On Tuesday, Apple will host a product event to present… something.
You can get a good hint from outside reporting from the likes of Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (who got the March 8 date in advance), which points to the updated iPhone SE and iPad Air. But you can also look at Apple’s archive of recent product events for guidance on this — and whatever Apple will show later this year.
Last April, Apple unveiled an updated iPad Pro and a new line of iMac desktop computers on the Internet. A year ago, the California-based Cupertino company introduced the current iPhone SE, but it has grounded in physical or online production due to the pandemic.
Apple was more predictable in the late summer and early fall, when it introduced new iPhones every year for the past nine years — accompanied in recent years by Apple Watch updates.
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The pattern is clear: “iPhones and Apple Watches in September and iPads in March (or so),” wrote Adam Engst, publisher of the long-running Apple newsletter Tidbits. He cited primary sources of demand for product launches in fall and spring: For the holiday season, “make sure you have products on the way to order in November/December.” And the education buy season in the summer? “Be sure to have products to buy in June/July.”
If you don’t want to be stuck buying an Apple device that is outdated after weeks, time your purchases accordingly.
“For most people, it makes sense to postpone new iPad purchases just before spring, and wait for new numbered iPhones and Apple Watches in the fall,” said analyst Avi Greengart, president of Techsponential, via email. “Apple reliably updates these on an annual basis.”
But price-conscious iPhone shoppers can also take advantage of Apple’s habit of keeping older versions on sale for usually under $100.
“Waiting for the previous generation of the device to become cheaper once a new device arrives is a worthwhile strategy for the iPhone,” Ingest said, adding that Apple has also followed that pricing strategy to some extent with the Apple Watch.
But he cautioned against expecting deals on iPads and Macs this way: “Often, when a new Mac or iPad arrives, it replaces the previous one, and at best, you can get a deal on the older model’s remaining inventory for a month or two.”
Ingest and Greengart agreed that the timing of the purchase is more complicated with the new Macs — which Apple’s event in March could feature as well. Apple has a history of allowing individual product lines to remain without updates. For example, the Mac mini and MacBook Air have not changed since Apple introduced new versions with Apple Silicon processors in November 2020.
“Your best bet is to find out how long it’s been since Apple released the computer, laptop, or headphones you want to buy,” Greengart wrote. “If it’s been less than 18 months, you’re probably safe — even if Apple does update the device, it shouldn’t be a generational shift.”
Apple’s MacRumors news site maintains a buyer’s guide that tracks how many days have passed for Apple’s line of products since the previous update; The iPhone SE gets a “Don’t buy” notification because of its age, while the iPad Air gets an “alert” flag.
Given the near-unanimous reporting that Apple introduced a new iPhone SE and iPad Air in March, there seems to be a few impeccable advice: If you have one of these devices and don’t want to switch to a different series of iPhone, iPad, or pay-price list For the same model you bought a year or two ago, take exceptionally good care of your device for the next few weeks.