to your luggage, your bike, your remote, or even your moving boxes — the possibilities are endless. 

Also: How to hide an Apple AirTag on your bike (and why you should)

Well made, robust, and with a replaceable battery, these will make lost keys or wallets a thing of the past.

Also: This helps you find your AirTag in the dark

Mac Studio 

A young woman uses a Mac Studio desktop to edit a video.

Image: Apple

So much power in a small box. In fact, this is a workstation in a form factor not much bigger than a Mac Mini. 

You can choose between the M1 Max and M1 Ultra (unless you are handling extremely high workloads demanding massive GPU capacity, you should be fine with the M1 Max offerings), and can spend anything from $2,000 to $4,000 on this hardware.

Also: The 6 best Macs

Paired with the Studio Display, this is a total beast of a system.

Bear in mind that while this is a powerhouse, the M1 chips are on borrowed time as we move into the era of the M2.

iPhone SE 

iPhone SE 3rd generation

CNET

A budget iPhone with a whole raft of great features:

  • 4.7-inch Retina display screen.
  • 5G.
  • Fast A15 Bionic processor.
  • Great camera.
  • Touch ID biometrics.

For this price, this is a fantastic bang for the buck iPhone!

Review: Apple iPhone SE (2022)



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