Welcome to our regular roundup of all the Apple news you missed this week, in a handy bite-sized summary. We call it Apple Breakfast because we love it with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but it’s also cool if you want to read it over lunch or dinner.
When cheap prices have costs
Some say you get what you pay for. The late Sir Terry Pratchett claimed it is very expensive to be poor. But most of our finest minds agree that buying cheap has a chance to come back and bite you.
Apple products can hardly be described as cheap, but all things are relative, and the company has long recognized the appeal of what we might call its most affordable adjacent offering. I’ve always advised readers and family members to look beyond Apple’s tempting base prices, which will likely leave you with less storage than you need or otherwise fall short on features or specs.
But this vague suspicion of low price tags has been heightened by recent experience with Apple’s recently updated M2 MacBook Air, which performs shockingly poorly if you opt for the entry-level configuration. Read and write speeds for that machine’s single-channel 256GB SSD were 50 percent slower than the $1,899 flagship model in our testing, and the expected M2 speed boost was almost completely absent.
So the $1,499 model with a better chip, more storage, and a more luxurious charger is actually the better bargain in the long run. While the $1,199 model may be tempting, we’d recommend spending extra for at least 512GB of storage, or seeking a discount on the 2020 M1 Air rather than buying this year’s cheapest model.
Low-priced entry-level products have become a trend. The iMac range contains a similar trap for the unwary bargain hunter. The cheapest ($1,299) version of the 24-inch iMac seems like an attractive option, as it has the same 4.5K display as the $1,499 model and a very capable M1 processor. What Apple doesn’t publish is that it lacks the power adapter with ethernet, Touch ID keyboard, has fewer color options and ports, and only has one fan, which means lower performance and more noise under load. For just $200 less, it’s hard to recommend.
Once you develop an instinct for price paranoia, you start to notice false savings across Apple’s lineup. For example, what’s the Apple Watch Series 3 still doing in stores when we’re just months away from the Series 8 launch? I’ll tell you what it does: entice innocent buyers with its exciting price tag, then disappoint them with its worn-out feature set and imminent lack of software support.
The 2019 second-generation AirPods are still available, but you really shouldn’t buy them either if the newer edition easily justifies the extra money. And the iPhone SE, newly updated this year and what seems like a bargain price tag, is actually more expensive than the previous model and doesn’t add much in the way of modern features. In either case, you’ll have to pay more for a better alternative, or without it.
Of course, it’s easy to say all this as an Apple-focused reviewer who gets access to (mostly high-quality) products on a fairly regular basis. Of course I prefer the premium editions, which are more expensive for a reason. In Apple’s world, duration correlates quite accurately with quality.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a linear relationship, and in different parts of the chart, price rises faster than quality, or vice versa. On the high end, a lot of extra money gets you relatively little extra quality: the Apple Watch Edition has always been poor value for money, and the Mac Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro aren’t worth their sky-high respective price tags unless you get a job. or have specific niche use cases that justify their capabilities. At the entry level, on the other hand, a fairly small extra expense will make a huge improvement in your experience with the product.
Buying cheap, whether you’re buying a pair of boots or a laptop, is generally a waste of money. And since we’re talking about Apple, it’s a waste of a lot of money. Spend more, or spend nothing at all, but you should probably skip the entry level if you can avoid it.
Trending: Top Stories of the Week
iOS 16 and macOS Ventura show how far Apple really has come, says Dan Moren.
An ounce of iPhone and no Macs make enough bitter Apple ‘cocktail’. Yep, it’s time for the results again.
After an opposition to the features nefarious possibilitiesApple has tackled iMessage editing and undoing in iOS 16.
After right relaxing rules who regulates in-app payments, Apple is now accused of scaring customers. It’s absurd.
The economy is doomed, notes the Macalope, and guess what? To be all Apple’s fault.
Good luck AOLers: Apple no longer helps you set up your dial-up modem.
It is the end of an era. Apple’s M2 MacBooks no longer have any sign of Intel in them.
The rumor mill
Jason Cross dives deep into the upcoming A16 processor and asks: How much faster will the? iPhone 14 Pro actually be?
It’s also pretty much confirmed that the 14 Pro will be a always-on display. And we’ve seen what that will look like.
Mind you, the Apple Watch Series 8 can surpass the new iPhone. Here are 5 reasons to be excited.
On what subject, good news for squares and square lovers: Apple can finally redesign the Apple Watch-although it won’t have a new shape.
The M1 Mac Pro has reportedly been scrapped as Apple plans to… huge M2 push this fall.
Reviews and product comparisons
Benchmarks confirm our fears: The performance of the $1,199 M2 MacBook Air is shockingly bad in some tests.
It is the ecosystem that matters mostargues Jason Cross in a comparison of the iPhone SE and Google Pixel 6a.
Karen Haslam compares the M2 MacBook Air to the M1 model and estimates she spends $200 never made sense.
Which Apple charger should you buy for you new M2 MacBook Air? Or, if you want broader advice, check out our roundup of the best USB-C chargers for both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
Fancy music? We’ve reviewed and reviewed the best Lightning and USB-C wired headphones for iPhone and iPad.
Podcast of the week
The rumor mill is spinning great possibilities for the Apple Watch. On top of what’s coming in watchOS 9, we could see the biggest change to the Apple Watch lineup in its seven years of existence. We talk about the upcoming Apple Watch in this episode of the Macworld Podcast.
You can watch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app or our own site.
And with that, we’re done for this week. If you would like to receive regular round-ups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy your weekend and stay Appley.