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Why you don’t need to buy the most expensive iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Published Oct 22nd, 2022 6:12PM EDT
2022 MacBook Air Main
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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I recently told you that I don’t really need the iPhone 14 Pro I got on launch day. The iPhone 14 would have met my mobile needs, and I wouldn’t notice the difference. And I told you that the iPhone 14 and Plus aren’t iPhone “13s” models. They’re Pro models that Apple sells for less. 

All of that made me realize that we’ve reached a level of tech sophistication that makes Apple’s entry-level and mid-range devices incredibly useful. And that you don’t have to buy the Pros to get a fantastic experience. Forget the iPhone Pro, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro if you don’t need any of the Pro features. Instead, you should go for what I’m about to call the “Apple Air” experience and never look back. 

What is the Apple Air experience?

There’s no such thing as Apple Air, of course. I’m using that phrase to describe an entry- to mid-range level of Apple devices. And I’m using the word “Air” because some of the products I’ll mention happen to use this word in the product name. 

These are the iPad Air and the MacBook Air, although the latter is really the product that made this marketing term so famous. The MacBook Air was once costly, despite not offering Pro features. It was the slim design that people loved, a design that Apple kept in place for years. Fast forward to 2022, and the MacBook Air is as powerful as the MacBook Pro, thanks to Apple’s significant innovations in the silicon department.

The iPad Air isn’t as popular as the MacBook Air. But it still ticks similar boxes. The M1 iPad Air is practically an iPad Pro without a few bells and whistles

iPhone 14 Main
Apple’s iPhone 14 smartphone. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

What are other Air devices?

Buyers looking to get Apple devices on the cheap will love this Apple Air experience. Especially if they do not need the Pro features that come with the more expensive iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. 

These Pro features include better screens that support 120Hz refresh rates and more raw power in terms of processor and GPU performance. And more RAM. They also get better cameras, especially the iPhone. 

But if you’re looking to save money on brand-new Apple devices, especially in this economy, you can look at Apple’s more affordable devices — what I’m calling the Airs. Note that I did say brand-new gadgets. You can score great deals on used, lie-new Apple products online, including the Pros that we’re about to avoid. 

The $799 128GB iPhone 14 is the cheapest iPhone 14 model you can consider. Apple also sells iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, which are great devices in 2022 if you need to save more money. 

iPad 10th generation
Apple’s iPad 10th generation tablet. Image source: Apple Inc.

With the iPad, things are even more straightforward — or complicated. The cheapest iPad is the $329 64GB iPad 9 that Apple launched last year. But here, you might want to spend $449 on the brand-new 64GB iPad 10 because it comes with a USB-C port. The $599 64GB iPad Air gets you the M1 processor upgrade. 

When it comes to MacBooks, the $999 M1 MacBook Air that Apple launched in 2020 is an excellent device. If you can splurge $200 extra, you get the brand new MacBook Air design and the brand new M2 chip. But the M1 MacBook Air is a killer laptop that hardly gets any real competition

We got the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook out of the way, but that still leaves the accessories. The $249 2022 Apple Watch SE will be a fantastic mid-range wearable. It rocks the same dual-core S8 chip as the more expensive Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. But it features an older design and doesn’t support the latest health tracking features. Still, it’s a great “Air” device to tide you over until you’re ready to purchase something more expensive. 

Apple Watch SE Main
Apple Watch SE smartwatch. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The AirPods (2nd generation) are Apple’s cheapest AirPods. They don’t feature the new design of the 3rd generation and don’t support active noise cancelation like the AirPods Pro. But will they deliver an impressive music experience? Absolutely. Priced at $129, they’re great wireless earphones to purchase. And you’ll often find great deals from other retailers. 

How much does the Apple Air experience cost?

Simple math tells us the Apple Air experience above will cost you $2,625. You get the $799 iPhone 14, $449 iPad 10, $999 M1 MacBook Air, $249 Apple Watch SE 2, and $129 AirPods 2. It’s still a lot of money to spend at once on Apple gear. And Apple loves its profit margins, which is why these cheap Apple devices are still expensive for many people. 

But you don’t have to purchase everything at once. Also, getting a MacBook and iPad at the same time might be overkill. The iPhone is easily the priority, especially if you’re upgrading. 

Apple AirPods 2 with a wired charging case.
Apple AirPods 2 with a wired charging case. Image source: Amazon

That said, your mileage might vary. You might find great deals on these devices to lower the entry price. And you might complete your Apple gear collection over a few years. That’s another great thing about buying Apple. These devices will last for years. But if you’re not looking for the Pro experience, you should aim for great value for your money. Switch to the Apple Air experience and never look back. You won’t be sorry. 

More Apple coverage: Check out the best Apple deals online right now.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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