iPhone, iPad, and Mac buyer's guide: August 2019 edition

Here's a tour of what's fresh and what's not so fresh in the Apple Store.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Let's take a tour around an Apple Store and look at what you should and shouldn't buy this month.

Must read: iPhone 11: Specs, pricing, rumors, release date, more

Avoid: iPhone XS, XS Max, XR

Why you should avoid: Bottom line, we're a few weeks away from new hardware landing, so if you've held out this far, you might as well wait and see what falls in the fall. 

Hardware last updated: September and October 2018.

Avoid: MacBook

Why you should avoid: Once the pinnacle of Apple's thin-and-light engineering, the MacBook now feels neglected, with the last update being almost two years ago. It's a great laptop, but the aging processor makes it a poor buy compared to the MacBook Air. 

Hardware last updated: June 2017.

Avoid: iPad

Why you should avoid: The current iPad was updated a year ago, and the line didn't see a refresh along with the iPad Air and iPad mini, which means that it might be a good idea to either pick up one of the updated models, or wait for a hardware refresh to come. After all, a year is a long time in technology. 

Hardware last updated: March 2018.

Avoid: HomePod

Why you should avoid: The current HomePod is a first-generation device that was released over a year ago to offer a challenge to devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home speaker. But a year old in the tech industry is a long time, and so it might be worthwhile holding out on buying one until we get a clearer idea of whether Apple is planning a refresh. 

Hardware last updated: February 2018.

Avoid: Mac Pro

Why you should avoid: Old, outdated, and Apple has already teased us with a replacement due in 2019.

Once the apex of Apple's computer line, the Mac Pro is now a dinosaur.

Now that Apple has unveiled the new Mac Pro, and slated it for release later this year, the old Mac Pro should be off everyone's list (unless you absolutely rely on it and you have to replace one that's been taken out of action).

Hardware last updated: Price cut April 2017, but the Mac Pro has been unchanged since December 2013.

Avoid: Apple Lightning cable

Why you should avoid: Buy something cheaper that will last you longer!

I would never buy another Lightning cable from Apple, as there are far better alternatives on offer from companies such as Anker, Amazon, Nomad, and Paracable.

But what about USB-C-to-Lightning I hear you ask? Well, for the first time you have an option outside of Apple now that Anker has released its own Powerline II USB-C-to-Lightning cable, which is fully compliant with Apple's Made For iPhone (MFi) standard.

Status: Too expensive!

Avoid: Apple TV 4K

Guidance: Probably not going to see a refresh this year, so it's worth it if you feel like paying top dollar for last year's tech.

Apple's 5th-generation Apple TV 4K, built around the A10X Fusion processor and coming with a choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage, was last updated over a year ago. It's still a great device, but the starting price of $179 feels hefty for something over a year old.

Don't be confused between this and the 4th-generation Apple TV (without the 4K branding) which is also still for sale. This was first released October 2015.

Hardware last updated: The 5th-generation Apple TV 4K was launched September 2017.

Buy: iMac

Why you should buy: A refresh in March 2019 saw new Intel processors, and faster RAM and graphics.

Hardware last updated: March 2019.

Buy: MacBook Pro

Why you should buy: Apple refresh the MacBook Pro line in May 2019 (and later in July the entry-level units saw a similar upgrade, also adding the Touch Bar), adding new Intel processors to the lineup, as well as introducing a newly updated keyboard mechanism (in an attempt to fix the issues that have been plaguing the butterfly mechanism).

Hardware last updated: May/July 2019.

Buy: MacBook Air

Why you should buy: A refresh in July 2019 saw the addition of a True Tone display, updated butterfly keyboard, and a price cut.

Hardware last updated: July 2019.

Buy: AirPods

Why you should buy: A refresh in March 2019 saw the addition of a new chip, the H1, "Hey Siri" support, and the option for wireless charging.

Hardware last updated: March 2019.

Buy: iPad Air

Why you should buy: A refresh in March 2019 saw a new 10.5-inch iPad Air being unveiled, powered by a A12 Bionic processor, and featuring a Touch ID Home button, Apple Pencil support, and Smart Keyboard compatibility.

Hardware last updated: March 2019.

Buy: iPad mini

Why you should buy: A refresh in March 2019 saw the release of a new iPad mini. Powered by a A12 Bionic processor, and featuring an improved display, Touch ID Home button, and Apple Pencil support.

Hardware last updated: March 2019.

Buy: iPod touch

Why you should buy: After allowing it to languish for a couple of years, Apple refreshed the iPod touch, upgrading the silicon to the A10 Fusion chip (sure, it's old but it's up to the job), and bumping storage capacities up to 256GB..

Hardware last updated: May 2019.

Be aware: Mac Mini

It's worth bearing in mind that the Mac Mini is now rolling around close to the one-year mark, and it might be worthwhile holding out to see if Apple updates the hardware soon (although I wouldn't hold my breath).

Hardware last updated: October 2018.

Be aware: iMac Pro

18 months is a long time in tech, and a Windows-based PC that was this old would not be worth paying a premium price for. However, this is an Apple computer, and things are different there.

However, the iMac Pro is a premium system and 18 months is quite a long time, so be aware if you are dropping a few thousand dollars on a system like this that you are not getting the newest, freshest components possible.

Hardware last updated: December 2017.

Be aware: Apple Watch Series 4

Apple tends to update the Apple Watch every 18 months or so, so it's well worth being aware of the fact that the current iteration is rolling around to the year mark. If you are upgrading then you might be better off waiting for an updated model to land.

Hardware last updated: September 2018.

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