Chicago (IL) – Common sense suggests that there is never the right time to buy technology, since it will be old tomorrow, and there’s always the right time to buy technology – if you buy it when you need it. But, of course, buying Apple products is different from buying any other technology. The next Apple event approaching quickly and over the years we have learned which products could see updates soon. With this thought in mind, there are some Apples you should stay away right now and wait a few more weeks.
Yes, I know that we may get chastised over recommending not to purchase certain Apple products at this time and we understand that there is a lot of speculation in this article. But clearly, looking at Apple’s product history suggests that a few products are up for a refresh and if you are actually working for your dollars, it would be almost foolish to drop a few hundred bucks on a new product, if you can have a much better one for the same price in a few weeks.
In general, Apple has a fairly consistent pricing model. If you look closely, you may find that every Apple product has a very specific set of features that come at certain price. We know that the pricing of a product will remain the same throughout its lifespan (yes, there were some painful exceptions), while features and specs are upgraded every six, nine or twelve months, depending on the product category. This rough cycle enables you to somewhat plan Apple purchases.
So, based on what we know, which Apple products should you avoid today? By the way, we found an excellent Buyer’s Guide over at MacRumors, which provides updated buying recommendations throughout the year, should you be looking for some advice. Not surprisingly, our recommendations match most MacRumors recommendations, which are also based on the lifespan of products. Here is some food for thought:
– iPod nano. The two iPod models approach the end of cycle, so you should think twice before buying one today. Products were updated a little over six months ago so they could be up for refresh at WWDC in June. However, it’s entirely possible that all iPods will be refreshed in a separate Apple event timed for the back-to-school season. There are a couple of other reasons that suggest that new nanos are on the way. First, the memory industry always has complained that Apple isn’t upgrading their flash memory iPods fast enough. The nano is still stuck at 8 GB and should have been converted to 16 GB in January, in our opinion. But now that that the iPod touch is at 32 GB and a 64 GB model could be on the way, the nano seems to be ripe for a 16 GB model announcement. Plus, don’t forget that the memory industry is in the dumpster, which could land Apple great deals on flash. Apple is also on a quest to increase average selling prices (ASPs) of its iPod family. ASPs are currently at about $180 and a higher priced ($199?) 16 GB model would fit this strategy very well.
There are some who believe that the iPod Classic may see an upgrade to 200 GB. It seems a bit unlikely to us, as there haven’t been any 1.8” drive upgrades (with the exception of new low-power drives) and with the iPod touch arriving in the 64 GB neighborhood soon, who really needs a 160 GB Classic?
– Mac mini. The small form factor Mac is overdue for a refresh, so hold off buying this system. The product saw its last upgrade more than eight months ago and should have been refreshed already. WWDC in June seems like an obvious date. AppleInsider thinks mini will get a 45 nm Core 2 Duo starting at 2.1 GHz with 3MB of shared L2 cache, an 800MHz front-side bus (up from 667MHz) and Intel GMA X3100 graphics chip that is used in 13” MacBooks. Mac mini was even subject of speculations suggesting Apple might phase it out entirely, but no substantial evidence has been provided to back up this claim.
We don’t want to start any rumors here and we don’t have any specific information, but has anyone ever thought about Apple using Intel’s Atom (Diamondville) CPU in this device? It would allow the Mac mini to get even smaller, use less power, create less heat and still be powerful enough to run basic applications. Just a thought, but we surely hope Apple is looking at this one, as a dual-core Diamondville is shaping up as a terrific CPU for SFF PCs.
– iMac. Is it just us or is no one talking about iMacs these days? Apple’s phenomenally successful consumer/pro all-in-one aluminum desktop was refreshed more than eight months ago. While notebooks are growing much faster than desktops and Apple is cashing in on this trend, there is no doubt that a new iMac is coming soon. MacScoop believes the iMac will get a 45 nm Penryn chip, GMA X3100 graphics chipset and a slightly slimmer enclosure. Sounds reasonable to us. Rumors depict a “completely new form factor” and a Multi-Touch user interface.
– Cinema displays. Could we be seeing new Cinema displays soon? Yes. The company currently offers 20”, 23” and 30” models, all at somewhat lofty price tags and missing features that don’t fit into today’s world anymore. The 30” model was updated in March 2006, while the 20” and 23” versions were last changed in August 2006. Besides the fact that a 26” or a 28” model is missing, we would expect one specific feature to appear very soon: LoopRumors claims Apple has been developing a new hybrid display that will combine physical and touch input. So stay with your current display and wait for a refresh – even if it is just a price drop.
– iPhone. We haven’t talked about the iPhone nearly enough. But just in case you haven’t heard yet: All checks indicate a 3G iPhone model for a June introduction. This one is a no-brainer. It is unknown if Apple will replace current generation iPhone with a new model or keep the current gen on the market at reduced price. TG Daily discovered that the 3G model will arrive within a $399 – $599 price range, depending on the amount of memory. There is some speculation whether the iPod touch will get an upgrade in June as well. However, you can be certain that as soon as there is a 32 GB iPhone, there will be a 64 GB iPod touch.
In our opinion, it would be a clever not to purchase these products for now and wait for the next upgrade cycle. Of course, even the best guess can’t safeguard you against unexpected price drops – such as the $200 correction on the original iPhone last year. Such surprising price drops are, however, are rare.